The Birth-day of Sri Hanuman
Sri Hanuman is well known as the best among the heros, devotees, and scholars. During his life he worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valour. He has left behind him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a great influence over the minds of millions of people.
The birth of Sri Hanuman is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. Sri Shiva incarnated as Hanuman in the bodily form like us through the grace and blessings of his god-father Pavandev (God of Winds), with Anjana and Kesari as his earthly parents. He was born at the most auspicious hour of the morning of Chaitra Shukla Poornima—the March-April full moon day.
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated with great devotion. Devotees visit Hanuman shrines, observe fasts, offer prayers and puja and read the Ramayan. On this day, the murtis of Hanuman are given a special coating of vermilion mixed with clarified butter. People offer “besan ladoo” or “boondi” as prasad and chant various hymns eulogizing his glory. Hanumanji mentally chose Surya (the Sun-god) as his preceptor. Therefore, he approached Surya with the request to be taught the scriptures so that he may manifest spiritually in daily life. Surya agreed to have Hanuman as his disciple but pointed out that it was not possible for him to stop his journey across the sky as that would cause chaos in the world. But Hanuman was so mighty that he surprised all the gods by facing his Guru, who had to be constantly moving, thus (Hanuman) traversing the sky backwards and at the same time concentrating fully on his lessons.
In this way, Hanuman enabled Surya to perform his duty and to impart knowledge at the same time. Within a short period of 60 hours, He mastered all the scriptures. Surya considered the manner in which Hanuman accomplished his studies as sufficient dakshina (tuition fees), but Hanuman pressed him to accept more. Surya then asked Hanuman to assist his son Sugriva, who was living in Kishkindha (a province in Bharat). Hanuman joined Sugriva as his minister, a friend and a constant companion. He guided him now and then. He was the one who arranged a meeting between Sugriva and Sri Rama.
Hanuman was a great devotee of Sri Rama. When He went as a messenger to Ravana’s court He said to Ravana, “I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. By the command of Sri Rama, I have come here to give you his message. I am fearless by the grace of Him. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Him.” See how humble Hanuman was! How deep was his devotion to Sri Rama! He never said — I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything.
After winning the war against Ravana and reaching Ayodhya, Sri Rama Himself said to Hanuman, “I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero. You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay my debt of gratitude to you? 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 icon 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!”
Hanumanji is therefore the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam (Rama’s name). He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari (one whose mind always treading in the Brahman) or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting anything in return.
Hanuman was the wisest of the wise, strongest of the strong and bravest of the brave. It is said that one who meditates on him and repeats his name attains power, strength, glory, prosperity and success in life. Hanuman is said to be Chiranjivi (immortal) and is present in the world even today. He is the link between the devotees and God. As instructed by God, he serves, protects and inspires the devotees of God.
Hanuman Jayanti is designed to remind people about the purpose of Hanuman’s life. On this day, devotees fast and worship Him. They spend whole day in reading Sri Hanuman Chalisa and doing Japa (chanting) of Ram-Nam (Sri Rama’s name). They believe that Sri Hanuman will bless them with a success in all their undertakings. Hanuman can be a very good role model for swayamsevaks. His life exemplifies how an ideal swayamsevak should work selflessly and with dedication for the society.
It can be said that in the history of no other country is there an individual so powerful, learned and philosophic as Sri Hanuman. May we always proclaim, “Bajrangbally Ki Jai”, victory to Sri Hanuman, who has the strength of the thunderbolt.
Glory to Sri Hanuman! Glory to Sri Rama!
“Chiranjiv” means immortal. However, immortal does not mean eternal. Even immortal things are dissolved at the end of the universe. For Hindus, there are seven immortal (Chiranjiv) individuals – King Bali, Sage Parashuram, Sage Vyasa, Sage Kripacharya, Ashwatthama, Vibhishan, and Hanuman. Hindus call them Chiranjivi.
“Sometimes, Hanuman, Sugriv, Vali and several others in Sugriv’s kingdom are referred as monkeys or monkey-gods, which is not appropriate. Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, refers them as vaanara i.e. people habitating in the woods. They lived in Kishkindha, the present-day northern Karnataka which was heavily wooded during Sri Rama’s time. The vaanara means monkey is a later distortion. Sri Rama organized them into a mighty army to defeat Ravana and his asuri forces.”