Hanuman as a Diplomat par excellence

Lessons in the subtle art of diplomacy – yes,this is what is clearly brought out in the episode in Ramayana dealing with Hanuman’s first meeting with Rama & Lakshmana. The meeting took place in the forest(‘Dandakaranya’) while Rama and Lakshmana were frantically searching for Sita after the latter’s abduction by Ravana.
As Sugreeva sighted the two handsome brothers from a distance he got really worried thinking that they were sent by Vali to destroy him. Hanuman,though,was quite confident that there was nothing to worry about and readily agreed to meet them in disguise and find out in detail about the two. The conversation that followed between them is a master piece. Hanuman started off with a great adulation of the two young men of princely charm. Describing their charming physical features,he made no secret of his admiration for their divine looks. He even went to the extent of saying that they were indeed fit to rule the entire universe by virtue of their prowess and merit. After his admiration of Rama and Lakshmana, Hanuman gave a brief background of his master and himself. He introduced Sugriva in a very fitting manner as ‘Vanara pungava'(meaning the most distinguished among monkeys)and ‘Dharmatma'(meaning one who is highly virtuous)and then narrated the story of how Vali dethroned him,took away his wife and banished him into the forests. Then he introduced himself as Sugriva’s minister and the son of the wind-god. Having thus highlighted Sugriva’s noble credentials and his own rich pedigree,Hanuman announced that they were indeed seeking the friendship of Rama and Lakshmana. Before seeking Rama’s friendship,Hanuman wanted to reassure him that Sugriva was a worthy and a deserving soul.
Rama,on his part,listened to Hanuman’s speech spell bound and expressed his praise for him quite spontaneously. He said that the manner in which Hanuman spoke was indicative of his rich knowledge of all the four ‘vedas’ as well as intricacies of grammar. Besides,his articulation of speech and scholarly use of the language was simply outstanding and whatever he spoke came straight from his heart with no hint of hypocrisy.
What a great coincidence that Rama and Lakshmana were also looking for the same Sugriva! Lakshmana himself mentioned this to Hanuman. Hanuman was quick to seize the opportunity as he saw a great possibility of forging a win-win alliance. Quite predictably,the meeting took place between Rama and Lakshman on the one hand and Sugriva and Hanuman on the other with the good offices of the latter,which led to a treaty of friendship and mutual help.

The whole episode of how this grand alliance materialized is a lesson in diplomacy par excellence.
One finds all the ingredients of a potential alliance in the situation. Both parties were in need of help. Rama needed an army of soldiers who could roam around the difficult terrain of ‘Dandakaranya’ to search for Sita,whereas Sugriva needed a divine intervention and power to regain his wife and kingdom from his wicked brother Vali. Their strengths were complimentary in nature . Both parties were in desperation to fulfil their objectives with outside help. Thus the situation was quite ripe for an alliance. All that was needed was someone to negotiate a deal. In this background Hanuman played the crucial role of an emissary and a diplomat quite commendably. His articulation of the Sugriva’s case,the sequence in which he delivered the message,his choice of words and expressions to describe Rama,the manner in which he introduced his king Sugriva and himself while seeking his friendship and alliance – all make for a wonderful lesson in the subtle art of diplomacy.


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