The Hanuman Chalisa tells the tale of Hanuman’s devotion and unwavering loyalty to Lord Rama.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 19 in English with Meaning & Analysis
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 19 Monkeyness
मेलि मुख माहीं ।
गये अचरज नाहीं ॥
meli mukh mahee.
gaye achraj nahee.
With Ram’s ring
in your mouth.
You leapt over the sea
how amazing is that.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 19 Meaning in English
Being knowledgeable and wise does not stop Hanuman from popping Ram’s ring in his mouth while leaping over the sea. Mundane rules of propriety make no sense to Hanuman, reminding us of his animal side. His monkeyness evokes his childlike nature. In this, he reminds us of Bholenath, the guileless, innocent form of Shiva. This form of Hanuman is often addressed as Balaji, or the child-like form of Hanuman.
Hanuman’s paradoxical qualities mirror the paradoxical qualities of Shiva. Both are wise and mighty, yet both are totally unaware of worldly ways. Shiva may have the power to destroy the three worlds (which is why he is call Tripurantaka) and enlighten the sages on the wisdom of Vedas and Tantras (which is why he is called Dakshina-murti), but he does not know how to function as a husband, a father, or a son-in-law, and has to be taught the ways of a householder by his patient wife, Parvati.
Likewise Hanuman, who can leap over the sea with a mountain in hand and the sun in his armpit, does not know the value, and status, of a king’s ring and does not understand why humans find his act of keeping Ram’s ring in his mouth inappropriate.
The concept of ‘value’ exists only amongst humans. For pearls. When asked to explain his behaviour, Hanuman said, ‘I was biting to see if Ram resides in these pearls. He doesn’t, so they are useless to me.’ The people found this to be an absurd idea, for Ram sat on a throne and could not be seated inside pearls. But Hanuman was surprised at their assertion and confidence.
He just tore open his chest and there within his heart was Ram with Sita by his side. Suddenly, the people of Ayodhya realized what Hanuman was innocently drawing their attention to. For him, a thing had value if it was either food, or if it evoked divinity. He saw no value in expensive, royal pearls-for they neither nourished his body, nor his mind, as Ram did. Possessing pearls could make people rich. But engaging with Hanuman could make people experience what it meant to be Ram.
Just as humans give value to things, we also give value to gestures. Animals recognize only two kinds of gestures-those that threaten their security, and those that assure them of security. Humans, however, have complex gestures to establish hierarchy that are beyond Hanuman’s understanding, for he does not understand the need for hierarchy when one has experienced Ram.
Once Narada told Hanuman that he had to bow to all the sages who paid a visit to Ram, everyone except Vishwamitra, who did not like anyone bowing to him. Hanuman complied, not knowing that this was Narada’s trick to create a rift between Hanuman and Ram. Vishwamitra saw this as an insult and demanded that the monkey be killed.
So Ram raised his bow and shot arrows at Hanuman. Hanuman simply chanted Ram’s name – and such was the power of Ram’s name that it created a force field that even Ram’s arrows could not penetrate. Everyone bowed to Hanuman who showed the world in his very innocent way, that the idea of Ram is greater than Ram the king.
Thus, as the verse reiterates, Hanuman amazes you with his many incredible qualities-his ability to leap over an ocean, rip his chest open, resist Ram’s arrows by chanting Ram’s name. Simultaneously, he amazes you with simian innocence holding Ram’s royal ring in his mouth, biting pearls, trusting the mischievous Narada. This reminds us that Hanuman has no desire to impress anyone. His knowledge and powers exist to help others, materially and spiritually; else he is happy being a monkey.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 19 Analysis in English
prabhu mudrika meli mukha mahi
jaladhi laghi gaye acharaja nahi ||19||
With the Lord’s ring in your mouth,
You jumped across the Ocean – no wonder in that. (19)
When the monkey army was being allotted different directions to search for Mother Sita, Sugriva addressed Hanuman, who was in the group going south, headed by Angad and assisted by Jambavan and others: “If Jambavan is the wisdom and Angad the youthful dynamism behind this group, then you are the strength that carries everyone along.
The success of the entire mission of searching for-Mother Sita rests on you. There can never be any impediment big enough to stop you in your transit on land, sea, or sky. You are like your father, Vayu, the wind god. I don’t think anyone can match your prowess, astuteness, adventurous spirit, or intellect in the three worlds. However, more than any of these things, your greatest asset is your spotless character. I have a lot of hope pinned on you. Somehow, please find Sita.”
Rama was intrigued and inspired as He watched Sugriva single out Hanuman for such attention and praise. Hanuman had definitely impressed Him right from the moment He saw him disguised as that beggar. In fact, every act and speech of Hanuman’s had touched Rama very deeply. His sensitivity, intelligence, strength, resourcefulness, kindness, skills, and servitude together made him stand out in the crowd of the vanara sena.
Now that Sugriva was so effusive in his praise for Hanuman, Rama’s appreciation for Hanuman went up several notches. By this time Rama had developed good faith in Sugriva’s abilities to judge people. Sugriva would only give such importance to someone whose record had been outstanding. In fact, Rama was now convinced that Hanuman was one of the most special beings in his world
“O’ Hanuman, I totally depend on you now!” Hanuman’s heart melted with Rama’s first words of dependence. Rama continued, “I am convinced you will succeed in the current expedition. With this conviction, what I am going to offer you right now is the most valuable thing in the universe!”
Rama held out something glittering in His right hand.
Hanuman bent down on one knee, cupped his palms and extended them to Rama. Rama dropped that glittering object into his palms. As soon as it touched Hanuman’s hands, a shiver ran through his body. It was a golden ring studded with a large precious stone on top and two small stones below.
Hanuman noticed, inscribed on the larger top stone, the syllable Sri and on the lower stones, the syllables Ra and Ma. Originally, this ring must have been Sita’s. It couldn’t have been Rama’s. A humble person like Rama wouldn’t arrogantly wear a ring with His name inscribed on it. Sita wore this ring on Her finger to remind Her always of the protection of Rama’s name in Her life.
When the boatman Kevat ferried them across Ganga, Sita had given this ring to Rama to offer it as a token of gratitude to Kevat. He hadn’t of course accepted it. From then on, Rama had retained the ring on His finger. Sita had wanted to ask Rama back then about why He had kept the ring, but She let it go, concluding that Her husband always backed His action with some good reason. Rama had probably known that this ring would unite them someday.
Hanuman rose to his feet, held the ring between the index finger and the thumb of his right hand and touched it reverentially to his head. He then safely tucked it away in his waistcloth. Hanuman then bent low and held Lord Rama’s feet. With the blessings of Rama in his heart and the ring in his hand he left for the search mission. He began to wonder where to keep that special, invaluable, and extremely potent ring, in the course of his arduous journey.
He wanted to keep it in a place that was respectful and yet secure. He definitely could not wear the ring on his finger since it belonged to Lord Rama. That would be arrogance. He couldn’t find any place in his clothes that would be safe enough. The long journey and tough encounters on the way would make it impossible to retain it within the folds of his clothes. He couldn’t tie it on to his sacred thread, as it would be too visible and also too susceptible to the risk of falling off or accidentally snapping off the thread during the journey.
He possibly couldn’t keep it in his hands as it could fall off during a careless moment or even when he would have to use his hands to climb or fight. Hanuman finally got his answer. There was only one place where the holy name of Lord Rama really belonged.
And that was the tongue. The tongue should ideally reverberate the holy names of Rama constantly. Presence of the ring in his mouth was symbolic of the holy name of Lord Rama being constantly on his tongue. Moreover, it would act as a constant reminder to him to absorb his mind in the holy names, prabhu mudrika meli mukha mahi.
The ring has a special place in Ramayana. It served to unite Rama and Sita more than once. It so happened in Ayodhya that Rama and Sita had an argument one day and stopped talking to each other. Few days passed and neither took the initiative to break the deadlock. Neither wanted to admit His or Her mistake. Although Sita was very anxious to end the impasse, Rama seemed determined to continue. Unknown to Sita, Rama too longed to talk to Sita and forget the argument.
One day as they were sitting in the royal garden, together but not talking, Sita had an idea. She purposely dropped her ring in the nearby bushes and called out aloud, “Is there anyone here who can help me find my ring?” Rama immediately sprang up from his seat to search for the ring. Having found it victoriously, He slipped it back on Sita’s hand. Sita smiled happily and this loving gesture broke the ice. They embraced each other and promised to never argue again.
When the whole vanara army was contemplating who would cross the 800-mile ocean, Jambavan reminded Hanuman of his powers. Of course Hanuman wasn’t aware of his own powers but very well knew of a greater power that was with him. The ring of Lord Rama with His holy name inscribed. Other monkeys did not have that ring.
Angad was confident of jumping to Lanka but he doubted he could come back. Angad, a visionary, knew none of them had the means to cross the ocean. Though Lord Rama sent all of them but he gave the ring only to Hanuman. So if anyone could cross the ocean, it was Hanuman.
In that jump of Hanuman’s, the five elements were involved intricately. He himself being the son of the wind god, so the air element was involved. Because the jump was over the ocean, the water element was involved. He used the skyway and thus the ether element was involved. Since the whole search mission was to find Sita who is Bhumi suta or the daughter of the earth, the earth element was also involved.
And while he was in Lanka, he set the whole city on fire, thus involving the fire element. Hanuman strongly believed that everything in one’s disposal should be involved in the service of Lord Rama and this Hanuman proved in his mystical jump to Lanka by involving all the elements in Rama’s service.
Not only was the jump long but it was dangerous. Hanuman came across four obstacles during his jump across the ocean, each of which tested his commitment to the mission. Along with his character, intelligence, and strength. The first obstacle was a golden mountain named Mynaka that arose from deep within the sea. The presiding deity of that mountain invited Hanuman for a break and to enjoy the pleasures of life before proceeding ahead on that arduous journey.
A break was completely justified, considering that Hanuman had already been on a two-month intense search operation that took him across thousands of miles. Not just that, the journey that was waiting for him ahead was going to be more intense and dangerous.
But instead of choosing to accept it, Hanuman outrightly rejected it. For Hanuman, everything including personal comforts and conveniences came after his service to Lord Rama. There was absolutely no scope for personal space. His love for the Lord and His mission superseded his need for comfort and relaxation.
If Mynaka pushed him to focus on his comforts, the next obstacle distracted him from the goal, pushing him to focus on proving his greatness. The obstacle was named Surasa. She was sent by the demigods to test Hanuman’s preparedness for Lanka. The gods weren’t sure if Hanuman was equipped enough to handle the diplomacy and power of Ravana.
She rose from the ocean and blocked Hanuman’s path stating that she had Brahma’s boon that anyone who passed over the ocean would have to enter into her mouth. Very humbly Hanuman requested her to step away from his path and allow him to execute his mission.
Surasa reacted by increasing the size of her mouth to block his forward movements. That angered Hanuman who increased his size assuming a size bigger than her. Surasa beat him in size and then Hanuman became even bigger. She outdid Hanuman once again.
As this went on, Hanuman realized that in trying to prove that he was better than her, he was forgetting his goal and his mission. His destination was Sita that could only be attained by humility. Sita represents bhakti devi and bhakti is the path of reducing oneself to nothingness.
It is a path that teaches you that god is everything and you are nothing. Surasa represented the desire for greatness and self-promotion. Hanuman realized that the only way to deal with the Surasa mentality was by admitting defeat and showing yourself to be insignificant and humble.
The only way you can deal with desire is to become zero. Hanuman not just became small but atilaghu which means veiy small. When you make yourself zero, which means when you take shelter of the Lord, then desire can’t eat you. Hanuman became very small and entered her mouth and came out, thus fulfilling Brahma’s boon. Surasa was impressed with his intelligence and in turn blessed him to be victorious. The demigods certified Hanuman to be the right candidate to thwart Ravana’s fortitude.
After covering a considerable distance, Hanuman found himself locked in mid-air. He couldn’t move an inch in any direction. Suddenly he was sucked in towards the ocean with great force. He fell into the open mouth of a demoness named Simhika who could capture anyone by their shadow. She swallowed Hanuman completely in one gulp without realizing what a huge mistake that was.
Even before she realized it, Hanuman tore open her belly from the inside and swam out of the bloody waters and once again rose into the sky heading towards Lanka. Simhika represents an envious mind-set who is drowning in an ocean of envy. The nature of envy is to drag down high-flying people using one single fault of theirs as a hook. Hanuman realized that the only way to deal with envy is by destroying it. Envy pulls you down and does not allow one to reach bhakti devi and thus shouldn’t have any place in our lives.
Finally when he reached Lanka on the other side of the ocean, he came across his fourth obstacle in the form of Lankini, the security chief of Lanka. When Hanuman tried to enter, she pushed him out forcefully. The angered Hanuman punched her. With that punch, she came to her senses and realized who her real master was. She was serving a master that was feeding her but had forgotten that master who had brought her to existence.
With that realization, Lankini gave up the service of her false master Ravana and began to serve her true master Rama. Though the journey was arduous for anyone, but for Hanuman who held the holy name of the Lord in his mouth, the blessings of the Lord in his heart, and the remembrance of the Lord’s constant presence and protection in his mind, nothing was difficult and impossible. Crossing over the ocean of difficulties wasn’t at all a tough task for Hanuman jaladhi laghi gaye acharaja nahi.