The term ‘Panchamukhi’ denotes Lord Panchamukha Anjaneya. ‘Pancha’ is number 5, ‘Mukha’ means face and Anjaneya is another name of the mighty God Hanuman. ‘Panchamukhi’ thus refers to the five-faced Lord Anjaneya. He is regarded principally as a savior God, who can protect devotees from all forms of distress and hardships in life.
Anjaneya, the great Lord
Anjaneya is a unique God of the Hindu pantheon. Also known as Maruthi, he is a great devotee of Rama, the celebrated incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rama is believed to always dwell in the heart of Anjaneya, and hence, this devotee is often referred to as Rama Baktha Anjaneya (Rama’s devotee Anjaneya). He was born as the son of the monkey chieftain Kesari and his spouse Anjana Devi, and was called as such, for Anjaneya simply means ‘Son of Anjana’. He is also believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, born by the grace of Vayu, the Wind God. Thus, Anjaneya has in himself the divine aspects of both the supreme Gods, Vishnu and Shiva, and also the immense might of Vayu. Hanuman is a monkey-faced God and remains as a rare combination of strength, courage, intelligence, and humility.
Panchamukha Anjaneya is an amazing aspect of Lord Hanuman. In this form, the Lord is adorned with 5 faces. Apart from his normal monkey face, he also has here, the horse-face of Lord Hayagriva, the lion-face of Lord Narasimha, the boar-face of Lord Varaha and the eagle-face of Garuda. Combining with Vishnu’s Avatars like Hayagriva, Narasimha and Varaha, and with his powerful mount Garuda, Panchamukha Anjaneya, thus, remains a great union of the divine energies of Vishnu and Hanuman.
Legend of Panchamukhi
There is an interesting legend about the advent of this unique form.
At the height of the terrible war between Rama and Ravana, Mahiravana, the brother of the demon king played a trick, carried away Rama and Lakshmana and imprisoned them in the netherworld. In order to overcome the wizardry of Mahiravana and destroy him, it is said that Hanuman had to put out five flames, which were burning around him in different directions at the same time. Hence, he combined in himself the facial forms of Hayagriva, Narasimha, Varaha and Garuda, extinguished the flames, and killed the demon and recued Rama and Lakshmana.
The Hanumath Prakaranam in Sri Vidyarnavatantram also refers to this Anjaneya form, as having five faces and ten hands and holding different weapons in them.
It is also said that the 17th century saint Sri Raghavendra Swamy did severe penance on the banks of river Tungabadhra towards Hanuman and the pleased Lord appeared before him as Panchamukhi, the five-headed God, in the combined form of Varaha, Narasimha, Hayagriva, Garuda and Anjaneya. The place, which is near the sacred town of Mantralayam in the state of Andhra Pradesh is now known as Panchamukhi, where a Panchamukhi Anjaneya swamy temple has been constructed.
Blessings from the Five Divine Faces
It is believed that each of the 5 faces of the Panchamukhi is uniquely propitious and can bestow people with immense blessings.
Panchamukha Anjaneya Homa
AstroVed is organizing a Panchamukha Anjaneya Homa, a special Fire Lab dedicated to this unique five-faced Lord Hanuman, on Saturday, May 19, 2018. People may take benefit out of it by taking part in this auspicious ritual and getting the blessings of the powerful God. The grace of the Lord can offer them protection against planetary afflictions and bestow success in all aspects of life.