COMMUNICATION SKILLS OF LORD HANUMAN
Effective communication leads to success in all spheres of human life be it personal or professional. Communication is the process of transmitting, information, feelings, emotions,sentiments, thoughts, ideas and knowledge from one person to another. The sender isx the one who initiates the message, encodes information with the help of words, gestures, face expressions and body language. This encoded message goes to the receiver who decodes and gives feedback to the sender. This completes the process of communication. For effective communication, it is necessary that the message is conveyed well and understood in the same sense in which the sender intends it. A poorly expressed or poorly interpreted message is faulty communication which can give rise to confusion and complexities.
In modern times, the principles of effective communication have been popularly identified as the seven Cs of communication. These are clarity, correctness, conciseness, courtesy, concreteness, coherence and completeness. These 7 Cs come from the western world. S M Cutlip and A H Center enumerated these principles in their book entitled ‘Effective Public Relations’ and the world hailed them as something unique.
A study of ancient Indian scriptures reveals that these tenets of communication are not new to us. Though the great characters of Indian heroes, our epics exhort us to imbibe excellent qualities of effective communication to be successful in life. Tritiya Sargunder Kishkindha Kaandin Maharishi Valmiki Ramayana proves this point very well.
In this episode Lord Rama with his brother Lakshman is passing through dense jungle in search of Sita Mata. On seeing the heroic Ram and Lakshman with bow and arrow on their shoulders, Sugriv, the King of Vanaras gets alarmed and frightened. He thinks these warriors might have been sent by Bali, his brother turned foe. He, at once, calls an emergency meeting of his ministers and deliberated on the situation.
Sugriv had a great faith in communication skills of Hanuman ji so he tells him to go to the warriors and try to find out the purpose of their visit from their gestures, traits, forms and conversations. He emphasizes to focus not only on spoken words but also on their paralanguage and body language. Thus Hanuman ji proceeds with a clear purpose in mind. Clarity of goal is in fact the first and foremost principle for effective communication. To make his intentions clear to Shri Ram and Lakshman ji, Mahavir Hanuman acquires the guise of a Tapasvi so that he is received and heard well. This makes his first impression cordial. Then to placate them, he speaks gentle and pleasant words with reverential salutations. Here Hanuman ji gives us the principle of being courteous in communication. He says, “You are fair complexioned and resemble gods. You look like the Sun and The Moon on this earth. You seem to be the princes of the ‘trilok’. Having the gaze of lion,you appear to be mighty warriors eager to annihilate the enemies. You deserve to be sovereigns, how come that you are here?”
Then with all humility, Hanuman introduces himself as a Vanar, the Vayu putra, the messenger-minister of Dharmatma Sugriv, the king of Vanaras, capable of adopting any guise with the capacity to reach anywhere. He reveals that Sugriv has been oppressed by his brother Bali and is compelled to lead a banished life. He tells that the righteous Sugriva wishes to make friendship with them. Having said so he gave rest to his speech.
In this way Hanuman keeps his speech concise (brief and to the point and concrete with laser like focus without any unnecessary details. His speech was complete. He gave his own and his master’s introduction and asked about theirs. He also told them to reveal their purpose and explained the wish of his king in unambiguous language. He Thus he remained coherent. Did not beat about the bush even for a moment. All his points were logical, relevant andconnected to the main topic. The tone and flow were consistent.
Lord Ram was quite impressed and told Lakshman that Hanuman was highly skilled in the art of communication. “Unless well versed in Vedas, for sure, it is not possible for anybody to articulate so well. Surely he seems to have studied well the whole of grammar several times, for there is not a single mispronunciation in speech. His words are appropriate and sentence construction is correct. No fault could be found in his face, eyes, forehead, between eyebrows or any other part of body during his expression. His sentences are not too elaborate, not ambiguous, not dragging, not fast and tone is pleasant.”
In this way Lord Rama explains that Hanuman’s communication included the principle of correctness and concreteness. Such an effective communication will make an enemy, holding a sword and ready to kill, withdraw. Trilokpati Ram says, “A king who has an ambassador with these communication skills is sure to accomplish his goals just because of his ambassador.” Lord is so pleased that he tells Lakshman to reply to him with gentle and sweet words.Hanuman ji achieves the purpose of his communication when Lord Ram ultimately says, “O virtuous Hanuman, we will do whatever you wish.” Thus, they resolved to have friendship with Hanuman and Sugriva.
Maharishi Valmiki Ramayana, a scripture of ancient times, contains much more than the seven Cs of communication which have been propounded by the Western countries. It explains that besides good address, dress also needs proper care and attention. Hanuman ji is dressed up as a Bhikshu or Tapasvi to meet Ram and Lakshman so that he is welcomed with a calm and open heart and is not perceived as an enemy.
The choice of words, tone and tenor should be appropriate. Hanuman ji spoke sweet and gentle words suiting the listener and occasion. His diction was excellent. There was no error of grammar. Pronunciation was perfect.His speech was relevant, true, flawless and manner was affectionate and sincere. Pitch was neither too high nor too low. He remained focused on the purpose. It gives us the principle of concentration.
His talk was pure and pointed. Lord Ram found Hanuman ji’s utterances as capable of captivating heart as they were coming not just from his mouth but were originating from head and heart. He was confident, courageous and convincing. Following these principles can surely make us skilled in communication and successful in life.
By Dr Pratibha Goyal
(The writer is Professor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab.)