This article is a chapter from the book Hindu Fasts and Festivals.
Om Sri Hanumate Namah
SRI HANUMAN is worshipped all over India–either alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman was the Avatara of Lord Siva. He was born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. He is also called by the names Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Mahavira, Bajrangabali and Pavankumar.
Hanuman was the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return. He lived only to serve Sri Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do–crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the demon-king’s city of Lanka, and bringing the sanjeevini herb to restore the life of Lakshmana. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.
Hanuman possessed devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and desirelessness. He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.
He said to Ravana, “I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Sri Rama, to do His work. By the command of Sri Rama, I have come here. I am fearless by the Grace of Sri Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Sri Rama.”
See how humble Hanuman was! How deep was his devotion to Sri Rama! He never said, “I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything.”
Sri Rama Himself said to Hanuman, “I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero. You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your idol will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to!”
Thus did Sri Rama praise Hanuman when the latter returned to Him after finding Sita in Lanka. Hanuman was not a bit elated. He fell in prostration at the holy feet of Sri Rama.
Sri Rama asked him, “O mighty hero, how did you cross the ocean?”
Hanuman humbly replied, “By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord.”
Again Sri Rama asked, “How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?”
And Hanuman replied, “By Thy Grace, my Lord.”
What profound humility Hanuman embodied in himself!
There are many who want wealth in return for their services. Some do not want wealth, but they cannot resist name and fame. Others do not want any of these, but they want approbation. Still others want nothing, but they boast of their deeds. Hanuman was above all these. That is why he is recognised as an ideal Karma Yogi and an unsurpassed adept in Bhakti. His life is full of object lessons. Everyone should try his best to follow the noble example of Hanuman.
His birthday falls on Chaitra Shukla Purnima–the March-April full moon day.
On this holy day worship Sri Hanuman. Fast on this day. Read the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Spend the whole day in the Japa of Ram-Nam. Hanuman will be highly pleased and will bless you with success in all your undertakings.
Glory to Hanuman! Glory to his Lord, Sri Rama!