Hanuman

Hanuman
God of Strength, Knowledge and Bhakti; Lord of Celibacy and Victory; Supreme destroyer of evil; and protector of devotees;
Lord hanuman singing bhajans AS.jpg
Hanuman painted in Pahari style
AffiliationDeva
Devotee of Devi Sita, Lord Rama and Goddess Shakti[1]
AbodeEarth (Prithvi)
Mantraॐ श्री हनुमते नमः (Om Shri Hanumate Namah)
WeaponGada (mace)
TextsRamayana and its other versions and Hanuman Chalisa [2]
FestivalsHanuman Jayanti
ParentsVayu (celestial father)
Kesari (father)[1][3]
Añjanā (mother)[1]

In Hinduism, Hanuman (n/; Sanskrit: हनुमान्, IAST: Hanumān)[4] is an ardent devotee of Rama.[1] Hanuman, known as the Lord of Celibacy is an ideal "Brahmachari" or called Baal Brahmachari or "Naisthika Brahmachari" in Sanskrit and is one of the central characters of the Indian epic Ramayana. As one of the Chiranjivi, he is also mentioned in several other texts, such as the Mahabharata and the various Puranas. Hanuman is the son of Anjana and Kesari and is also son of the wind-god Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his Avatar.[3][5]

If yoga is the ability to control one's mind then Hanuman is the quintessential yogi having a perfect mastery over his senses, achieved through a disciplined lifestyle tempered by the twin streams of celibacy and selfless devotion (bhakti). In fact, Hanuman is the ideal Brahmachari (one who follows the path of Brahma), if ever there was one.He is also a perfect karma yogi since he performs his actions with detachment, acting as an instrument of destiny rather than being impelled by any selfish motive.

While Hanuman is one of the central characters in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, the evidence of devotional worship to him is missing in the texts and archeological sites of ancient and most of the medieval period. According to Philip Lutgendorf, an American Indologist known for his studies on Hanuman, the theological significance and devotional dedication to Hanuman emerged about 1,000 years after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE, after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent.[6] Bhakti movement saints such as Samarth Ramdas expressed Hanuman as a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution.[7] In the modern era, his iconography and temples have been increasingly common.[8] He is viewed as the ideal combination of "strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama", as Shakti and Bhakti.[9] In later literature, he has been the patron god of martial arts such as wrestling, acrobatics, as well as meditation and diligent scholarship.[1] He symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control, faith and service to a cause, hidden behind the first impressions of a being who looks like an Ape-Man Vanara.[8][10][11]

Hanuman is stated by scholars to be the inspiration for the allegory-filled adventures of a monkey hero in the Xiyouji (Journey to the West) – the great Chinese poetic novel influenced by the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602–664 CE) to India.[12][13]

Nomenclature

Hanuman with a Namaste (Anjali Hasta) posture

The meaning or the origin of word "Hanuman" is unclear. In the Hindu pantheon, deities typically have many synonymous names, each based on the noble characteristic or attribute or reminder of that deity's mythical deed.[14]:31–32 Hanuman has many names like Maruti, Pawansuta, Bajrangbali, Mangalmurti, but these names are rarely used. Hanuman is the common name of the vaanar (semi-ape, semi-man) god.

One interpretation of the term is that it means "one having a disfigured jaw". This version is supported by a Puranic legend wherein baby Hanuman mistakes the sun for a fruit, attempts to heroically reach it, is wounded and gets a disfigured jaw.[14]:31–32

" ("killed" or "destroyed") and maana (pride); the name implies "The one who destroys false pride". This epithet resonates with the story in the Ramayana about his emotional devotion to Rama and Sita. Another interpretation of the term "Hanuman" according to Sri Tulsi das is "Controlled Mind" (Han=Controlled Man=Mind).Hanuman represents the upsurge of a controlled mind amidst hostile situations.He combines two of the most cherished traits in the Hindu bhakti-shakti worship traditions: "heroic, strong, assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to personal god".[14]:31–32

Linguistic variations of "Hanuman" include Hanumat, Anuman (Tamil), Hanumantha (Kannada), Hanumanthudu (Telugu). Other names include:

  • Anjaneya,[15] Anjaniputra (Kannada), Anjaneyar (Tamil), Anjaneyudu (Telugu), Anjanisuta all meaning "the son of Hanuman's mother Anjana".
  • Kesari Nandan, based on his father, which means "son of Kesari"
  • Maruti, or the son of the wind god;[16]
  • Bajrang Bali, "the strong one (bali), who had limbs (anga) as hard as a vajra (bajra)"; this name is widely used in rural North India.[14]:31–32
  • Sankata Mochana, the remover of dangers (sankata)[14]:31–32