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.
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.
Though every character mentioned in our mythological text hold their unique significance, yet few of them capture our attention and become eternal. They become the epitome and inspiration of our daily life and also provide us the strength to connect with Supreme power. Shabari was one such character who is still known for her innocence, immense devotion and shraddha and saburi. Oblivious to the customs and traditions of the high society, she spent her entire life in the forest wandering and waiting for her Shri Rama.
To appreciate and adore the faith of this divine lady, Shabari Jayanti is celebrated on Krishna Paksha Saptami in the month of Phalguna, as per the north Indian lunar calendar. The day holds great significance among the Kol Community.
The day Lord Rama reached the doors of Shabari, she was overwhelmed with joy and tears rolled down her cheeks. She couldn’t believe that her Rama was there to meet her after years of patience and faith in the Lord. In her innocence and bounty of love, she started tasting the fruits before offering them to lord Rama. She never wanted to offer any sour or poisonous fruits to him.
Shri Rama happily accepted the half eaten fruits and proved that it is not the condition or value of the offering that matters but devotion of the devotee who offers it. When Sri Rama asked her, “Shabari what boon would you like“? Shabari says, “With my Guru’s blessing I was blessed to have your darshan today. I do not desire anything else now. Please give me the permission to give up my mortal body and attain salvation.”
1st March 2016 is celebrated as Shabari Jayanti this year to remember her love and devotion towards her guru. This day inspires the devotees to be faithful and true towards the lord and focus more on the devotion rather than the offerings.
The ultimate way to offer thanks to the ultimate source of energy ‘Surya Devta’ is a unique festival in this incredible India. Chhath is no more a regional festival of Biharis and Terai region Hindus, but is widely accepted by hilly origins and almost throughout India. Let us explore this Hindu thanks giving ceremony to God Sun.
- The auspicious tradition of Chhath puja was initiated by son of Surya, Karan who ruled over the Anga Desh (Munger district of Bihar) during the time of Mahabharata.
- Lord Rama and Mata Sita offered special prayers to lord Sun ad fasted after returning to Ayodhya from exile and begin the ritual of celebrating Chhath puja.
- The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
- To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
- First day is Nahai Khai i.e. ‘Nahai’ means ‘bathing’ and ‘Khai’ means ‘to eat’; the devotees take a holy dip in river or lake and holy water is taken at home to cook prasadam (offering food).
- The second day is Kharna, on which the worshippers perform ‘nirjalahaar’ vrat for about 8 to 12 hours. By the end of the day, the fast is eneded by adoring lord Sun and eating Prasad. Then another 36 hours fast is begins.
- The third day is the main festival of Chhath called Sandhya Argha. The devotees clad themselves in yellow coloured attire and offer the specially prepared food offerings to Surya Devta at the riverbank in the evening.
- The last day is Suryodaya Argha on which the devotees gives the early morning offerings at the riverbank and break their fast by having Chhath Prasad.
- This festival is a morning and evening affair on all the four days as the sunrise and sunset rays are most beneficial for human body and consists of low intensity of ultra violet rays.
- The traditional festival of Chhath showers you with positivity by detoxifying the mind, soul and body; and removes the negative energies by adoring the powerful Sun.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja