The Ramayana – Hanuman’s Leap of Faith

In the epic tale known as the The Ramayana, Hanuman is the servant of Lord Rama and demonstrates his complete love and devotion for Rama through several brave and amazing feats. One of Hanuman’s courageous and seemingly impossible acts that I often share in class is the origin of the pose – Hanumanasana.

During a horrific battle in Southern India, Rama’s brother, Laksmana, is gravely wounded. His only chance for survival is to be treated with a very specific and rare herb that is found at the top of the Himalayas. Rama is distraught and has little hope that someone could make it to the Himalayas, find the herb and return back in time to save Laksmana. This impossible task falls upon Hanuman; son of the wind, powerful and intelligent monkey god, emblematic of devotion. Taking a mighty “leap of faith” across the ocean from the south of India to the Himalayas, Hanuman finds himself unsure of the exact location of the herb. He is innately guided to get “bigger around he situation” rather than “getting lost in finding the exact herb” and picks up the entire mountain range and carries it over his head while he leaps back to the battlefield. The healing herb is quickly located by experts and Laksmana is saved. Later in the Ramayana, Hanuman makes another great leap from India to Sri Lanka to reunite Rama and his beloved Sita.

As we gracefully practice Hanumanasana through September a combination of emotions relating to devotion, courage and humility will often bubble up and come into play for many of us. A self inquiry accompanied by journaling has often proven beneficial to me.  I offer this self inquiry and journaling  practice to you during the month of Hanumanasana with the inquiry being “What is stopping you in your life from taking that “Leap of Faith” to do what you need to do?

You are as powerful as the wind;

You are intelligent, illustrious and an inventor.

There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you;

Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.

~Jambavantha, the King of Beaqrs, self affirmation to Hanuman in the Ramayana

The Ramayana is a one of two great Epics of India, the other being the Mahabharatha. If you have not had the opportunity to read the Ramayana, I highly suggest Ramayana by R.K. Narayan. If you are more visual, the children’s cartoon “Sita Sings The Blues” is a great resource and fun way to process the teachings –Sita Sings the Blues

Namaste – Laura

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