Reflecting on one of Hinduism’s most popular prayer for positive energy
Acclaimed mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik demystifies the Hanuman Chalisa for the contemporary reader. His unique approach makes the ancient hymn accessible, combined as it is with his trademark illustrations.
Every time we experience negativity in the world and within ourselves, every time we encounter jealousy, rage and frustration, manifesting as violation and violence, we hear, or read, the Hanuman Chalisa. Composed over four hundred years ago by Tulsidas, its simple words in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi and its simple metre, musically and very potently evoke the mythology, history and mystery of Hanuman, the much-loved Hindu deity, through whom Vedic wisdom reached the masses. As verse follows verse, our frightened, crumpled mind begins to expand with knowledge and insight and our faith in humanity, both within and without, is restored.
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Popular mythological writer Devdutt Pattanaik is out with another book, and the widely read Hindu text Hanuman Chalisa is the latest subject of his exploration.
Pattanaik, who had earlier penned the much acclaimed My Gita, has this time chosen Hanuman Chalisa as the theme of his latest, My Hanuman Chalisa (Rupa/Rs 295/170 Pages) in an attempt to understand what the text actually is and what is in it that makes it so popular.
“I have always wondered what the Hanuman Chalisa is about and what is in it that makes it so popular. Its language — Awadhi — is an old dialect of Hindi, one of the many languages of India,” he said.
“Do people reading it understand what they are reading? Or does the gentle poetic rhythm calm the nervous heart, as it prepares to face the day? Or is it simply a ritual exercise, where the point is to do, not think or feel,” Pattanaik asks in the book.
The author mentions that it was primarily these questions which led him to explore this “popular religious work” through which a Hindu God is “made accessible” to the masses.
Pattanaik says that its “ordinariness makes its sublime” and that its popularity is completely organic.
“Every time I experience negativity in the world, and in myself, every time I encounter jealousy, rage and frustration manifesting as violation and violence, I hear, or read, the Hanuman Chalisa.”
“As verse follows verse, my frightened, crumpled mind begins to expand with knowledge and insight, and my faith in humanity, both within and without, is restored,” adds the author.
Apart from providing simple translation of every verse from Hanuman Chalisa, Pattanaik’s book also presents insights into the his understanding of these verses and the situations under which they were originally penned.