Hanuman is one of the most revered Gods in Hindu mythology for the various virtues he stands for – loyalty, courage, strength and fairness. One of the less talked about virtues of Hanuman is his superior communication skills. In this article, we explore how we can learn about the 7 C’s of effective communication from Hanuman. This facet of his character comes to the fore when he meets Ram and Lakshman for the first time in the epic Ramayana.
The time is when Ravan has abducted Sita, and Ram and Lakshman are looking for her everywhere. They enter a forest near a lake called Pampa. They have royal physique and bearing, but are dressed like hermits. They are armed but do not seem threatening. The exiled monkey king, Sugreev is intrigued and also worried that his brother Vali may have sent some mercenaries to kill him. So, he asks his trusted Deputy, Hanuman to find out about these two strangers in their vicinity. Hanuman, at the behest of Sugreev, approaches Ram and Lakshman in the guise of an ascetic Brahmin. The reason to change his original form to that of a sanyasi is to seem agreeable and so that the sight of a monkey approaching them should not put off Ram and Lakshman. Hanuman, thus, approaches the royal duo and begins to speak. From here, Hanuman’s words and actions are a lesson in effective communication.
Hanuman had extensive knowledge of the Vedas – scriptures – and that essentially made his message complete, as he knew exactly what to say. His speech contained all the necessary information pertaining to the occasion and his need. When Hanuman met Ram and Lakshman for the first time in the Sundarban forest, his king wished to know exactly what was the intention of these two persons, whose very appearance screamed contrariness. Hanuman’s speech was complete, in that he elaborated on the seeming anomalies in their appearance and asked the purpose behind their presence in the Sundarban forest.
Hanuman was learned in grammar and there was not a single mistake in his speech, either of grammar or of fact.
Hanuman’s speech was ‘un-delaying’. He did not speak anything in excess of the need. His words were quick and to the point. His message was not verbose, but he stated all that he had to say.
Hanuman was considerate in his speech. Recognising the strangers (Ram-Lakshman) in the forest for what they might be, Hanuman crafts his message with their status in mind. He considers the presentation of his point and utilises the style that would be appropriate. Realising that the strangers seem to be of royal blood and learned, he quotes from the Vedas and scriptures to substantiate his point. He is respectful but not subservient.
Hanuman’s message did not get lost in generalities. He was specific and his use of words was pleasing. He did quote from the scriptures but only to validate his point, not to show off his knowledge. He used just the right amount of details and painted vivid pictures with his speech. Consider the following –
“You two look like royal ascetics. You could even be deities going by your bearing and physique. Your complexions are clear and fair. Your arrival in this area has scared the animals and other inhabitants. However, you seem unaware of it.”
Hanuman’s message was clear and unambiguous. Despite their regal bearing, they were dressed like hermits, so what were they doing in the forest? He used the right level of language and there was no chance of misinterpreting his words.
Hanuman has an orderly refinement in the speech that is remarkable, and he speaks gracious words that are pleasing. His purpose is to find out the reason why Ram and Lakshman were in the forest. However, he does not demand to know the reason, he requests for the information. He says, “…It is indeed puzzling how you have reached this countryside!”