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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pawan Sut

"For any being, it is almost implausible to even think what Hanuman has done. He has conquered the unconquerable, the Great Sea. No one else in this world has the potential to leap the great sea, apart from Garurn & Vayu; and now, Hanuman. The kingdom of Lanka is protected well by Raavarn, it was unassailable for any dev, naag, yaksh, gandharv or daanav; but today, Hanuman has made the difference by performing such unprecedented task, by finding my Sita. He has proved his allegiance to Sugreeve, this is commendable

Hanuman, you have done a big favor to me. But, I don't have anything to reward you today. Hey Pawan-putra, at this moment, all I can give you is an embrace, as this is all I have."

[Valmiki Ramayan; Yuddha Kaand: Shri Ram to Hanuman]

Nothing else can be more gratifying for a devotee than his deity praising him, offering embrace to him; nothing can be more rewarding, than this. A devotee worships his deity all his life unconditionally, seeking only one thing in return, his deity's benevolence; the delight of all the material pleasures weighs nothing, when it comes to a bhakt's single aspiration, his prabhu's grace.

And Hanuman was, is and always shall be the epitome of devotion, where no one can ever reach but be inspired. Like srirom quoted:

Yes, what matters is our 'bhaav', i.e. emotion and Dev Hanuman's whole charit/legend is an exemplification; selfless devotion, with Shri Ram & Devi Sita in his heart, mind & soul. 

The epic saga of Ramayan can never be deemed complete without Dev Hanuman. He is the ultimate symbolization of courage, strength, determination and will, and an expert combatant; a reason why he's an inspiration for aspiring wrestlers in India (Akhadas [Indian Gyms], have a built in Hanuman temple where the wrestlers offer their prayers to Hanuman before engaging in a duel).

{Tulsi Akhada in Banaras - Image: Google}

{Image credits: Better Photography}
But unparalleled force is not the only characteristic or aspect of Hanuman, as there's always been more than meets the eye. As much as he's known for his strength, he is revered for his wisdom as well; a 'vanar' with genius level intellect. And why not, he was tutored by none other than Surya dev himself; the one who sees all, perceives all and hence, knows all. Hanuman's sagacity, his knowledge became apparent with his very first appearance: when he met Shri Ram, while following Sugreeve's orders, there, he impressed Shri Ram with his eloquence:

‘Saumitrey! This intellectual is a minister of Vaanar-king Sugreeve and he came here for his good. It is impossible for anyone to talk in such excellence if he is not well-versed in the respective Vaidas, definitely he is an highly educated and sophisticated as well as an enlightened being as he spoke so flawlessly and brilliantly, neither any flaw I saw in his face, eyes, forehead, and other part of the body while expressing himself and his accent calms the heart and soul as well.’

[Valmiki Ramayan; Yuddha Kaand: Hanuman meets Shri Ram for the first time]

The birth-story of Hanuman according to Valmiki Ramayan is as follows: 

There once was a nymph, Punjikasthala whose beauty was par excellence. Due to a curse, she was born into a vaanar’s house and named Anjana. She was a known figure for her beauty and married to a valiant vaanar king, Kesari.

Once, Anjana visited a mountain, for performing her daily rituals. She stood at the mountain’s peak, meditating. Vayu dev, who's present everywhere, was infatuated with her beauty. Suddenly, Anjana’s attire was blown by the wind exposing her modesty. She felt an ardent embrace by an invisible entity.

Anjana was a noble woman, she resisted, ‘I am a one man woman, committed to my husband. Who is it trying to ruin my chastity?’

Vayu dev answered calmly, ‘Devi, your chastity will remain intact; you will be always a true ‘pativrata’, therefore give up all your worries. Rest assured, as my embrace has impregnated you spiritually; transferring my radiance in your womb. You will deliver a son who will be highly efficient and brilliant. He will be a great scholar; his erudition will be revered in all worlds. He will be at par with me, no distance will be impossible for him.’

And thus, Hanuman was born: son of Kesari & Anjana, and Vayu. In his lifetime, Hanuman performed several tasks that a normal being couldn't even think of; feats that legends are remembered for, Hanuman even surpassed them. Whether it was traversing the great sea, or burning Lanka to ashes, or literally moving the whole mountain to procure 'sanjeevani' and so on; his contribution to 'Ram-kaaj' are sung with devotion, for the legend he is. 

I suppose mentioning of those various feats or adventures here would be pointless; there have been enough shows that have portrayed his legend multiple times that they are known to everyone by heart, we must be thankful for it. Although, I feel that in an attempt for gaining TRPs, these serials have gone a bit over the line; showcasing episodes that may sent Hanuman ji wondering, 'when did I do that'.

And since the purpose of this blog is to present a different perspective, to think beyond, to read between the lines;and since there are few questions/doubts that have remained in our minds, may be subconsciously. Time to bring them out:

  • Avatar: Is he Bhagwan Shiv's avatar? I know this very thought of raising a doubt, might look absurd, since 'Hanuman is Shiv's incarnation' is ingrained in our mindsets since ages. But there's no smoke without fire! According to Valmiki Ramayan, Hanuman has the divine element of Vayu, but no where it is mentioned that he's Bhagwan Shiv's avatar.
Yeah, this may look a bit contradictory, but like every other vaanar, Hanuman too is specified as a dev putra, i.e. Vayu's son, not Shiv's incarnation. In Raakshas origins story, Uttar Kaand, Bhagwan Shiv blessed Raavarn's maternal forefather, Sukesh, and expresses his affection towards him; denying the devas to fight/eliminate Sukesh' descendants. Pretty much like Bhagwan Vishnu blessed King Bali and his descendants; hence not killing Banasur (Bali's grandson) in his Krishnavatar. I believe this logic says enough.

The concept of Hanuman being Shiv's avatar was a gradual process by the Shaivites (to insert Shiv's eminence in Vaishnav texts) that become immensely popular post 17th century by reformation of Hanuman's identity, and he was then known as Rudravatar.

Besides, like I mentioned in my AVATAR blog, taking incarnation is Vishnu's domain, since he's the preserver of this creation.

A lot more we need to put forward and discuss, that will also support the above point; we will meet next week. Till then, be curious.

"Always keep your mind open/receptive, for truth has many dimensions"
'सियाराम '

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