Hindu, Jain: Mark Hanuman and Mahavir Jayantis

A statue of Hanuman. Photo in public domainFRIDAY, APRIL 6: A continuous chanting will be overheard outside many Hindu temples today, as devotees of Lord Hanuman observe Hanuman Jayanti. It’s believed this ardent devotee of Lord Rama was born at dawn, and today, his birthday is celebrated in much of India, from dawn until dusk. After raising his flag high, the faithful will chant “Hanuman Sahastra Naam”—100 names of Lord Hanuman—and reflect on his energy and strength. (Times of India reports.) Hindus will spread sindhur on their foreheads, just as Hanuman did for Lord Rama on his body, and share in a small meal together.

The main writer celebrating Hanuman in American literature is Cheeni Rao, whose memoir In Hanuman’s Hands tells a dramatic story of his own struggle to overcome drug addiction, partly guided by the spirit of Hanuman. In 2009, we published an in-depth interview with Rao in which he talked about his family’s devotion to Hanuman’s tenacious power to help even endangered souls like Cheeni himself.

Ever loyal to Lord Rama, Hindu tradition tells that Hanuman declared himself here on earth for the sole purpose of serving Lord Rama. Hanuman even welcomed death, if it would accompany service to Lord Rama. (Wikipedia has details.) In return for his heroic services, Lord Rama granted Hanuman eternal life and the worship of Hindus to come. “All will honor and worship you like Myself,” Lord Rama told his faithful disciple. (TajOnline has more.)


Jains across India are holding their own celebrations, as they mark Mahavir Jayanti—the birth day of the last tirthankara. Jains hold true to Mahavir’s message of non-violence to all living creatures, from human beings to tiny insects. Yesterday, the faithful chanted hymns for world peace, parading through streets with a chariot that held the portrait of Lord Mahavir. (Read about the procession in the Times of India.) The Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange will be closed Thursday-through-Sunday on account of Mahavir Jayanti. (Read more in Business Today.)

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