Considering Myself as Ignorant, I Meditate on You, O Pavan Kumar (Hanuman).
Bestow on me Strength, Wisdom and Knowledge, and Remove my Afflictions and Blemishes.
Lord Hanuman is highly adored with butter and betel leaves while performing the puja ceremony. Let’s explore the significance behind these offerings.
They are specially offered to Lord Hanuman as once Mata Sita expressed her gratitude and and blessings to Him by showering the betel leaves upon him. It is said that the betel leaves were the token of appreciation and blessings of Lord Rama and Mata Sita for Hanuman, after winning over Ravana.
Moreover betel leaves are known to be offered to the intellectual one who is well versed with the sacred knowledge of Vedas and shastras. Thus the huge bank of knowledge of Hanuman and his intellect to use that knowledge in every difficulty made him get respect and love from Rama and Sita ji.
At the time of battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, both were trying their best to defeat each other. Unlike the huge chariot of Ravana, Lord Rama was being carried by Hanuman ji. When all the tactics of Ravana failed he thought to attack Hanuman instead of Lord Rama.
As soon as the arrow hit Hanuman ji and wounded him, Lord Rama was unable to see his devotees’s plight and fought vigorously with Ravana. The situation became worse for Ravana and he had to give up. When Lord Rama and Hanuman returned to their camp, Lord Rama himself applied cool butter on Hanuman ji’s wound to cool down his burning wounds.
Following the age old traditions began by Lord Rama and Mata Sita, betel leaves garland and butter are still offered to Lord Hanuman by his devotees, to express their love and respect for Him.
Hanuman is widely revered for his immense devotion and love for Lord Rama and Mata Sita. He ideally defines ‘Dasyabhava’ devotion, which is known for the union of love between the master and servant. One such incident clearly defines the love of Hanuman for his master.
When Lord Rama and Sita ji came back from Sri Lanka after winning over Ravana, lord Rama decided to conduct a grand ceremony. In the celebration he awarded all his well wishers for supporting and showering their love. When Hanuman ji went to Rama for his reward, he immediately hugged him and said that he can never pay for the humble service and devotion of Hanuman. But Mata Sita requested Rama to give something to Hanuman apart from the honour, thus Lord Rama offered him and Sita ji offered him a precious stoned necklace.
As soon as Hanuman took the necklace in his hands, he began to tear it apart and peers into each stone. Everybody was shocked to see the activity of Hanuman and started asking him the reason for breaking the precious gift. Hanuman ji answered that he was looking in each stone to check the presence of lord Rama and Sita ji. If something does not have the presence of his master then it is a waste for him.
To prove the depth of his love for Rama and Sita, Hanuman tears his chest open and everyone could actually see the image of of Rama and Sita in his heart.
After the recent incident where the Bihar board topper ‘Ruby Rai’ could not write about Tulsidas ji. She just wrote ‘Tulsidas ji, pranam’ and left the entire nation shocked. This incident evoked Shubhpuja to make the oblivious youth aware about the ancient sage ‘Goswami Tusidas’ and his revering work.
Goswami Tulsidas ji was born to Atamaram Dube and Hulsi in Rajpur, Uttar Pradesh in 1532 AD. Since birth he has been an unusual being who was born with all the teeth taking almost a year in his mother’s womb. It was said that he was born during the asterism mula (मूल नक्षत्र), which is considered unlucky for the parents. The solution was to either leave the child or not to look at him for eight years.
His mother died after few days of his birth and the father was helpless to support his own son, thus the father abandoned the child. The boy was referred as ‘Rambola’ since his first word after birth was ‘Rama’. A lady named Chuniya, who was the mother-in-law of the midwife who had helped during the birth of the child, took care of him. Yet this could not last for long and she died after 5 years. Now Rambola was left alone and there was no one to take care of him. He became helpless for food and had to beg from door to door.
Later Narharidas, known to be the descendant of Ramanand took Rambola to Ayodhya, where he stayed for about 10 months and then he shifted to Varanasi. He received his spiritual learning at an early age and got the knowledge of Sanskrit grammar, Hindu literature and philosophy, four Vedas, six Vedangas, Jyotisha from his guru Shesha Sanatana at the Panchaganga Ghat in Varanasi. Throughout these years his master and gurus used to narrate him the Ramayana and it became a part of his daily diet.
After coming back to his home town he married Ratnavali in 1583 and had a son named Tarak. Rambola (Tulsidas) was attached to his family and showered his complete love and care upon them. Seeing the intensity of his care once his wife told him that he should shower this love on God and not only on them. Love for God can help him to fulfill the purpose of his life. Soon after hearing such statements from her wife, Tulsidas left his home and went to Prayag after renouncing his grihstha life.
As the destiny had already decided Tulsidas fate; Lord Hanuman had predicted that a saint named Tulsi will recite the Ramayana in Hanuman’s words. Situations were created and as per the similar planetary positions (the day when Shri Rama was born) on Ram Navami, Tulsidas ji began writing the immortal verse- Ramcharitramanas. Tulsidas expressed his own divine feelings and love for his lord using the lyrical poetry. He completed the holy book in 2 years, 7 months and 26 days, on the anniversary of Rama and Sita ji.
Apart from it, Tulsidas ji wrote many other books like Dohavali (573 miscellaneous Doha and Sortha in Braja and Awadhi), Kavitavali (kavittas in Braja), Gitavali (328 Braja songs divided into seven books), Krishnavali (61 Braja songs for Lord Krishna), and many more.
Tusidas was in direct communication with Lord Rama due to his devotion and bhakti for Hanuman ji. Once Tulsidas expressed his ardent desire to have the pratyaksh darshan of Lord rama. Hanuman assured him that someday Lord will come to bless him in person. One day when Tulsidas ji was sitting on the stairs of river Chitrakoot, after taking bath and preparing sandal paste to apply on his forehead, he found two self illuminated people and a lady coming to him and asked him to apply tilak on his forehead. While he was performing the task Lord Hanuman murmured in his ears-
“Chitrkut ke ghaat par bhayee santan ki bhid, Tulsi daas chandan ghise tilak kare raghubir”
Then it dawned on Tulsidas that the person before him is Lord Rama with Lakshman and Sita ji. He immediately feel on their feet and seek their blessings.
It is said that his end was highly painful and he suffered from boils on his arms. At that time Tulsidas ji wrote Hanuman Bahuk. It is a series to portray the strength, devotion and virtues of Hanuman followed by his humble prayers to cure his problem by seeking His blessings.
Tulsidas ji is an epitome of perfection for the human beings and his love for Lord Rama is beyond expression. His life is an inspiration for today’s man and his teachings help us to get closer to the supreme reality. He said, “Sri Ram is Brahman itself. He is unknowable, unperceivable, beginningless, nonpareil, devoid of transformation, and indivisible. He is that which the Vedas have been describing as ‘neti-neti, not this, not this”. Tulsidas ji taught us the language of love leaving aside all the other barriers and his literary works are a silver lining for the deteriorating society.
Lord Hanuman has been known for his devotion for Lord Rama but he is also remembered for his tales of mischievous activities. One such incident was when Hanuman, also called as Aanjaneya, son of Anjana was starving and he called his mother for feeding him. When he saw no sight of his mother, he went out to search his own food.
While searching for something edible, Hanuman ji noticed the Sun and thought it to be a huge red fruit. His hunger could not control anymore and he started moving towards the red ball of Sun. His determination remained unaffected by the scorching heat of the sun. When Lord Indra saw this sight, he became anxious that Hanuman ji can get burnt. In spite of several warning by Surya devta and Indra devta, hanuman ji was adamant to eat the big juicy fruit.
When Indra ji had no option left he hit Hanuman with his weapon, Vajrayudha. Hanuman immediately fell down and was hurt. The injury made his cheeks swollen and from then on Aanjaneya was called Hanuman, as ‘Hanu’ means cheek in Sanskrit.
Vayu devta saw the injured Hanuman and immediately carried him to patalaloka, the world below the grounds of the earth. As the wind god, left the earth, there was no air in the world. People, animals and trees struggled to breathe and started to die.
Finally all the other gods had to visit Lord Vayu for consoling him. Each god conferred a special power to the little Hanuman. Brahma, the Creator said, “No weapon will be able to kill this boy.” Indra said to the boy, “You will be a Chiranjeevi’ (immortal).”
Blessed thus by the gods, Hanuman grew up to be as strong as his father.
Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is a landmark vaishnavite temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Mythology has it that Lord Venkateswara appeared here to save mankind from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and Lord Venkateshwara is also referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam apart from many other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
Tirupati Temple lies on the seventh peak of the Tirumala Hills -Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. Hence the temple is also referred to as “Temple of Seven Hills”.The temple is also known by other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple.
The Temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture and is believed to be constructed over a period of time starting from 300 AD. The Garbagriha (Sanctum Sanctorum) is called Ananda Nilayam. The preciding deity, Venkateswara, is in standing posture and faces east in Garbhgriha. The temple follows Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship. The Temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and is listed as 106th and the last earthly Divya Desam.
It is estimated that Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth.Visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually on an average), which on special occasions like the annual Brahmotsavam, shoots up to 500,000 per day, makes it the most-visited holy place in the world.
On the Tirupati Hill there are other notable temples and rocks too including a Hanuman Temple. There is one rock arch believed to be 1500 million years old.
Contributed By: Dr. Amitava Mukharjee
(He is the most renowned world economist on poverty alleviation and empowerment today. He has long association with United Nations for launching their initiatives on fight against hunger and providing micro assistance to most marginalised societies. He is a great scholar and has been teaching in University of London and Stanford University. He has travelled over 130 Countries and written numerous books. Deeply religious he has visited various holy shrines. We bring you glimpses of his travelogue.)
One day Sita mata was wearing a red powder in the parting of her hair. Curiously Hanuman asked Sita mata that why she was wearing the vermillion powder. Sita mata replied “Hanuman! This is sindoor. Sindoor makes Lord Rama happy and would bless him with a long and prosperous life.” Hanuman ji thought that Sita ji loved lord Rama and she expresses her love by applying the sindoor.
Hanuman disappeared from the place and came back with his body fully covered with red sindoor. He covered his entire body, even his clothes and hair with sindoor. It looked as if Hanuman ji has taken a dip in the red river.
Sita ji looked at him in surprise and asked the reason for this act. He replied that if a little sindoor in her hairs can make Lord Rama happy then he being a daas has to do more to please his Lord. “I thought if just a pinch will do so much, what will happen if I cover my entire body with sindoor.”
Thus, Lord Ram gave a boon to all his devotees that those who apply sindoor to Hanuman and observe hanuman puja with sindoor would be graced with happy long life and all their wishes will fulfill.