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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Panchamukha Anjaneya Swarupam from Valmiki Ramayana

| Om ṣivāya guravē namaḥ |
| namaḥ tripurasundariyai |
| Om tat sat |


Today is Sri Rama navami, the auspicious day when Lord Sri Rama had taken birth on the Earth in Treta Yuga. Since then every year this day is celebrated in India as a festival in remembrance of that lord, the epitome of righteousness. Sītā, Rama are my family deities as my elders say. After finishing my daily worship today I happened to witness the live telecast of Sītā-Rama kalyanam on Television telecasted from the Bhadrachalam temple of Andhra Pradesh. On this auspicious day, while watching that program my conscience prompted me to write something related to Sītā-Rama. I have bigger plans of writing about Sītā-Rama, but those plans cannot be accomplished in one day. Hence surely, I cannot think of those topics today.

Therefore my inner-self prompted me to write about Anjaneya-vaibhavam because there is none in the three worlds who is dearer to Sītā Rama other than Hanuman.

I dedicate this article to all the devotees of Sītā and Rama as well as to all the devotees of Hanuman. I offer this article to the lotus feet of Sītā Rama and pray them to accept it with all their kindness and bless it so that the glory of Hanuman spreads.



“pancasyācutamanēka vicitra vīryama ||
śrī śanka cakra ramaṇīya bhujāgradēśama ||
pītāmbarama makara kunḍala nūpurāngaṁ ||
dhyāyētidama kapivarama hṛdi bhavayāmi  ||”
“Who has five holy faces, who is a great warrior;
Who holds the conch and holy wheel in his hands;
Who wears yellow silk garments and (is decorated with) anklets and crocodile shaped ear rings;
I meditate on that great monkey and keep him in my heart”.



Panchamukha-Anjaneya or Panchamukhi-Hanuman means ‘Hanuman with five faces’, this is a very potent aspect of Hanuman and is detailed in some Agama scriptures. This form of Hanuman was the main deity of Sri Raghavendra Swami and the followers of Sri Raghavendra Swami do worship Panchamukhi Hanuman in their homes. The temple shrines of Panchamukhi Anjaneya Swami are available in South Indian sacred places of pilgrimage like Kumbhakonam, Tiruvallur etc.


The five faces of Hanuman are described usually in the following dhyana sloka:

“vandē vānara nārasĩha khagarāṭ | krōdāśva vaktrānvitaṁ ||
nānālankaraṇaṁ tripancanayanaṁ | dēdīpyamānamruca hastābjairasikhēṭa ||
pustaka sudhākumbhānkuṣādrin halaṁ | khaṭvangaṁ phaṇi bhūruhaṁ ca daśabhujaṁ ||
sarvāri garvāpahaṁ | sarvāri garvāpahaṁ ||” (panchamukha anjaneya dhyana sloka)
“Prostrations to Hanuman who has five faces viz., vanara (monkey), narasimha (man-lion), garuda (eagle), varaha (boar), and ashva (horse headed Hayagriva); who is decorated with many types of ornaments, who has three times five (i.e., fifteen) eyes which shine brilliantly; who holds in his ten hands – sword, shield, book, pot of nectar, goad (javelin), mountain, plough, leg of a cot, a snake and a tree; who takes away the pride of every enemy; who takes away the pride of every enemy”.

From the above meditative verse (dhyana sloka) we can learn that Panchamukha Anjaneya has the following five faces.

  1. Monkey face (i.e., vanara which is his own face),
  2. Lion face (of narasimha),
  3. Boar face (of varaha),
  4. Eagle face (of Garuda) and
  5. Horse face (of Hayagriva)


Manifestation of Panchamukhi Hanuman comes to us from the legend of Mahiravana (also called as Ahiravana), a demon and a cousin of Ravana. This legend doesn’t exist in Valmiki Ramayana and other Ramayanas. This story is however available in ‘krittivasi ramayana’ a Ramayana believed to have been composed in Bengal in and around 15th CE by the Bengali poet and author named “krittibas Ojha”. As per the story described in his ‘krittivasi ramayana’, Mahiravana was a dweller of Patala loka and was adept in Tantra shastra and was a trained magician (mayavi). Ravana calls him to seek his aid in the war with Sri Rama. To help Ravana, this Mahiravana employs magical trick and takes away the sleeping Rama and Lakshmana to his nether world and makes ties them in magical bondage. He plans to sacrifice them. Hanuman somehow gets the news and he comes down to the nether world where Mahiravana lived. Hanuman finds that Mahiravana cannot be killed in any ordinary way. The only way to kill him was to blow out five different lamps located in five different directions, all at the same time. To accomplish that task which was next to impossible, Hanuman displays his five faced form and with all those five faces he puts off the lamps at the same instance and thus kills the demon.

Well, this legend is not found in earlier versions of Ramayanas and even in Puranas; however it has got a strong foothold in today’s folklore may be because it has found its place in ‘krittivasi Ramayana’. So, should we discard this story as unauthentic and reject the existence of panchamukha Anjaneya form of Hanuman? The general answer would be “yes”, but I would say “no”!

Although not every human’s authored work can be taken as authority, yet, if the work could be traced to the authentic works and if a relationship is found between a strangely depicted seemingly unauthentic legend and a story from the authoritative scriptures; then it makes it a fairly good case to consider such legends as true. I am never an advocate of all kinds of folklore that exists in Hinduism today; however, when I see a relation between the folklore and the story from an authoritative original scripture, I tend to support that lore. Here in this context, the story of Panchamukha Anjaneya comes from a very recent version of Ramayana authored by a human; however, I see that this author (or poet) named “Krittibas Ojha” had a divine inspiration which led him to portray that story in his work.

Sometimes the esoteric secrets when kept unexplored and unexplained by ancient scholars, god decides to reveal them through scholars of contemporary era as well. We have couple of examples of such legendary beings in our recent history also; like Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, Ramana Maharshi, Daivarata, and Aurobindo to name a few; who have through divine inspiration, been successful in seeing many divine secrets. Well, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the entire “krittivasi Ramayana”; however, the existence of five faced aspect of Hanuman is authentic to my eyes. Let me clarify why it is so.


Commonly we hear that in Valmiki Ramayana Hanuman’s five faced aspect (panchamukhi hanuman) is not mentioned. But I have a different stake here! Valmiki Ramayana does depict Hanuman’s five faces; let’s see how!

Well, Valmiki Ramayana is a Kavya (Poetry), and not a Gadya (Prose). Puranas are written in prose style, and in a prose, the author is free to depict anything directly or indirectly, because prose style of scriptures do not lose their beauty even if the author describes things in a direct way. This is why we find both direct revelations as well as esoteric expressions in Puranas. Whereas, a poetry gains more beauty when truths are told in an indirect manner through pointers, and through ornamental language. Hence poetry usually remains complex. No denying that, a poet is also always free to choose a style of his/her choice but usually good poets like the style of revealing information indirectly, because indirect messages add beauty to the narration. For that reason poets use lot many ornaments (alaMkara-s) e.g. Alliteration, Exaggeration, Personification etc., to decorate their work.

The same case is true with Valmiki Ramayana as well. Let’s see how that poet has hidden Panchamukhi Hanuman in his Kavya. While, “krittivasi Ramayana” describes Hanuman’s five “faces”; Valmiki Ramayana describes Hanuman’s five “facets (aspects)” and reveales indirectly about the tatwam of panchamukha anjaneya swarupam.

Let’s now see how Valmiki narrates Hanuman’s five aspects in Valmiki Ramayana.


Valmiki Ramayana brings out the five aspects of Hanuman’s celestial nature very beautifully. That’s the beauty of the pen of Valmiki! Practically speaking, the existence of five faces may be just for the sake of Upasana of a devotee, as mere faces do not serve any purpose. The actual meaning behind that form of Hanuman is to explain the five hidden tatwams or capabilities of Hanuman which have been depicted as five faces for the sake of devotees who cannot easily comprehend his higher nature. This is why while Valmiki had already shown Hanuman’s five “facets” and narrated about the deeds that he performed displaying his five divine capabilities; krittibasi Ohja had understood those five hidden messages and consolidated them in one place and narrated a picture of Hanuman giving him five “faces” his write-up.

Let’s see each of the five aspects of Hanuman’s panchamukhi nature one by one now.

1.4.1 The aspect of Hanuman being the mighty Garuda

In the beginning of Sundarakanda, when Hanuman sets himself for his flight to Lanka, in search of Sītā; Valmiki narrates in various ways about Hanuman’s speed in flight. He sometimes compares him directly with Garuda in Hanuman’s own words, and in some other times he mentions that the serpents and other bystanders beheld Hanuman soaring through the skies as like as Garuda. In that comparative manner Valmiki shows Hanuman’s facet (aspect) of Garuda there. Let’s see some references in support of this now.

Hanuman thought himself equal to Garuda. This means here Hanuman is indirectly pointing about his own nature of Garuda.

“ēvamuktvā tu hanumānvānarānvānarōttamaḥ || (VR 5:1:43)
utpapātātha vēgēna vēgavānavicārayana |
suparṇamiva cātmānaṁ mēnē sa kapikujñjaraḥ ||” (VR 5:1:44)
“The best among Vaanaraas, Hanuma, spoke in this way to Vaanaraas and then without thinking about anything else, flew up with lot of vigor. That great monkey also thought himself equal to Garuda, the king of birds”.

The thoughts and the commentaries made by the onlookers which include Sages, Charanas, Siddhas, etc., are narrated by Valmiki in beautiful statements as given below. Through these verses Valmiki is explaining us the Garuda’s aspect of Hanuman.

Hanuman’s physical attributes are being compared with that of Garuda in the below words.

“ānupūrvyēṇa vṛttaṁ ca lāṇa^gūlaṁ lōmabhiścitama |
utpatiṣyana vicikśēpa pakśirāja ivōragama ||” (VR 5:1:33)
“About to fly, Hanuma jolted his tail, which was rolled into a circle from top to bottom, and which was covered with hair, just as Garuda, the king of birds would jolt a snake”.

“tasya lāṇa^gūlamāviddhamāttavēgasya pṛṣṭhataḥ |
dadṛśē garuḍēnēva hriyamāṇō mahōragaḥ ||” (VR 5:1:34)
“Receiving his vigor, the tail curled at his back was seen like a great serpent being stolen by Garuda”.

Serpents living inside the sea mistook Hanuman to be Garuda.

“plavamānaṁ samīkśyatha bhujaṇa^gāḥ sāgarālayāḥ |
vyōmni taṁ kapiśārdūlaṁ suparṇa iti mēnirē ||” (VR 5:1:75)
“Serpents living in the sea saw Hanuma flying in the sky and thought that it was Garuda, the king of birds”.

Here Hanuman is directly compared and also his flight-speed is compared with that of Garuda.

“āpātē pakśisanghānā̃ pakśirāja iva vrajana |
hanumāna mēghajālāni prakarṣana mārutō yathā ||” (VR 5:1:80)
“Hanuma while coursing through the path of birds like the king of birds Garuda, dragged with him series of clouds like the god of wind”.

“jagāma vāyumārgē tu garutmāniva mārutiḥ ||” (VR 5:1:180)
“Maruti went in the sky like Garuda”

This is how Valmiki has depicted Hanuman’s nature of Garuda. Now let’s proceed to see Hanuman’s Narasimha form.

1.4.2 The aspect of Hanuman being the terrible and wise Narasimha

This lion-man (narasimha) aspect is not very direct, but would become explicit when we analyze it in a bit detail. Well, there are direct verses which compare Hanuman with “Lion” but Hanuman’s lion face is not just Lion face it means actually “Lord Narasimha”. Therefore there lies a deeper message in Valmiki Ramayana that we need to analyze. We need to understand “Narasimha” first. Lord Narasimha was a combination of beast and a man. Lion is considered as the most ferocious and wild animal in the animal kingdom, whereas Man is the most intelligent among all the species. To kill the mighty demon Hiranyakashyapu not only lord Vishnu used his fearsome form, and its terrible strength; but he used the most intelligent way to weed out that demon forever. He wasn’t supposed to be killed on earth or in sky, so he killed him in the air, he wasn’t supposed to be killed inside or outside, so he killed him on the doorstep (entrance), etc. So, here Narasimha’s “Nara” aspect helped him in intelligent decisions, and his “Simha” aspect was used to killing the demon.

Let’s come back to Hanuman’s feats now. Hanuman also exhibited “narasimha” form during his mission. How? In the entire animal kingdom, every species walk in group, hunt in group, attack in group; but only the leonine species move singly. And among the feline species, Lion is considered as the most powerful and ferocious animal. A lion doesn’t sit in his den and wait for the prey to come; rather, a lion singly moves out, enters into the area of the enemies (preys), and even the mighty elephants always stay in groups, but lion enters into their territory alone. It attacks the herd of elephants, herd of deer, group of zebras, giraffes etc; alone. Sometimes the opposite herd remains prepared and gives him a counter strike; but lion fights alone. Now, let’s correlate this with hanuman now. A monkey by nature is timid. It always remains in its group, steals food stealthily and immediately jumps and runs away, even if attacks, it attacks in group. Hanuman remembered his strength and set himself for flying; but he didn’t ask any other fellow colleague to accompany him. He was heading towards the enemy territory which was considered the most secured area (like Area-51) of that time. Lanka was impregnable even for the very celestials.

Also, the Vanaras knew that many demoniac forces also exist in the ocean. But still then “like a lion”, Hanuman didn’t think of the consequences and prepared to go alone into the enemy territory. Note that one may say even Angada had done the same at a later point of time. That’s accepted, but by that time lot many things were stabilized. Here Hanuman and team only had a “speculation” with them. Nobody was aware where Sītā was exactly located in Lanka etc. And any wrong step could have made Ravana alert and he could have hidden Sītā in some other tough to find place. If that would have happened, then the search mission of Hanuman and his team had chances of getting even tougher. So, being just “courageous” like a lion was NOT the important point there.

Now, let’s again go back to lion’s story of the jungle. Well, a lion always remains courageous and attacks even on the herd of elephants; but many a times it gets badly defeated by the elephants when they remain prepared for this fight. Here lion fails because Lions have only “Courage”, and “Might”. But to be an invincible warrior one requires another quality viz. “Intelligence”. And beasts lack that aspect. That’s why in Narasimha incarnation, lord Vishnu had the advantage of “beast’s power”, plus “Nara’s intelligence” forged together in one form viz. Narasimha (However peculiarly the form was reversed, the upper body was Lion’s and lower was that of man; lord plays in many strange ways) . Now, let’s come back again to Hanuman now.

Hanuman not only flew like a raging lion towards the opponent’s territory, but also he used his “best of the best” intellectual abilities in that mission without which he would have probably become unsuccessful. He used his intellect to distinguish Surasa and passed her test. In front of Surasa who was a goddess and the mother of reptiles; he didn’t use might, even though he was capable; because might has to be used to protect the righteous ones and to fight against the wicked ones. Surasa was not a demon, she was a celestial; so instead of killing her, he fulfils her wish of eating hanuman in a very intelligent way as stated below.

Hanuman states about his experience facing Surasa and Simhika below to Jambavan. We’ll see how Hanuman faced the same kind of situation twice and how he used wisdom in the former case and might in the latter case. We need to compare the situations carefully to appreciate the beauty of Hanuman’s wisdom and power.

In the first case Hanuman met with Surasa who was a goddess and was not worthy of getting killed. She asks Hanuman to become her food as follows.

Surasa spoke:

“mama bhakṣyaḥ pradiṣṭaḥ tvama amāraiḥ hari sattamama |
tataḥ tvāma bhakṣayiṣyāmi vihitaḥ tvama cirasya mē ||” (VR 5:58:22)
“O excellent of monkeys! The celestials have shown you as my eatable. Therefore, I will eat you since you have been bestowed to me by gods after a long time.”

Now compare the above words of Surasa with that of the below words of a female demon named Simhika

“kva asi gantā mahākāya kṣudhitāyā mama īpsītāḥ |
bhakṣaḥ prīṇaya mē dēhama cirama āhāra varjitama ||” (VR 5:58:39)
“O gigantic monkey! Where are you going? You are my requisite food, hungry as I am. Gratify my person, who has remained without sustenance for long.”

In both these cases we see the two ladies desirous of eating Hanuman, and both expressed their desire to be fulfilled. Hanuman accepts both their desires but acts in two different ways with each of them. With Surasa Hanuman plays a trick and fulfills her wish and escapes from her mouth, even celestials applaud Hanuma’s wise feat.

Hanuman enters Surasa’s expanded mouth in a minute form and then escapes out quickly, thus fulfilling her wish of eating him and at the same time safeguarding himself as well as not killing her.

“mata pramāṇa anurūpama ca vyāditama tana mukhama tayā || (VR 5:58:29)
tata dṛṣṭvā vyāditama tu āsyama hrasvama hi akaravama vapuḥ |
tasmina muhūrtē ca punaḥ babhūva anguṣṭha sammitaḥ ||” (VR 5:58:30)
“She opened her mouth so wide as to correspond to the size of my body. Seeing her expanded mouth, I assumed a dwarfish form. At that moment, I still became reduced to the size of a human thumb.”

“abhipatya āśu tata vaktrama nirgatō ahama tataḥ kṣaṇāta |
abravīta surasā dēvī svēna rūpēṇa māma punaḥ ||” (VR 5:58:31)
“After entering her mouth quickly, I then came out instantly. The divine Surasa, in her native form, spoke to me again, as follows:”

Then Surasa getting pleased by Hanuman blesses him as follows.

“artha siddhyai hari śrēṣṭha gaccha saumya yathā sukhama |
samānaya ca vaidēhīma rāghavēṇa mahātmanā |
sukhī bhava mahābāhō prītā asmi tava vānara ||” (VR 5:58:32)
“‘O gently monkey! O the foremost among monkeys! Go happily for the fulfillment of your purpose. Bring back Seetha to the magnanimous Rama. O mighty armed monkey! Be happy. I am pleased with you.'”

Then all the celestials also praise Hanuman for his wise feat. (Also on a side note, observe that here also Hanuman compares himself with Garuda.)

“tatō ahama sādhu sādhvī iti sarva bhūtaiḥ praśamsītāḥ |
tatō antarikṣama vipulama plutō ahama garuḍō yathā ||” (VR 5:58:33)
“Then, all living beings praised me! Saying Good! Well done! Bravo! Thereupon, I leapt into the extensive sky, like Garuda the eagle, the carrier of Lord Vishnu.”

Now let’s see how Hanuman had use his might to kill Simhika. Simhika also opens her large mouth to consume Hanuman. He contracts his form to a minute level and enters her mouth and comes out shattering her breast like a bullet.

“tatō ahama vipulama rūpama samkṣipya nimiṣa antarāta |
tasyā hṛdayama ādāya prapatāmi nabhaḥ talama ||” (VR 5:58:42)
“Then, having contracted my large body within another moment, I extracted her heart and leapt back into the sky.”

Simhika was thus killed.

“sā visṛṣṭa bhujā bhīmā papāta lavaṇa ambhasi |
mayā parvata samkāśā nikṛtta hṛdayā satī ||” (VR 5:58:43)
“When her heart has been cut off by me, that terrific Simhika looking like a mountain, fell into the ocean with her arms emanating from it.”

Once again here the Sages and celestials applaud Hanuman’s feat of killing Simhika as evident from the below verse.

“śṛṇōmi kha gatānāma ca siddhānāma cāraṇaiḥ saha |
rākṣasī simhikā bhīmā kṣiprama hanumatā hṛtā ||” (VR 5:58:44)
“I heard great sages along with wandering celestial singers, moving in the sky, saying that Simhika the dreadful demon was instantly killed by Hanuma.”

With this comparative analysis we can easily see that the situation faced by Hanuman was same in both these cases, and Hanuman was quite capable of killing both the opponents by might; but he was not just as fierce and valorous as a lion (Simha) but he was as judgemental and wise as a man (nara). Hence he passed the test of Surasa, took blessings from her and was applauded by the celestials whereas he killed Simhika and again was applauded by the celestials. We can understand here that both the situations were similar but Hanuman’s actions were dissimilar in each case, however, the celestials approved his actions in both the cases. This means what he had decided to do with Surasa and Simhika were all righteous, and justified because he has the applause as the approval from celestials.

From these feats his “nara” and “simha” aspects are evident. Therefore he is in his “narasimha” aspect in this chapter of Ramayana. Even Sītā addresses Hanuman as the lion among the monkeys and then praises Hanuman’s intellect and says that Hanuman is excellent of those wise men who know how to accomplish impossible tasks. Let’s see both points one by one.

Here in below verse Sītā addresses Hanuman as ‘Lion among monkeys’. (No doubt this is a generic expression as like as saying “best among humans (narottama)”, or “bull among the humans (nararshabha)” etc., however philosophically if we see we would be able to appreciate an indirec” addressing of Hanuman as ‘lion’)

“gatē hi hariśārdūla punaḥ āgamanāya tu |
prāṇānāma api samdēhō mama syāna na atra samśayaḥ ||” (VR 5:39:22)
“O Hanuma the lion among the monkeys! If after that, there is any doubt about your return, there is a doubt even for my survival too. There is no suspicion about this matter.”

Then she extols his wisdom and intelligence which signify his “nara” attribute.

“tat asmin kārya niryōgē vīra ēvama duratikramē |
kima paśyasi samādhānama tvama hi kāryavidāma varaḥ ||” (VR 5:39:27)
“O valiant monkey! That is why, what strategy are you visualizing to fulfill this act, which is thus impassable? You are indeed excellent of those who know how to accomplish a task”.

On similar lines we can easily see many more such instances of Hanuman’s wisdom as well as his might in the entire course of Sundara Kanda and Yuddha kanda. He kills Lankini and penetrates into Lanka intelligently by changing his form to a minute level to remain unnoticed. And his entire mission reflects his “intellect” in equal proportions to his “Strength”.  In absence of either of these qualities he wouldn’t have come back happily.

So, this equal balance of valour like a most ferocious beast – “Simha (Lion)”, and extreme intelligence that of a “Nara (Man)”, makes him reflect his nature of “Lord Narasimha” in him.

Let’s see few verses here which call him as leonine here for references. Well, the immediately below verse reflects his “Lion (Simha)” attribute. Since Hanuman says he would enter Lanka and if he doesn’t find her there he would go to heaven, and then uproot Lanka itself; all these abodes are secured places, and in his quest he is all alone and even if he had to fight with anyone be it Ravana’s forces or Indra’s soldiers, he had the courage to attack them singly. This is leonine prowess!

“yathā rāghavanirmuktaḥ śaraḥ śvasanavikramaḥ |
gaccēttadvadgamiṣyāmi laṇa^kā̃ rāvaṇapālitāma || (VR 5-1-39)
na hi drakśyāmi yadi tā̃ laṇa^kāyā̃ janakātmajāma |
anēnaiva hi vēgēna gamiṣyāmi surālayama || (VR 5-1-40)
yadi vā tridivē sītā̃ na drakśyāmyakṛtaśramaḥ |
baddhvā rākśasarājānamānayiṣyāmi rāvaṇama || (VR 5-1-41)
sarvathā kṛtakāryō’hamēṣyāmi saha sītayā |
ānayiṣyāmi vā laṇa^kā̃ samutpāṭya sarāvaṇāma ||” (VR 5-1-42)
“I will go to the city of Lanka, ruled by Ravana just like an arrow released by Rama will go, with wind-like speed. If I do not see the daughter of Janaka there, I will go with the same speed to the abode of gods. If I do not see Seetha there in heaven,I will get Ravana the king of raakshasaas tied up in chains without any effort. I will, in all events, return successfully along with Seetha or I will get Lanka along with Ravana after uprooting it.”

Hanuman walked like a Rampant Lion and frightened birds and killed animals.

“dvijāna vitrāsayana dhīmānurasā pādapāna harana |
mṛgā̃śca subāhunnighnana pravṛddha iva kēsarī||” (VR 5:1:4)
“The thoughtful Hanuma tread like a rampant lion, making birds fear, uprooting trees by his breast and also killing many animals”.

Hanuman is called here as Lion among Monkeys (which is a eulogy in general, but could also be taken as a pointer towards his valorous Narasimha aspect)

“tasya vānarasĩhasya plavamānasya sāgarama |
kakśāntaragatō vāyurjīmūta iva garjati ||” (VR 5:1:64)
“Air passing through the lion among monkeys Hanuma’s arm pits sounded like a thundering cloud”

Jambavan addresses Hanuman as follows

“uttiSṭha hari śārdūla langhayasva mahā arṇavama |
parā hi sarva bhūtānāma hanumana yā gatiḥ tava ||” (VR 4:66:36)
“Arise, oh, lion-like monkey, leap over this vast ocean, oh, Hanuma, your escape velocity is indeed unalike that of all the other beings”.

Hanuman is compared with a Lion once again.

“yathā vijṛmbhatē sĩhō vivṛtē giri gahvarē |
mārutasya aurasaḥ putraḥ tathā samprati jṛmbhatē ||” (VR 4:67:6)
“Hanuma, the lineal son of Air-god, is now prancing about as with a lion prancing around a wide-open den of a mountain”.

Hanuman’s hands are being compared with the paws of a Lion.

“bāhubhyām pīḍitaḥ tēna mahāśailō mahātmanā |
rarāsa sĩha abhihatō mahāna matta iva dvipaḥ ||” (VR 4:67:43)
“When squeezed by both the arms and hands of that high souled Hanuma, that lofty mountain trumpeted, as if it is a lion-paw-hit brutish-elephantine-elephant”.

Hanuman surveyed the Lanka fort as like as Lions survey a forest.

“rakaSītām rākaSasaira bhīmaiḥ simhaira iva mahada vanam |
samīkaSamāṇō bhavanama cakāśē kapi kunjaraḥ ||” (VR 5:6:3)
“Hanuma shined purveying the building protected by horrible rakshasas, like a forest by lions”.

With this we will conclude on the Narasimha aspect and let’s move on to analyse his Hayagriva aspect next.

1.4.3 The aspect of Hanuman being the Preceptor Hayagriva

Well, hanuman’s horse face is not just any ordinary horse. It shows his aspect of lord Hayagriva. There is a minor incarnation of lord Vishnu by name “Hayagriva” who has a face of horse. He is considered as the epitome of learning. He is equivalent to goddess Saraswati in male form. He is seen also like a Vaishnava counterpart of Lord Dakshinamurty. In short, he is worshipped as an exalted deity of wisdom and source of Vedic knowledge. He is seen as a divine Guru. Once there was a demon by same name ‘Hayagriva’ who was also known as ‘Hayasirsha’; that demon had stolen Vedas and kept them under the ocean. Vishnu assumed his preceptor form of Hayagriva and killed that demon and restored Vedas back.

Hanuman was a master in all the Vedas, Vedangas, Nava-Vyakarana, and Shastras. At scholarly levels he was at par or equal to Hayagriva swami. His learnedness is not the only aspect that we are interested here, he should also be a great Guru as like as Hayagriva to be compared with Hayagriva.

For this, Valmiki Ramayana has instances where Hanuman acts as the divine Guru. When Rama-Lakshmana come to meet Sugriva for the first time, Sugriva remains sceptic and doubtful about them. Hanuman intervenes and educates Sugriva with the knowledge of Rama. There he acted as a bridge (Guru) between a Jiva (Sugriva) and Paramatma (Rama); and erased the ignorance of Sugriva.

Second instance where Hanuman’s Guru aspect comes with great prominence is as follows. Sītā was with Rama in Panchavati. Sītā represents Jiva and Rama represents Paramatma. Jiva was in bliss because she was dwelling with Paramatman. But all of a sudden, Jiva (Sītā) gets smitten by a “desire” of material possessions (read Golden Deer). Material wants attracts us, and when we fail to understand that they are fleeting and only Paramatman is our real and permanent property; we fall down. That’s what happened with Sītā – She fell into the unbreakable trap of the ignorance and illusion (Lanka) and got separated from her Paramatman. Now, Hanuman goes to Lanka as a “Guru” crossing the ocean of “Samsaara” (He didn’t swim because if guru himself dives in the ocean of samsaara, who would protect the Jiva (disciple) then?).

When hanuman talks with Sītā, he narrates the “Qualities” and “Glories” of Rama. That’s nothing but a Guru enlightening a Jiva with the “knowledge” of the Paramatman. And when she became elated by listening to Rama’s glories, it’s like a Jiva realizing back the significance of Paramatman, and then Rama comes and rescues the Jiva (Sītā) from the Samsaara to the other side and unites her (Jiva) with himself (God).

So, in all these instances Hanuman was not just a scholar, he acted as a Guru who confers the knowledge of liberation. Therefore, there Hanuman being a scholar in all the scriptures as well as the most suitable Guru in those situations; he had shown his aspect of “Hayagriva” there. Let me quote few references just for the sake of completing this section.

Jambavan addresses Hanuman as a erudite scholar in all the scriptures as follows.

“vīra vānara lōkasya sarva śāstra vidāma vara |
tūSṇīma ēkāntama āśritya hanumana kima na jalpasi ||” (VR 4:66:2)
“Oh, valiant one in the world of vanara-s, being an erudite scholar among all the scriptural scholars, Hanuma, why do not you mumble something, why do you resort to a calmly loneliness”.

Here in below verse Hanuman’s role as preceptor is depicted. God comes to the rescue of the needy, and communicates through a competent teacher. Only the teacher can visualize the god and his intent, and thus narrate it to the taught. That is what Hanuma’s advising to Sugreeva signifies.

“bhavatā sakhya kāmau tau bhrātarau rāma lakaSmaṇau |
pragṛhya ca aracayasva ētau pūjanīyatamau ubhau ||” (VR 4:5:7)
“These two brothers Rama and Lakshmana, are interested to make friendship with you… thus you receive these two and worship them, for they are most venerable ones…” Hanuma thus advised Sugreeva”.

Next he becomes the preceptor of Sītā in Sundara Kanda and to a weeping and sorrowful Sītā he explains the nature of Sri Rama. There Hanuman describes Rama not only his bodily features and beauty from head to feet, but also sings the glory of Rama. This is nothing but the act of a preceptor of enlightening the disciple by conferring the Atman-jnana by narrating the swarupa of the Supreme Being. Then Hanuman assures his disciple (Sītā) that her lord (the Paramatma) would rescue her from the ocean of samsaara and take her to the Ayodhya the city of Brahman.

“viśvāsārthama tu vaidēhi bharturuktā mayā guṇāḥ |
viśvāsa arthama tu vaidēhi bhartuḥ uktā mayā guṇāḥ ||” (VR 5:35:83)
“O Seetha! I described the qualities of Rama, your husband, to cause trust in you. O the faultless princess! Rama will take you from here within a short time.”

This completes the section on Hayagriva tatwam of Hanuman. Let’s proceed with his next aspect of Lord Varaha.

1.4.4 The aspect of Hanuman being the divine Lord Varaha

Well, this aspect of Lord Varaha partially overlaps with the aspect of Hayagriva to certain extent. Varaha aspect is not independent unlike what we had seen for other aspects. Actually Hanuman’s Varaha aspect is shown as dependent on his job of a preceptor (Hayagriva). Therefore after Hanuman’s Hayagriva aspect finishes his job, hanuman assumes the aspect of lord Varaha. Let’s see how!

Sītā suspects Hanuman as not real and considers him as some servant of Ravana or in fact Ravana himself in disguise. But, in various ways Hanuman wins her confidence and then Hanuman sings the glories of Rama. Till that time Sītā remains totally grief stricken, sorrowful and always remains shedding tears. But Hanuman’s presence, his talks, his narrations about Rama etc., makes her relaxed, boosts confidence on life, and dispels her sorrow to a great extent. She who earlier had no clue whether Rama would be able to come and rescue her, and was used to weep constantly; now with Hanuman’s assurance and due to his comforting talk; she starts seeing the brighter side of the tunnel. Her fears, worries, sorrows, and gloom vanish instantly. At least she sees her Rama coming shortly there.

So, here how does Varaha come into picture? May be your question! The answer is – It’s like – lord Vishnu liberated Bhudevi (Earth) from “Saagara” (ocean) in his Varaha incarnation, and Hanuman exhibited that Varaha form by liberating “Bhu-Putri” (Daughter of earth) from the “Dukkha-Sagara” (ocean of sadness).

So, the contexts are different, but the process remains same. Both Vishnu and Hanuman did the same act of rescuing the refugee from the ocean; in former case it was ‘earth’ and it was ‘cosmic ocean’; whereas in the latter case it was the ‘daughter of earth’ and she was rescued from the ‘ocean of sorrow’.

Here are some references which depict Sītā’s state of joyfulness, culmination of her sorrows, and her moments of happiness all gifted by Hanuman.

After narrating about Rama’s glories Hanuman assures her that Rama would come shortly and rescue her.

“viśvāsārthama tu vaidēhi bharturuktā mayā guṇāḥ |
viśvāsa arthama tu vaidēhi bhartuḥ uktā mayā guṇāḥ ||” (VR 5:35:83)
“O Seetha! I described the qualities of Rama, your husband, to cause trust in you. O the faultless princess! Rama will take you from here within a short time.”

Site gets filled with overwhelming happiness now (whereas earlier she was filled with overwhelming sorrow). Now she sheds tears of happiness (whereas she always used to shed tears of sorrow earlier)

“atulama ca gatā harṣama praharṣēṇa tu jānakī |
nētrābhyāma vakra pakṣmābhyāma mumōca ānandajama jalama || (VR 5:35:85)
cāru tac ca ānanama tasyāḥ tāmra śukla āyata īkṣaṇama |
aśōbhata viśāla akṣyā rāhu mukta iva uḍu rāṭa ||” (VR 5:35:86)
“Seetha obtained unequal delight. She released tears of joy from her eyes having curved eye-lashes, with a thrill of delight. The countenance of that large-eyed Seetha, who is beautiful, whose eyes are red white and long is shining like a moon, the king of stars liberated from Rahu the demon”.

Sītā expresses about her delight to Hanuman and attributes the cause of her delight to Hanuman.

“mama cēt alpa bhāgyāyāḥ sāmnidhyāt tava vīryavān |
asya śōkasya mahatō muhūrtam mōkṣaṇam bhavēta || (VR 5:39:21)
“O Hanuma! Because of your vicinity, there may be a relief for a moment to this great sorrow of me, who is less fortunate.”

Her extreme levels of joyfulness can be seen from her below words.

“tvām dṛṣṭvā priya vaktārama samprahṛṣyāmi vānara |
ardha samjāta sasya iva vṛṣṭima prāpya vasuma dharā ||” (VR 5:40:2)
“O Hanuma! Seeing you speaking pleasant words, I am as overjoyed, as a field with half-sprouted crop of grain is thrilled by receiving a rain.”

With this we have learnt how Hanuman’s Varaha form had rescued the Bhu-putri (daughter of Earth) from the dukha-sagara (ocean of sorrow)


With the above analysis we have seen that Panchamukha Anjaneya form of Hanuman is very much real and an authentic form. It has been depicted in Valmiki Ramayana where Valmiki has brought out the five aspects of Hanuman. Then later day poet or authors have visualized the same phenomenon of Hanuman’s five facets and described them as his five faces. Panchamukhi Hanuman is in fact also mentioned in “Sudarshana Samhita” which is an Agama Shastra scripture followed by vaishnavas. In that book a very detailed armour named “Panchamukha Anjaneya Kavacham” is mentioned as a discourse between Sita and Rama where on inquiry from Sita lord Sri Rama reveals to her the powerful armour of five faced Hanuman.

|| ētat sarvaṁ ṣrī umāmahēṣvara parabraḥmārpaṇamastu ||


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