Hanuman Ji

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Hanuman ji

When demons overran the world and started tyrannising mankind, God came down to Earth in the form of Srî Râm, a human. Srî Râm was destined to live the life of an ordinary mortal, with all the attendant suffering and pain. It was when Srî Râm’s fortunes were at their lowest that Hanumân jî breezed into his life. As had been ordained, Hanumân jî was born to the Vânar tribe. This was a clan of semi-deities the menfolk of which wore monkey-like tails ‘as an ornament.’

Srî Râm tapped Hanumân jî’s vast divine powers and enabled him to realise his enormous potential. In turn Hanumân jî helped Srî Râm fulfil his mission on earth. Hanumân jî was as outstanding a scholar as he was a warrior. He was the ideal lieutenant: intelligent, totally committed to his master, selfless and humble.

Swami Chinmayanañda writes, “From the moment Anjaneya [Hanumân jî] meets with Rama, [the] Râmâyan distinctly reveals a mysterious [unfolding] of great powers, an explosion of inconceivable merits and beauties.” In other words, the epic takes a new turn and becomes a saga of success and hope after Hanumân jî steps in.

Hanumân jî: some important biographical milestones

Traditional religious scholars like Sundd have estimated that Hanumân jî was born in 880,163 B.C., or the year 12,82,938 of the Trétâ yug. The Lord of the Kapîs spent the first four years of his immortal life with his parents. Between the ages of five and eighteen he was in Ayodhyâ. After that he returned to Kishkiñdhâ for twelve years, and stayed there between the ages of nineteen and forty. Around the age of 41 he met Srî Râm. From then till the time when both were 13,062 years old, Hanumân jî serves Srî Râm—in exile and at Ayodhyâ. After that Hanumân jî shifted to Kimpurvarsh, where he has mostly lived ever since. “In between,’ writes Sundd, Hanumân jî “spent 18 days on the chariot of Arjun in the Mahâbhârat war.” Hanumân jî spent “another 36 years in the service of Lord Krishn at Dwarka [till] the end of [the] Dwapar [age].”

Ever since, he has lived on earth, quite anonymously, perhaps in Kimpurvarsh. It is said that he makes a secret appearance wherever the story of Srî Râm is told. For that reason, when the saga Srî Râm is recited in the Hiñdî belt, a seat is reserved for Hanumân jî, just in case he chooses to attend that recitation. Hanumân jî’s birthday is the preferred day of the year for such recitations.

Events in Hanuman ji’s life that provide lessons

Swami Swaroopananda, Inspirational Hanuman Stories For Success, November 30, 2017: The Times of India


Swami Vivekananda would often echo what the Upanishads have declared: “Arise, awake and stop not till you reach your goal.” The tendency to rest and take breaks during work is a major obstacle to success. Rishis have advised us that once we set out to achieve something, we should not stop until we succeed. Swami Chinmayananda would say, “If we rest, we rust!”

In Goswami Tulsidas’s Shri Ramcharitmanas, we see how Hanuman’s eagerness to serve Sri Rama, coupled with his sincere effort, helped him cross over the obstacles of temptation and move forward on the path to success.

Hanuman encountered three obstacles while flying the 800-mile ocean stretch to reach Lanka in search of Sita. First, appeared Mainak Parvat, a pleasure resort in the middle of the ocean. Hanuman was invited to rest for a while, but he said: “Until I have completed Rama’s work, there is no rest for me.” Hanuman had full faith in the Lord and he jumped across the ocean. Whenever our work is noble, we should not hesitate to pursue it to completion. Even when we start with enthusiasm, there is a temptation to rest or take a break, very often to enjoy some wayside distraction. Once we give into it, the law of inertia takes over and then, we cannot move ahead.

Viveka and chaturtha – wisdom to discriminate and the alertness to judge situations and act accordingly – are qualities required to progress towards success. Noble virtues are also necessary.

As Hanuman continued to fly across the ocean, there came Sursa, the mother of snakes. She obstructed his path and threatened to eat him. Hanuman pleaded with her to let him go and promised that once he had completed the Lord’s work he would come back and readily enter her mouth. But, she showed no compassion. So, Hanumanji increased in size as she opened her mouth wide. He became larger still and Sursa opened her mouth even wider. Then, Hanumanji instantly became small, went into her large open mouth and came out before she could close it. He said, “I went into your mouth and you did not eat me, so now you must let me go.” Sursa was pleased with Hanuman’s intelligence and blessed him for the successful completion of his journey.

We must know when to use force and when not to use it. At the same time, we should not turn everything into a prestige issue. Often, when we insist on asserting our opinion, we lose sight of the objective and do not move towards it. The goal is important; we must know when to become big and when to become small, when to be humble and when to be strong.

As he proceeded on his journey, Hanuman felt he was being pulled down into the waters by a mysterious force. It was the demon Sinika, who, having dragged her victims down, planned that she would then proceed to devour them. Sinika stands for jealousy. Jealousy can never bear the rise of another. It is jealousy that pulls us down and devours us. Jealousy in one’s own heart and jealousy invoked in the hearts of others is the cause of downfall.

One should not encourage jealousy and other such negative, self-degrading tendencies in one’s heart. They should be destroyed immediately, just as Hanuman mercilessly killed Sinika with one blow. (The author is Global Head of Chinmaya Mission).

What Hanumân jî stands for

To most Hiñdus, Hanumân jî is a metaphor for i)an obedient servant, who is humble and gives credit for all his successes to his master, ii)one who denies himself all pleasures, especailly sensual ones, and iii)the Supreme Devotee, whose faith never wavers. Since at least the 14th century Hanumân jî has also been the symbol of muscular Hiñdûism. He behaved very nobly towards his opponents.

By the 17th century other aspects of the Supreme Devotee, too, got emphasised. In Vijayanagar, for instance, he once again started being seen as a patron of music (with a veenâ in his hands) and, more importantly, as the path to the supreme reality.

As a child Hanumân jî was an outstanding student and in his old age a great scholar, writer and composer. His grammar was always perfect. Therefore, he is also the patron deity of students, scholars, grammarians and musicians.


Hanumân jî is also the guardian of the gates of Lord Jagannâth (of whom Srî Râm is a manifestation), Âdi Mâyâ Shakti (a form of Srî Mâtâ Vaishno Devî jî), the Dévî of Pâtâl (who corresponds to Kâli Mâtâ), Srî Krishn (when he was in Dwârkâ) and of the Kâdalî region (mentioned in the Mahâbhârat). In the Krittivâs Râmâyan of Bengal he is also Lord Shiv’s gatekeeper. In the Shûnya Purân of the Buddhists, not only is he a minister in Lord Buddha’s cabinet but is also his gatekeeper.

The point is that even the deities feel secure when they know that Hanumân jî guards the gates of their homes and temples.

What is Hanuman ji’s role in Indian religion?

Hanuman ji is i) A bridge between the Vaishnavites and Shaivites. ii) The greatest devotee. iv) A friend of the planets. v) An enemy of ghosts—and black-magic. vi) He who cures the ill. vii) The patron deity of acrobats. viii) The patron of new wells. ix) A liberator from insects and germs. x) He who grants supernatural powers.

What Hanumân jî symbolises

Hanumân jî brings the seeker and the Truth together again. If Srî Râm is the destination, Hanumân jî is the road that we have to take (and the method that we have to adopt) in order to get there.

What Hanumân jî represents

Hanumân jî is a symbol of bhakti (piety), brahmachârya (chastity), namratâ (modesty), nishkâm karm (altruistic deeds or altruism), sévâ (duty or ministration), shakti (energy), vâkpatutv (articulation) and vidyâ (scholarship). He also represents curiosity, intelligence and discipline.

The master of his senses

Hanumân jî is the ultimate jîténdr. He is also a celibate to boot.

The only perfect sanyâsî

The various attributes of a true hermit-saint have been discussed in Advait Védâñt literature, especially Bhâshyakara Shañkarâchârya’s works. Hanumân jî is the only person in the history of mankind who satisfies all the conditions that have been laid down.

How, when and why Hanumân jî is worshipped

Tuesday is the day associated with Hanumân jî in North India. However, in Maharashtra and some other parts it is Saturday when attendances peak at Hanumân temples. Lord Shani is pleased when people worship Hanumân jî with ‘sweet’ oil (i.e. til/ sesame oil) on Saturdays.

Tuesday is the day when Srî Râm was born (and, perhaps, Hanumân jî, too). Mañgal (Mars) is the planet that presides over this auspicious day.

South Indian idols of Hanumân jî have five heads and many arms. The Hanumat Kavach is recited before them. Such idols are also found in Srînagar and Jammû. The Hiñdî belt’s favourite Hanumân prayer, of course, is the Hanumân Châlîsâ, followed by Sañkat Mochan. In most parts of India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, the massive ‘Volume about Suñdar’ (Suñdar-kâñd) is recited in order to request Hanumân jî for favours.

The worship of Hanumân jî is a simple, uncomplicated affair. Tulasi Dâs jî, in his Hanumân Bahuki, writes that all that the devotee need do is praise, revere and mediate upon the Son of the Wind while reciting his name. Hanumân jî rewards all sincere devotees with whatever they ask him for.

What are the kinds of things that people pray to Hanumân jî for? Protection—from enemies, ghosts, disease, just anything—is the commonest request. Bodybuilders worship the One with Thunderbolt Limbs for better biceps.

Sañkat Mochan: When they find themselves in times of trouble, people worship the Sañkat Mochan (‘distress-remover’). Hanumân jî’s entire life, as we will see, was dedicated to helping Srî Râm, Sugrîv, the Vânars and devotees whenever they were in trouble. He also killed evil people who harassed the innocent. He protects all true devotees from later day demons.

However, most devotees pray to Hanumân jî because he is the path to Srî Râm. There is, for instance, no question of beginning a recitation of the story of Srî Râm without first worshipping Hanumân jî.

Iconography

The Pañch-mukhi (‘that which has five mouths/ faces/ heads’) form of Hanumân jî has five heads. There is also an eleven-headed Ékâdash-mukhi Hanumân. These two forms are the result of the popularity of Tâñtricism during the mediæval era. In such idols Hanumân jî has several pairs of arms. The five-headed Hanumân might have as many pairs of arms, or just one pair. The eleven-headed Hanumân normally has ten pairs of arms.

There is enough diversity in the iconography of Hanumân jî to fill several picture books, and already there are three coffee-table glossies on the subject. In most sculptures and paintings, Hanumân jî is shown with a human body, a monkey’s face and a tail.

The most common kind of Hanumân idol found in North India is a simple sculpture in relief, on a flat stone tablet. Hanumân jî’s faces right He seems to be running from left to right, as if he is about to take off from the ground for his flight to Lañkâ, where Srî Râm anxiously awaits him. Sometimes the Son of the Wind is shown flying, again mostly from left to right.

In both cases, his left arm is (invariably) raised upwards, the palm facing the sky and a hill resting on the palm. His right hand holds a club, which might either rest on the deity’s shoulder or might even be lifted above the shoulder. Saffron or vermilion paste is smeared all over the idol, not just on the portion raised in relief but also on the flat base. Such stone sculptures never had many details to begin with. The paste obscures the little that might have been.

The second most popular depiction of Hanumân jî in art is sitting or kneeling at the feet of Srî Râm.

Another very popular pose that Hanumân jî is shown in is tearing his chest open with his own hands. Srî Râm, Sîtâ jî, Lakshman and, normally, Bharat and Shatrughn, are shown framed in the heart of the Supreme Devotee.

How idols of Hanumân jî should be installed

According to the Prasâd Mañdan, a scripture, icons of Hanumân jî should be installed on the south-western side of temple.

Famous temples

In theory, temples dedicated to Hanumân jî are built near the boundaries of villages and not inside them. In practice, at least in urban areas they are built everywhere.

Some miracles associated with Hanumân jî are there for everyone to see. The temple complex at Puri (Orissa) is close to the sea. And yet the sounds of the ocean do not enter the temple of Lord Jagannâth because, it is said, Hanumân jî guards the four corners of the temple. He ensures that his master is not disturbed.

The Sañkat Mochan temple of Varanasi is the third most important temple of this, the holiest of Hiñdu cities. (The other two are the Kâshî Vishwanâth and the Annapûrnâ.) Every year this temple celebrates Hanumân jî’s birth anniversary (Hanumat Jayañti) in a five-day festival. Attendances peak on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The Hanumân-garhi (Hanumân’s little fort) of Ayodhyâ is so called because of the tall, rampart-like, walls around the temple. It ‘is the city’s most prominent temple and monastic institution housing five or six hundred resident fighting sâdhus.’

The best-known temple of Hanumân jî’s mother, Añjanã, is at Gurkhri, near Kâñgrâ (Himachal Pradesh). In neighbouring Uttarâñchal, there is a village called Hanumân Chatti, on the way to Yamnotri (Jamnotri). It is said that the incident with Bhîm (of the Mahâbhârat) had taken place here.

The Sthânu-malai temple of Suchindram (Tamil Nadu) has an eighteen-foot idol of Hanumân jî. The Hanumân Dhârâ temple of Chitrakoot has been built at the spot where Bharat met Srî Râm immediately after his exile. Vriñdâvan has the famous Simhapur temple, which ahs a huge monkey population. Nearby Goverdhan is where Hanumân jî had left a hillock that he had brought from the Himâlayas. Gokul (Mathurâ) is in the same area and has two important Hanumân temples, the Lutériyâ and the Hathîlau.

Hanumân jî is worshipped as Bâlâjî in many parts of Râjasthân. The Bâlâjî temple at Mehñdipur is considered a siddh-pîth.

Hampi (Karnâtaka) has been built in what used to be the Pampâ Pushkarni area. The Pampa Sarovar of Mysore and the Mânsarovar of Tibet are two of the five holiest ponds in all Hindudom. Both are associated with the stories of Srî Râm and Hanumân jî.

Srî Hanumân jî as the path to God

Brahmâ jî, Vishnû jî and Mahésh (Shiv) jî are the three supreme Gods of Hinduism. All the seemingly countless Hindu deities emerge from or are incarnations of one of this holy trinity. In turn the trinity merges to form the ultimate Trimûrtî (lit.: three idols) of Godhead.

Each of these three great gods has a clearly defined role. Brahmâ jî is the creator, Vishnû jî the preserver and Shiv jî determines the ultimate fate of creation. Srî Brahmâ jî is first among the three. And yet there is just one temple dedicated to Him in the entire world. He has no incarnations either. Which means that He chose not to appear on Earth in human (or animal) form.

Srî Vishnû jî, on the other hand, was moved by the condition of human beings because He saw them suffer. Therefore, He chose to be born on Earth as many as ten times, each time to rid the world of sin and evil. His most famous incarnations have been as Râm and Krishn.

For a Hindu to reach Râm is to reach Vishnû, and to reach Vishnû is to reach the ultimate Godhead itself. Srî Hanumân jî, a much- loved deity, guards the gates to Srî Râm jî’s divine kingdom. No one can enter without Srî Hanumân jî’s permission.

Therefore, for most Hindus, the best way to reach God is through Srî Hanumân jî.

Srî Hanumân jî: the person

Hanumân means ‘a person who has broken his chin.’

Srî Hanumân jî was born to a noble family of the Vânar clan. The word Vânar sounds suspiciously like bañdar, the Hindi word for monkey. Therefore, even devout Hindus often refer to Srî Hanumân jî as ‘the monkey god.’ However, the Vânars were not monkeys.

What does Hanumân jî personify?

Hanumân jî is the symbol of bhakti (piety), brahmachârya (chastity), namratâ (modesty), nishkâm karm (altruistic deeds or altruism), sévâ (duty or ministration), shakti (energy), vâkpatutv (articulation) and vidyâ (scholarship). He also represents curiosity, intelligence and discipline.

However, the four best-known divine attributes of Hanumân jî are akhañd brahmachârya (uninterrupted celibacy), physical strength of a kind never known before or after, a mastery of the scriptures (which include grammar and the fine arts) and blemishless dâsya bhakti (worship by serving the lord).

As a child Hanumân jî was an outstanding student and in his old age a great scholar, writer and composer. His grammar was always perfect. Therefore, he is also the patron deity of students, scholars, grammarians and musicians.

The yogi

Seema Burman, A Tribute To Hanuman The Beloved Yogi, April 15, 2017: The Times of India


“Veer Asana or Hanuman asana“ announces our yoga teacher every day forward, left backwards, hands, “Right leg outstretched, eyes focussed to make you fearless and alert.“ Elderly people love doing this asana hoping to get Hanuman's youth and strength.

Stories of Hanuman's childhood antics make children laugh with glee for they see themselves doing these antics.As a child Hanuman was a nuisance for rishis in forests ­ pulling their beards, extinguishing yajnas, tying them to trees, bringing lions into their huts. Due to which they cursed him to forget his bravery and energetic spirit, till the needful time. So, it is in adulthood that Hanuman blossoms into a lovable character for both children and adults.

Teenagers love him for his strong body; wrestlers worship his strength and speed that is adorned with humility; yogis worship him for his victory over mind and sense organs; devotees pray to him for unwavering devotion, workers worship Hanuman for his tireless efforts that made the toughest mission successful and the wise worship him for his intellect.

When Rama asks Hanuman how he looks upon Rama, Hanuman says: “When I see myself as body , then I am your faithful servant (dasa), when I see myself as Atman, then I know that I am part of your eternal light, when I have the vision of truth, then you and I, my Lord, are one and the same.“

The answer reveals that Hanuman is aware of the spiritual journey taking one from dvaita to advaita. Initially, a seeker is in a state of duality wherein he feels God is the doer and he is God's servant, friend or child.

Hanuman sees himself as God's servant.Then a seeker rises to visishtadvaita state (I am You) where he feels he is part of the same God. Through his devotion Hanuman realises God and constantly stays in union with Him. Lastly , a seeker negates mind and ego and reaches the last state of realising that all is illusion and all is Brahmn, Pure Consciousness.Then there is no difference between God and himself and he reaches the advaita stage in which God does not have a form.Form is seen due to ignorance ­ the world is in the seer's mind.When mind dissolves, the world dissolves, too. Hanuman is acceptable to all because he assumes dvaita, visishtadvaita and advaita according to circumstances without exhibiting any pride.

Not once does Hanuman take credit for his achievements. Even when Rama says, “I am greatly indebted to you, son,“ he bows his head in genuine humility .When Rama asks how he managed to cross the ocean and burn Lanka, Hanuman replies that it was Rama's name and grace that did everything.

Hanuman's popularity can be seen in various forms ­ kneeling with joined palms before Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, towering through the sky with a mountain in his hand, sitting cross-legged and meditating ... The five-headed Hanuman is believed to ward off evil from all five directions.

Hanu means jaw and man means prominent or broken. Hanu also means to kill and man means pride. So Hanuman means one with prominent or broken jaw, and one who has destroyed pride. Physically Hanuman's jaw was broken when Indra gave him a blow for gobbling up the sun. Spiritually , Hanuman's biggest achievement is that he did not have an ego thus making him the best karma, bhakti and jnana yogi.

Famous temples and rituals

Kashta Bhanjan Hanuman Mandal, Vadodara

Reviving the rupee vs. the dollar

The Times of India, Sep 09 2015

Tushar Tere

Gujaratis bank on Hanuman to revive the rupee

Gujaratis bank Hanuman, the remover of obstacles, to arrest the slide of the rupee. On the last day of the month of Shravan, devotees will cover the walls of Shri Kashta Bhanjan Hanuman Mandal in Tarsali area of Vadodara with currency notes worth Rs 7 lakh. The notes, which are in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, have been donated by devotees themselves. “The rising cost of the US dollar affects Gujaratis, especially those settled abroad,“ said a devotee who has offered currency notes to be pasted on the temple walls. “We're seeking god's intervention since none of the economic theories are working.“ Rakesh Patel, president of the temple trust, said, “We began this ritual in 2012 but since 2014 we pledged to decorate the walls with currency notes to help the Indian rupee get stronger. It'll be a blessing for Gujaratis settled in the United States.“ Despite thousands turning up for prayers, not a single currency note is stolen.“A list of donors of the currency notes is prepared and the money is returned to them after Shravan is over."

The law and Hanuman ji

Court summons for Hanuman ji

The Times of India, Feb 18 2016

Bihar court summons Hanuman

A lower court issued summons to Lord Hanuman for appearance in court in connection with a roadside temple dedicated to him in Rohtas district, a government lawyer said. The sub-divisional magistrate in Rohtas asked the monkey god to appear in his court after hearing a complaint of encroachment filed by the Public Works Department. The court's order was pasted on the idol of Lord Hanuman at the temple in Dehri in Rohtas by district officials.

The department, in its complaint, sought the court's intervention to remove the `Panchmukhi' Hanuman temple as it caused obstruction to movement of traffic.

See also

Hanuman Chalisa

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