Hanuman Chalisa: An ode to devotion, an antidote to fear

Hanuman Chalisa: An ode to devotion, an antidote to fear

Smitha Rajan

Hanuman Chalisa is one of the most popular devotional hymns of Hinduism that finds a mention even in films and music. But, few know of the many stories and secrets behind the 40 verses (chalisa) written in praise of Lord Hanuman.- the devotee of Lord Ram and the son of the wind god, Vayu.

 

The Hanuman Chalisa was composed by Saint Tulsidas and isin praise of Lord Hanuman, who is seen as the destroyer of all obstacles (Sankat Mochan).

 

Also known as Anjaniputra (son of Anjani, his mother), Lord Hanuman is considered to be the foremost devotee of Lord Ram. The Hanuman Chalisa espouses the strength of faith and devotion and the need to surrender to it. 

 

The hymn is written in Awadhi, a Hindi dialect. It expresses in detail the many qualities of Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman, the Monkey God, is also among the most popular deities of Hinduism and is depicted with a face and body that is red/orange in colour.

 

What Hanuman Chalisa Entails

 

The hymns describe in detail the Monkey God, his physical traits, his virtue, and the story of his life with Lord Rama and his search for Sita. It describes Lord Hanuman as the ocean of wisdom and virtue. He is referred to as Lord Rama's emissary and Son of the Wind. Lord Hanuman’s strength is compared to that of a thunderbolt;  and his skin is described as golden.  He wears beautiful earrings and has curly hair. He is referred to as wise, virtuous, and clever. The Hanuman Chalisa says disease, illness, ghosts, and evil spirits cannot touch a devotee of Lord Hanuman.

 

Benefits of Hanuman Chalisa

 

Reciting the Hanuman Chalisa is said to help devotees conquer their insecurities and anxieties. Hence, it is often seen as an antidote for fear. Several popular Hindi films have portrayed those venturing into the unknown loudly chanting the Hanuman Chalisa in an attempt to conquer their fear. 

 

It is common for those who suffer from nightmares to keep a book of hymns under their pillows for a peaceful sleep.

 

Many devotees also make it a point to recite the Hanuman Chalisa before a journey in the strong belief that it keeps them safe. It is also said to protect from illness and adversities. Those who regularly chant the Hanuman Chalisa overcome fear and doubts.

The Hanuman Chalisa is usually recited either in the morning or evening after a bath. But those who feel anxious and doubtful often recite verses of the hymns irrespective of the time of the day.

 

According to Amazon in the year 2019, Hanuman Chalisa was the most requested song on Alexa. It was requested more than four times in a minute.

 

Things to know about Hanuman

 

  • Also known as Anjaneya, little Hanuman was struck by Lord Indira’s thunderbolt as he mistook the Sun for a ball and went to capture it. The thunderbolt struck Lord Hanuman’s jaw (hanu) and hence the name.

 

  • As a mischievous child, Hanuman was cursed to forget his great powers such as flying and jumping across great distances. Later, he was reminded of it by Jambavan, the king of bears, and that is how he reached Lanka crossing the huge ocean to locate Sita.

 

  • He is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

 

  • Lord Hanuman is among the Chiranjeevi's (immortals) of Hinduism and cannot be injured by the most powerful weapons including the Brahmastra.

 

Apart from Hinduism, Hanuman is also a revered figure in the Buddhist religion, and temples devoted to God can be found in many South-Eastern countries.

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