Hanuman Jayanti (appearance or birthday of Lord Hanuman) was observed by Indo Caribbean and other Hindus last Saturday. Temples in New York and other locations in America were packed with worshippers.
Hindus celebrated the occasion with great enthusiasm similar to how they celebrated in Guyana or Trinidad or Suriname or elsewhere. Special prasad (rote) and bhojan were prepared and offered to the deity or murthi of Hanuman ji. The murthi was garlanded with fresh red colored flowers. Hanuman is attracted to red color.
Hanuman Jayanti is a holiday in India and is usually celebrated in the Spring on the night of the full moon in the month of April. This writer celebrated the festival in New Delhi last Saturday.
Hanuman is worshipped to obtain strength, valour, wisdom and knowledge. Worshipping Hanuman also provides control over mind and soul and provides power of self-control. Thus, Hindus worshipped Hanuman Jayanti for self realization as well as to give homage about the lord.
Indo-Caribbeans thronged to the mandirs in the US on Saturday evening. Temples were richly decorated with red flowers and colourful (mostly red) flickering lights. Mandirs were crowded with worshippers. The Hanuman murthi was decorated in sweet-smelling ornate red malas.
Hanuman Jayanti is very auspicious for Hindus as Hanuman is a most important deity, and the festival is observed by virtually every Hindu regardless of state of origin in India. Lord Hanuman is a dedicated disciple of the God Rama, who is worshipped all over the globe with deep devotion. Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to that god.
Because of his faithfulness to Lord Rama, the Lord urged Hindus to worship Hanuman before they pray to him.
In NY and the Western advanced countries, Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated in the evening as people had to attend to their jobs. It is believed that Shiva wanted to worship Rama and so incarnated as Hanuman to be with Rama. In the Ramayana, Hanuman is presented as a figure with great devotion, strength, knowledge, divine power, bravery, intelligence, spirit and one who performed selfless service. He devoted his life only to his Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. He never showed his bravery and intelligence without any purpose. The devotees of the Lord Hanuman always pray him for getting blessed with the same for their bright future. Hanuman was a great warrior and army general who commandeered the forces for Rama against Ravan to liberate Sita who was kidnapped by Ravan’s army.
Hanuman also procured the herbs (from a long distance) to restore the life of Rama’s brother, Lakshman, who was fatally wounded in battle. Hanuman saved the planets from destruction by evil forces. He was a celibate who wanted to serve humanity. He is usually worshipped on Tuesdays and Saturdays. But Hanuman Jayanti can fall on any day which is good for Hanuman puja. Lord Krishna also has faith in him and flew a Hanuman flag on his chariot when he fought in battles. People worship Lord Hanuman because he is a symbol of devotion and loyalty to Lord Rama. Hanuman had magical mystical powers, and is a symbol of strength and energy.
At the mandir, devotees read Hanuman Chalisa as it is about one’s ability to conquer evil spirits and provides peace to the mind. Hanuman loves red. And so the offerings to him are the same everywhere – red flowers, red cloth, rote (fried sweet roti), ladoo, and other sweets. At the mandirs, people chanted mantras and sang Aarti songs, and performed oblations and many other ritualistic aspects of worshipping. Prasad was distributed to the gathering and bhojan served.
By Vishnu Bisram