Sri Hanuman

    Hanuman represents the ideal selfless devotee. He is the symbol for physical strength, perseverance and devotion.

    Hanuman has the body of both a human and a monkey. He possesses supernatural physical strength and agility given to him by birth and as a blessing from Lord Rama for his selfless service and devotion.

    He was actually a god who incarnated as a monkey to serve Lord Rama in his quest to remove the evil King Ravana from the world. In the epic Ramayana, when Ravana kidnaps Sita from Lord Rama, it is Hanuman who travels to Ravana's island of Lanka to bring her back. Hanuman represents the bhakti mode of dasya - devotion of master and servant.

    Hanuman's mother's name was Anjani, and his father was Vayu, the wind-god. Because of this he could fly like the wind and was very swift. He was born with two kundalas (earrings) in his ears.

    His main mantra is Om Sri Hanumate Namah.

    On the palm of either hand Hanuman has the signs of a dhwaja (yellow flag) and a vajra (lightning). On his forehead is the Bhagwan Vishnu — a U-shaped marking with a dot in the middle.

    Over his shoulder Hanuman wears the sacred thread of Brahmins, the Janeyu. His tail curves upwards and on the end hangs a bell. He always wears either red or saffron clothes. Red is the colour of strength and saffron is the colour of sacrifice. Sometimes he is called Bajrangbali because he is as strong as thunder and as fast as lightning.

    His favorite weapon is the gada, or the mace.

    Around his neck he wears a string of pearls - a gift from Sita for helping rescue her.

    In this picture Hanuman is carrying a stone in his left hand. To rescue Sita, the army of monkeys threw stones into the sea towards the island of Lanka. On each stone was written the name Rama. The stones floated, creating a road upon which Rama and the monkeys could walk to Lanka.

    Another name for Hanuman is sankat mochan. Sankat mochan means remover of troubles. In the Ramayana Lord Rama turned to Hanuman to help with his problem of finding Sita. In another story from the Ramayana Hanuman flew to Sanjeevani to get some herbs to save Lakshmana’s (Rama's brother) life. He did not know which herbs to bring back and so lifted the whole hill and flew with it to save his life.

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