New Delhi: Hanuman Jayanti is a special occasion for Hindus. The occasion has a special meaning for them. Hanuman led the army of Rama to Lanka where the lord defeated and killed the demon king Ravana to establish dharma.
Devotees visit temples on this day to worship and celebrate Lord Hanuman and seek his blessings and protection. Lord Hanuman, also known as Pawanputra or Bajrang Bali, represents strength and prosperity. He is considered the 11th part-incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Rituals in Hanuman worship as per Puranas
He is the son Pavan (also known as Anil, Vyān, Vāta and Tanun, all meaning air or wind), and Queen Anjani.
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on different days in different places. Most devotees apply tilaka and vermilion on the murti (idol sanctified by mantras to invoke the god).
The Uttara Kanda Ramayana has it that Hanuman was once amused to see Sita apply sindoor on her forehead. When asked, Sita said this was for the well-being of Lord Rama, her husband. Hanuman thought if a bit of sindoor could do so much good to his lord, applying a lot of it all over the body would be miraculously good for Lord Rama. As he went about applying sindoor all over his body, Rama ran into him and laughed. Hanuman explained why he was doing it. Lord Rama was so pleased with the explanation that He said whoever offered sindoor to Hanuman would get Lord Rama’s blessings as well. That started the ritual of applying sindoor to the Hanuman murti.
This year, Hanuman Jayanti has coincided with Good Friday, which signifies the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ. This makes the day holy according to multiple belief systems.
Variations in the worship
In Hindi-speaking areas, devotees recite Hanuman Chalisa, which is in Awadhi, remembering Lord Hanuman.
In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Margazhi (Dhanu) in the famous Hanuman temples of Nanganallur, Namakkal, Suchindram, Thrikkaviyoor and Alathiyoor.
In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the occasion is celebrated by diksha (a guru giving a shishya a guru mantra) of 41 days, beginning on Chaitra Purnima and concluding on the tenth day of the Krishna Paksha in Vaishaka.
In Maharashtra, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day (pūrnima) of Chaitra.
According to some panchāng, the birthday of Hanuman is on the chaturdashi of Ashvin while, according to others, it is on the full moon day in the shukla paksha of Chaitra.
On this day in a Hanuman temple, spiritual discourses begin at dawn since Lord Hanuman was born at sunrise. During the time of birth, the spiritual discourses are halted and prasad is distributed to everyone.
Spiritual discourses are organised in most of the Hindu temples on this day. Lord Hanuman is considered the most powerful being in all the lokas (realms).
Lord Hanuman was celibate all his life although there is a fable that he sired a son Makaradhwaja who was born of his sweat. According to the fable, after Hanuman burned down the whole of Lanka, he bathed in the Indian Ocean, where a drop of his sweat was devoured by a makara (crocodile), which gave birth to Makaradhwaja.
Worshippers abstain from sex on Hanuman Jayanti.
Hanuman idols are offered janeu, the holy thread worn by Hindu men, especially Brahmin men.
This day is remembered as the extreme journey Lord Hanuman had to undertake to meet Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman is considered Lord Rama’s most loyal servant and devotee.
Hanuman outside India
Lord Hanuman is worshipped by Hindus in Nepal, too.
An 85-ft tall statue of Lord Hanuman is located in the Carapichaima village of Trinidad where indentured migrants from India, mostly from Bihar, brought this part of the Indian culture.
Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, the US, and China house temples of Lord Hanuman, too, where small populations of Hindus offer worship on the occasion.