sabato 7 maggio 2011

Hanuman, the Monkey God

Hanuman - Templum in Cochin - Kerala
The stories of Hanuman, god-monkey strong, brave, loyal devotee of Ram, seventh avatar of Vishnu, are a lot. The Ramayana - great Indian epic poem that tells of the struggle between Rama and Ravana, demon who abducted Sita, the wife of God – reserve him an entire chapter, Sundara Chanda.
As usual the Indian traditions, several versions of the same story. But that is something like this.
The beautiful Apsara (celestial nymph) Punjikasthala because of a curse of  Brihaspati, a sage man to whom she had disobeyed, was embodied in a monkey, Anjana, the daughter of vanara (monkey) Kunjara.
Anjana married Veerakesari, heroic monkey, but they not managed to have a child.
After many prayers, Shiva and Parvati heard the couple and promised them that, with the help of Vayu the God of wind, they would have a strong and faithful son.
According to one tradition, one day picked up the clothes of Anjana, Vayu was fascinated by the beauty of the girl's body. She rebelled him, but Vayu said he would not have touched her and that - like wind – he had already entered into her and the child was conceived so desired. In another tradition, Shiva had indicated to the couple a mango tree whose fruit, once it had been offered them by Vayu, it would conceive a child in the womb of Anjana.
The two went at the mango tree, and after much prayer, the wind had bent a tree branch so as to enable Anjana to catch and eat the fruit that enabled her to conceive Hanuman.In Ramayana of Valmiky it is tell that the King of Ayodhya, Dasaratha, was performing severe austerities and relentless rites for the blessing of a child. Shiva, pleased with his devotion, gave to the king three parties of sacrifical food for his three wives, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi.
But the food of Kaikeyi fell and Vayu, God of wind, flew up to Anjana intent in prayer, she ate the food and conceived Hanuman.
Once the baby was born he was immediately lively and voracious, one day, seeing the sun and thinking it was a fruit he tried to catch it to eat. Indra was very angry for that gesture and struck the child with a thunderbolt fell down. In the fall the God monkey broke his jaw, hence the name Hanuman as hanu in Sanskrit means just jaw. Hanuman is strong, fast and flies like the wind (his father), but due to a curse of Brahma, who chastised him as he disturbed the meditation of some saints,  he is not aware of his own powers until someone else reminds him as did Ram in the Ramayana.
This also teaches us the unlimited power that lies unused within each one of us, just to be aware of them.
Hanuman - considered by some an incarnation of Shiva - is called also Anjaneya, i.e. Anjana’s son and he is celebrated during the Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on full moon day of the month of Chaitra (March-April) and prayer on him is the Hanuman Chalisa.

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