The supreme cannot be captured in the usual web of words. Therefore, the Hindu Scriptures employ a unique strategy, using language successfully, where language must necessarily fail. This unique feat is achieved by the Masters and prophets of the scriptures because words have both a direct' meaning' and a content of 'suggestiveness'. Employing this suggestive content of words, the Rishis successfully helped their students in appreciating, comprehending and ultimately apprehending the supreme. In literature, this style is called mysticism.
Vedic mysticism enriched the minds of the thinkers in India and all their creative art has a touch of mysticism. Hence the distinguishing charm of lndian art and literature. From a village hut- wall, with its apparently crude drawings, to the great frescoes in temples, highly involved sculptures on the temple-walls, the great and ancient works in Sanskrit, all have the same background melody of a rumbling and tumbling, gushing and pushing stream of mysticism.
The very first literary work in Sanskrit, other than the Vedas, and much earlier than Vyasa, is from the great poet-seer Valmiki, whose work is "Glory of Rama" (Ramayana). The Ramayana stands as the link between the Vedic mysticism and the poetic exuberance of classical literature, inaugurated mainly by Vyasa.
The Ramayana has the wealth of the spiritual truths of the Vedas, packed in a surprisingly sophisticated veneer of mysticism. Yet, it drips on all sides the melody, rhythm and sheer beauty of poetry at its best.
As a character, Hanuman represents a perfect man of education and culture, proficient and efficient, and ever a go-getter. Nothing seems to be impossible for him. To think is to act for him; to conceive is to achieve. Yet, this beautiful characterization, through the Ramayana, so tenderly handled by the sensitive poet Valmiki, has been deliberately wrapped up in the outer anatomical shell of a monkey!
Any sensitive student of literature will be compelled to pause for a moment to wonder, "Was it a monkey?" To suggest this question in the mind of the readers, Valmiki himself describes him as, "Is he a man (va-narah)?" The symbolism suggested is evidently clear to all deep students of our spiritual texts, who are familiar with our cultural diction, and who are trained to be sensitive in Indian traditions of poetry.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Chinmayananda, the great master's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Gita Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading his teachings globally.