Few years back, after clearing my mind on whether to be an atheist or a believer and if a believer then which faith to believe in, I opted to follow the religion I was born in. However, this blog is not about atheist vs faithful. Here my thoughts pertain to Lord Hanuman, whose birthday will be celebrated by millions of Hindus across the globe this Saturday.
While enunciating his concept of “Karmayoga” Swami Vivekanand explained - "Any religion consists of 3 parts – philosophy, mythology and rituals (or symbols).Philosphy is the essence of every religion; mythology explains and illustrates it by means of the more or less legendary lives of great men, stories and fables of wonderful things and so on. Ritual gives to that philosophy a still more concrete form so that everyone may grasp it. It is easy for men to think that they can understand anything, but when it comes to practical experience, they find that abstract ideas are often very hard to comprehend. Therefore symbols are of great help. From time immemorial symbols have been used by all kinds of religion". I see Hanuman as an embodiment of all 3 elements of Hindu religion which Swami Vivekanand spoke about. For me, Hanuman is personification of positivity.
What image comes to your mind when you come across the word “Hanuman”? For most of people he is a monkey God whose heroic deeds are narrated in Ramayana. Hanuman is shown as a brave warrior, intelligent being and loyal to Rama. Many Hindus worship him as he is seen as a protector from the wrath of "Shani" (God of justice and punishment) Whatever image of Hanuman one forms in his mind is derived from epic Ramayana and other literary works.
For me Hanuman is a personification of various positive human qualities arranged into one. Hanuman is personification of fearlessness, optimism, intellect, ability and willingness to take risks and self discipline. His image reflects the urge of coming out of your comfort zone . He is a symbol of good health, hardwork, youthfulness and security. This infers that worshipping Hanuman means activating all such positive qualities within ourselves, which are attributed to the image of Hanuman.
The best way to worship Hanuman is to experience his qualities in our own self . Hanuman has dedicated his life for worship of Rama. Rama is the sole objective of his life and worshipping him is the priority of Hanuman's life. In the same manner when we think of ourselves experiencing the qualities of Hanuman, we have to find and designate somebody/something as our Rama which should get our highest attention and efforts. As an example, if we take up some cause and devote our life for it then that cause will be as our Rama and then it will be important to us just like Rama has been for Hanuman. Being Hanuman means being focused, being disciplined, being optimist, being energetic and youthful.
Hanuman’s qualities were exhibited to the world by his performances for Rama. He gets happy when somebody praises Rama. Similarly, if we think ourselves as Hanuman, then we have to display our qualities by working for our Rama and for us our Rama might be our job or the cause which we may choose to pursue dedicatedly in life. I don’t expect miracles by pursuing my God, but I do expect to gain inner strength and optimism for the success of my endeavors. I may fail sometimes, but that doesn’t weakens my faith in God, because once you submit yourself to him, you have to accept that whatever happens is only for your very best.