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Watch: The burden of youth!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Maui phenom Eli Hanneman inspires!

Let’s not waste time with words this morning. There is a video making the rounds, from the production arm of the World Surf League, and it is magnificent and eye-popping. It features fourteen-year-old Maui phenomenon Eli Hanneman who rides Matt Biolos shaped surfboards.

The fact that he is so young and surfs so well is both wonderful but also burdensome. If you are 14, going to become 15 then eventually mid-20s, how do you top your younger self? Did John John surf this good when he was 14?

But we here are anti-depressive so let us not project anything. Let us revel in the moment.

Amazing, no? Better than you or I will ever be. Should we give up on the surf game and become scholars instead? Maybe we can study the Hindu gods. Maybe we can begin with that monkey one Hanuman since it is near Hanneman? Let’s start!

While still a baby, Hanuman, the child of a nymph by the wind god, tried to fly up and grab the Sun, which he mistook for a fruit. Indra, the king of the gods, struck Hanuman with a thunderbolt on the jaw (hanu), thus inspiring the name. When Hanuman continued to misbehave, powerful sages cursed him to forget his magic powers, such as the ability to fly or to become infinitely large, until he was reminded of them. Hanuman led the monkeys to help Rama, an avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu, recover Rama’s wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana, king of Lanka (likely not the present-day Sri Lanka).

Having been reminded of his powers by Jambavan, the king of the bears, Hanuman crossed the strait between India and Lanka in one leap, despite the efforts of watery demonesses to stop him by swallowing him or his shadow. He was discovered in Lanka, and his tail was set on fire, but he used that fire to burn down Lanka. Hanuman also flew to the Himalayas and returned with a mountain full of medicinal herbs to restore the wounded in Rama’s army.

Hanuman is worshipped as a subsidiary figure in temples dedicated to Rama or directly in shrines dedicated to Hanuman himself. The latter are generally thronged by monkeys, who know that they cannot be mistreated there. In temples throughout India, he appears in the form of a monkey with a red face who stands erect like a human. For his service to Rama, Hanuman is upheld as a model for all human devotion (bhakti).