I have been an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman since childhood. I recite the Hanuman Chalisa everyday at least once, and sometimes, many times over. However, only recently I learnt about the many attributes of Lord Hanuman. I attend a weekly study group run by a member of the Chinmaya Mission. The mentor of our weekly study group, Dr Gitajanli Taori shared her understanding of Hanuman Chalisa, which she learnt from her own mother. 

Hanuman Chalisa was written by Goswami Tulsidas, while he spent 40 days in jail during the Mughal rule in the fifteenth century. He wrote one Chaupai (quatrain verse of Indian poetry), each day of his imprisonment. Goswami Tulsidas wrote Hanuman Chalisa in praise of the Lord seeking His protection. It is said he was freed on the 40th day and lived on the ghats of Varanasi till he died. Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi is built at the place where Tulsidas had darshan of Lord Hanuman.

Lord Hanuman is also known as the reincarnation of Lord Shiva. His mother Anjani, worshipped Lord Shiva and prayed that He be reborn via her womb. It is said that the Lord of wind (Pawan) carried the Shiva Tatva and planted it in the womb of Ma Anjani. Therefore, Lord Hanuman is known as Anjaniputra and also as Pawan Putra. 

As a kid, Lord Hanuman saw the rising sun behind a tree and thought it to be a fruit. He captured it and tried to gobble it. Seeing this, Lord Indra threw his vajrawand to stop Lord Hanuman from gobbling up the sun. As a result, Lord Hanuman fell down and broke his chin. Seeing Hanuman hurt, Lord Pawan became very angry and stopped the movement of air. As a result, everyone started gasping for breath. Seeing this, all the gods and goddesses from heaven appeared before Lord Pawan and requested him to release the air or else all would die.

Nita Agarwal

Lord Pawan agreed to do so only if all the gods and goddess blessed little Hanuman with their qualities and power. It is for this reason that Lord Hanuman is considered very powerful. He has all the powers and attributes of different Gods and Goddesses within Him. When His tail was put on fire, He was able to burn the whole of Lanka without feeling the heat on his tail. He could become small and large as required to carry out his powerful mission, which was only possible because of the powers bestowed on Him. 

He was not only physically powerful, but also a Brahma Gyani. It is believed that when Lord Rama saw him for the first time, he knew he was meeting a very learned being. When Lord Rama asked Hanuman to describe himself, He said that if He spoke with reference to his body by birth, he is a Das or a servant of Lord Rama; if he talks in terms of Jeev, He is part of the whole (Paramatma). If he talks in terms of atma, He is the same as Lord Rama. 

Tulsidas refers to Lord Hanuman as Mahavir, because he was not only Dharamveer, but also Gyanveer, Dayaveer, Daanveer, and Ranveer. These attributes, however, do not make Lord Hanuman egotistical. For He is humble and without any blemish.

Lord Hanuman is described as someone whose whole persona shines like gold. Gold never loses its sheen in water, heat or mud. He wears a thread across his body made of grass. It has three threads tied with a knot at one end. The three threads represent the three gunas that we know as Saatvik, Rajasic and Tamasic, which we all have within us. The knot represents the Brahmagyan, that is the ultimate goal of every human. The Innumerable hair in humans represent the innumerable and never-ending desires that we all have as living beings. But Lord Hanuman’s hair are all curled inwards, signifying that He had no desire for himself, and that all his senses were tuned inwards and sublimated.

Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi

I developed faith in Lord Hanuman in childhood and also graduated to worship Lord Shiva. Whenever my mind is troubled or I am feeling sad, remembering Lord Hanuman makes my heart peaceful. I call Him my buddy in distress. 

Simple devotion and humility despite being so powerful, besides surrender is the message one can learn from the life of Lord Hanuman. He had all the powers, but he remained the humble servant of Lord Rama. His life is all about love, sacrifice and devotion. If we can learn to be humble, and do our duties with devotion, we can live a fulfilling life without fear. 

Nita Agarwal is an ex-Table Tennis State player, qualified teacher, self-taught budding painter, a successful blogger, who writes about her observations of life and people; and most importantly, a working housewife. 

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