There’s more to Hanuman than being the God who wards off evil spirits. He’s the perfect devotee, the symbol of wisdom, courage and immense strength. Yet, he doesn’t know his powers.
The vanaras stood helpless, facing the ocean. Across the ocean, Sita was Ravana’s prisoner in Lanka. Who among them could cross the mighty ocean? None, it seemed.
Hanuman sat silent, gazing at the waters. Jambavanth, the wise one, knew Hanuman’s strength. He knew that when the mischievous child Hanuman had teased the sages, they placed a mild curse on him, that he shall not know his own powers unless reminded.
Now, Jambavanth reminded him of those powers, “O Hanuman, you do not know your own strength. Why do you remain silent? Son of Vayu, you can leap across the ocean.”
As the vanaras began praising him, Hanuman grew larger and larger and he remembered his strength. In all humility, he bowed to the elders and took off across the ocean.
ESSENCE OF HANUMAN
When he was a child, Hanuman flew to the Sun, mistaking it for a ripe mango. It was the time of the sun’s eclipse, but Hanuman did not allow Rahu to cause the eclipse. On Rahu’s complaint, Indra flung his vajrayudh at Hanuman, striking his jaw and causing a permanent mark.
Hanuman fell unconscious to the earth. An upset Vayu withdrew air and went into seclusion. The devas then revived Hanuman and gave him many boons. Hanuman became chiranjeevi, blessed with immortality, protection from weapons and more.
Lord Hanuman moves with the speed of the wind itself. The symbol of strength and energy, he offers protection from evil spirits. For all the strength he possesses, Hanuman doesn’t know his own strength. He is all humility and wisdom and is a celibate.
He is the perfect devotee utterly devoted to Lord Ram. Hanuman represents the mind and Lord Ram, the soul. Hanuman’s devotion represents surrender of the mind to the soul that is, of matter to spirit.
Hanuman’s mother Anjana had been an apsara. When she angered sage Angiras, he cursed her to be born as a monkey. But, she was also given the blessing that a great devotee of the Paramatma will be born to her.
While Anjana was worshipping Lord Shiva for a child, King Dasharath of Ayodhya was performing the putrakameshti yagna to have children. When he received the sacred kheer, a kite swooped down and carried a part of it, dropping it in the forest where Anjana was worshipping Lord Shiva.
On Shiva’s instruction, Vayu, the God of wind, delivered it to Anjana’s outstretched hands. When she ate it, Hanuman, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, was born.
Thus, five divine factors led to Hanuman’s birth – the curse and the blessings of sage Angiras, blessings of Lord Shiva, blessings of Lord Vayu and the kheer from Dasharath’s yagna.
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day in the bright fortnight of Chaitra. In some places, it is said to fall on the 14th day – chaturdasi – in the dark fortnight of Ashvin.
Discourses are held in Hanuman temples until dawn and prasad is offered at sunrise, the time of Hanuman’s birth.
To worship at home, you can install an idol or an image of Lord Hanuman. Wash it and offer orange sindoor with your ring finger.
You can then offer calotropis flowers and leaves in multiples of five. Light incense of kewda, chameli or ambar, make sure that you light two of them. Holding them between the thumb and the index fingers of your right hand, wave them three times in full circle in the clockwise direction. If you do pradakshina, do it five times or in multiples of five.
Ravana took the help of Ahiravana during the war against Ram. Ahiravana appeared in Vibhishana’s form, tricking Ram and Lakshman and taking them to patala as captives. Five lamps burning in different directions must be extinguished to kill Ahiravana.
Hanuman took the form of Panchamukhi with the faces of Hanuman, Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda and Varaha, extinguished the lamps, killing the rakshasa and rescuing Ram and Lakshman.