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
  • 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