Sep 5, 2022

Book Review: My Hanuman Chalisa by Devdutt Pattanaik


 

While dusting and rearranging my bookshelves a few days back, I spotted this book. Sometime in 2014-15, K became an ardent devotee of Hanuman. During that time, he had bought a few books written on the story behind Hanuman. He also used to listen to Hanuman Chalisa regularly while driving and that's how I heard the version sung by Unni Krishnan. To date, his voice and the tune he had followed is what I remember in the background while chanting Hanuman Chalisa.

As I have been practicing Hanuman Chalisa during my evening prayers, this book felt like a perfect read to understand the pronunciation and the deep meaning behind it. For the past 3 days, I was completely engrossed in this insightful book that breaks down each verse (chaupai) in such great detail.

Once I understood the meaning, the chaupai felt more comfortable to chant. The author has also provided a lot of context and linkages to bring out more clarity.

For eg, I loved the explanation given for Chaupai 19 - "Prabhu mudrika meli mukh mahee........". How Hanuman considers the ring as simply a tool to identify himself as a messenger of Ram without associating any special rule of propriety.

Also, Chaupai 7 - "Vidyavaan guni ati chatur....." talks about how the combination of knowledge and cleverness can be dangerous unless one also has virtue.

It also helped me understand why we pray to Hanuman on Tuesdays (Mangal / Mars represents aggression) and Saturdays (Shani / Saturn represents patience), as he is considered to influence the power of the grahas, remove their malevolent influence and enable their benevolent influence.

There were plenty of amazing insights and explanations. It is hard to share them through a short review :)

The book also helped me understand some of the finer nuances of Ramayana. While wrapping up the last few pages today, my eyes started to well up. Such was the impact. So grateful to the author for presenting this book in such an easy-to-understand way. It helps the reader to understand Hanuman so deeply - his nature, characteristics, and his utmost devotion to Lord Ram.

If you read Hanuman Chalisa, you'd love this book that explains each line in such beautiful detail.

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