April 13, 2010 on 10:00 am
From the desk of the Spiritual Explorer
Hanuman Statue on Kashi Ashram
This Saturday at Kashi Ashram all gathered to celebrate the holiday of Hanuman Jayanti, victory to the God Hanuman. At the advent of dusk, the procession of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati and her sanyasins traversed the paths alongside the Ganga towards the Baba Temple. The fires burned brightly as pujas to the Mother were offered in the form of throwing rice and ghee into the dhuni before the Baba Temple. The pujaris dressed in their simple garb of longhi and t-shirt bowed low before the great Hanuman who stands besides the murti of Kashi’s satguru, Neem Karoli Baba, in what is known as the Baba Temple. As the rice was thrown into the dhuni, the chelas and visitors offered up whatever they no longer needed or what were obstacles to their realizing their divine nature.
On Tuesdays and some cases, Saturdays, many people of Indian lineage, keep a fast in honor of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is customary for Hindus to chant the name of Hanuman, and in particular, chant the hymn of Hanuman Chalisa, where they proclaim victory to his thunderbolt strength. Once every year on the full-moon day of the month of April, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman temples are among the most common public shrines found in India.
Hanuman Jayanti, which means victory to Hanuman, is a joyous time, full of blessings bestowed by the great God Hanuman. The gathered chelas and guests were in a celebratory mood that night and eagerly tossed what they no longer wanted into the dhuni. As the shouts of Swaha rose into the air, it felt as if the air itself became more transparent and redolent of the smoke rising from the dhuni. The celebration of Hanuman Jayanti continued after the puja as participants eagerly consumed the delicious prasad that was offered after the puja.
Hanuman assisted Lord Rama in his struggle with evil forces. Particularly in the Ramayana, in his struggle against the evil Ravenna, Hanuman is worshipped for a myriad of reasons. He is indeed one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is mostly worshipped for his incarnation as a lowly monkey to show his humility and steadfastness. Hanuman’s devotion to Lord Rama, one of Vishnu’s avatars, is exemplary and noteworthy. That Hanuman left the ethereal abode of Shiva to reside and serve mere mortals is often told in many tales. Children especially love Hanuman because of his benign countenance and friendly appearance.
That he is a simian symbol adds to Hanuman’s legend because humility and the ability to “bow low,” less one’s ego, is something to be desired as one proceeds on the spiritual path. In life we are probably presented countless times with situations where we are given the opportunity to renounce our ego by giving up the desire to be “right.” But how easy is it to do that? How often does one see true humility in life? These are certainly not proper or popular notions in a materialistic, competitive aggressive world. That is why Hanuman beckons us to remember the truth of life that all spirituality professes: that the least shall be first; that the meek shall inherit the earth and other such affirmations of worth.
Hanuman, we bow low before you and ask you for the gift of humility, strength, loyalty and steadfastness.
Om Sri Hanuman Ki Jai!