Why should we read Hanuman Chalisa

Childhood memory

Would you like to play an instrument but think you are not musical? Do you remember your childhood! There is music and singing in each of us. Yoga helps to rediscover that.

My favorite story from Swami Sivananda will always be the one about the young musician. Once in the late 1950s, I was told, a wealthy, generous businessman came to visit the Rishikesh ashram. He was traveling with his son, who had just started learning to play the flute. People are polite in India, so Sivananda invited the young man to Satsang that evening to play something in front of everyone. A swami who was there at the time said: Everyone agreed that they had never heard such a terrible cacophony. It must have been really bad. When his performance was over - and the other Swamis were happy - Sivananda began to clap and shouted: “Wonderful! This young musician delighted our hearts very much. I felt as if Krishna had played his flute himself ”. On top of that. He even asked him to honor the fellowship again next year.

Not everyone grows up with such mentors. Hanuman, for example, had a much harder time. Although the conditions would have been favorable, he was himself an incarnation of Shiva and the son of the god of the wind. The fact that he was outwardly like a monkey didn’t take away from his unrestrained zest for life in his childhood. Always in the mood for pranks, however, he often got into conflict. So he once mistook the sun, which was shimmering through the branches of a tree, for a ripe mango, and flew off to eat it. In doing so, however, he rattled into the chariot of Indra, the king of the gods. And once too often, when he disturbed the rishis meditating silently in the forest, one of them put a curse on him. He had to forget all his powers and abilities for the rest of his youth. Until someone would remind him of it again. The wise had their rest.

I believe many of us have experienced this for ourselves. As a child, you don't want to be "offended" and adapt to the requirements of the environment. This is a helpful strategy, but sometimes it leaves out big aspects of your personality. Then if you meet the wrong teacher, even yoga can become dangerous. We learn that our true "nature" is Sat-Chid-Ananda: Being, knowledge and bliss - but instead of really enjoying our liveliness because of this, we follow the path we have already chosen. And keep making ourselves small. Because we can't reach the divine anyway, in this life. Who are we anyway?

One of Hanuman's gifts was the ability to take shape of any size (this is a fruit of the yoga practice that Patanjali describes in his Yoga Sutras). After long years serving as a general in the Ape Army, life eventually brought him to a situation where he "woke up". In order to help his friend Rama to find the beautiful princess Sita again, he had reached the east coast of India and now had to make a big leap to get across the sea to the kingdom of Lanka. A wise bear reminded him of the powers and abilities that were inherent in him and that he had had in his youth. And Hanuman jumped.

That is the reason why the "Hanuman Chalisa" is sung in yoga schools all over the world today, one of the most beautiful songs to worship Hanuman. "You are as strong as the wind" we sing there. And on the next line: “There is nothing in the world that is too difficult for you.” We say we sing for Hanuman. But actually we sing to ourselves. We remember our own abilities and possibilities by extolling his fame. There is nothing in the world that is too difficult for us. We wrap it up in a chant because otherwise we would shrink from our own strength.

Has anyone ever advised you to be quiet or to be quiet? The "Hanuman Chalisa" - like all forms of Kirtan - should be sung loudly as possible. You can't do anything “wrong” if you put all your heart into it. Then we ourselves are like Krishna's flute, and God can play his song on us. The businessman's son came back to Sivananda's Ashram the following year. And this time he actually played like a young god. The other swamis were amazed, but when you think about it, no great miracle had happened. There had simply been someone in his life who believed in him and increased his confidence in himself. We, too, can always remember what gifts are in us. And in the people around us. Have fun exploring!