Hanuman Chalisa By Heart (sung by Nina Rao)

hanuman

I will admit this: I’m rather partial to monkeys. I suppose it is because I am born in the Year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese zodiac. One of the most famous Chinese legends is that of the Monkey King, one of the main characters of the Chinese story Journey to the West. The Hindus have Hanuman, their version of the archetypal monkey sovereign — a brave, clever warrior who was utterly devoted to the virtuous Lord Rama, as told in the Indian epic the Ramayana.

In India, the Hanuman Chalisa is a devotional hymn (stotra) sung by millions of Hindus everyday. I first heard it sung in New York City, during one of the kirtan (call-and-response devotional singing) gatherings at the yoga studio of Dharma Mittra, a well-known local yoga teacher. I also remember hearing it being chanted upon entering the famous hilltop temple of Hanuman located near Hampi, India. To my pleasant surprise, it was not the priest, but an American chanting it at Hanuman’s altar — by heart. It was one of the many magical moments in those bouldered hills, supposedly the birthplace of this great hero.

The Hanuman Chalisa consists of 40 main verses, praising the monkey king’s courage, strength, intelligence and complete devotion to the Divine, as embodied by Rama. Here in North America, one might be familiar with the Hanuman Chalisa as sung by American kirtan singer Krishna Das, whose album was recently nominated for a Grammy. But I came across this lovely rendition of the Chalisa sung by Nina Rao, who is Krishna Das’ business manager and tours and sings with him as well. She has a short explanation of the song’s significance at the beginning, but singing starts at 8:12. Via Yogaville Livestream:

More on Hanuman’s remarkable feats, via Kashgar:

Hanuman’s tale as told in the epic Ramayana is renowned for its ability to inspire its readers to face ordeals and conquer obstructions in their own lives. At the time of the Ramayana, Hanuman is sent as an advance spy to Lanka, the capital of the mighty demon Ravana’s empire.  Ravana has provoked Lord Rama by carrying away his beloved wife Sita in order to start a war.  During the epic times that follow, Hanuman brings hope and secret messages to the captive Sita, leads Rama’s monkey army in the Battle of Lanka and single-handedly kills many demons including Lankini, Champion of the demons.  During this time Hanuman is captured by the enemy, only to outwit them with the cunning use of his powers.  He returns to find Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana themselves captured by the enemy and about to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali by the sorcerer Mahiravana.  In a tale of great daring, Hanuman outsmarts the evil lord into becoming the sacrifice himself, thereby earning the eternal respect of Kali.  She appoints Hanuman as her doorkeeper and today many of her temples are seen to have a monkey guarding their doorways.

After the defeat of Ravana, Rama and Sita are crowned King and Queen of Ayodhya. Hanuman is offered a reward for his bravery and asks only to continue in service to him and to live for as long as men speak of Rama’s deeds. He remains as Rama’s favorite general to this day.

Because of his bravery, perseverance, strength and devoted service, Hanuman is regarded as a perfect symbol of selflessness and loyalty.  Worship of Hanuman helps the individual to counter the bad karma borne out of selfish action, and grants the believer fortitude and strength in his or her own trials during the journey of life.  Hanuman is also invoked in fights against sorcery and protective amulets depicting him are extremely popular among his devotees.

Here are the lyrics and translation of the Hanuman Chalisa, via Nina Rao’s website:

Shree Hanuman Chalisa

Mangala moorati maaruta nandana
You are the embodiment of blessings, Son of the Wind
Sakala amangala moola nikandana
You destroy the root of everything that is inauspicious and harmful

Shree Guru charana saroja raja nijamanu mukuru sudhaari
Taking the dust of my Guru’s lotus feet to polish the mirror of my heart
Baranaun Raghubara bimala jasu jo daayaku phala chaari
I sing the pure fame of the best of Raghus, which bestows the four fruits of life.
Buddhi heenatanu jaanike sumiraun pawana kumaara
I don’t know anything, so I remember you, Son of the Wind
Bala budhividyaa dehu mohin harahu kalesa bikaara
Grant me strength, intelligence and wisdom and remove my impurities and sorrows

Seeyavara Ramchandra pada jai sharanam
Refuge at the feet of Sita’s lord, Ram

1.  Jaya Hanumaan gyaanaguna saagara, Jaya Kapeesha tihun loka ujaagara
Hail Hanuman, ocean of wisdom/Hail Monkey Lord!  You light up the three worlds.
2.  Raama doota atulita bala dhaamaa, Anjani putra Pawanasuta naamaa
You are Ram’s messenger,the abode of matchless power/ Anjani’s son, “Son of the Wind.”
3.  Mahaabeera bikrama bajarangee, Kumatiniwaara sumati ke sangee
Great hero, you area mighty thunderbolt/Remover of evil thoughts and companion of the good.
4.  Kanchana barana biraaja subesaa, Kaanana kundala kunchita kesa
Golden hued andsplendidly adorned/with heavy earrings and curly locks
5.  Haata bajra au dwajaa biraajai, Kaandhemoonja janeu saajai
In your hands shine mace and abanner/ a sacred thread adorns your shoulder.
6. Shankara suwana Kesaree nandana, Tejaprataapa mahaa jaga bandana
You are an incarnationof Shiva and Kesari’s son/Your glory is revered throughout the world.
7. Vidyaawaana gunee ati chaatura, Raamakaaja karibe ko aatura
You are the wisest of the wise, virtuous and very clever/ ever eager to do Ram’s work
8. Prabhu charitra sunibe ko rasiyaa, Raama Lakhana Seetaa mana basiyaa
You delight in hearing of the Lord’s deeds/ Ram, Lakshman and Sita dwell in your heart.
9. Sookshma roopa dhari Siyahin dikhaawaa, Bikata roopa dhari Lankaa jaraawaa
Assuming a tiny form you appeared to Sita/ in an awesome form you burned Lanka.
10. Bheema roopa dhari asura sanghaare, Raamachandra ke kaajasanvaare
Takinga dreadful form you slaughtered the demons/completing Lord Ram’s work.
11. Laayasajeevana Lakhana jiyaaye, Shree Raghubeera harashi ura laaye
Bringing the magic herbyou revived Lakshman/ Shri Ram embraced you with delight.
12. Raghupatikeenhee bahuta baraaee, tuma mama priya Bharatahi sama bhaaee
The Lord of the Raghus praised you greatly/ “You are as dear to me as my brotherBharat!”
13. Sahasabadana tumharo jasa gaawain, asa kahi Shreepati kanta lagaawain
Thousands of mouths will sing  your fame!”/ So saying Lakshmi’s Lord drew you to Himself.
14.Sanakaadika Brahmaadi muneesaa, Naarada Saarada sahita Aheesaa
Sanak and the sages, Brahma, and the munis/ Narada, Saraswati and the King of serpents,
15. Yama Kubera digapaala jahaante, kabi kobida kahi sake kahaante
Yama, Kubera, the guardians of the four quarters/poets and scholars-none can express your glory.
16. Tumaupakaara Sugreevahin keenhaa, Raama milaaya raaja pada deenhaa
You did great service for Sugriva/ bringing him to Ram, you gave him kingship.
17. Tumharomantra Vibheeshana maanaa, Lankeshwara bhaye saba jaga jaanaa
Vibhishana heeded your counsel/He became the Lord of Lanka, as the whole world knows.
18. Yugasahasra yojana para bhaanu, leelyo taahi madhura phala jaanu
Though the sun is millions of miles away/ you swallowed it thinking it to be a sweet fruit.
19. Prabhumudrikaa meli mukha maaheen, jaladhi laanghi gaye acharaja naaheen
Holding the Lord’s ring in your mouth/ it’s no surprise that you leapt over the ocean.
20. Durgamakaaja jagata ke jete, sugama anugraha tumhare tete
Every difficult task in this world becomes easy by your grace.
21. Raamaduaare tuma rakhawaare, hota na aagyaa binu paisaare
You are the guardian at Ram’s door/ no one enters without your permission.
22. Saba sukhalahai tumhaaree sharanaa, tuma rakshaka kaahu ko dara naa
Those who take refuge in you find all happiness/ those who you protect know no fear.
23. Aapanateja samhaaro aapai, teenon loka haanka ten kaanpai
You alone can withstand your own splendor/ the three worlds tremble at your roar.
24. Bhootapisaacha nikata nahin aawai, Mahaabeera jaba naama sunaawai
Ghosts and goblins cannot come near/ Great Hero, when your name is uttered.
25. Naasairoga hare saba peeraa, japata nirantara Hanumata beeraa
All disease and pain is eradicated/ by constantly repeating of your name, brave Hanuman.
26. Sankata ten Hanumaana churaawai, mana krama bachana dhyaana jolaawai
Hanuman, you release from affliction all those/ who remember you in thought word and deed.
27. Saba paraRaama tapaswee raajaa, tina ke kaaja sakala tuma saajaa
Ram, the ascetic king, reigns over all/ but you carry out all his work.
28. Auramanorata jo koee laawai, soee amita jeewana phala paawai
One who comes to you with any yearning/ obtains the abundance of the Four Fruits of Life.
29. Chaaronjuga parataapa tumhaaraa, hai parasidha jagata ujiyaaraa
Your splendor fills the four ages/ your glory is renowned throughout the world.
30. Saadhusanta ke tuma rakhawaare, asura nikandana Raama dulaare
You are the guardian of saints and sages/ the destroyer of demons and the darling of Ram.
31. Ashtasiddhi nau nidhi ke daataa, asa bara deena Jaanakee Maataa
You grant the eight powers and nine treasures/ by the boon you received from Mother Janaki.
32. Raamarasaayana tumhare paasaa, sadaa raho Raghupati ke daasaa
You hold the elixir of Ram’s name/ and remain eternally his servant.
33. Tumharebhajana Raama ko paawai, janama janama ke dukha bisaraawai
Singing your praise, one finds Ram/ and the sorrows of countless lives are destroyed.
34. Anta kaala Raghubara pura jaaee, jahaan janama Hari bhakta kahaaee
At death one goes to Ram’s own abode/ born there as God’s devotee.
35. Auradevataa chitta na daraee, Hanumata se-ee sarva sukha karaee
Why worship any other deities/ from Hanuman you’ll get all happiness.
36. Sankatakatai mite saba peeraa, jo sumire Hanumata bala beeraa
All affliction ceases and all pain is removed/ for those who remember the mighty hero, Hanuman.
37. Jai jaijai Hanumaana Gosaaee, kripaa karahu gurudeva kee naaee
Victory, Victory, Victory Lord Hanuman/ bestow your grace on me, as my Guru!
38. Jo satabaara paata kara koee, chootahi bandi mahaa sukha hoee
Whoever recites this a hundred times/ is released from bondage and gains bliss.
39. Jo yahaparai Hanumaana chaaleesaa, hoya siddhi saakhee Gaureesaa
One who reads this Hanuman Chalisa/ gains success, as Gauri’s Lord (Shiva) is witness.
40. TulaseeDaasa sadaa Hari cheraa, keejai naata hridaya mahaan deraa
Says Tulsi Das, who always remains Hari’s servant’/ “Lord, make your home in my heart.”

Pawanatanayasankata harana mangala moorati roopa
Son of the Wind, destroyer of sorrow,embodiment of blessings
Raama Lakhana Seetaa sahita hridayabasahu sura bhoopa
With Ram, Lakshman and Sita, LIVE IN MY HEART, King of Gods!

Seeyavara Ramchandra pada jai sharanam
Refuge at the feet of Sita’s lord, Ram

Mangala moorati maaruta nandana
You are the embodiment of blessings, Son of the Wind
Sakala amangala moola nikandana
You destroy the root of everything that is inauspicious and harmful

Additional couplet from Ramacharitmanasa sung in “Nina Chalisa”:

Pavana tanaya bal, pavana samaana
budhi viveka vigyana nidhana
kavan so kaaj katin jaga mahin
jo nahin hoya tat tumha pahi

Son of the Wind, you are as strong as the Wind himself. You are
the embodiment of intelligence, discrimination, and true wisdom.
What undertaking in this world is too difficult for you to accomplish?

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