the beloved and mischievous Monkey God (diety), was playing in the park when he looked up and saw the bright sun in the sky, which he mistook for a huge champagne mango. He decided it was perfect for his morning snack, and leaped into the sky and started yanking it from the heavens.
Upon seeing his sun being stolen, Indra Devi, the Sky God, lost his temper and started flinging lightning bolts, one of which hit Hanuman. Hanuman’s poor little lifeless body went careening back to Earth and landed with a loud thud.
Hanuman’s father and The Wind God, lost his mind. He started sucking all of the oxygen out of the atmosphere, and everything started shriveling up and dying. All the other gods were alarmed and dropped their heavenly duties to beg Vayu to restore the Universe.
‘You must first bring my son back to life,’ he says. They all agreed, and each one touched little Hanuman’s lifeless body. He woke up, as if from a long nap, unaware of the near-miss tragedy.
What Hanuman didn’t realize, was each god had infused him with his or her powers to bring him back to life. Unknowing, he finished high school, went to CU Boulder, Leed’s Business School, and started working in corporate America (he wasn’t very happy doing the corporate daily grind).
Lord Ram approached Hanuman to be the captain of his guard. Hanuman was really strong (he worked out a lot at 24 Hour Fitness in his spare time) and very humble, and Ram liked those qualities. Hanuman, excited, agreed because Ram and Sita, Ram’s princess wife, were like family. Hanuman was completely devoted to them and loved them unconditionally.
Out of the blue, a hoard of evil shadow demons descended into the kingdom and kidnapped Sita and whisked her away across the great ocean to the far off lands of Lanka. Ram was frantic to take action, but needed some time to amass his army and build a bridge to access Lanka. He beckoned Hanuman, and asked him to take the great leap (the splits pose) across the ocean to deliver Sita a ring as a message that Ram was on his way.
being half human was oftentimes insecure and afraid. He started sweating profusely and quaking in his Ugg boots. He looked at Ram and said ‘I don’t think I can do it! My hamstrings are too tight! I just hiked a 14-er……’ and on and on he went.
The deeper issue, Ram realized, was Hanuman didn’t want to disappoint the person he loved the most in the world. Ram hugged him long and hard and looked into Hanuman’s eyes. Hanuman looked back, and could see the love Ram had for him. Hanuman’s heart swelled, and he drew courage from his love for Ram and from Ram’s love for him. ‘Okay…I’ll do my best,’ Hanuman decided.
The moment Hanuman chose to let go
of his fears and anxieties and open his heart to himself as well as be of service for another was the moment all of his super powers kicked in. They propelled him across the ocean like a rocket to deliver the message and Sita was eventually returned safely home.
The stories of the gods and goddesses in Hindu philosophy illuminate different lessons that show us how to open our hearts to ourselves and to others.
When Hanuman decides to step away from this egocentric way of thinking and starts to trust in his capabilities, he opens his heart to himself and he becomes more powerful (The Most Ancient Superman).
The demons represent negativity, or fears / anxieties – the suffering of the mind and of the ego. ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘I’m scared,’ ‘I don’t think I’m strong enough,’ ‘I can’t do it…’ And Hanuman shows us if we’re willing to challenge these negative thought patterns by opening our hearts to ourselves, love can conquer our inner demons.
We become much more powerful when we service the heart. Whether it’s being of better service to self (trusting in your abilities, radical self-care, choosing positive people to surround yourself with), or being of selfless service to another.
I ask you to consider – what is your super power?
What are your gifts and talents? You may be a great listener, a great friend, dog owner, parent... By recognizing this, we are serving ourselves immensely, and can share them out into the world to make a ripple effect of change.
Regardless of what you might think, inside you exists a powerful, badass super hero.
About the Author
Steph Schwartz loves connecting people to their awesomeness through dynamic yoga flows and heart-opening chanting. A yogi since 1999, Steph discovered Ashtanga yoga while training for ultra marathons in Boulder, CO. The obstacles she faced on the trail were no different than those she faced on her mat. And the rewards were just as memorable. Practice hard, but surrender in the face of the unknown. Show up with a plan, but be willing to let go of it. Perfection lies in the intention and in the continuous progression. And most importantly, you really don't need to run 100 miles to feel like a badass - you already are one! Steph loves to connect with her students from the perspective of 'we're all in this together.' Her classes are creative, fun and challenging, and focus on breath, concise cueing and hands-on adjustments. Each class begins and ends with heart-opening, accessible chants. Steph hopes to continue to bring people together and build a strong sense of community and connection through her yoga and Kirtan happenings. Off the mat you will find Steph leading Kirtan events, on the trails with her dog Boogie Woogie, eating Asian food, or jumping out of airplanes!
Visit her website at: http://www.mandalamonkey.com/