Hanuman Jayanti - Birthday of Hanuman - Friday, October 16th
(Hanuman Chalisa - Text and Audio Attached)
One of Lord Vishnu's avatars (incarnations) is Rama, who was created to destroy Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka. In order to aid Rama, Lord Brahma commanded some gods and goddesses to take the avatar of 'Vanaras' or monkeys. Indra, the god of war and weather, was reincarnated as Bali; Surya, the sun god as Sugriva; Vrihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, as Tara, and Pavana, the god of wind, was reborn as Hanuman, the wisest, swiftest and strongest of all the monkeys.
Hanuman, the mighty monkey that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces. Hanuman is honored as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. Hanuman's tale in the epic Ramayana - where he is assigned the responsibility to locate Rama's wife Sita abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.
Hanuman is known for its astounding ability to inspire and equip a reader with all the ingredients needed to face ordeals and conquer obstructions in the way of the world.
On Tuesdays and in some cases, Saturdays, many people keep fast in honor of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is a common faith among Indians to chant the name of Hanuman or sing his hymn ("Hanuman Chalisa" - See attached) and proclaim "Bajrangbali Ki Jai" — "victory to thy thunderbolt strength". Once every year Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman temples are among the most common public shrines found in India.
The story of the birth of Hanuman goes thus: Vrihaspati had an attendant called Punjikasthala, who was cursed to assume the form of a female monkey — a curse that could only be nullified if she would give birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Reborn as Anjana, she performed intense austerities to please Shiva, who finally granted her the boon that would cure her of the curse.
When Agni, the god of fire, gave Dasharath, the king of Ayodhya, a bowl of sacred dessert to share among his wives so they may have divine children, an eagle snatched a part of the pudding and dropped it where Anjana was meditating, and Pavana, the god of wind delivered the drop to her outstretched hands. After she took the divine dessert, she gave birth to Hanuman. Thus Lord Shiva incarnated as a monkey, and was born as Hanuman to Anjana, by the blessings of Pavana, who thus became Hanuman's godfather.
The birth of Hanuman released Anjana from the curse. Before she returned to heaven, Hanuman asked his mother about his life ahead. She assured him that he would never die, and said that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would be his food. Mistaking the glowing sun as his food, the divine baby leapt for it. Indra struck him with his thunderbolt and hurled him down to earth. But Hanuman's godfather, Pavana carried him to the nether world or 'Patala'. As he departed from the earth, all life panted for air, and Brahma had to beg him to return. In order to appease him they conferred a lot of boons and blessings on his foster child that made Hanuman invincible, immortal and super powerful.
Hanuman selected Surya, the sun god as his preceptor, and approached him with the request to teach the scriptures. Surya agreed and Hanuman became his disciple, but had to face his constantly moving guru by traversing the sky backwards at equal pace, while taking his lessons. Hanuman's phenomenal concentration took him only 60 hours to master the scriptures. Surya considered the manner in which Hanuman accomplished his studies as his tuition fees, but when Hanuman requested him to accept something more than that, the sun god asked Hanuman to assist his son Sugriva, by being his minister and compatriot.