Friday, 5 October 2018

Lord Hanuman - a symbol of Bhakti-Shakti worship

Rama Bhata Hanuman getwallpapers.com
In the Hindu pantheon there are so many deities, it is difficult to keep a tab on them and their significance. Lord Hanuman, I believe,  does not belong to the Hindu pantheon of Gods, rather he plays a pivotal role in the great epic Ramayana. He, being a true devotee and follower of God - incarnate Sri. Rama, is revered and worshipped by devote Hindus across India  As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned one can see one or more than one shrine dedicated to Sri Hanuman. The Hanuman shrines at Namakkal town  and at Nanganallur, a suburb of Chennai, TN  are popular and both have a large stone image of Rama Bhakta Hanuman.
hindugodlatestwallpapers.blogspot.com
Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Sri Rama of the great epic the Ramayana, plays a major role in helping God Rama get back his consort  Sri Sita from Lanka where she was held hostage by the demon king Ravana. So, he played no less role than others  in the Ramayana and is believed to be a central character in that great ancient epic. He is a Vaanara - semi -ape and semi -man god. He goes by several names like Maruthi, Anjaneya, Vayuputra and  Mangalmurti. His name is also mentioned in various Puranas and also in yet another great epic Mahabharata. Paradoxically,  from archaeological point of view, the evidence of devotional Hanuman worship  is missing in the old texts and ancient archaeological sites  and of the medieval period. Also not clear is his theological origin, his parentage, etc. The general consensus is Hanuman  was born in Treta Yuga as the son of  a Vanara couple Anjana and Kesari. His other name Anjanaya denotes he is arising from Anjana. He is also son of Vayu - god of wind. Some texts portray him as the incarnation of God Shiva.  Some researchers believe that he is a non-Aryan deity and was inducted into the Aryan theology  as a sort of fusion God, doing the duty of a protector. 


More often we have seen Hanuman portrayed as a strong  semi-ape and semi-man holding a gada (mace) which is a sign of bravery and having a picture of Lord Rama on his chest; the latter being his sign of devotion to Lord Rama. 
Sri. Hanuman godpictureswallpaper.blogspot.com.es
In Jainism and Buddhism,  mention is made of Hanuman. It is quite interesting to note that outside of India in SE Asian countries like Cambodia, Malaysia  Indonesia, Myanmar and  Thailand Hanuman is a legendary character and shares similar traits  such as as bravery, honesty and dedication, etc., but,  he is not a bachelor (Brahmachari). In India, we consider him as a celibate-god who  respected women and considered them as sisters.  
His devotion to Lord Rama was so deep and unalloyed that the lord blessed him with immortality (Chiranjeevi).  As long as the worship of Rama continues, so long Hanuman will live with the humanity and bless the people, according to many Hindu seers. Worship of Rama will be incomplete without worship of Hanuman. There is hardly any Rama temple in India which does not have an idol - metal or stone image of Sri Hanuman. That he is the epitome of true devotion and dedication to God Rama is a universal truth  and hence his devotees go to his shrine to overcome impediments in their lives.

Absence  of archaeological evidences as to the worship of Hanuman in the past centuries is a subject of wide debate and according to one American Indologist  Philip Lutgendorf who did intense research  on Hanuman, devotional and theological significance gained currency about 1,000 years after the compilation of the Ramayana in the 2nd millennium CE following the advent of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent.  In its wake,  the Bhakti movement  headed by saints like Samarth Ramdas recognized  Hanuman as a symbol of courage and resistance to religious persecution by foreign invaders and one can see his idols - stone or otherwise in many temples dedicated to God Vishnu. 

In the last century or so there occur a number of shrines exclusively dedicated to God Hanuman. Devout Hindus across India look upon Hanuman as a source of strength and mental prowess, an ideal  symbol of  courage, dedication, assertiveness and true devotion to his personal guide Lord Rama.  In some later literature we see him as a patron  god of martial arts, wisdom and loyal to a cause, besides self control.  He symbolizes the human excellencies of inner self-control and determination. Hence Hanuman  combines two of the most important traits in the Hindu bhakti-shakti worship traditions.
God Hanuman's name has different interpretations and its origin is not clear. One version says that he has a prominent jaw (hanu: jaw). When he was a kid, he mistook the Sun for an orange and tried to grab it, hence he got the dented jaw. The other interpretation means destroyer of pride; Han means destroyed or killed; mana means pride. The implication here is ''one whose pride is destroyed''. His emotional attachment to God Rama brings out his humility. The third version, as found in Jain religious texts, is that Hanuman spent most of his childhood  on an island called Hanuruha. 


In the Hindu texts such as the Bhagavata Purana, the Bhakta Mala, the Ananda Ramayana and the Ramacharitmanas we see Sri Hanuman is being presented as an exceptional devotee  of Sri Rama and Sri Sita. We have also found him to be talented, strong, brave and spiritually devoted to Rama. In  countless devotional literature, Hanuman is  described as the remover of difficulties as he emanates positive energy from him. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman
http://www.iloveindia.com/spirituality/gods/hanuman/index.html