Lord Hanumanji the divine monkey God is another dearly beloved deity of the Hindu pantheon. Hanuman, lord of the Bhakti Yogis is the personification of devotion itself. Devotion is one of the most powerful gifts a human soul can aspire to.
Infact, Hanuman, through his devotion to Lord Rama, was able to perform incredible miracles. Miracles that even Lord Rama was powerless to perform. How? Through the power of his love and devotion to Rama and his divine consort Sita.
Lord Hanuman features heavily in the Ramayana. He is also mentioned in Mahabharata and some of the Puranas. Although, it seems that widespread devotion to Hanumanji is actually a more recent development.
Origins of the Monkey Lord
Lord Hanumanji is the son of Kesari and Añjanā. It is also said that Vayu, the wind God is his spiritual father. Some traditions consider Lord Hanuman an avatar of Shiva, some consider him an incarnation of Vishnu. Alternatively, some say that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva came together and became Lord Hanuman.
A story from the life of Hanumanji tells us that even as a child he was exceptionally powerful. One day young Hanuman, then named Hamina, Saw the sun rising and mistook it for a ripe mango. Captivated, he lept into the sky to get the juicy, sweet fruit.
Disturbed by this the sun God Indra threw a lightning bolt at Hamina, who fell from the sky injured. Due to such a grave mistake on behalf of one of the Gods, the God each decided to grant Hanuman a boon.
Lord Indra granted him superhuman strength. The elemental Gods, Agni (fire), Vayu (Wind), Varuna (water), impervious to the threatening aspects of their respective elements. Plus Vayu made him as fast as the wind. Brahma granted him the capacity to relocate to any place at once. Vishnu gave him his celestial weapon, the mace ‘Gadu’. Thus young Hamina was imbued with the boons and gifts that would make him Hanuman, Lord of the Bhakti Yogis.
Legends of the Life of Lord Hanuman
Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama, was once captured by the demon Ravana. While searching for her, Lord Rama encountered Hanumanji in the forest. (This meeting is the topic of the 5th book of the Hindu epic, Ramayana.)
Hanuman, Lord of the Bhakti Yogis, trusted deeply by Ram, went to Lakana in search of Sita, who he located easily. Later, the Armies of Lord Ram fought a great war against the armies of Ravana. Ram appointed Hanuman as a general of his army.
Lord Ram, with the support of Hanuman was eventually victorious. But not without loss. Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama was gravely injured during the fighting.
The physician Sushena tells them that Lakshman will die by the time the sun rises unless he receives a special herb. However, the herb is only found in the Himalayas, many days travel away. Rama entrusts Hanuman with this urgent task. Lord Hanuman immediately leapt into action.
He made it easily to the sacred mountains of the Himalayas when the herb Sanjivani grew. Only then did he realise that he didn’t wait long enough to ask what the herb looks like to take it.
Lord Hanuman’s subsequent decision and plan of action is to become bigger than the entire mountain. He ripped the mountain out of the ground and in a single leap returned to Lakana with the mountain so that Sushena could find the herb himself.
The Worship of Hanumanji, Lord of the Bhakti Yogis
Lord Hanuman is the symbol of Bhakti Yoga. He is devotion, selfless service and awe inspiring strength born of love, personified. Worship of him can thus bring happiness and destroy all woes. He is the archetypal hero par excellence.
Hanuman is the perfect example of the devotee. He unconditionally loved and served Lord Rama and Sita. Hanuman never looked the wife of his beloved Lord Rama in the eyes. Infact, Hanuman was a life-long celibate. This exemplifies his excellent self control.
Lord Rama once achieved victory in an epic battle against the demon Ravana. Then, Lord Ram gave gifts to all who helped him win the victory. Receiving a diamond necklace, Hanuman first inspected it, then threw it away. When asked why he had done this he replied that the necklace did not contain his beloved Ram.
The others present chided and mocked Hanuman. They said he should cast away his own body for neither did it contain Lord Rama. In response to this, Hanumanji ripped open his chest. Where his heart should have been Hanuman revealed the immaculate image of Sita and Rama.
Thus, Hanuman embodies the perfect devotion to the lord. For this reason he is Lord of the Bhakti Yogis.
The Hanuman Chalisa
A 16th century poet and Hanuman devotee named Tulsidas composed a 40 verse (plus 2 introductory and 1 closing couplets) to Lord Hanuman. This poem, known as the Hanuman Chalisa, brings liberation to those who chant it with full devotion to the Hanuman.
This work is still chanted by millions in India and worldwide today. There are many different recorded versions of the work. One version by Gulshan Kumar and Hariharan is the first song of its genre to hit 2 billion views.
Lord of the Bhakti Yogis, Hanumanji is a stunning expression of the power latent in the human soul. The legends of his life are examples of how that devotion looks when allowed to be the guiding force in ones life.
Offer prayers and Puja to Hanuman to awaken the latent power of this incredible force. Contemplate the words of the Hanuman Chalisa and other hymns composed in his honor. Let the inspiration from these stories and hymns and fortify your soul with the latent power of Devotion.