Commentary on Hanuman Chalisa Verses 20, 21 & 22

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Jug sahastra jojan par Bhanu

Leelyo tahi madhur phal janu

You lept towards the sun, situated millions of miles away, thinking it to be a sweet fruit.

Prabhu mudrika meli mukha maaheen

Jaladhi langhi gaye acharaj naheen

You kept the Lord’s ring in your mouth and, no wonder, you jumped over the ocean.

Durgam kaaj jagat ke Jete

Sugam anugrah tumhare te te

Whatever difficult works there are in this world, they become easy by your grace.

You lept towards the sun, situated millions of miles away, thinking it to be a sweet fruit.

This alludes towards an incident when Hanuman was a child. When Hanuman was young, he was very playful like Krishna. He exhibited a huge strength and vitality. Amongst other examples of his playful and powerful nature, he would jump towards high branches of trees to grab fruit which he wanted to eat. One day, he saw the sun, and lept towards it as if it was a fruit. It is said that the sun was afraid, and Indra the King of the Devatas had to hurl his vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which broke his jaw and sent him back to the ground. Hanuman literally means “damaged jaw”, and this is how he got the name !

Obviously this story is not intended to be taken literally – to do so is to miss the point, as is rejecting the story because it does not seem to be literal truth. The language, symbol & metaphor used in the language are replete with meanings which speak to the subconscious mind and help invoke strength and aspiration.

This story tells of aspiration and vitality. Young Hanuman had boundless strength and vitality. His mind would not accept any limits as to what he was capable of. This is what his leap towards the sun means. This symbolism invokes unconditioned strength, aspiration and capability. 

You kept the Lord’s ring in your mouth and, no wonder, you jumped over the ocean

However while Hanuman was young, we he did not have the guidance and understanding as to how to utilise strength, his strength had to be contain, so Indra, head of the natural order, had to stop him upsetting the order of nature needlessly. A related story is the curse that was put on Hanuman for the pranks that he used to play of Rishis that he would forget his true capabilities and prowess until someone reminded him.

When Hanuman came to the service of Rama, he was reminded of his powers by Jambhavan. This Hanuman’s true capabilities were once again manifested, and he was able to jump across the ocean to Lanka. The reason that he could do this is that he was using his energies for the Divine (symbolised by keeping Lord Rama’s ring in his mouth). When a mission or endeavour has the grace of the Divine, the power that can be manifested can be many times what we usually consider as  our usual limitations. The Divine sanction helps us burst through our limitations.

Whatever difficult works there are in this world, they become easy by your grace.

As per the previous two verses – Hanuman possesses boundless strength and vitality, and Divine grace and sanction. Invoking Him and focusing on him, we are able to work through our limitations and accomplish works that are frustrating us or seem beyond our capability.

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