Hanuman the Red
“On a gathering storm comes
A tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with
A red right hand.
He’s a god, he’s a man,
He’s a ghost, he’s a guru.“
N. Cave – Red Right Hand
Hanuman is an incarnation of the howling storm-god Rudra. Hanuman is the Guru who unfolds the secrets of Prana (pronounced Praan). The secrets between the masculine and feminine are bridged by him.
Hanuman is often seen as red. In temples one sees statures of Hanuman painted red or smeared with Sindoor. In rituals of Hanuman, he is offered the red powder. Hanuman gains strength by the Sindoor that he is offered. He is often offered flowers and items that express the fiery solar spectrum of colours.
Sindoor is a reddish powder that was originally contained a special mixture of herbs. Nowadays Sindoor is widely sold in chemical variants. In Indian custom, the married woman applies Sindoor to her head at the point where the hair is parted in the centre. At marriage the first Sindoor is applied by the husband and, upon widowhood, the Sindoor is wiped off by the mother-in-law or another living elder of the family.
The middle line at the top of the head is significant in that it relates to the energy line reflected at the opposite pole of the body at the Yoni in the woman. When a specific mixture of herbs is applied on the central hairline then it activates the Nadi (energy line) and activates the woman’s sexual chakra as makes it receptive to receive sexual currents of energy. This in turn awakens the desire of the masculine, and a mutual exchange of attraction strengthens both feminine and masculine in a circuit of exchange. Both the genders contain the active and receptive currents, so this can be said to apply outside of conventional models. There are some rituals in Tantra for instance, when a man applies Sindoor to become receptive to the Shakti of the goddess.
The story tells that Hanuman once questioned Sita as to why she was applying Sindoor to her head. Sita gave Hanuman the simple answer, that by so doing, it makes Raam into a strong man. Hanuman who loved Raam as infinitely as one could love, started to think about this.
Hanuman concluded that if a mere stripe of Sindoor would make his best friend into a strong man, then if he covered his whole body, it would make Raam invincible.
And so Hanuman took the Sindoor and smeared every inch of his body with it.
When Raam saw Hanuman and asked him what he had done, Hanuman grew nervous and said ”Nothing”. Raam knew all to well what Hanuman had done by this symbolic gesture and the devotion between friends was strengthened to levels beyond comprehension.
Hanuman the Mighty Guardian
“Two worlds apart two together
Into that good night kiss away
One takes the hard, one the other
Are you living for love?
Are you living for love?
When the road gets too tough
Is your love strong enough?“
Sisters of Mecy – Under the Gun
This story begins with a flower falling at the feet of Draupadi. Draupadi was the most beautiful woman imaginable, her name translates as she who likes to make necklaces of flowers. So when the breeze brought an enchanting flower to her feet, she was so taken by its fragrant beauty that she had to have more so she could weave a garland from it. She had never seen such a flower before and had no idea from whence it came.
Draupadi asked her beloved Bheema to find her more of such flowers.
Bheema’s name means the terrifying one. He was a fierce warrior up for any challenge and so he took to the quest for the flower that his beloved wished for. His quest for the flower took him to the very edges of the universe.
Bheema went so far that he got lost and had no sense of orientation. He seemed to catch the scent of the flower to the North and went on in that direction.
He saw a mountain in the distance through the trees and determined to leave the forest.
At the edge of the forest he came across a giant elderly monkey who was lying sprawled out upon the floor. The monkeys tail was blocking Bheema’s path out of the forest. Bheema asked the monkey to move his tail, but the Monkey said it is not possible to cross over as the path takes one into the realm of the celestials.
Bheema was getting angry as his warrior-like nature had never ever before been restrained, and now an old monkey was blocking his way onward. Bheema said to the monkey that he would murder him, if he would not immediately move his tail. The monkey replied that he was very old and weak and could not move, but said that Bheema may move his tail, if it was not too heavy for him to lift. Bheema laughed uproariously, he who was a mighty warrior would have no trouble flinging a monkeys tail aside.
Bheema prepared to fling the monkey into the next world, but found that he could not even move the tail an inch, he huffed and he puffed but was defeated. Bheema started to realise who he was dealing with and bowed in reverence and apology to Hanuman who is the mightiest of all warriors.
We see in the art of Indian wrestling that Hanuman is the patron deity of those who devote their lives to strength and power. There are ashrams in India where wrestlers make a spiritual devotional art of wrestling under the auspices of Hanuman. Hanuman told Bheema that no one can cross the path and live in this world again. It was the path into the celestial realms. He reminded Bheema that to cross over would have kept a lady waiting even longer than she already had. Hanuman pointed to where the flower that Draupadi waited for could be found, but that’s another story.
Hanuman is the Guardian of the middle realm and bars the way to the celestial spheres. In the body the middle realm represents the middle of the torso at the diaphragm area, known to Tantrics as Kala Bhand. Hunuman guards the path of Prana that can only cross the dark bridge with his blessing, it can’t be crossed with force alone. Those who gain Hanuman’s blessing may discover the magical flowers of mystical scent that please the goddess.
Hanuman the Hungry Child
“Give me more
Than one caress
Let the wind
Blow through your heart
For wild is the wind.”
Washington / Tiomkin – Wild is the Wind
As a child Hanuman easily became ravenously hungry. He is after all, an incarnation of the fiery martian force of Rudra. Rudra is nothing but a name of Shiva in his raw wild state. Rudra is different to all the gods because he stands outside of the normal ideas of what is godly and holy. Rudra is an individual amongst the gods. He is a raw Tantric god who spews in the face of propriety. He is dirty, often naked, mingling with untoward ghosts and ghouls.
The old stories recount time and again that Rudra is not invited to their gatherings as he upsets the order of everywhere he puts his fiery foot. Every step of Rudra causes a quivering of stormy thunderous howls. Rudra literally means the screaming howler. He was said to be born androgynous and Indigo coloured, screaming in such a rage that the order of creation was fractured beyond repair.
Half of him is always wild. His potent wilderness is what makes him the master of Tantra. Rudra channels his thunderous Shakti into the Yogic arts that he at the same time creates. Shiva is his name in the form where he contains the Rudra power. Ever an outsider, Rudra can go places where the usual gods fear to tread.
The story goes that Hanuman was so hungry with the appetite of Rudra beginning to roar in his belly that he looked up and mistook the sun for a Mango. He flew with the force of Prana (wind power) and started feasting on the Sun in the hope of appeasing his hunger.
Just at that very moment Rahu (the North Node of the Moon) was approaching the sun in order to eclipse it. Rahu is the planetary force that causes solar eclipses. Eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon are positioned in the node points.
Rahu Dosh is the ‘curse of Rahu’ and causes an eclipsing of one’s solar force.
Rituals of Hunuman
are undergone when one
has an affliction of their solar force.
If the Rahu within us becomes pronounced
it causes maladies
such as depression and anxiety.
Hanuman is a potent force who is worked with when considering the shadowing of Solar force. There is a well-known Mantra called of Hanuman known as the Hanuman Chalisa. It is composed of 40 verses and contains the sounds and syllables that awaken the solar force. It is understood as a Tantric remedy to help with afflictions of Rahu.
Rahu is the head without a body,
ever hungry but never satisfied or nourished,
this sums up the afflictions of Rahu.
When Hanuman was busy feasting upon the sun, he happened to divert Rahu from causing an eclipse. Indra, the king of the celestial spheres saw this and knew it would upset the planetary order and so he sent a vajra beam (thunderbolt) that hit Hunuman in the face and sent him whirling to earth. The full brunt of the Vajra beam was taken by Hanuman’s jaw. This gives him the name Hanuman which means ‘of heavy jaw’.
Hanuman was left for dead and his father, Vayu, the god of the wind, in his mourning went far away and left the 3 worlds completely devoid of breath. Everything started to wither and die. Only when Shiva brought Hanuman back to life did Vayu return to fill creation with the breath-of-life once again. Spring is a time when we find the greatest abundance of Prana in the atmosphere, which is what brings things to life.
Hanuman was in turn blessed by the gods and received powers untold, even Indra humbly bowed and gave Hanuman the power of Vajra Shakti. In being stuck by Indra’s Vajra, Hanuman had lost his memory from the jolt, and with that, had forgotten the full extent of his powers old and new. So Hanuman, in his amnesia, could not get up to any further cosmic mischief… for a while at least!
The story presents multiple layers of meaning, which are worthy of meditation.
It tells of the effects of working with raising heat through working with the breath. The jaw being instrumental in advanced breath practices. The story also points to the cosmological event of the eclipse and points to how Hanuman can divert the eclipsing effects of Rahu. Hanuman is the mighty lord of breath who opens the repressed, oppressed eclipsed parts of active expression in the constellation of our Soul.
Hanuman the Devoted
Sita Raam, Hanuman, Pranayam Pranaam
“I’m not a holy man
I’m too lowly for that
I’m not a praying man
I’m not ready for that.
Bunnymen – Monkeys
The Mudra of Hanuman actively draws the chest apart with the action of the hands. By placing pressure on particular energy points, the physical and psychic heart is opened. This Mudra is effective in working with the energies of the Heart Chakra.
Hunuman is always chanting the Mantra of the goddess and the god of the sacred heart. The Mantra comes not only from his lips, but from his very heart.
Sita Raam, Sita Raam, Sita Raam.
One tale of Hanuman that highlights the devotion of his heart goes thus…
Hanuman once received the gift of a Mala. A Mala is a necklace of sacred beads that the Yogin makes use of in Tantric practices. Within the lines of Tantra, a Yogin may receive a Mala as an honorary gift of devotion from an elder.
Hanuman did not really know what to do with the necklace he received and viewed it as an unnecessary superfluous item that he had no need for. After a while he had an idea and began biting down one by one on each and every bead. Monkeys are known for their strong bite!
Cracking each bead in half with a pop he would meticulously inspect it and then throw it on the gathering pile of other broken beads. Those present watched the spectacle with mockery and astonishment until the necklace was nothing but a pile of broken beads.
Ridiculed and laughed at for his apparently primitive behaviour, Hanuman was asked why he had destroyed such a precious necklace. Hanuman replied that the necklace was worthless because it did not have Sita Raam within it. He said he could confirm it as he had carefully checked each and every bead. A voice retaliated… “And you must be equally worthless for such a silly act, surely if we split you in half, we would not find Sita Raam”. Hanuman’s love had never been questioned before and instinctually, he sank his claws into his chest and tore it open to reveal his heart that beat out the Mantra:
Sita Raam, Sita Raam, Sita Raam.
His best friend Raam embraced Hanuman immediately and the love that transpired between them healed the gaping would in Hanuman’s chest. Hanuman was sometimes taken for a fool because he had no self-importance. All that he was, was:
Sita Raam, Sita Raam, Sita Raam.
The Naughty Little Monkeys of the Mind
Rama and the Monkeys are well known for building a bridge over the sea. The Raam-Setu is the Bridge that Raam built with the Monkeys. It represents the crossing of the waters of the second Chakra. Raam and the Monkeys carried massive rocks into the sea to build the crossing to traverse the sea. The strenuous work seemed never-ending and required great strength and focus of all involved.
While the Monkeys worked the boulders into the crossing, there was a tiny little squirrel who had joined in. The squirrel was carrying little stones and dropping them into the sea to help with the formation of the bridge. The little squirrel accidentally crossed the path of a giant ape who was carrying a mountainous boulder upon his shoulder.
The Monkey was shocked by the sudden appearance of the tiny squirrel that he almost stepped on. The monkey went into a rage and began to roar in anger at the tiny helpless creature. The tiny squirrel apologised and asked the monkey to watch his step.
The Squirrel said that he too was doing the great work of building the bridge.
The Monkey started to laugh and ridicule the squirrel. But the squirrel said that he was using all his strength to help in building the bridge. A few of the other monkeys started laughing at the squirrel who thought that he could do anything to help. One monkey picked up the squirrel by the tail and flung him into the distance like a useless piece of trash.
The squirrel started to squeal out in pain, which made a few of the monkeys laugh even more. Raam saw what was going on and lifted the tiny creature to his heart, who luckily was not injured.
Raam reprimanded the arrogant cruel and heartless monkeys for making fun of and abusing a helpless little creature. Raam told them that though they have strength of muscle, they are weaker than the little squirrel by far, as they have no strength of Love in their Hearts. The monkeys took the teaching and hung their heads in deep shame.
Raam told the monkeys of the importance of the squirrel. He told them that if it were not for the tiny pebbles between the cracks, the whole structure would not hold together and would crumble apart into the waters.
no matter how tiny is of importance,
the smallest acts done
with the greatest amount of love
are the most potent.
Raam gently stroked the back of the squirrel with his three fingers. Three white stripes appeared where Raam stroked the squirrel and they remain there to this very day.
Hanuman the Healer
“O, solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind.”
L.Cohen – Come Healing
One inspiring tale amongst Hanuman’s many adventures, tells of him addressing a dire emergency. The casualty was already more than half-way into the next world and seemed fated to die unless a very rare herb – that only grew on one particular mountain – was located.
Hanuman, ever one for a heroic quest of power, went to task.
After much searching, Hanuman was having little luck, desperately flying around like a red-arsed-monkey, he was shot-down at the pinnacle of his despair. As he fell from the skies in which he flew, the flashing oppression of failure tortured his soul. Fate appeared to have taken a bad turn as he hit the ground.
The arrow that shot Hanuman down was shot in the name of Raam. A devotee thought that he was protecting Raam. He saw Hanuman and thought he was some kind of giant flying monkey with a demonic intention to harm Raam. The arrow that was sent in the name of Hanuman’s most beloved friend could cause no harm, for as Hanuman flew around on his heroic quest, the name of his friend Raam, was reverberating in his very heart. The psychic web of radiance that emanated from Hanuman’s heart caught the frequency that it was beating with. The one who fired the arrow proved to be a most valuable ally that told Hanuman where the exact mountain that the herb grew on was located.
On charged Hanuman in the pursuit against death!
Hanuman came upon the mountain after a further flight, but he realised he had lost too much valuable time to go looking for the herb, and so Hanuman decided to take the whole mountain with him.
The famous image of Hanuman flying with the mountain, is a much loved picture that tells of the many subtle wisdoms inherent in this story…
When we go at something with Love in our heart, even a seeming foe becomes a friend. Just in the nick-of-time, Hanuman reached the casualty who had almost crossed over to the land of death. The herb was administered and life went on.
The Sanjeevani herb is an Elixiral remedy that can revive the dead. Many have searched to find it and failed, for the Sanjeevani can only be found in Love.
Hanuman the Wind
“The wind is whistling,
The wind is whistling
Through the house.
The wind, it blows,
The wind, it blows the door closed.“
K. Bush – King of the Mountain
Hanuman is the child of the wind. He is famous for his epic flight. It was Hanuman who crossed the sea and rescued Sita when she was abducted and separated from Raam and himself.
Hanuman crossed the waters of the second chakra in one-fell-swoop of a leap and eventually got her back home. As Hanuman leapt over the waters, his legs started to part into the splits, which is the position named after him as Hanumanasan – this physical Mudra causes the out-breath to double in length and generates great Prana in the system.
But that’s not the full story, the Prana flew across the river but it also had to come back. Hanuman needed assistance once he reached the other side where the goddess Sita was trapped by asuras in an enchanted forest. The building of the Raam-Setu bridge was undertaken by all creatures great and small. This story gives form to the Settubhandasan position in Yogic practice. This position is commonly called the bridge position and is an important Hatha Yog Mudra that spreads out the Pranic breath power across the sea of the second Chakra and brings the entrapped goddess back from across the waters of the second Chakra and its Karmic entrapments.
Initially Hanuman did not believe that he could make the leap across the sea to rescue the Goddess Sita. Hanuman had still not recovered the full awareness of his powers after the thunderbolt of Indra had struck him in the face. That shot in the face had caused Hanuman an amnesia where he forgot the full extent of his true power.
It was Jambavan, the immortal ancient bear god who brought Hanuman back to the awareness that he was no ordinary Monkey. Hanuman woke from his trance as Jambavan gave him a teaching of eternities. Without further ado, Hanuman took the great leap of Pranic force towards the entrapped Goddess.
Another story that highlights Hanuman’s connection to the breath takes form when Hanuman was separated from the goddess and the god in the form of Sita and Raam. The story tells that one day Sita asked Hanuman if he would disappear for a little while because she needed to attend to some secret matters with Raam. Hanuman who was always with them did not understand and said nothing is secret for us. Sita insisted that certain matters required privacy. Hanuman honoured the request and let the Lovers disappear into their chamber without him.
In the absence of Hanuman, the love between Sita and Raam grew frail and Raam started to struggled for breath. A physician was called who could not understand what had happened. Sita worked it out and asked for Hanuman to be brought in. As soon as he appeared, colour, breath and love returned in full glory.
When Hanuman – who is breath and Prana – is separated from Sita and Raam, then disaster ensues. Sita is the Cooling receptive lunar breath and Raam is the Heating active solar expression of the breath. Fire can’t live without air and so in the absence of Hanuman, Raam became cold and powerless and found himself suffocated until all 3 of them were reunited.
The Tantric brings the two polar aspects of cooling Moon and heating Solar force into balance through the wind of Prana… that is, Hanuman.
The Death of Hanuman
“A bridge of sighs
In a wave of forgiveness
On angels’ wings.
How in the world
Can I wish for this?
Never to be torn apart
Close to you
‘Til the last beat
Of my heart.”
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Last beat of my Heart
Hanuman is considered the greatest Bhakta (devotee) of all time. His every breath is devotion to Sita Raam. Raam was his very best friend. His beginning, his middle and his end. One day Raam himself had to order Hanuman’s execution.
The tragedy happened when Hanuman inadvertently caused offense to Raam’s Guru. Raam followed the custom of devotion and never crossing the instructions of one’s Guru. The three worlds shuddered as Raam raised his bow. The greatest master of the bow and arrow that he was. Raam had to order the death of his best friend by arrows.
With tears in his eyes, Raam raised the first arrow, took aim and released it towards Hanuman who never stopped chanting Raam’s name… even as the arrow flew.
If you would like to learn more about Hanuman and join our Hanuman Full Moon Ritual