HANUMAN IN PARASHARA SAMHITA
Dr V.V.B.Rama Rao
hanumaan kalpavrikshO me hanumaan mama kaama dhuk
ChinatamaNisthu hanumaan kO vicharah kutO bhayam
Samhita is basically a collection or a compilation. These are many: Veda Samhitas, Purana Samhitas and Agama Samihitas. These contain hymns to gods and prayers from important portions of the Veda and the rituals prescribed therein for regular use. Several rishis have thus compiled these samhitas. Sage Parashara wrote a samhita on the Rigveda. This Parashara is different from the Parshara who was the son of Shakti and grandson of Vyasa. The one who compiled Parashara Samhita is the disciple of Bashkala, who in his turn was a disciple of Paila. Paila was the son on Pila. Pila studied the Rigveda under the sage Vedavyasa. Agama Samhita contains the mantra or incantation part, set to prosodic structures with set chandas (metre). Those, who are blessed by the divine, visualize these.
Paila first initiated and taught Indrapramati and Bashkala the intricacies and the grandeur of Rigveda. Bashkala taught Parashara. Parashara Samhita appears to have been of particular interest to the devotees of Hanuman or Anjaneya. This extends to a hundred and fifty paTalas
Just as the holy Ramayana is the sum and substance of Sri Rama’s glory and Srimadbhagavatha of the exploits and achievements of Sr Krishna , Parashara Agama Samhita is the source of the upasana of the effulgent Hanuman. This great scripture brings out the sublimity of Sri Anjaneya. Hanumat tatwa is described at length. Sage Parashara taught this to Maitreyi. It is authentic beyond doubt. It has been proved that the great composer-poet and the saintly doyen of Karnatik music, Annamacharya drew heavily from the scripture Parashara Agama Samhita. The discovery of this samhita has accentuated the glory of Hanuman already evident in Valmiki’s grand epic. For those who are familiar with this samhita, Hanuman is the ninth incarnation of Sri Anjaneya.
Besides Hanuman’s glorious story, the samhita describes the deity’s incarnations. The mantras with which the deity can be propitiated and the rituals laid down to win the deity’s grace are all described here. For the sadhakas this is a valuable guidebook and a road map to reach their goal.
The birthday of Sri Anjaneya is authentically stated here as the tenth day after the full moon, in Vaishakh, on Saturday, under the star Purvabhadra, in Vaidhruti Yoga in Karka Lagna, in the afternoon.
Amighty takes an incarnation for protecting the pious and righteous and punshing the evil and sinful. Sri Anjaneya, we are told in this samhita, has taken nine incarnations. Dr Annadanam Chidambara Sastry has brought out Parashara Samhita – Sri Anjaneya Charitra. Sixteen volumes of the eighteen planned have so far been published. He has also written Sri Hanumat Navaavataara Charita.
The first of the nine incarnations of Sri Anjaneya is that of Prasannanjaneya. Veeranjaneya is the second. These are familiar to all. The third is Vimshatibhuaanjaneya, the one with twenty weapons in twenty hands. The fourth is Pachamukhaanjaneya. The Murti has five faces, four on four sides and the fifth on the top, urdhva mukha. The fifth is one with eighteen hands. The sixth is suvarchalapati, consort of Suvarchala. Suvarchala is the daughter of the Sun god. Though widely known as a brahmacharin, Sri Anjaneya was wedded to Suvarchala. In many temples this kalyanam is celebrated annually. Devout scholars mentioned that Khagendra Samhita, Saunaka Samhita and Sudarshana Samhita bear testimony to this. Even as an elaborate mantra sastra, sage Parshara conveyed this in Shodashakshari, Dvadashakshari. These have immensely benefited aspirants and practitioners. Upasakas of Sri Anjaneya.
Sadhakas and the devout observe many auspicious occasions associated with this deity as Hanumat Parva Divasas. Sri Suvarchala-Hanuman wedding is performed on the tenth day before the full moon day in the month of Jyeshtha. The eighth incarnation is that of the four-shouldered Hanuman. The eighth is that of the fierce-looking form bearing thirty-two weapons with thirty-two shoulders. This form is the deity of hunkaara hanumat mantra. The ninth is the monkey-form of Sri Anjaneya Sri Rama’s trusted servant and emissary.
The 60th paTala gives us in detail as to which incarnation has been assumed on which occasion in the right order. Sage Parashara said that there were eleven peethas (seats) of Hanuman Kaundina, Nagara, Sribhadram, Kusatarpanam, Pampaateeram. Chandrakonam, Kambhojam, Gandhamadanam, Brahmavarta puram, Naimisaharanyam, Sundaranagaram and Sri Hanumatpuram. Various upasakas meditated and did tapas to get Hanumat saakhatkaara. These were eleven in number and they came to be known as Hanumat Peethas. Each of these places has its own legend associated with Sri Anjaneya.
Thjere are a thousand names for Sri Hanuman and the justification for each has been explained in Paraashara Samhita. Hanuman is the Bhavishyabrahma, i.e., the future Lord of Creation. Om bhavishya charuraananaayana mahah is one of the hundred and eight appellations of Sri anjaneya. This was not suggested anywhere in the Ramayana. The 46th paTala of the Parashara Samhita elaborates these naama, names. Hanuman visits Brahmloka for Sr Rama Mudrika and there shows his viswaroopa and fulfills Sri Rama’s desire. He obtainex the boon to be the future Creator. This is the boon of Brahma Himself.
In TRETA YUGA a king called Vijaya ruled the city called Chandrakona. It had been the king’s ambition to go on a series of conquests and he set about his jaitra yaatra. First he went to the hermitage of Sage Garga and prostrating before the sage told the sage what his ambition had been. He was given the ashtaakshari hanuman mantra. The devout repetition of the incantation yielded him the blessing of hanumat saakshaatkaara. He was told that his desire would be fulfilled in his next birth by a boon. Vijay was born as Arjuna in Dwaparayuga. In that birth he pooh-poohed the bridge constructed by Sri Rama and was challenged by Hanuman. Arjuna was defeated but with the help of Sri Krishna and the boon in the earlier yuga given by the sage, with Hanuman on his standard, he could win over everyone. Parsahara Samhita explains how it came to be that Hanuman was on the flag of Arjuna’s chariot. Treatises like Saradatilaka, Prapanchasaara and Tantrasaara, deal with the incantatory details for the propitiation of Hanuman to some extent but it is Parashara Samhita that gives us the complete details, the mantras, the ritual associated with the performance of sadhana. This samhita enumerates and explains the incantatory compositions like Hanumat Panchadasaakshari, Shodashaakshari, ashtha dasaakshari with nyasa and the kriyas that should go along with those. It also has in it the tantra part with the various niyamas (principles, rules and conditions). The legend regarding the killing of demons like TrishhlarOma., RaktarOma and MairaavaNa,( MyraavaNa) stand testimony to Hanuman’s exploits in killing the evil and wicked ones. His extending a helping hand in protecting the good is revealed in his going to the rescue of Dhwajadatta, Mainda, Kapila and Kashyapa.
The 13th day before the full moon day in Margashrisha is the day to perform Hanumat Vrata. We see that this is performed both individually and in groups. Worshippers wear the sacred band of thread on the wrist. Parashara Samhita is the source of this religious, devout observance. It states that Hanuman lives in a banana grove near the river Pampa and the mountain Gandhamadana. It states that the camel is His mount and that Surya is His preceptor. Hanuman was born with the sacred thread of gold and He is known as boy bachelor, baala brahmacharin. Sage Parashara also gave us the songs in His praise, the meaning and the efficacy of the mantras and the ritual prescribed to be performed to propitiate Hanuman. He explains these to Maitreyi.
Hanuman is a unique deity. For the Shaivites, he is adorable in that he has Eswaramsha. For the Vaishnavites, he is equally adorable for he is the most devoted servant of Sri Rama. Hanuman is accessible to all and adored by all. That he could be propitiated and prayed to by all irrespective of caste has been amply proved in the legend of Gala, the bird catcher. What are needed are only faith and unswerving devotion. Parashara Samhita shows us Hanuman in all his macro and micro glory. Hanuman could be so small as the tip of a grain neevaara dhanya – a kind of paddy grain and so big that even Bhima would swoon seeing his amplitude. Hanuman is like the all-giving and wish-fulfilling miracles like Kalpataru, Kamadhenu and Chintamani. Witness the sage Parashara asking – ‘Why worry and fear for the worlds?’ Hanuman is the one who dispels all fear and gives all that a devotee prays for.
Dr V.V.B.Rama Ra0 (b.1938) is a retired ELT professional. He is a creative writer, biographer and a translator with lots of translations including those of books on our religion. He lives in New Delhi. Address: C-7 New Township, BTPS, New Delhi-44
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