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Symbolism In Hanuman And Lankini Meeting In Ramcharitmanas

In Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, the concept of satsanga—association with the wise and the virtuous—is presented as a powerful and transformative experience, even for those who are initially depicted as adversaries. One striking example is the encounter between Hanuman and the demoness Lankini in the city of Lanka.

When Hanuman infiltrates Lanka, he assumes a tiny form, as small as a mosquito, to avoid detection. However, Lankini, the guardian demoness of the city, notices him and confronts him. Despite her formidable appearance and role, Hanuman strikes her with a single blow, causing her to fall and vomit blood. This physical defeat, rather than inciting anger or revenge, prompts a profound realization in Lankini.

Lankini recalls a prophecy given by Brahma to Ravana during the granting of his boons: the day a monkey would defeat her would mark the beginning of the end for the demons, signifying their downfall at the hands of Bhagavan Sri Rama and his forces. Recognizing Hanuman as an emissary of Rama, Lankini's reaction is not one of fear or hatred, but of joy and reverence. She considers herself blessed to witness the beginning of this prophecy and to be in the presence of Rama's divine envoy.

This encounter illustrates the transformative power of satsanga. Despite being a demoness, Lankini reveals herself to be a devotee at heart, expressing a deep longing for true association with the divine and the virtuous. She tells Hanuman that satsanga is greater than anything else in life, highlighting the supreme value placed on the company of the good and the holy in Hindu thought.

Lankini's transformation underscores a central theme in the Ramcharitmanas: the redemptive potential of divine association. No matter how deeply one might be entrenched in ignorance or evil, the grace of satsanga can awaken a higher consciousness and lead one towards liberation. This episode not only enriches the narrative by showcasing the power of Rama’s presence, even indirectly through his messenger Hanuman, but also emphasizes the universal potential for redemption and the transformative impact of true spiritual company.