Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hanumana - The Epic Hero

"Buddhirbalam yasho dhairyam nirbhayatvam arogataa ajaadyam vaakpatutvanca hanumatsmaranaat bhavet |"
"बुद्धिर्बलं  यशो  धैर्यं  निर्भयत्वं  अरोगता  अजाडयम्   वाक्पटत्वं  च  हनुमत् स्मरणात  भवेत्  |"

The unique qualities of Hanumana are mentioned in this famous couplet. The very chanting of His name is sufficient to act as a talisman against all ills of mankind.

Buddhi, his sharp intellect coupled with common sense and wisdom is exemplified in many instances in the Ramayanam. His tackling the various obstacles while crossing the ocean to Lanka, in his introducing himself to Mother Sita, in his dialogue with Ravana urging him to take the path of surrender to Rama, each of these instances show Hanumana’s keen intelligence, alert mind, sharp wit and sound common sense.

The balam or strength possessed by Him, be it physical, mental, intellectual or spiritual was in abundance.

Yashah or renown, fame is established by Hanumana by succeeding in his mission. He not only established his renown as an indomitable warrior but also the name and fame of Rama.

Dhairyam or courage he possessed is in a superlative order and instills that courage in to every devotee who recalls his name.

Nirbhayatvam or fearlessness is another quality which is infused by Hanuman into the hearts of his devotees. He himself is a symbol of fearlessness.

Arogata or good health, freedom from sickness is synonymous with the very name of Hanumana. Physical illness, mental fatigue or spiritual depression is completely eliminated by remembering Him. The fact that he brought special herbs from distant mountains to cure stricken warriors in the battle indicates his inherent healing powers.

Ajaadyam is freedom from fatigue, sluggishness, lethargy. He rouses the down hearted, prompts them into action and instills vitality energizing the tired or fatigued minds.

Vakpatutvam, exceptional communication skills, the quality of rhetoric are powers of Hanumana’s oratory skills. How he won over Rama himself in their very first meeting, inspired confidence in the heart of Sita, extolling the qualities of Rama to Vibhishana and silently convincing him to seek refuge in Rama are all clear indications of Hanumana’s ‘vakpatutvam’.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Durga Devi- The Mother of the Universe

 Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. She is worshiped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures.

The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini," which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Thus, Hindus believe that goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.

There are many incarnations of Durga: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, Rajeswari. Durga incarnated as the united power of all divine beings, who offered her the required physical attributes and weapons to kill the demon "Mahishasur".

Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions. Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire/ ‘Iccha Shakti’ (the moon), the right eye represents action/ ‘Kriya Shakti’ (the sun) and the central eye knowledge/ ‘Jnana Shakti’ (fire).

The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion, symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego. Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees:  "Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears".