28/02/2009

Monkey mask. NEPALESE AND INDIAN folk and tribal MONKEY MASKS. Hanuman crowned mask. ETHNOFLORENCE COLLECTION AND PHOTO ARCHIVE.

Nepalese and Indian  Monkey masks.  

ETHNOFLORENCE COLLECTION AND PHOTO ARCHIVE.

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Nepalese monkey masks in the Exhibition Voyage en Mongolia, Musee International du Carnaval et du Masque of Binche.  Photo courtesy Arts Premier  Collection Bruxelles. 

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Nepalese monkey mask at Musee de la Castree of Cannes (FRA) (Photo Ethnoflorence 2009 - Ethnoflorence Himalayan Archive).

 

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Nepalese monkey mask. Photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Himalayan Archive.

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Nepalese monkey mask at  the  James Cohan Gallery (New York 533 W, 26th street) in the exhibition "Mask". Photo Courtesy Evan P. Cordes http://www.pheezy.com/ .

 

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Monkey mask and terracotta elephant. Photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Himalayan Archive.

 

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N3 Newari Monkey mask (?)

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N.4 Nepalese Monkey mask.

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Nepalese monkey mask in Modigliani style. Photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Himalayan Archive.

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N.5 Nepalese or Northern Indian  crowned Hanuman mask.

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Hanuman Art Mythology and Folklore.

 

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Monkey face in the top of a lute.

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N9 Hanuman crowned mask. Frontal view.

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Nepalese monkey mask. Photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Himalayan Archive.

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman .

Hanumān, (Tamil : அனுமன்), known also as 'Anjaneya' (son of Anjana) or Maruti , is one of the most popular concepts of devotees of God (bhakti) (devotion to God) in Hinduism and one of the most important personalities in the Indian epic , the Ramayana . His most famous feat, as described in the Hindu epic scripture the Ramayana , was leading a monkey army to fight the demon King  Ravana .

Hanuman was born to Anjana , a female vanara in the Brahmagiri hills near Trimbakeshwar , Maharashtra. According to the legend, Anjana was an apsara  or a celestial being, named 'Punjikasthala', who, due to a curse, was born on the earth as a female vanara. The curse was to be removed upon her giving birth to an incarnation of Lord  Shiva  It is also said that Hanuman was born on Anjaneya Hill, in Hampi , Karnataka, near the Risyamukha mountain on the banks of the Pampa, where Sugreeva and Sri Rama met. There is a temple that marks the spot.

Along with Kesari, her husband, Anjana performed intense prayers to Shiva to beget Him as her Child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva granted them the boon they sought. The Valmiki Ramayana, (Yuddha Kanda) states that Kesari is the son of Brihaspati and that Kesari also fought on Rama's side in the war against Ravana.

Different stories are told explaining Hanuman's birth. One is that at the time that Anjana was worshipping Lord Shiva, elsewhere, Dashrath, the king of  Ayodhya , was performing the Putrakama Yagna  in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred pudding, payasam , to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of  Rama, Lakshmana,Bharata, and Sharughna . By  divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu,the Hindudeity of the wind, delivered the falling pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it. Hanuman was born to her as a result.

Being Anjana's son, Hanuman is also called Anjaneya (pronounced Aanjanèya), which literally means "arising from Anjani".

Sri Aurobindo states that "vanara" does not refer to "monkey": "Prajapati manifests as Vishnu Upendra incarnate in the animal or Pashu in whom the four Manus have already manifested themselves, and the first human creature who appears is, in this Kalpa, the Vanara, not the animal Ape, but man with the Ape nature", i.e. primitive man such as Homo erectus.

Hanuman, in one interpretation, is also considered as the incarnation of Shivaor reflection of Shiva. Others, such as followers of Dvaitaconsider Hanuman to be the son of Vayuor a manifestation of Vayu, the god of wind. When Ravana tried to enter the Himalayas (the abode of Shiva) Nandi stopped him and Ravana called Nandi a monkey. Nandi in return cursed Ravana that monkeys would help destroy him. Shiva, to give respect to His devotee, took the form of Hanuman.

References to Hanuman in classical literature could be found as early as those of 5th to 1st century BC in Panini's Astadhyayi, Abhiseka Nataka, Pratima Nataka, and Raghuvamsa (Kalidasa).

As a child, assuming the sunto be a ripe mango, he once took flight to catch hold of it to eat. Indra, the king of devasobserved this and therefore threw the Vajra(thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset, Vayu went into seclusion, taking the atmospherewith him. As living beings began to be asphyxiated, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt, and the devas revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons. A permanent mark was left on his chin (hanuh in Sanskrit)   explaining   his name.

On ascertaining Surya, the Hindu deity of the sun, to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested that Surya accept him as a student. Surya refused, claiming that as he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn effectively. Undeterred by Surya's refusal, Hanuman enlarged his body, placed one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges, and with his face turned toward the sun made his request again. Pleased by his persistence, Surya accepted. Hanuman then moved (backwards, to remain facing Surya) continuously with his teacher, and learned all of the latter's knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his "guru-dakshina" (teacher's fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. Hanuman insisted, whereupon Surya asked him to help his (Surya's) spiritual son Sugriva. Hanuman's choice of Surya as his teacher is said to signify Surya as a Karma Saakshi, an eternal witness of all deeds. Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realizing that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person. It is hypothesised that without this curse, the entire course of the Ramayana war might have been different, for he demonstrated phenomenal abilities during the war. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kanda and Sundara Kanda whenjambavantha reminds Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita.

 The specific verse that is recited by Jambavantha is :

पवन तनय ब्ल पवन समाना बुद्धि विवेक विज्ञान निधाना | कवन् सो काज कठिन जग माही जो नहि होय तात तुम्ह पाहीं ||

Rough translation:

You are as powerful as the wind (Hanumanji was the son of Pawan, God of wind);

You are intelligent, illustrious & an inventor.

There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you;

Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.

The Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana, focuses mainly on the adventures of Hanuman and the story is as follows.

 Meeting Rama

Hanuman meets Rama during the latter's 14-year exile in the forest. With his brother Lakshmana, Rama is searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by Ravana. Their search brings them to the vicinity of the mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers and friends, are in hiding from his elder brother Vali, with whom he had quarrelled over a mistake.

Having seen Rama and Lakshmana, Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches the two brothers in the guise of a brahmin. His first words to them are such that Rama says to Lakshmana that none could speak the way the brahmin did unless he or she had mastered the Vedas. He notes that there is no defect in the brahmin's countenance, eyes, forehead, brows, or any limb. He points out to Lakshmana that his accent is captivating, adding that even an enemy with sword drawn would be moved. He praises the disguised Hanuman further, saying that sure success awaited the king whose emissaries were as accomplished as he was.

When Rama introduces himself, Hanuman reveals his own identity and falls prostrate before Rama, who embraces him warmly. Thereafter, Hanuman's life becomes interwoven with that of Rama. Hanuman then brings about a friendship and alliance between Rama and Sugriva; Rama helps Sugriva regain his honour and makes him king of Kishkindha. Sugriva and his vanaras, most notably Hanuman, help Rama defeat Ravana and reunite with Sita.

In their search for Sita, a group of Vanaras reaches the southern seashore. Upon encountering the vast ocean, every vanara begins to lament his inability to jump across the water. Hanuman too is saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras and the wise bear Jambavantha beginto extol his virtues. Hanuman then recollects his own powers, enlarges his body, and flies across the ocean. On his way, he encounters a mountain that rises from the sea, proclaims that it owed his father a debt, and asks him to rest a while before proceeding. Not wanting to waste any time, Hanuman thanks the mountain and carries on. He then encounters a sea-monster, Surasa, who challenges him to enter her mouth. When Hanuman outwits her, she admits that her challenge was merely a test of his courage. After killing Simhika, a rakshasa, he reaches Lanka.

 Locating Sita

Hanuman reaches Lanka and marvells at its beauty. He also regrets that it might be destroyed if Rama does battle with Ravana. After he finds Sita sitting depressed in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Rama has been looking for her, and uplifts her spirits. He offers to carry her back to Rama; but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Rama as his honour is at stake. After meeting Sita, Hanuman begins to wreak havoc, gradually destroying the palaces and properties of Lanka. He kills many rakshasas, including Jambumalli and Akshaa. To subdue him, Ravana's son Indrajituses the Brahmastra. Though immune to the effects of this weapon Hanuman, out of respect to Brahma, allows himself be bound. Deciding to use the opportunity to meet Ravana, and to assess the strength of Ravana's hordes, Hanuman allows the rakshasa warriors to parade him through the streets. He conveys Rama's message of warning and demands the safe return of Sita. He also informs Ravana that Rama would be willing to forgive him if he returns Sita honourably. Enraged, Ravana orders Hanuman's execution, whereupon Ravana's brother Vibheeshana intervenes, pointing out that it is against the rules of engagement to kill a messenger. Ravana then orders that Hanuman's tail be lit afire. As Ravana's forces attempted to wrap cloth around his tail, Hanuman begins to lengthen it. After frustrating them for a while, he allows it to burn, then escapes from his captors, and with his tail on fire he burns down large parts of Lanka. After extinguishing his flaming tail in the sea, he returns to Rama.

 Lifting a mountain

When Lakshmana is severely wounded by Indrajit during the war against Ravana, Hanuman is sent to fetch the Sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb from the Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive him. Ravana realises that if Lakshmana dies, a distraught Rama would probably give up, and so has his uncle Kalnaimi tempt Hanuman away with luxury. Hanuman is tipped off by a crocodile (actually a celestial being under a curse) and kills Kalnaimi. When he is unable to find the specific herb before nightfall, Hanuman takes the entire Dronagiri mountain to the battlefield in Lanka, thus helping others find the herb to revive Lakshmana. An emotional Rama hugs Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own beloved brother Bharat.

 The Patala incident

In another incident during the war (which brought about Hanuman's Panchamukha form), Rama and Lakshmana are captured by the rakshas, Mahiravana (and his brother Ahiravana), a powerful practitioner of black magic and the dark arts, who holds them captive in his palace in Patalpuri or Patala (the nether world). Mahiravan keeps them as offerings to his deity. Searching for them, Hanuman reaches Patala whose gates are guarded by a young creature called Makardhwaja (known also as Makar-Dhwaja or Magar Dhwaja), who is part reptile and part Vanara.

The story of Makardhwaja's birth is said to be that when Hanuman had extinguished his burning tail in the ocean, a drop of his sweat had fallen into the waters and eventually become Makardhwaja, who perceives Hanuman as his father. When Hanuman introduces himself to Makardhwaja, the latter asks his blessings, but fights him to fulfill the task of guarding the gate. Hanuman defeats and imprisons him to gain entry.

Upon entering Patala, Hanuman discovers that to kill Mahiravana, he must simutaneously extinguish five lamps burning in different directions. Hanuman assumes the Panchamukha or five-faced form of Sri Varaha facing north, Sri Narasimha facing south, Sri Garuda facing west, Sri Hayagriva facing the sky and his own facing the east, and blows out the lamps. Hanuman then rescues Rama and Lakshmana. Afterwards, Rama asks Hanuman to crown Makardhwaja king of Patalpuri.

 Bharata's vow

When the war ends, Rama's 14-year exile has almost elapsed. Rama then remembers Bharata's vow to immolate himself if Rama does not return to rule Ayodhya immediately, on completion of the stipulated period. Realising that it would be a little later than the last day of the 14 years when he would reach Ayodhya, Rama is anxious to prevent Bharata from giving up his life. Hanuman therefore flies to Ayodhya to inform Bharata that Rama is on his way home.

 Honours

Shortly after he is crowned Emperor upon his return to Ayodhya, Rama decides to ceremoniously reward all his well-wishers. At a grand ceremony in his court, all his friends and allies take turns being honoured at the throne. Hanuman approaches without desiring a reward. Seeing Hanuman come up to him, an emotionally overwhelmed Rama embraces him warmly, declaring that he could never adequately honour or repay Hanuman for the help and services he received from the noble Vanara. Sita, however, insists that Hanuman deserved honour more than anyone else, and asks him to seek a gift. Upon Hanuman's request, Sita gives him a necklace of precious stones adorning her neck. When he receives it, Hanuman immediately takes it apart, and peers into each stone. Taken aback, many of those present demand to know why he is destroying the precious gift. Hanuman answers that he was looking into the stones to make sure that Rama and Sita are in them, because if they are not, the necklace is of no value to him. At this, a few mock Hanuman, saying his reverence and love for Rama and Sita could not possibly be as deep as he implies. In response, Hanuman tears his chest open, and everyone is stunned to see Rama and Sita literally in his heart.

 Hanumad Ramayana

 

After the victory of Rama over Ravana, Hanuman went to the Himalayas to continue his worship of the Lord. There he scripted a version of the Ramayana on the Himalayan mountains using his nails, recording every detail of Rama's deeds. When Maharishi Valmiki visited him to show him his own version of the Ramayana, he saw Hanuman's version and became very disappointed.

When Hanuman asked Valmiki the cause of his sorrow, the sage said that his version, which he had created very laboriously, was no match for the splendour of Hanuman's, and would therefore, go ignored. At this, Hanuman discarded his own version, which is called the Hanumad Ramayana.

Maharishi Valmiki was so taken aback that he said he would take another birth to sing the glory of Hanuman which he had understated in his version. Later, one tablet is said to have floated ashore during the period of Mahakavi Kalidasa, and hung at a public place to be deciphered by scholars. Kalidasa is said to have deciphered it and recognised that it was from the Hanumad Ramayana recorded by Hanuman in an extinct script, and considered himself very fortunate to see at least one pada of the stanza.

 After the Ramayana war

After the war, and after reigning for several years, the time arrived for Rama to depart to his heavenly abode. Many of Rama's entourage, including Sugriva, decided to depart with him. Hanuman, however, requested to remain on earth as long as Rama's name was venerated by people. Sita accorded Hanuman that desire, and granted that his image would be installed at various public places, so he could listen to people chanting Rama's name. He is one of the Chiranjivins of Hinduism.

 In the Mahabharata

Hanuman is also considered to be the brother of Bhima on grounds that both have the same father, Vayu. During the Pandavas' exile, he appears disguised as a weak and aged monkey to Bhima in order to subdue his arrogance. Bhima enters a field where Hanuman is lying with his tail blocking the way. Bhima, unaware of his identity, tells him to remove it. In return, Hanuman tells him to remove it himself. Bhima tries this, but is unable to do it despite his great strength and therefore inquires into Hanuman's identity, which is then revealed. Upon Bhima's request, Hanuman is also said to have enlarged himself and shown him the same size in which he had crossed the sea to go to Lanka, looking for Sita.

More significantly, during the great battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna entered the battlefield with a flag displaying Hanuman on his chariot. The incident that led to this was an earlier encounter between Hanuman and Arjuna, wherein Hanuman appeared as a small talking monkey before Arjuna at Rameshwaram, where Sri Rama had built the great bridge to cross over to Lanka to rescue Sita. Upon Arjuna's wondering aloud at Sri Rama's taking the help of monkeys rather than building a bridge of arrows, Hanuman challenged him to build such a bridge capable of bearing him alone, and Arjuna, unaware of the monkey's true identity, accepted. Hanuman then proceeded to repeatedly destroy the bridges made by Arjuna, who decided to take his own life. Vishnu then appeared before them both, chiding Arjuna for his vanity and Hanuman for making Arjuna feel incompetent. As an act of penitence, Hanuman decided to help Arjuna by stabilising and strengthening his chariot during the imminent great battle. Legend goes that Hanuman is one of the three people to have heard the Bhagwad Gita from Krishna, the other two being Arjuna and Sanjaya.

 Presence in the present age

 

There have been numerous prophetswho claimed to have seen Hanuman in modern times, notably Madhvachary(13 Century A.D.), Tulsidas (16th century), Sri Ramdas Swami (17th century)and Raghavendra Swami (17th century), Swami Ramdas (20th century).

Others have also asserted his presence wherever the Ramayana is read (in Sanskrit, not translated):

यत्र यत्र रघुनाथ कीर्तनम् तत्र तत्र क्रित मस्तक अन्जलिं बष्पावरी परीपूर्ण लोचनम् मारुतिं नमश्च राक्षस अंतकम्।

Which means:

That wherever the deeds of Sri Rama are sung,
At all such places does Hanuman cry tears of devotion and joy,
At all such places does his presence remove the fear of demons.

This can be found in many other texts like Vinaya Patrika by Tulsidas, Mahabharta by Ved Vyasa, Anand Ramayan and many others with slight variation in language/Sentence. Even the places where holy function of Ramayanpath is taking place, there is a special puja and space (or asan) reserved for Hanuman.

 Temples and worship

 
 
 

Admired for his great strength, Hanuman was traditionally prayed to by wrestlers and boxers in India and South east Asia.  There are numerous temples for Hanuman, and his images are usually installed at all temples where images of avataras of Vishnu are installed. Hanuman temples can be found in many places for the reason that the area and the surroundings are free from rakshasas and 'evils'. This was a presentational 'Varam' to him by Rama and Sita. Hanuman idols are found on mountain roads because it is believed that he protects people from accidents.

Sankat Mochan Shri Hanuman Mandir, located in the Punjab town of Phillaur, is Asia's tallest temple of lord Hanuman ji. The total height of temple is 121 feet and Hanuman ji statue's height is 67 feet. This is a very famous temple in Punjab, people from all over the world come to see it.

Ragigudda Anjaneya temple is a Hanuman temple located in JP Nagar Bangalore. The temple is located on a hillock.

The Hanuman temple at Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India is situated inside SIES complex. The Hanuman idol is 33 feet (10 m) tall and is installed on a pedestal of height 12 feet (4 m), bringing the total height to 45 feet (14 m). In the picture shown, Hanuman has silver coverings (Silver Kavasam).

Similarly, a 32 feet (10 m) idol of Sri Anjaneyar was entrenched in 1989 at Nanganallur in chennai, India. The distinguished factor of the idol is that it was molded out of a single rock.

Other large Lord Hanuman idols:

A 30 foot Murti of Anjaneyaswamy, in Ponnur near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.

An 85-foot (26 m) Karya Siddhi Hanuman murthi was installed at Carapichaima-Trinidad and Tobago, by Avadhoota Dattapeetham Pontiff Sri GanapathiSachchidananda. (Tallest in the Western hemisphere and second tallest in the world)

 Panchamukha Hanuman

 
 

Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami was the main deity of Sri Raghavendra Swami. The place where he meditated on this five-faced form of Hanuman is now known as Panchamukhi, wherein a temple for him has been built. There is also a shrine for Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. A 40 feet (12 m) tall monolithic green granite murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed in Thiruvallur, also in Tamil Nadu. This place was known as Rudravanam in olden times when many saints and seers had blessed this place with their presence. The Panchamukha Hanuman Ashram itself was established by a saint called Venkatesa Battar.

Hanuman assumed this form to kill Mahiravana, a powerful rakshasa black-magician and practitioner of the dark arts during the Ramayana war. Mahiravana had taken Lord Rama and Lakshmana captive, and the only way to kill him was to extinguish five lamps burning in different directions, all at the same instant. Hanuman assumed His Panchamukha form and accomplished the task, thus killing the rakshasa, and freeing Rama and Lakshmana.

This form of Hanuman is very popular, and is also known as Panchamukha Anjaneya and Panchamukhi Anjaneya. (Anjaneya, which means "son of Anjana", is another name of Hanuman).

A 67 foot Murti of Lord Hanuman Ji has been installed at Sankat Mochan Shri Hanuman Mandir, located in the Punjab town of Phillaur.

A 40 foot Murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed at Tiruvallur, near Chennai, India.

A 36 foot Murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed at Panchavatee,Pondicherry, called as Viswaroopa Jayamangala Panchamukha Sri Anjaaneyaswamy.

A 32 foot Murti of Adhivyadihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneyaswamy,Nanganallur,Chennai which is molded out of a single rock.

A 3 foot Murti of Sri Panchmukha Hanuman has been installed at OKapi farm 15.7 kms west of Lusaka Zambia from New Mumba Road. While the mandir is under construction, daily puja is offered in the mornings and evenings.

Every Face of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has significance —

  • Sri Hanuman faces east. He grants purity of mind and success.
  • The Narasimha faces south. He grants victory and fearlessness.
  • The west facing Garuda removes black magic and poisons.
  • The north facing Varaha, showers prosperity, wealth.
  • The Hayagriva mukha faces the Sky. But since we cannot see it, it is usually tilted and shown above Hanuman's face. Hayagriva gives Knowledge and good children.

Relation with Shani

In the Hindu faith, Hanuman and Ganesha are two gods not afflicted by Shani. There is also a belief that all the planets are under the control of Hanuman's tail. Whoever worships Hanuman is granted fortitude and strength.

In the Ramayana,Hanuman is said to have rescued Shani, that is, the planet Saturn, from the clutches of Ravana. In gratitude, Shani promised Hanuman that those who prayed to him (Hanuman) would be rescued from the painful effects of Saturn, which in Hindu astrology, is said to produce malefic effects on one's life when one is afflicted "negatively" with Saturn.

Another version of the encounter between Lord Hanuman and Shani Bhagavan is that the latter once climbed on to Lord Hanuman's shoulder, implying that he (Hanuman) was coming under the effects of the influence of Shani. At this, Hanuman assumed a large size, and Shani was caught painfully between Hanuman's shoulders and the ceiling of the room they were in. As the pain was unbearable, Shani requested Hanuman to release him, promising that if a person prayed to Hanuman, he (Shani) would moderate the malefic effects of his influence on that person; following this, Hanuman released Shani.

One more version of the story behind why Lord Shani stays away from those who remember the Lord Ram's name. Once Lord Hanuman was sitting silently absorbed in deep meditation of Lord Rama. Lord Shani passed by and he felt to tease Hanuman. He started teasing Hanuman by pulling his tail, and pinching. Hanuman warned him to go away as he is his Guru's (Lord Sun) son, and so he respects him. When Shani did not hear, then Hanuman started to give him a good thrashing. In the end, Shani pleaded to leave him and Hanuman took a promise from him that Shani will never ever go near a devotee who is meditating on Lord Rama.

There is a spiritual interpretation of the relation between Lord Hanuman and Lord Shani. The former is said to be a symbol of selflessness, while the latter is symbolic of ego and pride. Thus, to counter the karma borne out of selfish action, one must be humble like Lord Hanuman. This is particularly true for those who are said to be experiencing the evil effects of "elnati shani" (in tamil) - a period of about seven and half years when Saturn (Lord Shani) is supposed to afflict the sign in which "planet," the moon is placed in the natal chart of a person.

 

INDIAN FOLK ART BIBLIOGRAPHY (work in progress)

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