It is said in Srimad Bhagwatam (10.32.22) that the Lord is perpetually indebted to his devotees on account of their selfless service rendered by them to him. Even if he tries to repay them back, it would not be possible for him in the lifetime of one Brahma (some 311 trillion years).
This feeling of eternal gratitude marks one of the loving relationships between the Lord and his dear devotee. And when we talk of great devotees like Gopis of Vraja, Lord Shiva, Prahlad Maharaj, Bali Maharaj etc, the name of Sri Hanuman always comes to mind.
Sri Hanuman or Hanumanji or Bajrang Bali is a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Ramchandra, the incarnation of truth and virtue. He has been addressed by Sri Tulsidas as Ram Bhakta Shiromani, or the crest jewel of all the devotees of Sri Ram. He is addressed by various names like Pawan Putra, Anjaneya and Hanuman.
Therefore, Hanuman Jayanti is the pious day on which Sri Hanuman descended on earth in order to serve the purpose of his eternal master, Lord Ram. And he, being an unalloyed devotee of Sri Ram is revered by all Ram bhaktas.
The history of Hanuman Jayanti
As per Uttara Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the appearance of Sri Hanuman dates back to the beginning of Treta Yuga of the sixth Manvantara of Vaivasvata Manu i.e. around 2.59 million years before.
There has been no specific recording of his birth date and it is a subject of discussion. As per the standard authorities and popularly followed traditions, people accept Chaitra Purnima to be his birth date. He appeared on Tuesday during the dawn hours.
The story behind the birth of Hanuman
There’s a story narrated by Agastya Muni to Lord Ram in the Valmiki Ramayana, regarding Hanuman’s birth. Sri Hanuman is one of the 11 expansions of Lord Shiva, who came in monkey form to serve Lord Ram in his mission to annihilate Ravana.
One day, the wife of Lord of monkeys, Vanaraja Kesari was standing on the top of a mountain. Her name was Mother Anjana, one of the celestial nymphs (Apsara Menaka) in her previous life. Since she had disturbed Vishwamitra Muni, the way a monkey does, she was cursed by him to be married to a monkey and give birth to monkeys in her next life.
After her fervent prayers, he gave her a blessing that her son would be a portion of Lord Shiva and a great devotee of a particular form of Lord Vishnu. When she took birth as a human being, she was married to Vanaraj Kesari and was very charming and beautiful.
Vayu Deva, who was watching her from the heavenly kingdom became attracted to her and then, assuming a mystic form, mated with her and hence, Pawan Putra was born as ordained by the divine arrangements.
Hanuman serves Sri Ram
Brihad Bhagwadamrita quotes a verse from Hayashirsha Pancharatra.
Narada muni speaks to Sri Hanuman, “You are the Lord’s servant, His friend, His carrier, His seat, His flag, His umbrella, His canopy, His fan. You are His bard, His adviser, His doctor, His general, His best helper, the expander of His infinite glories.”
The significance of Hanuman Jayanti
The sacred day of Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated with great faith and devotion in India. There are various ways in which the festival is observed across the country.
Northern India: Hanuman Jayanti falls on the day of Chaitra Purnima (falling on March 31 this year). This is considered huge in areas like Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh where devotees of Hanumanji are in large numbers. Many people observe fast on this day. There is an organisation of bhandara i.e. mass scale feast where people are served puri and sabzi.
Southern India: In the southern part of the country, there are varieties of traditions and customs associated with this festival.
* People of Tamil Nadu observe it on the Amavasya of Margashirsha.
* People of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana observe it for 41-days which starts on Chaitra Purnima and concludes on the tenth day during Krishna Paksha of Vaishakha.
* People of Karnataka observe it on Shukla Paksha Trayodashi of Margashirsha.
* People of Odisha observe it on Mesha Sankranti.
The science behind Hanuman Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti falls on the full moon night of the month of Chaitra. This month, it lies in the ritu sandhi of Vasant and Shishir and the fire has already been weakened by the seasonal change. As a result, people are prone to physical as well as mental diseases due to the disturbances of Vata, Pitta and Kapha levels in our body.
The mental health of a person is affected by the lunar cycle or the cycle of moon. The day of Purnima is considered as the day when moon has the most profound effect on the human body. Therefore, for mental cleansing, fasting on the day of Chaitra Purnima was advised by our ancient sages.
Puja Timings for Hanuman Jayanti
The puja for Hanuman Jayanti can be done in Brahma Muhurtam i.e. 4.43am to 6.19am on March 31 and from sunrise till 6.06pm.