LORD Hanuman was born on the Chaitra Shukla Purnima (full moon day in the months of March-April) and is worshipped with great reverence. He is a brahmachari (celibate) and is called by different names such as, Maruti, Pavanaputra, and Mahavira. A beneficent guardian spirit, he is worshipped as a monkey-God. In his dedication to Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman is upheld as a model for human devotion to God.
On Hanuman Jayanti which falls on March 30 this year, people observe fast, meditate on him and his Lord Rama, practice charity, read the Hanuman Chalisa and spend the time in repeating his glories and adventures. This pleases Lord Hanuman and he blesses his devotees with success in all their endeavours. Spiritual discourses are organised in the temple premises and idols of Lord Hanuman are smeared with sindhoor. Devotees apply sindhoor taken from the idols on their foreheads. Pooja is performed and Prasad is distributed to the devotees.
Lord Hanuman is also known as Bajrangabali and is a Chiranjeevi—one blessed with immortality. In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Hanuman Jayanti is observed on Vaishakha Bahula Dasami which falls during May-June months. Here Chaitra Purnima is celebrated as Hanuman Vijayotsavam. In Gujarat, Ashvin Krishna Chaturdasi (the day before Deepavali) is observed as Hanuman Jayanti. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Hanuman Jayanti is observed during Margazhi month (December-January). It is believed that Lord Hanuman was born on Moola Nakshatra, on the new moon day (amavasya). In Maharashtra, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day of Chaitra month. Varanasi Sankat Mochan Temple is one of the famous temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Early references to Lord Hanuman could be found in Panini’s Astadhyayi, Abhiseka Nataka, Pratima Nataka, and Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa.
Lord Hanuman in Hindu mythology is the divine monkey chief and the central figure in the great epic Ramayana. Born to Anjana and Kesari, he is known by the names Kesarinandan and Anjani Putra. Hanuman is also called Anjaneya which literally means ‘arising from Anjani’. On his great prowess, it is said that soon after he was born, he flew in the sky to gobble up the Sun, which appeared to him as a golden orb. While on his way to the Sun, he was hit by Lord Indra with his Vajrayud which disfigured his chin. Lord Hanuman learnt all the Shastras from the Sun God. In Ramayana, only two souls had mastered the divine powers of Rama Nama, one is Sage Valmiki and the other is Lord Hanuman.
Lord Hanuman is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is seen as an embodiment of devotion and loyalty to Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman is said to be able to assume any form at will and is considered to possess magical powers. He is worshipped as a deity who can ward off evil spirits. He not only conquered the five elements of life of which the cosmos is created, but also the five elements constituting the body. Lord Hanuman represents the five Vayus or winds such as Prana, Udana, Samana, Vyana and Apana.
Lord Hanuman meets Lord Rama during the latter’s 14-year exile in the forest. With his brother Lakshman, Lord Rama is found searching for his wife Sita Devi who had been abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Lord Hanuman brings about a friendship and alliance between Lord Rama and Sugriva and the former helps the latter regain his honour and makes him the King of Kishkinda. Sugriva and his vanaras, notably Hanuman, help Lord Rama defeat Ravana and reunite with Sita.
After the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, Lord Hanuman went to the Himalayas. There he scripted a version of the Ramayana using his nails, recording every detail of Lord Rama’s deeds. When Sage Valmiki visited him to show his own version of the Ramayana, he saw Hanuman’s version and became very disappointed. When Hanuman asked Valmiki the cause of his sorrow, the Sage said that his version was no match for Hanuman’s version. At this, Hanuman discarded his own version, which is called the Hanumad Ramayana. Sage Valmiki was taken aback and he said he would take another birth to sing the glory of Hanuman.
Lord Hanuman is known for his unflinching loyalty to Lord Rama. He was an ideal Karma Yogi for selfless service, humility and devotion. He is the only deity that cannot be troubled by negative energies. Hanuman Jayanti is considered very auspicious for wrestlers and body-builders. They pay obeisance to Lord Hanuman at the wrestling field and begin their fight shouting Jai Hanuman.
Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana, focuses on the adventures of Lord Hanuman. Sundara Kanda represents the five stages of the arousal of Kundalini. The hidden message of the Ramayana is that the Kundalini can be aroused by repeating the Rama Nama constantly.
(The author is a social activist and Director, Indo-Gulf Consulting. He can be contacted on [email protected]).