Hanuman and the Pearl Necklace

The city of Ayodhya wore a festive look, and the people were all rejoicing on the occasion of Sri Rama Pattabhishekam. The Devatas and Sages also took part in this grand and divine celebration.

After the Pattabhishekam was over, the Gods presented to Sri Rama divine heavenly gifts. Lord Indra gave the Lord a beautiful pearl necklace. Sri Rama in turn gave it to Seeta and told her that she could give it to anyone whom she thought was deserving. Seeta looked around and there was Hanuman kneeling down below at His Lord’s feet lost in contemplation! She lovingly called him and gave the pearl necklace to Hanuman. Every one was silently thinking how fortunate Hanuman was to receive this divine gift from the Mother of the Universe Herself! Can there be a blessing greater than this!

Hanuman received the necklace with utmost devotion and in all humility. He walked away to a corner of the assembly with the necklace in his hands. After a few minutes what the assembly saw was shocking — they were horrified. Hanuman had broken the necklace. He was picking up each pearl, putting it in his mouth, biting into it, chewing it and spitting it out. 

Every one was now angry with him. Did he not know the worth of the priceless gift and that too when it came from Seeta? Sugreeva, the king of the monkeys almost charged at him, but Rama stopped him, and said that Hanuman never ever commits a mistake, and also never does anything without a reason. The Lord called Hanuman to His side and asked him to explain his actions which according to everyone there was unworthy of him. Full of devotion and eyes filled with tears, Hanuman said, “Lord, when anything comes from You or Janaki Mata, it is indeed very precious and special. I expected a glimpse of You in it. I LOOKED at the pearls very intensely but did not see you in them. I brought it to my ears but did not HEAR your name reverberating in them. I did not get a whiff of the FRAGRANCE of the tulasi and chandan that adorn you when I brought it to my nose. My fingers did not feel the SOFT TOUCH of your feet in the pearls. Lastly, I put each pearl in my mouth and chewed on them to see if I could experience the TASTE, the rasa or the essence of your sweet name, but was thoroughly disappointed. That which cannot bring to the five sense-organs anything related to You is useless to me however valuable it may be, and therefore I discarded them.”

The entire assembly was surprised to hear this. Sugreeva got up and asked Hanuman as to what made him think that he can find Rama in pearls which are but inert objects. Hanuman turned to him and said, “If Lord Rama and Seeta can take up their abode in this body made up of bones, flesh, blood and skin, why not in the beautiful priceless pearls!”

To endorse his statement, Hanuman then, with his hands tore open his chest and there in the inner kingdom of his heart, seated on the throne of devotion, everyone had a glimpse of Sri Rama and Seeta. This was the real Pattabhishekam! This was absolute fulfilment!! The whole assembly stood speechless. Lord Rama came up to Hanuman and told him that there was nothing in all the worlds that He could give to Hanuman in return for all his devotion and service. All that He could give was HIMSELF. And the Lord held Hanuman in a tight embrace — an embrace that defies plurality and leads one to the State of Absolute Oneness!!

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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