Sri Ramakrishna would often explain to his devotees the power of faith. He would say that faith is an extremely powerful instrument for achieving progress in spiritual life. In this connection, he would narrate an incident from Ramayana which beautifully brings out this idea.
Ravana had abducted Mother Sita and Sri Ramachandra was desperately trying to find her. He established friendship with Sugriva, a monkey king who assured him that he would do everything in his power to find out the whereabouts of Mother Sita. It was a difficult task, but he had sent his army in all directions to search for her. The most difficult task of crossing the sea and going to Ceylon for this purpose fell upon the shoulders of Sri Hanuman. Sri Hanuman was deeply devoted to Sri Ramachandra.
It was so deep that he won’t even bow down to God in any other form. Once, Sri Narayana himself appeared before him. But, Hanuman told him, “I know that as Paramatman, the husband of Mother Lakshmi i.e. Narayana and the husband of Mother Sita i.e. Sri Ramachandra are same. Yet, the lotus-eyed Ramachandra is everything to me”.
Sri Hanuman reached the shores of the sea. There was no bridge to help him in the task of crossing the ocean. But, he took the name of his chosen deity Sri Ramachandra and in one mighty jump cleared the ocean and reached the other shore. After he had found Mother Sita and brought that news to Sri Ramachandra, the latter had to go to Ceylon to fight Ravana and bring back Mother Sita. For this purpose, although he was the Lord himself (the embodiment of Paramatman), he had to build a bridge to cross the ocean.
Thus, Sri Ramakrishna would say that such is the power of faith that a true devotee can cross any hurdles in the path of his spiritual progress and safely reach the Ultimate Goal of life.
– by Swami Shantatmanandaji, published in the ‘Sacred Books of the East’ column, Sunday Guardian, 6th Jul 2013