Hanuman Chalisa Meaning is considered a source of spiritual strength during challenging times.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 17 in English with Meaning & Analysis
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 17 Empowering Vibhishan
बिभीषन माना ।
सब जग जाना ॥
sub jag jana.
Your counsel that
Made him Lord of Lanka
as the world knows.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 17 Meaning in English
This verse reveals the difference between the Valmiki Ramayana, composed 2,000 years ago, and Tulsidas’s Ram-charit-manas, composed 500 years ago, and draws attention to the many variations found in regional and folk retellings of Ram’s tale.
While everyone acknowledges Valmiki as the first post to compose the Ramayana, the epic itself has been reimagined, and retold, in many ways in various Sanskrit plays, Prakrit compositions, and-from about tenth century onwards-in various regional languages.
The difference between the oldest work and the later compositions is of two kinds. First, is the theme: while the focus of the Sanskrit epic was dharma and the obligations of a royal prince, the focus of the regional epics came to be bhakti and the veneration of a deity by his devotees. The second is the change in plot.
In the Ram-charit-manas we find an episode that is not found in the Valmiki Ramayana: the meeting of Hanuman and Vibhishan when Hanuman visits Lanka in search of Sita. Hanuman finds a man chanting Ram’s name in Lanka. It turns out to be Ravana’s younger brother. After introductions are exchanged, Hanuman informs Vibhishan that Ram is coming to Lanka to set things right.
Vibhishan then directs Hanuman to the Ashoka garden where Sita has been confined. Vibhishan does not agree with his brother’s action of abducting another man’s wife and imprisoning her in his garden. There are many reasons for this. There is the moral reason of respecting a woman’s consent. There is the ethical reason of respecting another
man’s wife. Then, there is the practical reason: Ravana’s actions damage Lanka’s reputation and threaten Lanka’s security. There is also the dharma reason: a king’s misbehaviour affects the welfare of the entire kingdom.
Vibhishan wants his brother to see sense and Hanuman urges Vibhishan to have a talk with his brother. Unfortunately, Ravana does not like Vibhishan’s arguments and protests and kicks his brother out of Lanka. Hanuman gives Vibhishan the courage to take a decision to override his deep love for his brother, and join forces with Ram.
Vibhishan reveals the various secrets and weaknesses of Ravana that enables Ram to defeat the rakshasa-king. And so in popular lore, Vibhishan is not respected. He is seen as a traitor, a disloyal brother. He is contrasted with Kumbhakarna, another of Ravana’s brothers who shares Vibhishan’s stance in the matter of Sita’s abduction, but remains loyal to Ravana.
He attacks Ram and is brutally killed by Ram’s army of monkeys in the battlefield. The question emerges: is loyalty superior to dharma? For Ravana, the one who grab’s another man’s wife, is no follower of dharma.
Kubera, the king of yakshas and elder brother of Ravana, was the one who built the city of Lanka. Ravana drove Kubera out of Lanka and made himself king. Thus Ravana behaved as animals do, using force to establish his authority.
This action is an even greater tragedy because Ravana is no barbarian; he is a Brahmin well versed in Vedic knowledge. But he misuses Vedic knowledge to dominate and exploit the world. In other words, he is not interested in the fundamental theme of the Vedas-atmagyan, or self-awareness, which enables humans to outgrow animal instincts and empathize with the world.
Hanuman gives Vibhishan the strength to choose dharma over loyalty. Loyalty indulges the self-image at the cost of the other. It values reputation of the self (sva-jiva) over the welfare of the other (para-jiva). Dharma is all about the other. It is what defines our humanity.
After the defeat of Ravana, Vibhishan marries Ravana’s widow and becomes king of Lanka. He rules as a good king should taking care of his people, rather than getting people to take care of him.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 17 Analysis in English
tumharo mantra bibhlshana mana
lankeshvara bhae sabajaga jana ||17||
Vibhishana accepted your advice,
And became the king of Lanka, this the whole world knows. (17)
Hanuman was in Lanka searching for Sita. He was searching for her not inside the houses but inside the temples because where there was Sita, that place was naturally a temple. Expecting Sita in every place, Hanuman considered every house in Lanka to be a temple. He did not find her in the temple of Ravana. Ravana’s palace was also a temple because full- scale worship happened there! Who did Ravana worship? He worshipped his body the most because he wanted to live in this body eternally, be immortal.
In fact, all the citizens of Lanka worshipped their body. No wonder then that Hanuman referred to the houses in Lanka as temples. They had a choice to worship God or worship their bodies. They chose the latter. Materialistic people keep their bodies in the centre of their life. Every demon of Lanka, from an ordinary citizen to Ravana, believed that sense gratification and enjoyment were the ultimate goals of life. The only exception to this was Vibhishan. He lived not in a temple where the body was worshipped but in a house where God was.
Hanuman was delighted to hear sounds of chanting of the holy name coming from this house. He decided to find out who it was. Vibhishan welcomed Hanuman as he heard Hanuman saying ‘Jai Sri Rama’. When asked who he was, Hanuman introduced himself in an unlikely manner. He did not say, “I am Pavanputra Hanuman. I swallowed the sun as a baby.” Instead, he introduced himself as servant of Lord Rama. And after that he began a mini Rama katha, glorifying his divine master.
But Vibhishan still did not know who his visitor was. He again asked him to tell his name. Hanuman then gave his name reluctantly. “I am Hanuman, but please do not chant my name. The only name worth chanting is Rama’s.” Hanuman realized how difficult it must be for Vibhishan, Ravana’s brother, to live in Lanka amongst demons.
Vibhishan described to him the hazards of being a devotee amongst demons. He performed his sadhana in hiding, fearing fatal repercussions if caught. His brother Ravana usually turned a blind eye to him but if anyone complained then there would be stem action taken against him. He was constantly walking on a tightrope.
“Why don’t you leave Lanka and take shelter of Lord Rama?” asked Hanuman. “How can I,” sighed Vibhishan, “leave my brother? After all he is my brother. Lanka is my home.” Vibhishan’s face showed genuine remorse, trapped in a demonic birthplace with no route to escape.
Hanuman explained to him gently, “It all depends on who you think you are. What is your ‘swa dharma’? If you think you are Ravana’s brother, then your dharma is to stay in Lanka and be his advisor. Then you can fulfil your duties at a physical level, your bodily relationships. If you think you are my brother, belonging to the family of Rama and Sita, then your dharma is spiritual, which means you can leave Lanka and take Rama’s shelter. Dharma is always dynamic, never static. It changes with the understanding of who you really are.”
Hanuman’s words of wisdom overwhelmed Vibhishan. He promised Hanuman he would think over it and take the next step. After Hanuman departed, Vibhishan had another visitor. It was Ravana, his brother, the king of Lanka. His arrival always meant only one thing, some sort of trouble. Ravana came barging inside Vibhishan’s palace and roared in anger. “Vibhishana, because of you I have to constantly face embarrassment. You are a blot on our esteemed Rakshasa dynasty.”
“What did I do?” asked a baffled Vibhishan.
“What did you do?” spat Ravana. “Whatever you do is unforgivable. You are constantly chanting Rama, God’s name. Which demon does that? Why are you hell bent on behaving like heavenly citizens instead of a true demon?”
“Oh!” said a relieved Vibhishan. “Is that it? I can explain that. I’m not chanting God’s name. I’m actually chanting your name. ‘Ra’ is short for Ravana, my venerable older brother, and ‘Ma’ is short for Mandodari, my reverent sister- in-law. I am constantly chanting your names. Since chanting Ravana Mandodari becomes quite long and time consuming, I have invented a short form of it Ra-Ma. Simple!”
Hearing these words, Ravana’s anger immediately melted. From a roaring, fiery wild animal he turned into a smiling, loving domestic pet. “Is that how you feel about me?” He couldn’t stop grinning with the respect Vibhishan had bestowed upon him. His chest puffed up more than ever and his voice was now sugar coated.
“I want you and every citizen of Lanka to fill their walls with ‘RaMa’. Every wall should carry my name. And every citizen of Lanka should begin chanting Rama from today. That’s my order.” Pleased with himself, he returned to his palace, tumharo mantra bibhishana manat One day in the court of Lanka, there was a discussion on how to handle the tricky situation of Sita’s obstinacy. Ravana’s ministers could never go against him or speak against him so they suggested forcing Sita into submission.
This is what Ravana liked, flatterers. Yes men. He did not have any well- wisher who could tell the truth. Except Vibhishan, who had never approved of Ravana’s evil actions. But by kidnapping Sita, Ravana had gone too far. Vibhishan had to figure out what he should do now. Speak up or shut up. If he spoke up, Ravana would in all probability kick him out of the kingdom. If he shut up, he would continue with his life of opulence.
He had to choose between a life of opulence and a life of satisfaction. A life of compromise or a life of focus. A life of show or a life of substance. A life of exploitation or a life of sacrifice. A life of vices or a life of values. It was a question of security versus uncertainty. If only he could tolerate Ravana, he would have everything. Hanuman’s words rang in his ears. “If you think you are Ravana’s brother, then your dharma is to stay in Lanka and be his advisor.
Then you can fulfil your duties at a physical level, your bodily relationships. If you think you are my brother, belonging to the family of Rama and Sita, then your dharma is spiritual, which means you can leave Lanka and take Rama’s shelter.” Vibhishan had clarity now.
Hanuman’s words made perfect sense. He knew what he had to do. He would go with his spiritual dharma, the ultimate dharma. tumharo mantra bibhlshana mana He gave Ravana a piece of his mind, “Please leave Sita. It is a sin to kidnap another’s wife and force yourself on her. It does not befit a king to behave in this manner.”
But Ravana was blind with lust. He kicked Vibhishan out of his court and out of Lanka. With that kick, Ravana kicked out Rajya Lakshmi (the goddess of kingship) also. And with that kick Vibhishan found the greatest opulence the lotus feet of Rama. Although insulted, Vibhishan left the assembly feeling great exhilaration. He believed that this attack of Ravana’s foot would lead him to another pair of feet that would bring him great joy. Had he not felt the hard feet of Ravana, how would he have experienced the soft feet of Rama?
Most people experience happiness only when things are going as per their expectations. This is a materialistic mind set. To experience happiness even when things are going wrong, is a spiritual mind set, a sadhaka’s mind set. A spiritualist or a devotee is happy even in unfavourable conditions. Vibhishan was happy even though he had been chucked out of Lanka.
He was happy to be seeking shelter of Rama, tumharo mantra bibhlshana mana What is surrender? Surrender is understood in two parts. One is akincanatvam. Which means to surrender with hands folded. The folded hands indicate humility.
It implies everything belongs to God and nothing belongs to me and thus I have nothing to give. And second part of surrender is ananyam gatim. This means I have nowhere else to go other than your shelter. Sometimes, people offer obeisance with their legs crossed locking each other, which indicates that my legs are tied and I cannot go anywhere else now.
Vibhishan, along with his four trusted friends, left Lanka and flew over the ocean to reach Rama’s camp. He informed the guards of the vanara army that he had come seeking shelter of Rama. Seeing Vibhishan beg with folded hands, the monkeys dashed inside to deliver the startling message. They themselves were shocked with Vibhishan’s arrival.
When the monkeys gave Rama the message, he was with Sugriva, Hanuman, and few other trusted friends. He looked at others to know their opinion. Rama always sought their opinion before he made any decision. Sugriva was not keen on the enemy’s brother joining their camp. He said candidly, “O’ Lord, it is unwise to let the enemy enter our camp.
He may open all our military secrets. How can we trust someone who is betraying his own brother?” The other vanaras too agreed with their king’s analysis. When Sugriva saw Rama was not convinced, he said, “You are not a very good judge of people either, so please send him away.” Hearing this, both Rama and Hanuman smiled because Sugriva was himself such a bad judge of people. Sugriva had mistaken Rama and Lakshmana to be Vali’s spies.
Next Rama turned to Hanuman for his opinion. “What do you say, Hanuman? Both Sugriva and I trust your opinion so we will do as you say.” Hanuman recalled his experience with Vibhishan in Lanka. He narrated to them how Vibhishan was the only pious person in the whole of Lanka, chanting God’s names against all odds. Despite constant threat from Ravana and other demons. And how his was the only sane voice that had prevented Ravana from killing Hanuman. “In my opinion, Vibhishan is genuine. He should be given shelter.”
Rama’s eyes lit up with Hanuman’s words. Rama recalled his encounter in Panchvati with Surpanakha, Vibhishan’s sister. She had criticized Vibhishan saying he had no qualities of rakshasas. Being a pious person, he was the black sheep of their family. Surpanakha had given vivid examples of Vibhishan’s unwarranted pious behaviour.
When all the siblings had done penance to please Brahma, Vibhishan had asked not for immortality or name or fame but for dharma to be always present in his life. This had shocked all his siblings. Rama reflected that despite the association of demons like Ravana and others that Lanka was full of, Vibhishan had still managed to retain his purity. That was definitely commendable. And he had also saved Hanuman’s life.
When Ravana had ordered him to be killed, it was Vibhishan who had come to his rescue arguing that a messenger is innocent and should not be killed. Ravana had then reversed his order of killing and set fire to his tail. Vibhishan’s act of kindness had not gone unnoticed by Rama. As far as Rama was concerned, Vibhishan, by this single act, had become qualified for his shelter.
Any kindness that we do, makes us attractive in Rama’s eyes. Rama said, “I will give shelter to Vibhishan. My dharma is to accept in my fold anyone who comes to me. No one is ever turned back.” He asked the monkeys to allow Vibhishan in. As soon as Vibhishan entered, they all stood up and Rama said, “Lankesh, you are welcome here. You are my fifth brother from now.”
Vibhishan turned red as a beetroot when he heard Rama addressing him as Lankesh. He was embarrassed that his deep- rooted desire had become obvious to Rama. But Vibhishan’s embarrassment caused Rama a lot more embarrassment. Because there was no need for Vibhishan to turn red since Rama was only giving him what was rightly his.
Rama arranged for a fire sacrifice for coronation and Vibhishan was immediately crowned as the king of Lanka. Much before the war was fought, much before Ravana was killed, Vibhishan became the king of Lanka, lankeshvara bhae saba jaga jana Rama always knew how to build bridges. Whether it was difference of opinions, difference in behaviour, or difference in feelings, Rama removed all differences by building bridges and joining people.
The next step for the vanara army was to cross the vast expanse of ocean. Vibhishan suggested that Rama pray to the ocean god and take his help to cross. Lakshmana, however, believed in action. He did not want to wait for the ocean god to come and help. Lakshmana advised Rama, “Only the weak stand and wait and do nothing. Just shoot your arrows and make way to cross.”
Lakshmana and Vibhishan were poles apart. One was Rama’s younger brother while the other was the enemy’s younger brother. One loved his brother to death while the other had not an iota of love for his brother. One believed in action while the other believed in mercy.
Rama had to cross not just the vast ocean but also the vast expanse of differences between the two. Who would he listen to? He didn’t want to take sides. He wanted to unite them. He was an expert in finding the essence of unity even in the midst of differences. The common theme between the two was that they both loved Rama. And the common goal was to cross the ocean.
Vibhishan did not expect Rama to take his advice when Lakshmana was so openly not in favour. His face fell in anticipation of being rejected. But Rama said, “Yes, Vibhishan, we will try what you say.” Vibhishan became ecstatic. Then Rama said, “Lakshmana, we will have to use your method also.”
And with his body language he conveyed to Lakshmana that he valued his opinion. For three days, they tried Vibhishan’s suggestion and the next day, they tried Lakshmana’s suggestion and in this way Rama succeeded in maintaining unity by building bridges between hearts.