One of my favorite images is of the Hindu deity Hanuman embracing Lord Rama. The story of Hanuman and his devotion is a powerful legend.
As the story goes, Hanuman, son of a monkey (his mom) and Vayu, the Lord of the Winds (his dad), had an impressive skill. As a boy, he could lift the hills and toss them around however he pleased. One day, Hanuman saw the sun. He thought it was a piece of fruit, so he decided he’d like to eat it.
When Hanuman put the sun in his mouth, other gods and goddesses were concerned. They pleaded with Hanuman to spit out the sun and save the world from darkness.
The ability to move the earth and swallow the sun may be impressive, but Hanuman’s real power was his devotion to Lord Rama. He would do things like fly to the Himalayas to get herbs to cure his master’s battle wounds. Hanuman is considered a healer because he was always at Rama’s side ready to come to his aid. Hanuman is lauded for his strength, perseverance, and above all, his devotion.
It’s interesting to note that this beloved figure from Hinduism is a servant. The devotion of Hanuman teaches us that service is not a lowly pursuit but a source of power derived from his devotion to Rama. The lesson for us: Connection with a higher power gives us great strength.
Emulating the Devotion of Hanuman
As yogis, we can emulate Hanuman with our devotion to yoga. It may start as simply showing up to class with the intention to practice. If we’re committed, our practice will blossom. Eventually commitment becomes devotion. The difference is commitment is based on a promise we make or a belief that we must do something. We do it because we promised to or because we think it’s the “right” thing to do. Devotion, on the other hand, comes from the heart. It’s effortless because the source of our devotion is love for the object of our devotion, whether it’s a deity, a practice, or another person.
From Commitment to Devotion
Devotion often starts as commitment. Maybe this is what you’ve experienced with yoga. When you first started practicing, you may have purchased a group of classes and committed to attending ten sessions over a three-month period, for example. Perhaps you had to push yourself to get to class some days. Or if you have a home practice, it’s likely you didn’t always feel like rolling out your mat on a regular basis. Maybe this is still the case; you’re committed to your practice, but you’re not devoted yet.
If you are devoted to yoga the way Hanuman was devoted to Rama—if your practice is a seamless part of who you are—how or when did the shift happen? In a sense, devotion is a gift we receive when we commit to something (or someone) and that thing or person wins our heart. The object of our devotion often inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. In other words, devotion has the power to transform us.
If you’re devoted to yoga, you know the power of your devotion to the practice. If you’re not devoted yet, stick with your commitment, and one day, it may become devotion. Like Hanuman’s devotion to Rama, devotion to yoga can lead you to new heights of strength and power. This is the power of devotion.
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Hi, I’m Maria. I created Yoga Circles for you if you want to delve more deeply into the philosophy, practice, and life-changing effects of yoga. I’m also a writer and editor who helps small business owners, wellness professionals, teachers, and authors publish books, develop marketing strategies, and connect with readers, clients, and students. Visit my website (link below) for more about that. I’d love to hear from you!