Monthly Archives: November 2016

Panchmukhi Hanumana

The story behind Lord Hanumana’s panchmukhi roopa

Ravan had a brother called Ahiravan. He was the ruler of Pataal Lok( the netherworld), and a master of illusion and magic. When Meghnad was killed by Lakshmana, and Ravan was losing the battle against Ram, he reached out to Ahiravan for help.

Ahiravan promised to capture Ram and Lakshman alive, take them to his kingdom, where he would sacrifice them to the Goddess Mahamaya. Vibhishan came to know of Ahiravan’s plans, informs Ram and Lakshman of this, makes necessary arrangements and asks Hanuman to keep guard over them.

He also told Hanuman, that Ahiravan is a master of disguise, and to be careful of any trickery. Ahiravan tries to enter the place, where Ram and Lakshman are sleeping, in various disguises, but Hanuman manages to thwart him. Finally he assumes the guise of Vibhishan himself, and gets past Hanuman, abducts Ram and Lakshman to Pataal Lok.

When Hanuman finds he has been tricked by Ahiravan, he vows to find Ram and Lakshman, and kill Ahiravan. Hanuman goes down into the Patala Loka, where he finds Ahiravan’s massive palace, that is heavily guarded on all sides.

He first has to contend with the guard, Makardhwaja, who is half Vanara, half fish, and also happens to be Hanuman’s son in a way too. After defeating his son, Hanuman makes his way into Ahiravan’s palace and learns that the way to kill Ahiravan is to extinguish 5 different lamps in different directions.  

This is when Hanuman assumes his Panchamukha Anjaneya form here.The 4 faces of Hanuman, Varaha, Garuda and Narasimha face East, South, West and North respectively, while the 5th face of Hayagriva, faces upwards.

Panchmukhi Hanumana

Panchmukhi Hanumana

In this form, Hanuman manages to extinguish the 5 different lamps all at one time, and goes on to kill Ahiravan with one swift stroke of the knife. Thus he manages to save Ram and Lakshman, and bring them back from Patala Loka, where they resume the battle against Ravan.

Ram, Lakshman and Hanumana

Ram, Lakshman and Hanumana

Chhath Puja

Chhath in Indian mythology

Chhath, the most important festival from Bihar finds its mention in ancient texts also. There are incidents in ancient texts which make us believe that Chhath has been observed in ancient India.

Karna observed Chhath

It is believed that Surya Putra Karna who was the first to start this puja. According to the legends, Karna, Son of Surya & Ruler of Anga-Desh (Now Bhagalpur in Bihar) observed Chhath Puja or Surya Shashti with sheer devotion. It is said that Karna had gained supreme powers by performing Chhath rituals. This had made Karna grow into a powerful and valiant warrior.

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja

Draupadi observed Chhath

It is believed that Draupadi was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya (the Sun god). Due to her devotion toward Surya, she was gifted with the unique power to cure even the most deadliest diseases. This power & energy of Draupadi helped Pandavas to survive & win the Battle of Kurukshtera and eventually regain their lost kingdom.

Another such legend associated with Draupadi is that, Once during the long exile from their kingdom, 88 thousand wandering hermits visited their hut. Being devout Hindus, the Pandavas were obliged to feed the monks. But as exiles, the Pandavas were not in a position to offer food to so many hungry hermits. Seeking a quick solution, Draupadi approached Saint Dhaumya, who advised her to worship Surya and observe the rituals of the Chhath for prosperity and abundance. Through her worship of the Sun God, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problems, but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.

Legend of Lord Rama

Another history behind celebrating the Chhath puja is the story of Lord Rama. It is considered that Lord Rama and Mata Sita had kept fast and offer puja to the Lord Sun in the month of Kartik in Shukla Paksh during their coronation after returning to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.