In the last blog on the Siddhars, I talked about Sri Hanuman. Hanuman-ji is beloved in India and in many parts of the world as well. I wish to thank Jim R. McClanahan for recommending Hanuman’s Tale: The Message of a Divine Monkey by Philip Lutgendorf. I managed to find a used copy on Amazon from Goodwill of all places and am now marking it up with colored Post it flags. Jim’s blog on the Journey to the West contains some of the most outstanding research I’ve ever seen but I did not know he had done a blog on primates!
Fascinating material but I digress a bit. Lutgendorf writes on page 45:
“The extraordinary beings who come to the aid of the human hero of the Rámáyaṇa beginning in its fourth subbook, Kiṣkindhākānda, are described with the usual Sanskrit terms for ‘monkey.’”
The next few sentences are the standard academese describing monkeys but then comes the wording I had hoped to find in the book and why I bought it.
“Yet the forest beings of Valmiki’s poem clearly are not ordinary simians: rather, they have certain of the supernatural powers (immense strength and ability to change their shape at will) and characteristic ﬂaws (unbridled sexuality and unacceptable intersibling rivalry) of Rama’s demonic adversaries. But whereas Valmiki’s rakshasas (rākṣasa) have identiﬁable precursors in the Vedic literature of the preceding millennium, his vanaras apparently do not. Did the poet, then, ‘‘invent’’ them?
IMMENSE STRENGTH and the
ABILTY TO CHANGE THEIR SHAPE AT WILL!
Were the vanaras similar to the Siddhars but not as advanced in that they did not possess the entire array of siddhis?
And if you are not familiar with the Rámáyaṇa nor the Puranas nor any of the many stories/tales or ACCOUNTS (if you believe these events are historical and not fictional), then one must look at the asuras – a race of beings who are usually simply described as demons. They are far more complicated than the demons in Jewish, Islamic, and Christian literature (notice I avoid the word mythology because there are too many accounts of demons in each tradition to be lumped into the fiction section- plus I saw an entity standing next to my late mother’s roommate as that lady lay dying). Each asura was famous or infamous for having mastered a supernatural skill or set of skills.
The late physicist, M.A.Padmanabha Rao, PhD (AIIMS) born 19th Sept 1937, at Vemuluru, Kovvuru Mandalam, West Godavary District, Andhra Pradesh and who died in New Deli on 12 June 2020 according to a post on his Facebook page by his son was a huge proponent of the veracity of the Rámáyaṇa as an historical telling of real events and not an epic poem filled with fantastic tales.
Dr. Rao was a former Professor of Medical Physics (2001) at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swamy Rama Nagar, Uttaranchal. India, a former Deputy Director, Defense Laboratory, Jodhpur, Rajasthan ,India (1983-1997), and a former Lecturer in Medical Physics, Department of Nuclear Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, (1964-1983). I trust his academic curriculum vita work experience puts him in the category of a SCIENTIST.
Physics aside, Dr. Rao was obsessed with drawing deities who he swore to his death visited him and sat for portraits. He also had the ability to see dead souls and the ability to pray specific mantras for them to pass over when and if they approached him for help. I kid you not!
We used to chat back and forth for several years on Facebook and we even emailed one another.
In case you’re now thinking I have veered off the road and am never going to talk about Sri Hanuman, you just wait. I recently learned that Mercury was in Gemini on the day I was born along with Gemini as my Rising and Gemini Sun sign! I promise, I will tie this together and you will be pleasantly surprised!
On December 7, 2018, Dr. Rao uploaded a YouTube video with this description:
Rare Sanskrit Slokas in praise of Hanumanji, a prominent Vanara leader of Ramayana period. Firstly, Slokas are on Hanuman ji then on Rama, the king of Kosala kingdom with Ayodhya as Capital, thousands of years ago. On request of Sita in captivity in ancient Sri Lanka, Hanumanji describes the abilities and nobilities of Rama. While reciting complex Sanskrit Slokas Hanumanji displays his supreme knowledge on mine Sanskrit grammars as Nava vyakarana Pandita. These Slokas are from Sundara Kanda in Valmiki Ramayana. At the end, you can also Mangalaharathi of Rama and his associates, on Venkateswara Swamy, Hanuman ji and Gurus. Sang by Dr.M.A.Padmanabha Rao, PhD (AIIMS) and Leela Devi Manchiraju (Damaraju)
The image on his computer or IPAD screen is of one of his portraits of none other than Sri HANUMAN who, Dr. Rao INSISTED appeared in his room or house, on a regular basis and who taught him this very rare sloka. Dr. Rao also wrote a paper claiming that his research showed that the blocks of stone between Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka were indeed the stones used to build the bridge used by Sri Rama and his army as documented in the Rámáyaṇa. I did not keep the paper he sent; as it was not as well written as I had hoped, but, I remember he calculated that the bridge was built around 200,000 to 164,000 years ago. I don’t speak Hinid but you can hear him in this interview.
In this post, Dr. Rao includes one of his portraits of Sri Ram himself. His writing is a bit awkward and Dr. Rao was VERY VERY passionate about injustice but take note of the last few words:
I wish the poor man had taken art lessons but he insisted in texts to me that the deities actually approved of his sketches.
DRAWN WITH MANTRA SIDDHI – and that’s the key. Dr. Rao chanted every day for hours on end ever since he was very small. He posted on Facebook about how, as a child, he had met this saint or that, or had spent time with this Brahmin or that. He wrote about (to be honest he kinda bragged) how he had lead this INCREDIBLE life of devotion, although, I must add, he was very bitter about never getting the awards in physics nor the international recognition for his discoveries that he had hoped to received before he passed on.
Dr. Rao never mentioned being able to heal anyone using a siddha power but he most definitely claimed he could “see” and “talk to” deities and dead souls. He also truly wanted to help people. He asked me specifically to test out his sloka to see if it improved my life. Not sure I can say that it did but it is hard to say. I can say that I am now more than just academically interested in Sri Hanuman.
TO BE CONTINUED