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Service to Man Hindu Ideals
A couple weeks ago, I spoke of the commencement of the Hindu year being marked with celebrations of “Nau Raatri,” a time of celebrating the female forms of God. On Tuesday, April 4, Nau Raatri ended with another celebration, “Ram Naumi.”
Ram Naumi commemorates the birth of Lord Ram (an avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Jai Sri Ram! Last Monday, Hindus celebrated “Hanuman Jayanti” or the birth of Lord Hanuman. Victory be to our Lord Ram! Victory to our Lord Hanuman!
Lord Ram is revered by Hindus the world over as “Maryaada Purushottam” or the ideal man. His life exemplifies the ideal conduct and manner of living. He was the perfect son, ideal husband and the most virtuous king.
Lord Hanuman (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) commonly referred to as the “Monkey-God” belonged to the “Vanaar” tribe and was the chief servant of Lord Ram. We recall that former American President, Barrack Obama, said that he always carried a symbol of Lord Hanuman in his pocket.
When East Indian indentured labourers arrived in Trinidad in 1845, they brought the “Ramcharitmanas” or “Ramayan’ Scripture with them. This has been and continues to be expounded for the spiritual development of Hindus locally. It details the entire life story of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman. Hindus are encouraged to follow the examples set by them.
Lord Ram exemplified the ideals of “Raj Niti” or perfect laws of governance which are still very relevant to today’s society. There are certain episodes during his kingship which clearly illustrated that Lord Ram possessed great humility and compassion and always put his subjects’ and citizens’ welfare above that of his own and his family. These episodes are beyond the scope of this article but the point I would like to make is that Lord Ram exemplified ideals which are so direly needed in today’s society.
There is an undeniable perception that the politics of today is only attracting too many people who are motivated by self-aggrandisement as opposed to altruistic purpose. Many seek public office to see what they can get for themselves as opposed to working tirelessly for others. They enter politics for stints of time during which they seek to acquire financial remuneration other than their salaries.
Today, we also have certain politicians who are only interested in “bareback selfies,” contented to only pose for the sake of media coverage. The level of narcissism knows no bounds. Some expect the public to live by the law of the land, when they themselves abrogate these laws with impunity.
Many times we have heard some of our local politicians refer to the effects of the “blue lights.” By this they literally mean, that some people get carried away with the police escorts and/or state entourage and other paraphernalia which accompanies high office.
At a deeper level they mean that once exposed to the corridors of power, some politicians are driven and will do virtually anything to remain at the reigns of such power. We have also heard local politicians say that politics has a morality of its own, even suggesting that personal morals should not inform one’s political decisions/actions.
Lord Hanuman was the chief servant of Lord Ram. For him, everything was only possible through the grace of God and he never shirked his responsibilities. He was an ambassador of Lord Ram, a commander of armies, a great warrior in his own right, always a humble servant and friend to all mankind. No task was too small or too big for him. Firmly planted in his devotion to Lord Ram, he accomplished the most amazing feats.
Hindus are encouraged to follow the examples set by Lord Hanuman. Sometimes, it is easy to think that we have somehow accomplished our life’s tasks by virtue of our own skill. Lord Hanuman teaches us that it is by the grace of God. Lord Hanuman never performed a single task with the intention of acquiring something for himself. It was always for the benefit of mankind.
The ideals embodied in the life story of Lord Hanuman would lift us as a people. How many of us give praise and thanks to the Almighty for whatever that we have, be it small or grand? How many of us do anything for the welfare of others?
Recently, an international company worth hundreds of billions of dollars withdrew one of its projects from Trinidad and Tobago. The flippant response of a local leader was they could pack up and leave. This would ultimately prove to be detrimental to our economy. The simple point is how many of us are prepared to do an honest and hard day’s work whilst higher wages continue to be negotiated in the background. Like Lord Hanuman, we must be prepared to work and serve to the best of our ability.
All religions preach in some form that service to mankind is service to God. We must be our brother’s keeper. At a time when the moral fabric of our society is being gnawed away, we should seek refuge at the feet of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman and seek to embody the ideals which they exemplified.
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