Sri Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated at our Ashrams and a few of our branches. At Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, the recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa, an audio of the Sri Hanuman Arati, and reading of an article, Hanuman Jayanti, from Hindu Fasts and Festivals by Sri Swami Sivananda.
Describing the qualities of Sri Hanuman in the Sri Hanuman Jayanti message, our Divine Master said, "Hanuman was the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Bramachari or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return. He lived only to serve Sri Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do – crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the demon-king's city of Lanka and bringing the sanjeevini herb to restore the life of Lakshmana. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana".
Sri Swami Sivananda continues to extol the qualities of Sri Hanuman, indicative of the Master's extreme admiration and reverence for Sri Hanuman. The Master wrote, "Sri Rama Himself said to Hanuman, 'I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero. You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your idol will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to'!"
The Sri Hanuman Arati beautifully captures the essence of Sri Hanuman's Bhakti to Lord Rama, His virtues, prowess and greatness. Some of the verses (translated into English) that exemplify this theme are:
"Let us worship the very dear Hanuman,
Who slays the wicked and is a crescent of Rama.
By his power the great mountains trembled,
And devils and ghosts never came near us.
Rama bid him farewell on his path,
And he brought good news of Sita,
After burning down Sri Lanka. ......
He burnt Lanka and killed the asuras,
And he managed to complete the task of the king Rama....
You went down to the world below, broke the gates of Yama,
And broke the arms of Mahi Ravana. .........
Those who sing this prayer to Hanuman,
Would live in the land of Vishnu and attain salvation".
The significance of Sri Hanuman's life for modern man and for millennia to come, is summed up by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda in his message from Hindu Fasts and Festivals, when he said, "There are many who want wealth in return for their services. Some do not want wealth, but they cannot resist name and fame. Others do not want any of these, but they want approbation. Still others want nothing, but they boast of their deeds. Hanuman was above all these. This is why he is recognised as an ideal Karma Yogi and an unsurpassed adept in Bhakti.
His life is full of object lessons. Everyone should try his best to follow the noble example of Sri Hanuman".
Sri Hanuman is viewed as the ideal combination of strength, heroic initiative, assertive excellence, loving emotional devotion or Bhakti and an indomitable passion to serve Lord Rama. Sri Hanuman symbolises the human excellence of inner control, faith and service to a cause – a cause for spiritual illumination. Are not these qualities quickly waning in the present age? Let us all try to emulate these valiant qualities of Sri Hanuman so as to maintain and defend the path of righteousness, Dharma, truth, justice, Bhakti and spiritual illumination – the goal of human life.