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Devdutt Pattanaik’s View of The Ancient Hanuman Chalisa

In the book "My Hanuman Chalisa", Pattanaik seeks to demystify the aura that shrouds the ancient chant for the readers

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Hanuman Chalisa
Shri Hanuman Chalisa. Wikimedia
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  • Hanuman Chalisa and its deeper significance
  • Author Devdutt Pattnaik’s take on the sublimity of Hanuman Chalisa
  • Hanuman Chalisa as the most powerful expression of Hinduism

July 17, 2017: Some believe Hanuman, the name almost a personalization of strength and tenacity is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman Chalisa is a devotional hymn dedicated to Bajrang Bali by the Great Indian poet, philosopher and saint Shri Goswami Tulsidas. Written in Awadhi, it is the most powerful expression of the essence of Hinduism. It consists of 40 verses applauding the mighty and devoted Hanuman Ji.

Hanuman has attained immortality for his love and devotion of Lord Sri Ram. His name is intrinsically knitted with the glory and honour of Ram. The verses encompass birth, adventures, duty and glory, to the ideas of death and rebirth writes Devdutt Pattanaik.

“I have always avoided the academic approach, as scholars are too busy seeking “the” truth while I am interested in expanding “my” truth”. Pattnaik reaches out for a deeper significance of the self.

Also Read: Here is why in Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is believed to be the Epitome of Strength and Energy!

Pattanaik opinionates that, in Ramayana, Ram exemplifies dharma. Ravana stands for adharma. Hanumanji chooses dharma over adharma. Good over evil and chaos. In the north are the humans (nara) in Ayodhya, led by sages (Rishis), discover their divine potential (Brahmana), which is the essence of Vedic wisdom. In the south, beyond the sea, on the island of Lanka are the demons (rakshasas) led by Ravana, son of a Rishi (Vaishrava, son of Pulastya), who uses Vedic knowledge for power, and fails to internalize Vedic wisdom. In between, live the monkeys (vanaras).

Pattanaik writes that words like “north” and “south” in the Ramayana should be read metaphorically, because Vedic thought is all about the mind, and seeks to apprise how we ‘see’ the world. The characters Ram, Ravana and Hanuman act as metaphors. The Ramayana takes place in the landscape of our mind. Ram is a manifestation of Dharma. Similarly, Ravana stands for adharma. Hanuman, from amongst all the monkeys, makes the journey towards Ram. The Rishis whom Ram preserve make their journey from north to empower and enlighten the hungry and the weak. Ram of Ayodhya encounters vanars or monkey people while journeying towards the north in Kishkinda. Ram of Ayodhya moves south where he encounters vanars or monkey people in Kishkinda (Deccan plateau) and then rakshasas in the far south.

“The hungry and the frightened seek to combat and conquest, hence Vijay — victory where someone is defeated. The wise seek a different kind of victory, Jai — where no one is defeated, where the self is able to conquer its own hunger and fear to acknowledge, appreciate, even accommodate the other. Both Jai and Vijay seem to mean the same thing, “hail” or “victory”, but there is a nuance in the meaning, the preference for internal victory in the case of Jai over external victory in the case of Vijay. This Jai is what we want for Hanuman, and from Hanuman, as we read the Hanuman Chalisa.” (book extract)

In the book “My Hanuman Chalisa”, Pattanaik seeks to demystify the aura that shrouds the ancient chant for the readers. To make it accessible to the contemporary readers of the age.

– prepared by Puja Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter @pujas1994

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.