by Rachna Chopra
Hanuman, one of the central characters of the epic Ramayana, is also called Vayuputra and Pavan Tanay, meaning son of the God of Wind. True to his name, he is able to fly. He’s seen flying in many depictions, but have you ever wondered how? He doesn’t have wings. Being half monkey and half man, he only has a tail! While flying is said to be symbolic of the subtle body, the breath and intelligence; what really makes Hanuman fly is his devotion to Lord Rama. Devotion gives a bird-like buoyancy. It gives you so much energy, and such lightness of being, as though you have air in your bones like birds. Well, that’s how birds can fly; they have air in their bones. Yogis are known to elevate defying gravity as well, because of the buoyancy borne of devotion.
What does devotion have to do with buoyancy, you may ask. Well, when your body, your veins, down to the very tissues and cells are steeped in devotion, it’s become devoid of ego. Devoid of ego and a sense of ‘I’, your body only takes what is needed for sustenance. Devotion to Rama (or your higher Self) also imparts the discrimination to choose right, a dispassion to taste, and an indifference to culinary indulgences. It gives you the sense of what to absorb into your body (house of your deity), and what to reject. It is hyper sensitized (almost territorial) as to what it makes a part of itself, and allows entry to only those substances that assist in the ascent of the spirit, and not hinder.
So, devotion makes you effortlessly reject everything and anything that is heavy (carbs/pasta/breads/cookies or eating too much); that which stinks or has too much odor (dead meats/garlic/onion); and even foods that have too strong of a taste (hot/pungent/salty). It also rejects anything and everything that makes you perspire (strong spices), makes you way too thirsty (grease/starch) or drowsy (sugars/carbs).
When you reject foods that make you dull or drowsy, you conquer sleep. That’s half the battle won. Once your body is no more drowned in slumber, your mind follows, and quite naturally ascends to finer thoughts. It rejects from a distance what weighs you down; it even shuns company that keeps you chained or actions that arise from greed and covetousness.
The flight of Hanuman is symbolic of such a mind that has gained escape velocity, and ascends to higher realms. “Chootehi Bandha Maha Sukh Hoi”, a verse from Hanuman Chalisa, exemplifies this flight of devotion, when nothing is holding you down to gravity anymore; when all bondage has been lifted, all that had held you has released you.
When the playfulness of the monkey mind is tamed by human intellect, then the monkey is buoyant, with strategy. Nothing is wasted, not a single movement, all energy is funneled; and with such dexterous channeling of energy, joy arises. Your whole existence becomes a cause for celebration. And in that celebration, movement happens, dance happens, and ascension of consciousness becomes possible.
But it all starts with devotion. The dietary disciplines and controls that are usually a challenge become easy. There is no struggle, there is no fight. On the contrary, subjugating the body without taming the mind is like trying to make an ornament without melting the metal. Meaningless and futile. You have to start from the highest point of your heart, and let it infiltrate down to your mind and body, in that order. You cannot begin from the body. You can, but it will be a steep climb, a struggle, and mostly fruitless. Beginning with devotion is a winning strategy. It is sustainable and joyful. Devotion for anything is exhilarating, but if for the highest ideal, its lightness lends you wings.
The author of this holistic wellness blog is a modern mystic, fire worshipper and spiritual travel guide. She guides self-discovery journeys to places of power and pilgrimage in American Southwest and South Asia. Web: www.rachnachopra.com, Email: [email protected]