Friday, August 19, 2016

Did he not know? Really?

Vibheeshana was standing beside Rama as Raavana approached the battlefield for the final war. He was enraged by the death of his brother Kumbhakarna, son Meghanaada and many other trusted warriors in the battle, till then. He was now left all alone to fend for himself. A mere look at Vibheeshana added fuel to the fire and Raavana could not control his fury. The setbacks so far he had in the war were directly or indirectly due to this brother. Having joined the rival camp, his own brother was leaking out the inner secrets and weaknesses of these warriors and helping the enemy to eliminate them one by one. That he had himself insulted and banished Vibheeshana from Lanka did not matter now. Whatever may be the reason and the differences between the brothers themselves, this betrayal by his own brother could not be overcome by Raavana. He thought it fit to kill Vibheeshana even before turning his attention to Rama. That Vibheeshana was not taking any direct part in the war did not really matter to him now.  He picked one of his most potent weapon and hurled it with all his might in the direction of Vibheeshana.

Lakshmana was keenly watching the movements of Raavana and was expecting the attack to come in the direction of his brother Rama or himself. When the first attack was directed at Vibheeshana, Lakshmana felt that it was his duty to protect Vibheeshana. He tried to repulse the attack with a weapon of his own but did not succeed. As he had moved between Vibheeshana and Raavana's weapon in the process, the Shakthi hurled by Raavana hit Lakshmana with all the force and felled him. Lakshmana was now floored and became unconscious. Hanuman swiftly lifted Lakshmana from the scene and moved him to safety away from the battlefield. Raavana was satisfied that one of his main enemies was killed and left to his fort to celebrate the victory. There was a temporary withdrawal of hostilities. Rama's camp was in deep sorrow and Raavana's camp was busy celebrating the success. 

Everyone thought that Lakshmana had indeed died and Rama was overcome with grief and deep sorrow. He recounted the devotion with which Lakshmana served him and was always available for anything he wanted. Senior Doctor Sushena was summoned to examine Lakshmana and find out the possibility of reviving him. Sushena examined Lakshmana in detail and said that Lakshmana was in deep trouble, but could be revived if some invaluable herbs were made available to him before sunrise. The only trouble was that these precious herbs were not available nearby. They were found only in a section of the Himalayas. The need now now for someone to fly to Himalayas, find the herbs and bring them before sunrise. Any delay would render the mission useless as the time for revival of Lakshmana would elapse by sunrise and it would not be possible to revive him after sunrise even with those herbs. From Lanka to Himalayas and back in a few hours. Lord Hanuman was the only one who could be entrusted with such a task. Hanuman was off on the mission even before others realized the enormity of the task. (This is how it happened and not when Lakshmana was hit by a weapon hurled by Meghanaada (Indrajeet), as popularly believed. Sarga (chapter) 101 of Yuddha Kaanda explains this particular episode). 

What was expected to be accomplished by Hanuman on this mission? He was required to bring these five herbs from the Himalayas:
    1. Vishalyakarani: Herb that helps in expelling an arrow or weapon from the body, heal the resultant wound and relieve the pain. (Shalya means a sharp object like a javelin)  
    2. Savarnakarani: Herb that helps in counteracting discoloration of the skin and restores its original color. 
    3. Sanjivakarani: Herb that brings an unconscious person to consciousness. 
    4. Sandhanakarani: Herb used for joining fractured bones.
(Experts also opine that there is another herb called Mrutasanjeevani that can bring a dead man to life within a defined period under certain circumstances. It may be recalled that there are instances when dead people are found alive after sometime. The recent example is of Pakistani cricketer Hanif Mohammad who was declared dead, but came back to life after a few hours. He died later on the same day). 

Hanuman accomplished his mission and arrived well before sunrise. However, instead of bringing the required herbs, he lifted a part of the mountain itself and placed it before Sushena. When asked as to why he did not bring the herbs alone, he said that he was unable to identify the herbs and hence brought the entire parvata (hill) to enable Sushena to identify them and use in required quantities. Having brought the herbs including Mrutasanjeevini, he is also known by the name "Sanjeeva Raaya".

Hanuman is considered as the most intelligent person of his time. It is also believed that he knew all the different branches of knowledge in entirety. Yet, he said he could not identify these herbs. Did he not know?  Really?

The young officer had just returned from a training program at the bank's training college. He was attending to his duties at his desk, outside the Branch Manager's cabin. He saw a customer enter the Manager's cabin and talking to him. He heard the words "DPG" (Deferred Payment Guarantee) being mentioned and became attentive. The customer was requesting for issue of a DPG. Branch Manager told him that he was not aware of the term and he had not handled that type of business earlier. The customer was disappointed and left the cabin.

The officer entered the Manager's cabin and told him that he was familiar with DPG as it was covered in the training program. He asked the manager whether he can call back the customer and explain about it. The manager smiled and said that he too knew about DPG and had handled such transactions in his earlier branches. The young officer was perplexed and asked him as to why he had told the prospective customer that he did not know about it.

"The person who came here and inquired about DPG is not a direct client but a middleman. His reputation is not good. My friends who entertained business through him are now facing trouble. It is not advisable to deal with such people. Instead of further discussing the issue I disposed off the case by saying I do not know about DPG. It is one way of dealing with undesirable parties and that is what I did in this case", he told the young officer. Mere knowledge of things is not enough and one should know how to handle issues without trouble, he added. the young officer learnt another important lesson; Knowledge and Wisdom were, indeed, two different things.


Hanuman knew that the valuable herbs were available only in the Himalayas. He also knew that there would be other people who need these herbs, in the times to come. He was aware that others could not reach there and get the herbs in time when required. There was a need to distribute these herbs for the welfare of the people at large. When he lifted the mountain and flew in the air to Lanka, the herbs fell in many places on the way. A part of the mountain itself reached south. Sushena later on used them to treat others who were affected in the war. Thus the treasure was distributed to help the needy. These herbs are even now used by skilled doctors to treat patients.

Hanuman knew what he was doing. Instead of explaining all these things, he simply said that he could not identify the herbs. That others believed those words and thought that he could not identify the herbs did not make any difference to him!


  1. nicely put the concept of " i do not know". congrats Sri. Keshav Murthy.

  2. Wow sir, I listen to Morari Bapu's interpretation of Manas Sundarkand every now and then. The explanation and analogy made by you is no less than his explanations in depth and acumen. You are truly a star.

  3. Wonderful....made for a good read. Was an eye opener too. This is akin to white lies, that's harmless and always used to help someone. I'm still under the impression that Hanif Mohammed is no more. Not updated on this :-(

    1. Hanif Mohammad came back to life for a few hours, but breathed his last a few hours later.

  4. Nicely explained, how to deal with tactics.Facing realities
    with intelligence solves many problems.A good lesson to our students who are yet to see the unseen future.


  5. So many perspectives on a single incident and explained so well!!

    thanks for sharing,


  6. Great things we read and need to apply in our lives.

  7. Thanks once again. My morning is blessed.

  8. story telling with a purpose. Nothing else could have explained better the idiom: "discretion is the better of valour". I too encountered a similar experience with my first Br. Manager when I joined as PO in the Bank I worked. Wonderful write-up

  9. Thank you for the wonderful article,a familiarincidence of Hanuman and about sanjeevini parvatha, made so interesting as if reading for the first time, very good comparison to the present day situation.

  10. Well written. Correctly you have brought out the concepts of wisdom and knowledge. Hanuman's forethought on good for all instead of a privileged few is a lesson for our today's netas. I am happy in some corner of this blog, even my creation on banking issues has also found a place. Lakshminarayana K

  11. Daniel S MahantyJune 9, 2017 at 9:58 AM

    "It is one way of dealing with undesirable parties ... Mere knowledge of things is not enough and one should know how to handle issues without trouble." Very true, Sir. It is better to deal with issues with tact rather than court controversy. Always a pleasure to read your articles.