Hanuman: The Son of Vayu, Wind God
The birth of Lord Hanuman is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanthi. There are many stories about Hanuman’s birth. According to one mythology, he was the son of Vayu, the Wind god, while another claims that his father was Kesari. But there is no dispute about the fact that the apsara, Anjana, who was cursed by a sage to live as a monkey, was his mother. Anjana prayed for 12 years to Lord Shiva and Hanuman was born to her. His birth freed Anjana from her curse. It so happened that Vayu played an important role in this event. Once, King Dasaratha performed a yagna for progeny and he was given prasad which was to be shared among his three wives. But a bird snatched a part of the prasad and flew away with it. However, it dropped the prasad and it fell into the lap of Anjana who was meditating in the forest. Vayu, in the form of the wind, made sure that the prasad fell into her hands. Thus Hanuman came to be known as the son of Vayu. But there is also another version of how Vayu came to be his father. It says that Vayu transferred his male energy to Anjana’s womb.
There are differing opinions about where exactly Hanuman was born. One is Anjaneya hill in Hampi, Karnataka. Anjan Dham in Anjan, a small village in Patna, is another. Anjaneri in Nasik, Maharashtra and Lakshka hill in Churu district, Rajasthan are some of the other places.
How Hanuman Jayanthi is Celebrated
On the day of Hanuman Jayanthi, devotees recite the Hanuman Chalisa as part of the rituals. The Hanuman Chalisa is a hymn to Hanuman. The word ‘chalisa’ comes from the Hindi word ‘chalis’ meaning ‘forty’. The hymn has 40 verses singing praises of Hanuman, hence the name. Many Hindus can recite it from memory. It was composed by Tulsidas, a 16th century poet, also the author of Ramcharitamanas. It is believed that reciting the Hanuman Chalisa regularly can remove obstacles, solve problems and overcome evil forces. Those who are weak and timid in temperament are advised to chant it as it can give them strength and courage, two traits that are associated with Hanuman.
Birthday and Other Special Days of Hanuman
Hanuman was born on a Tuesday though some accounts claim that it is Saturday. Both Tuesday and Saturday are special for Hanuman devotees. Some of them undertake a fast on these days eating fruits or drinking only milk. The term ‘jayanthi’ is derived from Sanskrit and means ‘the one who triumphs in the end’. Birthdays of the gods are often called jayanthis, like Krishna Jayanthi and Hanuman Jayanthi, as they describe the god’s advent in the world usually for a specific purpose. In Hanuman’s case it was to help Lord Rama defeat the forces of evil represented by the demon king, Ravana. All divine incarnations have more or less the same purpose. When the darkness and evil threaten to overcome the world, the gods incarnate to vanquish them. Hanuman himself is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Offerings to Archetype Hanuman
Among the many offerings that people make to the monkey god on Hanuman Jayanthi are betel leaf garlands and butter. The story behind this is that when hanuman told Sita that Rama would rescue her, she was very pleased and plucked a betel leaf from the tree and placed it on his forehead. Then she blessed him with immortality. Butter is believed to cool his body which became heated up after fighting the demons in Lanka.
Praying to Lord Hanuman gives you the strength and confidence to face the trials and tribulations of life which is the first step towards achieving success in all your endeavors. And Hanuman Jayanthi is the best time to invoke his help and blessings.