GAUTENG SPIRITUAL TASK TEAM: “Striving for excellence through unity and harmony” AUM SAI RAM HANUMAN JAYANTHI 1. Background to Festival (Why is it celebrated) Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman, the son of Vayu- God of winds - and Anjani Devi. One of the outstanding figures that enters the holy pages of Ramayana and strides across like a colossus, is Hanuman. See how at the command of Ramachandra he crossed the ocean. He had no care for life or death! He was a perfect master of his senses and wonderfully wise. You have now to build your life on this great ideal of personal service. Through that, all the other ideals will gradually manifest in life. Hanuman is the embodiment of the four yogas. His will, emotions, intellect and actions were perfectly refined and grounded in spirituality. Hanuman, an ancient ideal, is therefore highly relevant to modern man. Festivals like Hanuman Jayanthi are designed to remind people about the purpose of human life. Devotees who participate in such festivals should learn valuable lessons from it. Absorb as much of the teachings as you can during your stay. Do not forget what has been taught. After ruminating over what you have heard, try to put into practice what has been taught. Always contemplating on God, make your lives meaningful. 2. How should it be celebrated? Singing in praise of Hanuman. Recite the " Hanuman Chalisa " It is one of the most sacred books of the Indian Mythology. This book describes the devotion of Sri Hanuman towards Sri Ram. Hanuman Chalisa, the boon of Tulsidas, will find a place in every home where it can act as a panacea for all problems, be they physical, mental or spiritual. The best way to celebrate Hanuman Jayanthi is to instill Hanuman’s devotion and character in all of us. You should pray to the Lord to give you the strength to bear all troubles and face all difficulties. If you have even an atom of Grace of the Lord, a mountain of troubles can be overcome. Chaitanya declared: "If a fraction of the time that is spent in worrying about wealth, provisions, wife, children, friends and business is devoted to contemplation on the feet of the Divine, one can face the messengers of death without fear and cross the Ocean of Samsara!" 3. Inner significance & symbolism of festival "For all the mighty deeds done by Hanuman and great help rendered by him, Rama asked him, 'Hanuman! What reward can I give you? Apart from expressing my gratitude to you, I cannot give you any fitting recompense. The only way I can show you my gratitude to you is that whenever you think of me at anytime in your life, I shall appear before you.' Rama was showing his gratitude to Hanuman in this manner. This indicates that primary duty of man is to be grateful all his life to the person who has done him a good turn." Sai Baba. SS. 5/95. p. 114 Hanuman represents the ideal of service, so on the other he represents leonine courage, striking the whole world with awe. He has not the least hesistation in sacrificing His life for the good of Rama. Carrying out of Rama's behest is the one vow of his life! Such wholehearted devotion is wanted.' Hanuman is said to be Chiranjivi (immortal) and is present in the world even today. He is the link between the devotees and God, for, as instructed by the Lord, he serves, protects and inspires the servants of God. In the epics of no other country is there a character so powerful, learned and philosophic as Hanuman. May we always proclaim, "Bajrangbally Ki Jai", victory to Hanumanji who has the strength of the thunderbolt. Once Lord Rama asked Hanuman, "How do you contemplate on Me?" "At the physical level, You are my Master and I am Your servant. At the mental level, I am a spark of thy Divine Self. At the Atmic level, You and I are one," said Hanuman. Pleased with Hanuman’s reply, Lord Rama presented him with a pearl necklace, which was given to Mother Sita by her father, King Janaka, at the time of her marriage. Hanuman held this very valuable necklace in his hand, began to remove all the pearls one by one from the necklace, and kept it near his ear for some time and then after biting each one of them, threw them away. Sita was surprised to see Hanuman behaving thus. She thought that Hanuman had not given up his monkey traits. Rama knew the intention behind this act of Hanuman. However, in order to make Sita understand this, He asked, "Hanuman, why are you biting and throwing away such precious pearls?" Hanuman replied, "O Lord, I am examining whether I could listen to Your name in the pearls. Since I could not hear, I am throwing away. The pearl is no better than a stone if there is no Rama Nama in it. I want only You." Listening to this statement of Hanuman, Rama offered Himself by embracing Hanuman. The inner meaning of this is Rama is where Hanuman is and vice-versa. Hanuman is one who realized the unity of the individual and God. Consequently, Hanuman was always in a state of bliss. Hanuman is given various appellations such as Santhudu, Gunavanthudu, Balavantadu (one of peace, virtues and strength). He derived his strength from the Divine name of Lord Rama. Many people confine the Divine Name only to the lips but Hanuman chanted the name of Rama from the depth of his heart. Poison will remain poison even if it is put in a precious vessel studded with diamonds, pearls, emeralds etc. The divine ambrosia will not lose its taste even if it is put in a brass vessel. Likewise, it is the purity of heart, not the external appearance that matters…… SWAMI’S DIVINE DISCOURSE March 25, 2001 Prashanthi Nilayam 4. How does it affect us in our spiritual transformation? There is unlimited power enclosed within us. When all that energy is directed towards the worship of God, it is called Bhakti or Devotion. This is exemplified by Sri Hanuman. If that energy is utilised for our selfish interests, it can result in downfall and destruction, as exemplified by Ravana. If we treat our potentialities with indifference they fritter away in all directions and are completely wasted. When on being pleased with Hanuman`s achievements, Sri Ram embraces him; in return Hanuman begs only that he may remain Sri Ram`s steadfast devotee. "O Lord, bless me with undying devotion for you, for you are a source of great bliss for me. May I have everlasting love for You!" This alone was the desire of Hanuman. Hanuman`s greatness lies in his complete surrender to the Lord and he merges his own existence in the Lord.. From whatever point of view we see, we find that Sri Hanuman`s bhakti or devotion was so perfect that it culminated in advaitic God realisation. 5. What does Swami say about the festival? Hanuman’s Greatness Hanuman is the brightest example of such a realized soul. When he first presented himself before Rama and offered his services , Rama turned to Lakshmana and said “Brother ! Listen ! Notice how Hanuman has mastered the Vedas. His speech is saturated with the humility and dedication which the Rig Veda embodies, the retentiveness and reverence that the Yajur Veda promotes and the intuitive vision that the Sama Veda grants. Hanuman knows all the Scriptual texts. He is a genuine devotee. Sugriva is fortunate to have him as his minister, Hanuman, whose thoughts, words and deeds are offered to God.” When these three are in perfect harmony, the person wins the grace of God, as Hanuman succeeded in securing.………Sathya Sai Speaks….Volume 19 6. References & prescribed readings on the festivals 1. Sathya Sai Speaks – various volumes. 2. Rama Katha Rasavahini 3. Summer Showers 4. Swami’s Discourses on Rama Navami. 7. Integrated Nature of festival (how does festival apply to seva, youth, ladies, ehv wing etc) We should all follow Hanuman’s faith and devotion and serve selflessly. We should persevere and strive for excellence, no matter what the obstacles may be.