Today [yesterday for those of us to the west of the International Date Line] is an important religious observance, commemorating the triumph of an incarnate-and-born form of Deus Pater – sent from on high to help out Mankind (particularly via severance of the chains of sin upon the soul) in fulfilment of a covenant made some time beforehand with a particularly favoured scriptural figure. It’s also Easter.
Confused? Especially by the image? Let me explain.
This is pretty much one of my favourite depictions of HanumanJi – Bajrang Bali; for it goes quite a bit further than most illustrations of Hanuman, which basically present Him as a very strong Monkey- (Vanara) lord wielding a Gada (mace) and often engaged in the carrying out of one or more of His mythological exploits from the Ramayana [frequently, lifting an entire mountain for the purposes of bringing a particular herb which grows upon it to the battlefield in order to treat a friend and cherished comrade who’d been poisoned by what i suppose we could call an Ancient Aryan WMD going off].
Indeed, it presents the *Essence* of Hanuman.
As Hanuman, you see, is an Avatar of Lord Shiva; and is directly cited as Son of Vayu [another name for Shiva – you may be more familiar with the Nordic/Germanic cognate of Vayu-Vata … Odin/Woden/Vatan]. This elegant and eloquent depiction, therefore, shows *exactly* that, by combining directly the customary iconographic features of *both* Shiva *and* Hanuman. Hence the Jatta-hair (with Rudrakshamala about it), the Cobra-coiled about the neck, the big-cat garment, the Trishula & Damaru, and the three-lined Tripundra markings. On that familiar, friendly (to us, anyway), Monkey-visage and powerfully sculpted musculature.
[As a brief side-note – you may be wondering where the Vajra/Gada which so often characterizes Hanuman (indeed, it is the underpinning of His very frequent kenning/alternate-theonymic: Bajrang Bali] is to be found in this image. As it happens, the Trishula, both in shape and majesty and other such symbolism, has an equivalent value in a number of key senses. So there it is. Continuing the combination/emanation myth-theme!]
So what was I getting at with the intro-blurb, other than a riff off the fact that today’s also Good Friday? [a fact which Tristan observed with some amusement, that my Mandir was also noting]
Well, today is Hanuman Jayanti. “Jayanti” being one of those delightful Sanskrit terms which has several meanings – including “Birthday” and “Victory/Triumph”. The “incarnate-and-born form of Deus Pater” line references the fact of Hanuman being a born Avatar of Mahadev – and I am here making a multilingual, multi-[Indo-European] mythological reference to the identity of Shiva-Rudra as Dyaus Pitar … the Sky Father, which is also the mytho-linguistic predicate for the later Roman “Deus Pater” … that the Catholics have ‘borrowed’ the name and wording of to refer to their trinity’s “God the Father” in Latin-language Christian liturgy.
[if you’re wondering – what happened, in part, was a shift of “Deus” from its much more archaic sense correlate with its PIE ancestor “Deiwos”, meaning ‘Shining One’ [the “Dyaus” in “Dyaus Pitar” also being closely linked to “Day” [Latin: Diem/Dies], and the life-giving & regulating Supernal Radiance which, you know, characterizes a Day … to a more general term for a “God”, in a parallel for the development of the Sanskrit term “Deva” in pretty much the same manner. And, from there, in the ecclesiastical later Latin of the Christian Church – to one God in particular. We shall leave, for now, my frequent observation around the linguistic derivation of “Jupiter” and “Zeus Pater” from the same source being somewhat ‘obscured’ by syncretization with the ‘Storm Lord’ figure of the IE pantheon, presumably under influence from Mesopotamian or other religious setups]
The “Sent from On High to Help Out Mankind” hailing, speaks not only to the prima facie obvious role of Hanuman in the context of the Ramayana, but also to Hanuman’s well-renowned nature as one of the most genial, jovial [see what I did there?] Gods – a Friend to Man, a swift ally, and a caring compatriot to us down here on Earth.
[As a sign of just how far this occasionally gets taken, even when *not* putting a unique (and much more successful, as it is inverted) Hindu spin on that age-old “if the Mountain won’t come to Mohammed” proverb, it is said that Valmiki, the author of the most prominent iteration of the Ramayana, encountered Hanuman up in the Mountains while journeying to seek inspiration for his literary efforts. And noticed that Hanuman was, in fact, writing His Own account of the events of the Ramayana, which He shared some of with Valmiki. Valmiki burst into tears, overcome with both the sheer beauty of Bajrang Bali’s rendition … and the fact that even an author as eloquent as he would be unable to ever produce anything of comparable marvel and excellence and magnificent beauty. Seeing this, Hanuman without a second thought cast His draft into the nearby glacial stream – determining that it would cheer up Valmiki to be now able to write the most renowned Ramayana as the result of the loss of its superior. There’s apparently a Temple in India which claims to possess a fragmentary portion of the HanumanJi Ramayana, written in an ancient script upon preserved palm-leaves; but that, I shall have to look into at some other time]
Hanuman is also regarded as capable of ‘severing the bonds of previous [negative] Karma’ – hence the line around the breaking of the ‘chains of sin upon the soul’; which is, in no small part, why my amazing Didi Pooja recommended Hanuman connection to me, during my … previous period of tribulation which lead me to Mandir in the first place all those years ago. [The offering of a cucumber, due to figurate-symbolic thoughts around immortality, is a further element, i suppose, in my ‘parallel metaphor’ for today ]
And as applies the ‘fulfilment of a covenant made some time beforehand with a particularly favoured scriptural figure’ … this refers to two key parts of the mythonarrative conditions placed upon Sri Ravan during the context of His becoming amongst the foremost of Lord Shiva’s Devotees. The first of which refers to the curse placed upon Ravana by NandiJi that His Kingdom would be destroyed by Monkeys; and the second, the condition placed upon Ravana by Mahadev when Shiva gave Him the Boon of Chandrahas [one of my favourite Sanskrit visual-puns – a curved sword Whose name means something along the lines of ‘The Glinting Laughter/Smile of the Moon’ , Shiva also being Moon Deity, Crowned with the Crescent, Chandrasekhar ] following Ravana’s extensive tapas dedications to the Lord – that providing the sword was used for good purposes, it would remain invincible .. but should its employment turn to evil, it would desert its bearer in His hour of greatest need. A ‘covenant’ of Devotee and (Ishta-)Deva , of pious conduct and Divine Reciprocity!
Anyway, having explained my introduction at some length, we shall now segue briefly through #NASanalysis:
You see, in many key ways, our understandings of Shiva & Hanuman directly reflect those of Odin & Thor. For in our reckoning, They are the Same Deities. This latter identification of Hanuman-(as)-Thor shall be covered in greater detail in a forthcoming eponymously titled work through Arya Akasha.
However, for the moment, we shall note that in addition to the strong iconographic and scriptural-textual coterminities, Hanuman & Thor also occupy strikingly [ha] similar mythological positions – as the Friend to Man, the courageous empowerer/intervener wilfully prayed to, and a much more ‘approachable’ Figure than the oft-abjectly terrifying and downright ‘spooky’ Spear-God Odin-Rudra.
Further, due to the way in which Patrilineal Reincarnation works in the Nordic reckoning of metaphysics and the soul, the notion of a Son as an ‘Incarnation’ of His Father makes a rather resounding sense.
And while some might point towards Lord Indra as a logical correlate to Thor within the Vedic/Hindu Pantheon – RigVeda 10.86 quite directly states that for theological purposes, Lord Indra and ‘The Monkey’, are one and the same.
A situation which is somewhat mirrored, curiously enough, with the attestation for Thor as the ‘curious/unwise’ Ape, in Nordic scriptural materials.
So there you have it. A look at some of the mythology & comparative mythography of Lord Hanuman, in the form of a commentary upon and spurred by this excellent image of Hanuman as Avatar of Lord Shiva !
BAJRANG BALI KI JAYE ! ! !