CHITRA POURNAMI: HANUMAN JAYANTI
The full moon day in the lunar month of Chaitra or Chitra is known as Chitra Pournami. This year 2019, it falls on Friday 19th April. As is usual with all Hindu festivals and special days, this day is closely connected with the planets especially the sun and moon. Astrologically speaking on this day the sun will be in the sign of Aries and the moon in the sign of Libra. Chitra, the brightest star at this time will be transiting. This day is said to be the birthday of Chitragupta, the assistant of Yama, the Lord of Death. He is the one who keeps a very secret account of all the good and bad karmas of every single person in the world. He does not miss anything either good or bad that the person has either thought or done. In fact he is the CCTV camera kept by Yama in each human being. Everything is recorded. His very name suggests this. “Chitra” means picture and “gupta” means secret. So you see that our ancients were fully aware of the necessity of getting secret pictures of everyone’s thoughts and deeds long before the modern generation started using secret cameras. In fact we had gone one step ahead since Chitragupta was fully aware of every single thought and not merely actions!
As usual with all Hindu stories, his origin is most interesting and detailed. Once Indra, Lord of the gods had an argument with his teacher Brihaspati and he chose to ignore his teacher’s commands. Brihaspati immediately retired from the scene and went into seclusion and Indra started making many mistakes. He went and begged his guru to return. Brihaspati asked him to make a pilgrimage to the earth and pray to Lord Shiva. He made a Shiva Linga and started to worship it with a golden lotus on the day of Chitra Pournami by which his bad karmas were absolved.
Coming back to the astrological significance, the ancient Hindus knew that the moon being closest to us has the most effect on our minds. This can easily be seen in the rise and fall of the tides depending on the pull of the moon. Our bodies consist of 72% water so you can imagine how much pull the moon will have on us. Of all the lunar days, the day of the full moon and new moon have the greatest significance. The full moon promotes creativity and positive sentiments and new moon negativity.
On this day as has been said the sun is in an exalted position in Aries and this can bring the most beneficial effects on the earth. This day has been linked with Chitragupta, the keeper of our karmas because if we worship God through him and beg him to remove our past bad karmas, there is every possibility of them being reduced since both sun and moon are in favorable positions and both have positive effects on our minds. So the scientific fact is that the influence of these planets on this day when they are both in such favorable positions, will help us to erase our negative tendencies and acquire positive thought vibrations. As is usual in Hinduism an interesting story is always woven round the dry scientific facts to help our minds from wavering. The whole idea is to help us dissolve our past negative karmas as well as to liberate oneself from committing further negative karmas. If our prayers are sincere the high energy of the planets will help us in our resolve to not commit negative actions in the future and it will also help to dissolve our past negativity.
This day is also celebrated as the birthday of Hanuman - one of the most lovable gods in the Hindu pantheon. As we know he is the greatest devotee of Lord Rama. He was born six days after the birth of his beloved Lord, Rama. Chitra Pournami comes six days after Rama Navami or the birthday of Lord Rama. Thus we see that people pray to Hanuman to take away their bad karmas on this day which has a deep astrological significance as we have seen.
Hanuman’s mother was an apsara (celestial dancer) called Anjana who was cursed to be born on earth. She was redeemed from the curse by giving birth to Hanuman. She did intense tapas to Lord Shiva for twelve years and he blessed her with a child who was a partial incarnation of himself. Hanuman is also known as the son of Vayu. The story goes that while Anjana was performing tapas, King Dasaratha of Ayodhya was also performing a ritual for getting a son. As the end of the yajna he received some sweet pudding called “payasam” to be shared by his three wives that eventually led to the birth of his four sons, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna. As fortune would have it a bird snatched a small bit of the payasam. While it was flying over the forest where Anjana was just finishing her tapas, the wind god Vayu took some or it and dropped it into her open hands and she immediately consumed it and was impregnated with the divine nectar. This interestingly makes Hanuman, Rama’s brother. Another story goes that when Anjana and her husband Kesari were praying to Shiva for a child, Shiva instructed the wind God Vayu to transfer his own energy into Anjana’s womb and hence Hanuman is known as Vayuputra or the son of Vayu.
It is indeed interesting that Hanuman was born on Chitra Pournami which as we have seen has all astrological benefits for controlling our mind and shaking off our negative tendencies and acquiring positive tendencies.
Hanuman symbolises the highest potential the human mind can achieve. His name gives a clue to his character. It is composed of the two Sanskrit words, “han” and “man”. “Hanan” means to annihilate and “man” stands for mind, in Sanskrit. According to “yoga”, the body is controlled by the mind; Interestingly Hanuman who had perfect control over his mind has a most developed body. Because of this he is known as “Bajarangabali” which means one whose body is like the thunderbolt and whose movements are like lightning. He is so strong that he can move mountains and so agile that he can leap across the sea. The twelve postures of Yoga, known as “surya namaskar”, or salutation to the sun, are supposed to have been composed by Hanuman in honour of his celestial Guru – Surya -the Sun God. His father, Vayu, the god of wind taught him the science of breath control known as “pranayama”, which is essential for controlling the mind.
Hanuman is an example of the perfect shishya or disciple - totally focussed, hardworking, determined, brilliant, yet humble. He never flaunted his brilliance and scholarship but always sat at the feet of his Lord, Rama - ever the humble servant. He had no desire for name and fame. Even though he lived in a palace with Rama, he preferred the solitude of the mountains and forests and never indulged his senses but lived like a hermit – the supreme Brahmachari - celibate. He had perfect control of his mind which was achieved by his disciplined lifestyle and by his strict adherence to celibacy and selfless devotion. He controlled his mind through absolute faith in his deity. Every event in his life whether good or bad was considered as a gift from his master and was accepted without question. His life is a classic example to all disciples how they should behave in front of their Guru. It is also the perfect example of a true devotee of God.
He was also the ideal karma yogi – one who performed all actions without expectation of personal benefit, dedicating the results to his Lord, Rama. All his feats were for the sake of others, never for himself. He chose not to marry and have a family of his own so that he could devote himself entirely to the service of his master.
The one thing we can ask of him on this day is to uplift our spiritual qualities and give us unswerving devotion to God by which alone we can conquer ourselves as well as remove the bad karmas of our past!
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Vayu putraaya deemahi
Tanno Hanumath prochodayaath
I contemplate Anjaneya
I meditate on the son of Vayu
May he give me enlightenment
Sri Hanuman Lila is the first book in English
which portrays the character of the Monkey God
and his exploits from birth to the present age...
“With spellbinding luminosity, master storyteller Vanamali propels the reader into transcendental realms of inspiring valor and sublime devotion. With illuminating authenticity, Vanamali, again and again, showers us with the ambrosia of Sri Hanuman’s devotion to Lord Rama.” (Arvind Bruce Burger, author of Esoteric Anatomy: The Body as Consciousness )
“Vanamali Devi has done a beautiful and inspiring job of making Hanuman a palpable life, worthy of love, devotion, and respect.” (Nayaswami Kriyananda, author and swami of the Giri (Mountain) branch of the ancient Swami Order )
“Vanamali’s work is Universal and helpful for people in all walks of life.” (Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj )
An interpretive look at the stories of Hanuman, one of the most beloved gods of the Hindu pantheon
• Contains 36 of the most important Hanuman stories with commentary on spiritual lessons, yogic practices, and Vedic astrology
• Reveals how Hanuman symbolizes the human mind and the highest potential it can achieve
• Explains how Hanuman has the ability to bestow strength and devotion
Best known for his role in the Ramayana, Hanuman’s playful nature, amazing physical powers, and selfless devotion to Lord Rama have made him one of the most beloved gods in the Hindu pantheon. As a monkey, he symbolizes the ever-restless human mind. He teaches us that, though everyone is born an animal, anyone can attain the heights of spiritual evolution through perseverance and ardent discipline. Having perfected his mind through bhakti (selfless devotion) to obtain his powers, Hanuman embodies the highest potential we can achieve.
In this book, Vanamali recounts 36 legendary Hanuman stories--from his birth to his adventures in the Ramayana--and reveals the spiritual lessons, yogic practices, and Vedic astrology aspects they contain. Vanamali shows how Hanuman has the ability to bestow selfless devotion and strength to his devotees and that following his example is the surest path to attracting the blessing of Rama.
Forward by Sri Krishna Das
1. Mahavira (Historic Hanuman)
2. Anjaneya (Son of Anjana)
3. Kesari Putra (Son of Kesari)
4. Vayu Putra (The Son of Vayu)
5. Maruti (Flight of the Sun)
6. Kesari-Nandana (Hanuman's Education)
7. Jitendriya (Conqueror of the Senses)
8. Sugriva Mitram (Friend of Sugriva)
9. Ramadasa (Famous Encounter)
10. Pranadeva (Killing of Vaali)
11. Ramaduta (Messenger of Rama)
12. Sundara (Sundara Kanda)
13. Pavana Putra (Search for Sita)
14. Sankata Mochana (Dispeller of Sorrow)
15. Bajarangabali (The Burning of Lanka)
16. Shoora ( The Faithful Servant)
17. Mahatman (Ravana's Council of War)
18. Bhaktavatsala (Rama Gives Sanctuary)
19. Mahatejasvin ( The Seige of Lanka)
20. Vatamaj (War Continues)
21. Daityakulantaka (Kumbahakarna)
22. Lakshmana Pranadata (Saviour of Lakshmana)
23. Kapindra (End of Indrajit)
24. Mahabala (Journey to Patala)
25. Rudrasya-soonu (Fight to the Finish)
26. Virupa (End of Ravana)
27. Uttaman ( Trial by Fire)
28. Sahasravadana (Return to Ayodhya)
29. Shubangana (Dharma Triumphs)
30. Verra (Sita Abandoned)
31. Ramapriyan (The Ramayana)
32. Lokabandhu (The Ashwamedha Yoga)
33. Tapaswin (Dwapara Yuga)
34. Bhima (Mahabharata)
35. Shubham (Kali Yuga)
36. Mangala Murti (The Auspicious Form)
Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
Names of Hanuman
Names of Other Characters
Light of Consciousness, Autumn 2010
by Mataji Devi Vanamali
Illustration by Will Hobbs
Long time Buffet readers, with good memories, may recall my affection for the Hindu deity Hanuman. Back in 2006, when The Magical Buffet was still in its monthly e-zine format, I wrote an article about him. Hanuman features greatly in the Hindu epic “Ramayana” where he plays a major role in helping reunite Rama with his wife Sita, who had been kidnapped by the villain Ravana.
A defining moment for Hanuman, in my opinion, is when confronted by people who question Hanuman’s motives for his selfless devotion to Rama, Hanuman tears open his chest to reveal Rama and Sita enshrined within. Back in 2006 I said, “When I think of Hanuman I ask myself one question, one that I pose to you now. If I tore open my chest, to show the world what was enshrined there, what would everyone see? It’s that question, and more importantly, the answer to that question, that illustrates Hanuman’s importance.” In the past four years I’ve never stopped asking myself that question. (It’s very similar to Lama Willa Miller asking you to consider who you serve in the second week of her book “Everyday Dharma”.)
With that in mind, you’ll understand why I was super excited to get a copy of the book “Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God” by Mataji Devi Vanamali from Inner Traditions. Hinduism is greatly influenced by what regions and countries it’s found in. Also, with texts like the “Ramayana”, there are an infinite number of versions of the tale. As far as I’m aware, there is no bad mojo attached to retelling the “Ramayana”, and in fact, those who do so are blessed. I think encouraging others to read it, also blesses you. So pick up a copy, it’s a great read. I’d recommend this version, it’s very cinematic.
I would also encourage you to pick up a copy of “Hanuman”. Vanamali does all the heavy lifting for you, by meticulously chronicling all the stories of the Monkey God in all their delightful variants. Being a Hanuman fan myself, who enjoyed reading the “Ramayana”, I thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve been calling “the Hanuman-centric” retelling of the “Ramayana” that occurs in the book. For me, this book is like a wonderfully detailed refresher course that also has some new insights on all things Hanuman. However, I think it would also work well for someone who has always wondered about the Hindu monkey deity, but hasn’t wanted to go through assorted religious texts to learn more.
Sri Hanuman Lila Launched
April 20, 2010
Prof. K.V. Thomas, Hon'ble Minister of Agriculture, Food, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution
releases Sri Hanuman Lila to Smt Mallika and Sri Narayanji
Sri Hanuman Lila Released
Sri Ramayana Vidya Peeth, New Delhi,
24 March 2010
Sri Rama Navami
Original Illustrations by Sahadevan
About Vanamali Ashram
Miracle at Vanamali
Shirdi Sai Baba