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Hanuman ChalisaSwami TejomayanandaIntroductionLiving in this world, it is almost impossible for any individual to lead a life that is abovecriticism – just or unjust. If we study the great epic, Ramayana, we find that even LordRama and Mother Sita could not escape criticism, though unjust, from their own subjects.The only person in Ramayana who succeeded in accomplishing this difficult task is SriHanuman – the greatest devotee of the Lord. We do not find a single incident wherein SriHanuman has made any mistake and got blamed for it. He is the very embodiment ofwisdom, devotion and service. This noble son of Wind God (Vāyu) has innumerablevirtues.We all very easily recognize the importance and the service of sun because it is notavailable in the night. But the wind remains with us all the 24 hours of the days, servingall beings without any desire for recognition and appreciation for its service. Thus we takeits existence for granted, without paying much respect and attention to it. Sri Hanumanhas imbibed from his father, Wind God this rare and noble virtue of serving all without atrace of pride in his heart. He crossed the ocean, entered the formidable Lanka and burntit. He discovered Mother Sita, killed the demonic forces of Ravana. He served Lord Ramain such numerous ways that the Lord Himself felt overwhelmed with extreme love andgratitude for Sri Hanuman and He gave expression to His feelings as well. But on hearinghis own praise, Sri Hanuman, the true devotee of the Lord, fell at His feet with tears inhis eyes, giving all credit for his achievements to Lord Rama alone. What a noble andinspiring ideal of service with utmost humility!Generally we are advised that we should imbibe from Sri Hanuman’s character, this rarequality of serving our master with unswerving faith and devotion. But little do we realizePage 1 of 24

that before doing so, it is of extreme importance to know who should really be ourMaster. He who is the Lord of the total universe and in serving whom our potentialdivinity comes to shine forth; He alone can be our true Master. This truth is seenrevealed in the life of Sri Hanuman. Before meeting Lord Rama he was serving Sugrivabut his powers remained dormant at the time and Sugriva was not able to bring them outas Lord Rama did by His sheer grace. We see that Sugriva himself was fraught withmortal fear of death at the hands of his own brother Vali, and was dependent on SriHanuman for his own protection. How could such a person ever be anyone’s true Master?On the other hand when Sri Hanuman saw Lord Rama for the very first time herecognized his Master immediately and, thereafter, not only himself became His loyal anddevoted servant but also made Sugriva follow his example. As soon as Sugrivasurrendered himself to the lotus feet of Lord Rama, he received the fruit of his devotion.In Lanka also, the she-demon Lankini and Vibhishana were serving Ravana, the mightybut atrocious king. They were under the same notion that they should serve their Master,whoever he may be. It is only Sri Hanuman who made them realize their mistake. Afterrecognizing this, they both became devotees of Lord Rama.Thus, we see that neither a weakling like Sugriva nor a mighty person like Ravana canever be a true Master. Lord Rama alone can be that Master who is great, not because Hekeeps all beings under His control like Ravana but because He makes His devoteesgreater than Himself!May we all come to recognize Lord Rama as our Master and serve Him in the attitude ofHis great devotee Sri Hanuman? May we ever revel in singing the holy name of the Lord– Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram!om shrī ganeshāya namahHanuman Chalisa is the most popular composition of the great Saint Goswami Tulsidas,the author of Tulsi Ramayana. He composed Hanuman Chalisa when he was very sick. Hesang the praise of Sri Hanuman and it is said that he recovered from his illness. Thesignificance of singing the glories of the Lord is to purify your speech and mind. It isimpossible to sing all His glories because they are infinite. You should chant those of Hisglories that are dear to you. In the Sundarakanda of Tulsi Ramayana, Saint Tulsidas singsthe glory of Sri Hanuman:Atuiltblxam hemzElaÉdeh dnujvnk«zanu }ainnam g{ym!,sklgu[inxan vanra[amxIz r"upitiàyÉ vatjat nmaim.atulitabaladhämaà hemaçailäbhadehaàdanujavanakåçänuà jïäninämagragaëyam sakalaguëanidhänaà vänaräëämadhéçaàraghupatipriyabhaktaà vätajätaà namämi I salute the son of Wind God, the abode of immeasurable strength, possessing a bodyshining like a mountain of gold, a fire to consume the forest of the demon race, thePage 2 of 24

foremost among the wise, storehouse of every excellence, the chief of the monkeys, LordRama’s noble devotee!The first attractive attribute that you see in Sri Hanuman is that he is the abode ofimmeasurable and incomparable strength that is not merely physical but also has asplendor (tejas) in it. His splendor is like a golden mountain. It is a rare quality. He useshis strength not to scare ordinary of weak people but to destroy those who give troubleto saintly persons. He not only has the power but also is considered as a wise, noble soul(jnānin). His language as well as the feelings are pure.The most admirable virtue of Sri Hanuman is his politeness. Ravana was strong but hehad pride. Such a person does not really command any respect. Sri Hanuman is truly theking of all Vānara-s. To him, Lord Rama is very dear. Also we can say that Sri Hanumanis the favorite devotee of Lord Rama. When one has love for the Lord, Lord embraces Hisdevotee in thousand ways.Sri Hanuman brought life to all. He helped Sugriva get rid of his fear of Vali and heinspired Vibhishana who came away from Ravana to surrender at the feet of the Lord. Hesaved the life of Mother Sita, by conveying the message of the Lord to her. He broughtthe sanjīvani plant and saved the life of Lakshmana. He proceeded to Ayodhya, muchbefore Lord Rama and conveyed the message of Lord’s arrival to Bharata, who was readyto immolate himself then. It is the glory of Sri Hanuman in the form of Hanuman Chalisa.Hanuman Chalisa is sung in various parts of India with great love and devotion. Somepeople chant it as their daily prayer. People believe that if they have illness or adversity,chanting of Hanuman Chalisa seven times or one hundred times will relieve them of theirdistress. There are others who consider Saturday or Tuesday to be dedicated to SriHanuman and they spend the day in thinking about the glories of Sri Hanuman, going tothe temple and chanting Hanuman Chalisa. Thus, we see that this great composition ofSaint Tulsidas has become a part of the culture and religious beliefs of a large number ofpeople in India. The word Chalisa means forty. This composition has forty verses in praiseof Sri Hanuman. Those who are familiar with the story of Ramayana know his greatness.As we read individual verse in detail, we shall appreciate his various qualities namelylove, devotion, service, valor etc.In life, it is almost impossible for a person to remain free from blemish. Whether right orwrong, criticisms and accusations are leveled against everyone. It is impossible to escapethis and no one is immune from it. Even Lord Rama and the divine Mother Sita are notspared. Lord Rama was an incarnation of righteousness and Mother Sita was theincarnation of purity. They also are unfairly blamed and criticized. But there is onecharacter in Ramayana who is above all criticisms and that is Sri Hanuman. He is a greatdevotee and totally free from all faults and blemish. We shall see this in more detail aswe study the text.daehadohäïIgué crn sraej rj inj mnu muké suxair,brn r"ubr ibml jsu jae dayk )l cair.Page 3 of 24

çréguru carana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhäri baranaüð raghubara bimala jasu jo däyaku phala cäri With a spotless (serene) mind, purified by the dust of the lotus feet of Guru, I now(proceed to) describe the unblemished glory of Sri Hanuman; the most exalted one ofRaghu’s family, who is capable of bestowing the four fruits (purushārtha-s) on hisdevotees.Hanuman Chalisa is composed in the Avadhi language, which is a dialect of Hindi and isspoken in Ayodhya (in Uttar Pradesh, India), where Lord Rama was born. Though anoffshoot of Hindi, it has been modified over the years where even students of Hindi mayhave trouble in understanding a lot of the Avadhi words. The word baranau means – I amgoing to describe. It comes from the Sanskrit verb varnan, ‘to describe’. Saint Tulsidassays that in these verses he is going to describe the holy, pure noble glories (bimalajasu) of raghuvar. Lord Rama belonged to the dynasty of Raghu (raghuvamsa). Raghuwas a great king and the entire dynasty was named after him. Raghuvar means thesupreme, the best among the descendants of Raghu dynasty – Lord Rama. This particularverse is found in Ayodhyākanda of Ramacharita Manas. There we understand that itrefers to the glories of Lord Rama. In fact in the second part of Ayodhyākanda, theglories of Bharata (younger brother of Lord Rama) are sung. So this verse could alsorefer to Bharata as raghuvar since he was a noble brother. Even though Hanuman Chalisapraises Lord Rama, it is essentially being sung in praise of Sri Hanuman. Why would then,Saint Tulsidas address Sri Hanuman as raghuvar? As we all know, he was not born in theRaghu dynasty. He was in the form of a monkey. But there is a beautiful interpretationfor this. In Tulsi Ramayana, it is mentioned that he was the adopted son of Lord Ramaand Mother Sita. When Sri Hanuman went to Lanka to meet Mother Sita, she recognizedhim as the greatest devotee of Lord Rama and addressed him as suta, my son. In turn,Sri Hanuman called her as janani, mother (one who gives birth). And when Sri Hanumanreturned from Lanka, Lord Rama also addressed him as ‘son’. It is interesting that SriHanuman met Lord Rama first but Mother Sita was the one who addressed him first asson and developed that relationship with him. In human life also it is mother who getsclose to the child first and the relationship of father develops later.Thus, Lord Rama and Mother Sita’s son becomes ‘one who belongs to the dynasty ofRaghu – raghuvamshi. And because of the noble, divine qualities of Sri Hanuman, he isreferred to as raghuvar, the supreme and the best. However, Sri Hanuman gives all thecredit for his success to Lord Rama. In fact the two are inseparable. Hence these versesdescribe the glories of the supreme descendants of Raghu.Saint Tulsidas then goes on to say, “I am describing the glories of Sri Hanuman, becausehe was not an ordinary person. Don’t take him to be like an ordinary king or divineminister or dictator. He is greater than all those. Singing his glories gives you all the fourgoals of life. The four goals are: dharmah arthah, kāmah and mokshah.Arthah refers to wealth and prosperity and kāmah means worldly joy of sense pleasures.Some people may be very rich but are not able to enjoy their wealth. They may be sosick that they can’t even eat. Their breakfast may be only medicines! What use is suchwealth? Others may have wealth and joy, but do not perform any meritorious deeds,dharmah. They do not do things for others and such people suffer in life. Singing theglories of Sri Hanuman gives you dharmah and also punyah (merit) to enjoy heaven. Butthe most important goal of man's life is liberation from the sufferings of the cycle of birthand death, mokshah Sri Hanuman can grant this great goal also to us.How does one prepare oneself to sing the glories of Sri Hanuman? It is by purifying one’smind. A clean, pure mind will be able to relate with the Lord and feel His presencePage 4 of 24

everywhere. Saint Tulsidas says, shrī guru charana saroja raja nija mana mukurasudhāri. The word sudhāri signifies perfecting purifying and cleaning. Nijamanu mukurumeans ‘the mirror of my mind.’ I will clean the mirror of my mind so it will reflect theglories of the Lord. Only in a clean mirror the reflection is clear and in the mind-mirror,Sri Hanuman’s glories can shine. How will I clean this mind-mirror? Guru charana sarojaraja – with the dust of my teacher’s lotus feet. By surrendering myself at the feet of myteacher and in service to him, I will be able to cleanse my mind of all impurities.buiÏhIn tnu jainke suimraE pvnk mar,bl buiÏ ib*a de maeih hr kles ibkar.buddhihéna tanu jänike sumirauà pavanakumära bala buddhi bidyä dehu mohià harahu kalesa bikära Knowing that I am ignorant, I pray to you (Sri Hanuman) the son of Wind God, to blessme with strength, wisdom and discriminating knowledge. Banish (all) my afflictions.Sumirau is derived from the Sanskrit word smarana – ‘to remember’. In these localdialects, the difficult Sanskrit words become sweeter and easier to pronounce. The versesays, I remember pavana kumārah, son of the Wind god. Bala buddhi bidyā dehu mohi –bless me with strength that includes physical, moral and strength of character. Vidyāmeans knowledge and buddhi is the faculty with which we gain knowledge. If I do nothave this faculty, how can I know anything or learn? A blind man has physical eyes, butdoes not have the faculty of seeing. To gain knowledge, I must have the faculty ofknowing and understanding and also I must use it. In this world every man is blessedwith intellect (buddhih), but not everyone is intelligent (buddhimāna). A wise man notonly learns, but also uses that knowledge to help him and others. One man was asked,‘Why do you always act so foolish, why don’t you use your brains?’ He said, ‘God hasgiven me a limited amount of intellect. I have to live for 70 years. If I use it all right now,it will finish by the time I get older. So, I have to conserve it and use it sparingly!’People do not use their intellect and this is the reason for bondage. Even if they do use it,it is only at the worldly, superficial level. They do not think about themselves, the truthbehind this life or this world. Saint Tu