Hanuman

Alright, I’m gonna’ keep this one short and sweet. It’s been a very long morning, but if I put off writing my post it will never get done. And my Capricorn moon will not allow for a late or missed post. So here goes…

I have a special relationship to many of the Hindu gods, goddesses, and hero figures. I did not realize just how familiar I am with the Hindu tales until recently. These stories have actually become more familiar to me than those of the bible from my childhood. There’s something about the vivid retellings and bright imagery that draw me to the Hindu tales. I am not Hindu, but that religion is very interesting to me, and over the years I have developed special connections to many of the characters.

A couple weeks ago I discussed one particular favorite, the Green Tara, and this week I would like to share a little bit about Hanuman.

Hanuman is a Monkey god and king. He is the attendant of Rama, an incarnation of Visnu. In this position Hanuman represents the ideals of servitude, those being devotion and faithfulness. He is the son of the wind god Pavana, and is noted for his speed and agility. Due to this young men and athletes often worship him. Perhaps this is why, as a dancer, I am drawn to Hanuman.

Hanuman is also a monkey general and he leads a powerful army of monkeys. Hanuman and his army play a major role in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, by searching for and finding the goddess Sita who has been captured by the demon Ravana.

While writing this post I did learn a little something new about Hanuman. My colleague, a dance and yoga instructor (I myself am not a yoga girl…I’ve tried, but it’s just not my thing) told me Hanuman has his own asana, or pose. She said it looks like a dance split with one’s arms lifted off the floor. She told me it’s a split because it represents Hanuman leaping over something, and then handed me a book about it (referenced below). As it turns out, this leap occurs in the great rescue of Sita.

Rama (remember him…the one Hanuman serves) has a brother, Laksmana, who is struck by an arrow in battle. The only way to save Laksmana was with the juice of an herb that only grows in the Himalayas. Hanuman is able to reach the mountains in one great leap and retrieve the herb, thus saving Laksmana’s life. Therefore the Hanumanasana represents this noble lifesaving leap.

So there’s my two cents about Hanuman, the monkey god. I’ve actually read the entire story of Hanuman’s part in the battle for Sita, and I would recommend the tale to all who are interested. The Ramayana itself is a fairly dense, difficult read, but there are various condensed versions that focus more on Hanuman and the role he plays.

Long story short, if you need some agility, speed, or devotion in your life then Hanuman is a great god to turn to.

 

References:

Encyclopedia of the Gods, Michael Jordan, Facts on File, Inc.

Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, Schocken Books

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. A Changing Altar
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:16:27

    The first and only time I ever heard of Hanuman was on Xena: Warrior Princess. They prefaced the entire episode with text admitting they took plenty of liberties with the story, but they did it with “respect and consideration”. I don’t know how it went down with the Hindu crowd, but it made me laugh a bit.

    Check it out – scroll down a bit and they’ve included a picture of their Hanuman!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_(Xena)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: