Sometime ago when, in one of my posts, I mentioned Sree Aanjaneyaswamy as a mahayogi, my respected senior Brahmashri. ————- was not happy. I was wondering why.
After all, Hanuman, though had no wings, could fly across a vast ocean like a huge bird, shrink his body to the size of his thumb and enter the mouth of a woman, come out of her interior without a bruise, then bring his body to its original size, all this, while crossing the sea, then return with his long tail fully torched but without getting a burn, again cross the waters carrying a mountain and return with the mountain to place it back at the original place ! If not a yogi who could do such wonders ?
In the recent two posts Sri. —– is repeatedly calling Hanuman as an Ape -God (he was an ape and he was a god no doubt, but when you repeatedly mention him by that name, it doesn’t sound respectable; and Hanuman was a respectable living being ). Anna also ridicules that by worshiping Hanuman, we are only paying him a bribe seeking his ‘siparsai’ or recommendation to approach Lord Sree Rama.
Something has definitely gone wrong between the master scholar and the master monkey. Obviously the vadai-malai for the vaal of the Suchindram Mruthi has not worked !
In Vaarnasi, there is a famous Hanuman temple. In fact there are temples for Hanuman all over India and in Andra pradesh, every other rock you see in the open will have a red-painted -idol of the monkey- god carved in it. People worship with great bakthi and when they do it, not a single Hindu consider their worship as a bribe for a ‘siparsai’ . Even an illiterate Hindu widow in a remote village, who has zero knowledge in scriptures or epics other than the story of Ramayanam heard from her mother during her childhood, knows the importance of Hanuman and worship him purely due to devotion and not for ‘siparsai’. That does not mean that she worship only Hanuman.
As popular as Hanuman, is the Hanuman chalisa, especially in the northern part of our country. It stands on the same pedestal of our Narayaneeyam or Adyathma Ramyanam in Kerala. My daughter in law, a Palakkad Iyer girl, raised in Lucknow, observes fasting during the Navarathry when she reads Chalisa during all the nine days with utmost bakthi. In the Greater Baltimore temple here , we had a mass recitation and in one of my articles I have mentioned about it. Hanuman is not the main deity there .
Chalisa is a revered religious book and it is not to be condemned as some one’s dreamed- up product.
Now, coming to the role of Hanuman in the great epic, I consider that the most important character after Sree Rama is not Baratha or Ravana or even Sree Sita . It is Hanuman; yes it is the ‘Ape- God’. Valmiki introduces him in the Aaranya kantam , allots a full kantam out of the total six, for him and in the Yudha kantam, he is shown at the peak of his glory when he saves the life of Lakshmana and later that of Bharatha, another brother of his master.
No one is as big as Hanuman in the Sowndarya kantam. Valmiki is lavish in his narration of this character. His poetic imagination fully blossoms in this kantam and it is a verbal feast , every slokam, flying like a peacock in its full colours or swimming like a swan in its pristine purity. The glory of the hero of the kantam is sung right from the from the second slokam :
துஷ்கரம் நிஷ்பதித்வன்த்வம் சிகீர்ஷன்கர்ம வானர:
ஸமுதக்ர சிரோக்ரீவோ கவாம் பதிரிவாபபௌ
Meaning:பிறரால் செய்ய முடியாததும் நிகர்ற்றதுமான காரியத்தை செய்ய விரும்பி ஸ்ரீ ஹனுமார் கழுத்து தலை இவைகளை உயர த்தூக்கி பசுக்களின் கூட்டத்தில் நிமிர்ந்த தலையுடன் நிற்கும் காளை போல் விளங்கினார் . Keeping his head and neck straight and high, Hanuman stood like a bull among the crowd of cows, ready to perform a unique task which none else could do. (What a beautiful simile !.Many times, I remember Kalidasa, while reading Sundara kantam )
Rama was a king, without a crown or a kingdom or even an army. Hanuman, maneuvered and made available and placed at the disposal of Rama a mighty army which could construct a bridge across the sea and conquer the enemy. In the entire plethora of divine characters in our epics, there is none to supersede Hanuman, in wisdom, physical strength, mental power to think cool, act swiftly, advice aptly and talk intelligently . And no other assistant could serve his master as efficiently and faithfully as Hanuman did.
Now coming to the statement that “he was a fellow-Raama-bhaktha, along with us. And a marvelous one ”-What is there to worship in a fellow -disciple? Swamy sarnam. No answer!
But let me tell you that the worship of Hanuman is sanctioned by no less a scripture than ‘Skantham’ . Here is the procedure suggested before doing the paaraayanm ie reading seven sargams, chapters from the Sundarakantam every day, to achieve the required result. My attempt is only to show that Hanuman worship is sanctioned. Whether you worship him or not is not my concern. I do. That does not mean that I worship only him .
“ஸ்ரீ ஸ்காந்தத்தில் ஸ்ரீ சுந்தரகாண்ட மாஹாத்ம்யம் – ஸப்த ஸர்க பாராயண க்ரமம் – Sundarakanta maahatmyam- Saptha sarga parayana kramam as given in skaantham:
ஒரு நல்ல நாளில் விதிவத்தாய் ஸங்கல்பித்து ஸ்ரீ ராமர், ஸ்ரீ சீதை, ஸ்ரீ லக்ஷ்மணர், ஸ்ரீ ஆஞ்சநேயர் இவர்களின் பிரதிமைகளை சக்திக்கு தகுந்தபடி ஸ்வர்ணத்தாலோ, வெள்ளியாலோ, தாம்ப்ரத்தாலோ செய்து முறைப்படி பிரதிஷ்டை செய்து பூஜிக்கவேண்டும் . இவைகளை செய்ய அவகாசம் இல்லாவிடில் கூற்ச்திலாவது பிரதிஷ்டை செய்து பூஜிக்க வேண்டும்”
On an auspicious day, the idols of Sree Rama, Sree Sita, Sree Lakshmana and Sree Anjaneyar are to be properly installed as per the prescribed method ( dhyana, aavhanam etc) and worshiped. These idols can be of gold, silver or copper and if there is no facilities for installing idols, the pradishtai can be done on ‘koortcham’
“பாராயணத்துக்கு முன் தியானம் செய்ய வேண்டிய ஸ்தோத்ரம்கள் : Stotras to be recited before the Sundarakanta paarayanam :
1.ஸ்ரீ விநாயக த்யானம்– Sree Vinayaka dyanam
2. ஸ்ரீ சரஸ்வதி பிரார்த்தனை– Sree Saraswathi prarthanai
3. ஸ்ரீ வால்மீகி ஸ்துதி- Sree Valmiki stuthi
4.ஸ்ரீ ஆஞ்சநேய ஸ்தோத்ரம் – Sree Anjaneya stotram-Goshpathee kritha vaarasim———vathathmakam vaanaarayootha mukhyam Sree Ramdootham sirasa namaami
கோஷ்பதீ கிருத வாராசிம், மசகீக்ரித்த ராக்ஷஸம்— வாதாத்மகம் வானரயூத முக்கியம் ஸ்ரீராம தூதம் சிரஸஆ நமாமி
5. ஸ்ரீ இராமாயண பிரார்த்தனை- Sree Ramayana prarthanai
6. ஸ்ரீ ராம தியானம் Sree Rama dyanam
7.ஸ்ரீ ஹனுமத் தியானம் :- Sree Hanumat dyanam
ஸர்வாரிஷ்டநிவாரகம் சுபகரம் பின்காக்ஷமக்ஷாபஹம், சீதான்வேஷண தத்பரம் கபிவரம் கோடீன்ற சூர்யா பிரபம்
லன்காட்வீப பயங்கரம் ஸகலதம் சுக்ரீவ ஸம்மான்விதம், தேவேன்றாதி சமஸ்த தேவ வினுதம் காகுஸ் ததூதம் பஜே ”
So next time when you stand before a Hanuman idol don’t feel shy- you are not there to pay a bribe! And don’t ask me the next question- he will not say ‘give me a seat along with my Lord’
And the next observation, “devotees in Shivan temples ducking under the iron railings surrounding the stone statue of Nandi the sacred Bull facing the main Shiva sannidhi — to whisper into the Bull’s stone year”- I am really sad that he made such a sarcastic remark about the bull’s stone ear. Does he mean that the ear of the deity inside the temple is live with blood, nerves and skin and only that of the bull outside is that of stone. Is it so with the vilwam tree in the temple premises which you circumambulate, ‘moolatho Brahma roopaya, madhyatho Vishnuroopinae, Agratho Sivaroopaya—–?’ Is it so with the disc of the Mahavishnu which is worshiped as chakrathazvar, ‘Jaya jaya sree sudarsana, jaya jaya sree sudarshana ‘ and dipped in the swamipushkarini along with the idol of the Lord of seven hills? Is it again so, with the kalasam and khantam which you worship first before starting your pooja, your forehead, chest and hands lavishly lined with white marks, ‘ kalasasya mukhe vishnu, khante Rudra— ……?. Is it so with the chariot you pull across the streets of your village accompanied by pipers and percussionists ? Is it so with the framed picture of Mahaganapathy we keep in a corner in the kalyanapandal ? Is it so with the flag post, kodimaram, before the sanctum of a temple, before which you prostrate?
Even a pinch of dust in the temple premises is sacred, of course if you consider temple a sacred place. And they say a nandi, a bull with stone ear, moved sidewise , on its own, for the sake of a pious man, who was not able to see the Lord as the animal was obstructing the vision. Whom are they trying to fool ? How will a stone bull move ? Even live bulls are not moving unless you give a bribe of a handful of fodder.
This is belief. Untu entral untu; illaya illai- simple, Sir.
And where is the question of above or below among the gods ? Is there seniority list or grading among the gods ? “A monkey -god above all others __?'” who said so ? Some like Hanuman and they worship him; some like Kathavaraayan or karuppayi, they worship them. You cannot say only Sree Rama and Sree Krishna are. For you it might be so; for me there are ‘muppathu mukkodi thevalum indranum, mummorthikalum veda brahmanaalum’
Our great, great grand pa did not have this problem. His gods were natural elements, Vayu and Varuna, air and water etc. He could see the supreme Divinity as Vishnu, a force with bramanam or sancharanam covering the entire universe and manifesting as fire on the earth and as sun and lightning above and all over.
ഇദം വിഷ്ണുര് വിചക്രമെ ത്രേധാ നിദധെ പദം
സമുള് ഹമസ്യ പാമ്സുരെ .
ത്രീണി പദാ വിച ക്രമെ
അധോ ധര്മാണി ധാരയന്
Idam Vishnur vichakramae threadha nidhathe padam
Thrinee padaa vichakramae
Vishnur gopaa adabhya:
Ado dharmaani dhaarayan
ഇന്ദ്രം മിത്രം വരുണ മഗ്നി മാഹു –
രഥോദിവ്യസ്സ സുപര്ണോ ഗരുത്മാന്
ഏകം സദ്വിപ്രാ ബഹുദാ വദന്തി
അഗ്നിം യമം മാതരിശ്വാനമാഹു :
Indram, Mitram, Varunam, Agnim, aahu-
radhodivyassa suparno garutmaan
Eakam sat vipra bahuda vadanthi
Agnaim, yamam, maadariswanamaahu:
Meaning : This God is called Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni , Garuda.
It is eakam and sat- The learned call it by different names
Agni, Vayu, Yaman etc.
ഋഗ്വേദം : Rigvedam
Several years ago, Appa was admitted in the hospital with a serious health problem and Amma was told about that. She didn’t say a word. Silently walked towards the tulsi plant near the well, spread the corner of her nine yards sari and with swollen eyes and sunken face, begged to that small plant : ” Thayea, maangalya pitchai tha ” . Pleading to a nine inches high plant to protect the mangalsootram in her neck, by preventing the death of her husband! That is called BELIEF.
I remembered this incident the other day when I was chided, ‘ you do not know the meaning of ‘deerga sumangali bhava’ . I remember it again now.
Now you tell me whether my Aanjaneya swamy who flew across a vast ocean carrying a whole mountain with a forest wealth of life saving- herbs from the distant north to the extreme south and thus saved the life of Sree Lakshmanan and several other warriors is worth worshiping or not .
Love and regards,
Nov 5th, 2011
Superb write up! Some of us who are not so well read in our religious literature, could not give a fitting reply to the erudite elder.
Namovakam. I wanted to reply on specification of Ape God, but I was crossing language barriers. I felt its not right, so I deleted.
Yours is a very composed reply mama, appreciated. Lot learned in terms of language and descriptions, not that am completely ignoring / ridiculing Sri Narayan. My reaction was like kshana-kopam.