Hanuman Chalisa: Explanation of verses 3 & 4

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Click here for explanations of verses 1 & 2

Insight into Verse 3

Jai Hanuman gyan gun sagar
Jai Kapis tihun lok ujagar 

Victory to Thee, O Hanuman, Ocean of wisdom and virtue, victory to the Lord of monkeys who is well known in all the three worlds.

This is a seemingly simple devotional verse in praise of Hanuman, but the arrangement and choice of words are crafted by the poet to give deeper dimensions of meanings and suggestions.

“Victory to Thee, O Hanuman, Ocean of wisdom and virtue”

Hanuman is a personality with immense knowledge (gyan). This was apparent to all who met him. When Hanuman met Rama and Lakshmana for the first time on the outskirts of Kishkinda, Rama commented to Lakshman that Hanuman is a true man of knowledge. Just by the way he spoke and conducted himself, it could be seen that he is a knower of the Vedas. In this world it’s easy to convince impressionable people that you have great knowledge. But when a divine being like Rama is the one who acknowledges someone’s wisdom, it is a sign of true knowledge.

However knowledge alone is not sufficient to earn our admiration and reverence. Therefore in the very next word we hear an even more important reason why Hanuman is so revered, this being his qualities/values (guna).

In the world, there are and have been many clever people with great knowledge in one or another field. This does not necessarily make a person great, especially if they are lacking essential qualities, like compassion, humility, bravery etc. Without such qualities, knowledge alone is dry and is likely to be a source of ego rather than a constructive force in the world. So Tulsidas’s praise of Hanuman’s knowledge (gyan) goes hand in hand with his qualities (guna).

“Victory to the King of Monkeys who is well known in all the three worlds”

Kapis is translated as “King of Monkeys”. One may wonder at this. Hanuman wasn’t after all a king. Sugriva and Bali were kings, but not Hanuman. But true leadership is measured by influence over people’s hearts and minds. In this measure, it was Hanuman who was king. Just as in the explanation of verse 1 it was explained that Hanuman is referred to as Raghuvar (kin of Rama), even though he is not a blood relative of Lord Rama, in the same way Hanuman is the King without being the actual monarch.

Kapis has another underlying meaning, relating to its Sanskrit route. The word can be divided into the roots “Ka” and “Pi”. “Pi” means “to drink”. “Ka” means joy, specifically the joy arising from spiritual illumination. Hence Kapis can also means “One who drinks the joy of spiritual illumination”. It is by such individuals – who rule people’s hearts without wielding political authority and who live in the joy of spiritual knowledge because of whom the three worlds are illumined (tihun lok ujagar).

Insight into Verse 4

Rama doot atulit bal dhama
Anjani-putra Pavan sut nama

You are the divine messenger of Rama and repository of immeasurable strength, and are also known as Anjaniputra and known as the son of the wind – Pavanputra.

“You are the divine messenger of Rama and repository of immeasurable strength”

“Rama doot” means “Rama’s messenger” or “Rama’s servant”. In life, a person generally prefers to be introduced as the family member or associate of the person he or she admires the most, or who is closest to them self. Hanuman could introduce himself in many ways, but he preferred to introduce himself just as Rama’s messenger. When he first met Sita and she asked him who he was, he said with humility, “Mother I am the servant of Ramachandraji.” In Lanka, Ravana asked him who the hell he was who had just come and wreaked havoc in his kingdom. Hanuman replied “By whose drop of power you have wielded power over the entire earth, I am His servant”.

To be a messenger of the Lord is a position of great responsibility – it means to do His work upon Earth. It is more than just being a devotee. Making oneself a servant of Rama, being proud of it, and taking responsibility to do His work is a key to developing immeasurable strength – because the strength flows from the a higher source than oneself.

Hanuman’s strength wasn’t manifest when he was just a servant of Sugriva (King of Kishkinda), even though he was a dutiful servant of the latter. It is when he came into the service of Rama that his immeasurable strength was witnessed. This shows that one’s full potential is manifested by being in the service of the right cause and right master – a message which is highly relevant today.

and are also known as the son of Anjani and known as the son of the Pavan”

Anjani-putra means “Son of Anjani”. Anjani was Hanuman’s mother. Although to Hanuman it was his relationship with Lord Rama that was most important to him, rather than his family, he was still a dutiful family member, and in fact brought great honour upon his mother through his great deeds. The same should be the case for any person who is in service of a great divine cause which they believe in. The cause is worthy of first loyalty, but one’s mother should also be made proud and be honoured.

Hanuman is also known as the son of Pavan Devata (the Deity of Wind), one of the divine celestial powers which upholds the functioning of the world. Pavan Devata is the life force or life breath (praana) of the world. Spiritual commentaries of the Ramayana have described Hanuman as the subtle life force which links Spirit (Rama), with Sita (Nature).

Visit Hindu Perspective’s HANUMAN SECTION (special feature)

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