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Living Hanumān: A journey from a selfie to the Self

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By Anjali Nauriyal

An astounding effort of nearly a decade has resulted in a remarkably profound book titled Living Hanumān, in whopping 914 pages. The book is a stunning commentary on Śhrī Hanumāna Chālīsā, a devotional hymn composed in the 16th Century by Gosvami Tulsidas in praise of Shri Hanuman. The Chalisa is chanted by millions of Indians as part of their prayers. The author, Pawan Kumar Mishra, an astrologer and life coach by profession, has deftly taken on the role of ‘Your Wake-up Assistant’, nudging readers to imbibe lessons from this monumental piece of ancient Vedic wisdom

Asked about the generic essence of the book, Mishra asserts, “The book is an attempt to nudge people to reconnect with their innate energy, vigour and might and carry on with the journey of their lives joyfully and purposefully. I intend to familiarize people with the richness of the ancient Indian wisdom tradition. Above all it attempts to bring forward the unified stream of various world religions and wisdom traditions to present Śhrī Hanumān as a religion-neutral, inclusive consciousness.”

Elaborating upon the symbolic import of Hanuman he states, “He is expressed as a metaphor for Prāṇa or breath-life force, which is common to all. The hymn is replete with references to the Vedic texts like the Gītā, the Upaniśhads, the Yogasūtra; and with the texts of the Islamic and other traditions and with the latest available knowledge of western psychology and sciences as well as with the current social scenario.”

‘Selflogue’ is a coinage that Mishra offers to unfold his primary intent. “The seeker-reader is invited to embark on an inner journey, aided with over 200 questions crafted to trigger one’s selflogue with oneself,” Mishra underlines.

The book attempts to lead the readers into discovering Śhrī Hanumān within the ambit of their personal experience as their own conscious-self, beginning with an awareness of Him as one’s very breath. Each verse is followed by its simple translation, in verse. This is followed by an in-depth commentary of the purport of the verse and a possible syncretic vision that allows universal import. “This book is intended to infuse learning into the seeker-reader, leading to its application in daily life.  Living Hanumān enables the readers to obtain an all-inclusive worldview, leading to mutual tolerance, acceptance and harmony.”

The In-Journey, below each verse, is a suggestion of how the verse could be used to address certain aspects of the inner world of the seeker–reader. “These are questions that a seeker-reader may ask as a CEO of his/her own life. The In-point recapitulates the essence of the verse which can be held in the mind as a central point during the course of the day. HIM-Meditation is a suggestion for contemplation that seeker–readers can use to deepen their experience about the verse. This can form a part of daily reflection, contemplation and meditation. One may read a verse daily and contemplate upon its essence and application in one’s life. Under some verses, HIM-yoga mentions yoga-postures that can be practiced along with an awareness of the import of that verse. The emphasis is on consciously harnessing the awareness of divinity in oneself and all others,” he underlines. HIM is an acronym for ‘Hanumān in/is Me’. Hanumān can be substituted with He (He in/is Me) as referring to the Supreme Being, or it can be substituted by Happiness (Happiness in/is Me), if the seeker wishes so.

The central idea of the book, Living Hanumān, revolves around the concept of service – serve the Earth with all Her beings while allowing the blossoming of one’s highest personhood, stated in befitting words:

Live like the sky, embracing all,

give like the Earth, unconditionally.

About the Author: Mishra worked with large organizations in middle to senior management positions before taking up his current vocation. He has served as spiritual guide in the executive leadership program under Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark. He is a part of an international research project on mind sciences, meditation and innovation, also under CBS. Apart from the present book, Pawan has authored and published Diwali Pooja Vidhi (2005), meant to educate all who celebrate the Festival of Lights, by offering deeper context and meaning of the occasion and the related mantras. Pawan travels extensively around the world consulting and counseling and has been covered in the international media oft-times.

Book Extract: Bhāva-vigraha or the Attribute-Form of divinity is the closest our mind can grasp the expressed aspect of Divinity. The Gītā (10.41) states, “Whatever it is that is glorious, prosperous or powerful in any being, know that to be a manifestation of a part of My splendor.” Even those traditions that believe in a totally formless God, like Islam or Sikhism, have the Bhāva-Vigraha form or the Attribute-Form of God. Through the ninety-nine holy names of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala-SWT), His attributes as the Merciful or the Light are expressed. The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him—PBUH) said, “Adorn yourself with the attributes of Allah”. Wherever there is Mercy then, His presence can be inferred. Sage Vālmīkī (Rāmayana, Lanka: 128:82) describes the nine perfected attributes that Śhrī Hanumān received as a boon from Śhrī Sītā. They are — luminance, patience, fame, efficiency, ability, humility, propriety, unsurpassed valour, and Intellect-Knowledge. These nine treasures are the coveted wealth of any aspirant for lasting success. In the world around us, in whosoever we see an embodiment of such attributes, it points towards His presence. For example, Bill Gates embodies Intellect, Ability, Humility and Fame. Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr David Frawley, Eckhart Tolle and such others embody Intellect-Knowledge, Luminance, Ability and Fame. Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Mary Kom embody Valour. Mother Teresa and Warren Buffett embody Patience and Humility in serving the Earth and Her beings. Similarly, Lata Mangeshkar, Elvis Presley, John Lenon and Michael Jackson embody unsurpassed valour in the field of music along with luminance and fame; these luminaries are the bhāva-vigraha of Śhrī Hanumān in the form of Gyāna-mūrti (Embodied Knowledge), Gāna-mūrti (Embodied Music), Parākrama-mūrti (Embodied Valour), Mangala-mūrti (Embodied Auspiciousness) etc. We often fail to recognize Him expressed as excellence, in common-place and settings.

(Dr Anjali Nauriyal is veteran journalist, author, social worker and actor. She is currently Senior Fellow with Ministry of Culture, GOI).