Lord Hanuman is revered for his role in the Hindu epic Ramayana due to his unmatched physical strength, wisdom, and devotion to Lord Rama. These three qualities are considered the most important and commonly recognized aspects of Lord Hanuman. He aided Lord Rama in his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana (asura).
According to the epic Ramayana, Hanuman was from the Vánará clan, a group of mythological humanoid beings depicted as having the characteristics of monkeys or apes. Hanuman was born to Anjana through the blessings of Vayu, the god of wind. Vayu blessed Hanuman with various powers, including the ability to fly and control the wind. Hanuman is often referred to as "Pavanputra," which means "son of the wind."
Strength: Hanuman's Quest for Sanjeevani
During the epic battle between Rama's army and Ravana's army, Rama's brother Lakshmana was seriously injured by an arrow. The only way to save him was to find the Sanjeevani herb, which had the power to bring the dead back to life. Lord Hanuman was sent out on a mission to bring the Sanjeevani. After scouring the entire earth, he finally reached the Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, where the herb was believed to grow. However, he was not sure which herb was the Sanjeevani, and in order to not make any mistake, he uprooted the entire mountain and flew back to the battlefield with it. He brought the herb to the sage Sushena, who identified the Sanjeevani and used it to heal Lakshmana. The entire army was overjoyed, and Rama praised Hanuman for his bravery and unwavering devotion.
Wisdom: Hanuman's Encounter with Surasa
As Lord Hanuman journeyed across the ocean in search of Sita, he encountered a powerful shape-shifting serpent (Naga) named Surasa. She emerged from the water and demanded that Hanuman enter her mouth to travel past her. Hanuman replied that, as Surasa was a demoness, she might eat him up once he entered her mouth. Surasa responded that this was exactly her intention, as Lord Brahma's boon stated that anyone who passed by her must enter her mouth.
With his quick wit, Hanuman grew in size, and Surasa grew to match his size, preparing to swallow him whole. However, just as Hanuman was entering Surasa's mouth, he shrank himself down immediately and slipped out of her grasp. Hanuman reminded Surasa of Lord Brahma's boon, which had been fulfilled, and thus, he was free to go.
Surasa was stunned by his wisdom and blessed him, saying that he would surely succeed in his mission. She also revealed that the gods had asked her to test his wisdom, and that her blessings would ensure his success. And thus, Hanuman's determination and quick thinking helped him overcome Surasa's challenge and continue on his quest to rescue Sita.
Devotion: Hanuman Found His True Master in Lord Rama
Hanuman's devotion to Lord Rama stemmed from his deep sense of loyalty and admiration for his divine qualities. Hanuman recognized Rama as the embodiment of righteousness, courage, and compassion, and felt a natural pull towards serving him. As he witnessed Rama's heroic deeds and unwavering commitment to dharma, Hanuman's love and devotion for him only grew stronger.
Hanuman Jayanti is a divine occasion, commemorates the birth of Lord Hanuman, typically observed twice in a year.
First one on the full moon day (Purnima) of Swati nakshatra of the lunar month of Chaitra, which falls in March or April. On this auspicious day, Lord Hanuman had spiritual awakening through his penance, which transformed him from a devotee to an enlightened guru. This day marks the rebirth of Hanuman, and hence it is called Jayanti, which means "birth."
Second one on the day of Moola nakshatra in the solar month of Margazhi, which falls between December and January. On this auspicious day, Lord Hanuman was actually born on earth in the physical form to bless us with his divine presence and to guide us on the path of righteousness.
Hanuman Jayanti celebration is a grand affair with devotees offering prayers, reciting hymns and offering sweets and fruits to the lord. Devotees also love chanting the Hanuman Chalisa to invoke the blessings of Lord Hanuman.
Chanting Hanuman Chalisa is a powerful practice, to bring strength, wisdom, courage, and a deep sense of devotion to those who recite it with sincerity and devotion. One such verse from the Hanuman Chalisa is:
बुद्धिहीन तनु जानिके, सुमिरौं पवन-कुमार। बल बुद्धि विद्या देहु मोहिं, हरहु कलेस विकार॥
Meaning: "I acknowledge my limited intelligence and offer my salutations to Pavan Kumar (another name for Hanuman). Bestow on me strength, intelligence and knowledge, and free me from all afflictions and impurities."