Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hanuman Jayanti: 27th October 2008

Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated in honour of the birth of Hanuman, the monkey god widely propitiated throughout India. He was born to (Wind-God) Kesari and Anjani. Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an avatara of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion.

A special feature of Hanuman Jayanti is that according to some Hindu Calendars or panchangs the birthday of Hanuman falls on the fourteenth day (chaturdashi) in the dark fortnight of the month of Ashvin while according to others it falls on the full moon day in the bright fortnight of Chaitra.

Also known as an avatara of Lord Rama, he is considered the God of power or Maruti. He was a brahmachari or celibate. Hanuman became a legend mainly for his dedicated devotion and loyalty for Lord Rama.

Sri Hanuman is worshipped either alone or along with Sri Rama. His other names are Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Pavankumar, Bajrangabali and Mahavira.

Hanuman is said to assume any form at will, wield rocks, move mountains, dart through the air, seize clouds and rival Garuda in flight; worshipped as a deity with magical powers and the ability to conquer evil spirits.

Priests bathe the idol of Hanuman and smear it with oil and sindhoor. From early morning, devotees flock Hanuman temples, applying tilak of sindhoor on their foreheads from Hanuman’s body to herald good luck. According to legend, Sita was applying sindhoor when Hanumanji asked the reason. She replied it would ensure a long life for her husband. Soon enough Hanuman smeared his entire body with sindhoor for Rama’s immortality.

Special prayers are held and Hanuman Chalisa is also recited by his devotees. This festival is overly significant for brahmacharis and wrestlers.

On this day spiritual discourses begin at dawn in a Hanuman Temple since He was born at sunrise. At sunset the offering of food or prasad is distributed to everyone.

Saturday and Tuesday are auspicious to propitiate Lord Hanuman, considered a symbol of strength and energy. Lord Ram is worshipped with adulation on this day.

Fast and spend the time span in japa of Ram-Naam. Sri Hanuman will be delighted and bless you with success in all your undertakings.

In troubled times, it is a common faith among Hindus to chant the name of Hanuman or sing his hymn Hanuman Chalisa and proclaim Bajrangbali Ki Jai or ‘victory to thy thunderbolt strength’.

The Power of Devotion

Hanuman's tale in the epic Ramayana wherein he is assigned the responsibility to locate Rama's wife Sita abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka inspires us in facing ordeals and conquer pitfalls in the mundane world. He did what others could not do-crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Naam, burning the city of Lanka, and bringing the sanjeevini herb which restored Lakshmana to life. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.

Hanuman perfectly exemplifies Dasyabhava devotion, one of the nine devotions bonding the master and servant. Hanuman focused all his energies towards worship of Lord Rama, and dedicated devotion freed him from physical fatigue. He was an ideal Karma Yogi who worked with selfless dynamism; an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate.

Lord Rama endorsed, “ I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your murti will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to!"

Hanuman has two forms; namely Maruti the servitor and Maruti as the courageous one. The servitor form is the one in which Hanuman stands in front of Rama with His hands folded in obeisance, His tail resting on the ground. Maruti in warrior posture depicts the manifest form.

Objectives of Sri Hanuman’s Manifestation

The main objective of Lord Hanuman’s life was to destroy impediments in the establishment of the Divine Kingdom by the warrior element. For this reason Lord Maruti manifests in various forms during different Yugas.

Lord Maruti has always helped souls do spiritual practice in various Yugas. In the Tretayuga Lord Maruti taught the correct path of spiritualism to the monkeys.

Souls desirous of spiritual practice were liberated by Lord Maruti’s mace.

Lord Maruti exemplified perfect servitude.

Use of Brahmatej and Kshatratej

The sacred thread or janeu on Hanuman’s left shoulder is a sign of Brahmatej. Since Lord Maruti is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, He has destructive powers too. Yet, because of His devotion to Lord Rama, he developed Vishnu-Tatva. Maruti adorns Brahmatej and Kshatratej during wars and He can use both as required. During the war of the Kauravas and Pandavas, Lord Krishna seated Maruti on Arjun’s chariot and Hanuman destroyed weapons directed at Arjun and his chariot, in mid-air.

Install the Hanuman idol in warrior posture

To get the benefit of the destroyer element, we should not install an idol of Maruti in seated posture, implying deep meditation. Amongst the seven higher deities (Shiva, Ganapati, Rama, Krishna, Datta, Maruti, Durga), Lord Hanuman’s tatva is of a gross, manifest and destroyer nature. When Gods perform a destructive activity, they use the ‘Maruti’ element to appear in the Universe. The roar of Lord Maruti activates any higher deity in deep meditation and is empowered to shake all the fourteen planes (Saptalok and Saptapatal).

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