Prostrations to Lord Rama, the priya of Hanumanji...who will lead us towards his Lord.
ॐ वालिप्रमथनाय नम:
Prostrations to destroyer of Vali
The next verse in the Hanuman Chalisa:
हाथ वज्र औ ध्वजा विराजै
कांदे मूँज जनेऊ साजै
Haatha vajra au dhwaja virajai
Kaandhe moonj janeu saajai
You hold the thunderbolt in one hand, the flag in the other, and across your shoulder decorates the sacred thread made of munja grass.
This verse suggests 3 objects on Hanumanji’s person:
The mace or gada
The flag, dhwaja
The sacred janeu, usually worn as a thread in 3 plies, but here it is made of the munja grass.
There are various forms of Hanuman that we are acquainted with.
The Veera Hanuman is one with the mace in one hand (left usually) and the right is in a posture of blessing.
The Bhakta Hanuman is one kneeling humbly, head bowed, before Sri Rama, Sita-ma and Lakshmana, the mace at his knees or between the folded palms
The Sankat Mochan Hanuman is the one flying with the sanjeevani parvatam in one hand the mace in the other.
In all cases the mace is at hand, because the mace is the sign of Hanuman’s protector nature.
There is a rare posture of Hanuman which is not often seen and that is in fact understandable. It is Hanuman in sitting posture; it is understood that the seated Maruti depicts the unmanifest energy. It is Hanuman in meditation. As such his organs of action are subdued as is his mind at rest. The emphasis is actually more on his limbs being in a state of rest. Whereas we mortals need the active Hanuman’s support. As it is, given that Hanuman is ever under the ‘spell’ that He has to be reminded of His powers, we cannot also have a Hanuman who is in a subdued posture. Whereas, the Veera Maruti, is the manifest energy and includes the destroyer principle as well. This is one reason.
(The word Maruit has another meaning, I learnt today. It means: One who with his wind principle can compel deities and devatas to spin into action --- ie, be manifested, for the welfare of His (Hanumanji’s) devotees. The word for manifested, is ‘moort’ – hence Maruti.)
So the gada or mace is very core to the image of Hanumanji. Pujya Guruji says, ‘gada’ also means ‘to speak’. Herein we use the power of words to “...., to flatten and destroy ignorance and ego with the help of words (true knowledge)”
Naturally we will recall that Hanumanji would have the power of words as he was vidyavaan guni, ati chatur!
One very interesting explanation I read about ‘haatha vajra...’ is by a gentleman named Anjaneyulu... he says Lord Rama was born with some clear symbol marks on the soles of His feet when He was born, like shankh, chakra, etc,. These denoted the Glory of Lord Rama at birth. In just the same way, Hanumanji had the sign of the vajra on his palm, hence Haath Vajra... because Anjaneyulu argues that how can Hanumanji have the Vajra when it belongs to Indra devata? (Indra’s weapon was called Vajra).
Or one can say Hanumanji’s mace was made of vajra...
A flag usually stands for a message of identity or intention. A means of communicating something to anyone. For example, ships use a variety of flags to say ‘we have a doctor on board’ or ‘I require a pilot’ or ‘Help needed...’ and so on. A flag speaks for you broadly.. so if a building has a flag of Canada we know this is a Canadian organisation or embassy or so forth.
Hanumanji carried the flag of Lord Rama. It was his identity. His way of announcing that he was an envoy of the Lord. As Pujya Guruji says, “It symbolically shows that he always honors and remembers Lord Rama.”
Further Guruji adds: Dhvaja also stands for victory to Lord Rama. Usually flags were flown on warrior’s chariots to identify them to a friend or a foe. But Sri Hanuman’s body itself is like a chariot as he flies from place to place. Thus, he has to carry Lord
Rama’s flag in his hand. Saint Tulsidas says that Sri Hanuman carries the flag of truthfulness, good character and faith in God’s name.
Another interesting nugget says Hanuman used his tail to serve Bhagawan Ram in various ways. At times it was a white umbrella which he would spread over the Lord as if a canopy, and royalty did use white umbrellas and Hanumanji probably wanted to be sure that his Lord’s royal status be known and protected in the forests too. And Hanumanji was also a vehicle of the Lord, recall, he has carried Lord Rama and Lakshamana on his shoulders from place to place. During such events, Hanumanji’s tail was his flag!
Of course the flag of Rama was different from his won tail, nevertheless...
Kandhe moonj janeu saajai...
Janeu is the sacred thread invested over a ceremony called the upanayanam which denotes the initiation to the Gayatri Mantram as well as the entry into a new stage of life after childhood, an age of study and structured living. (Similar in spirit to the Parsi Navjote ceremony and the Jewish Bar Mitzvah; in Buddhism it is called ‘opanayiko’ where the person subscribes to the 8-fold path which leads to nirvana or enlightenment.)
Upanayanam has other meanings, essentially etymological and interesting: literally it means upa+ nayana = near sight. If one ponders on this, it well indicates the need to stop the eyes from looking away, at things far, external, outward and drawing it to that which is near (=at hand, hence focus, attention, important in a young student or even an old student for that matter!), or drawing the eyes near, hence contemplative state?
Another meaning is Upa na (over/above)+yan am (it is), therefore, meaning "that which is above (the shoulder)".
Upanayana also means taking somebody near knowledge or seat of knowledge (upain)..
So Hanuman wore the sacred thread made of the munja grass which abounds on river banks in India, a very tough grass otherwise used for weaving.
The yajnopavitam (the sacred thread, as differentiated from the ceremony called Upanayanam) denotes the wearer is working towards Brahman. The three strands or plies of the thread denote Rajas Sattav and tamas and/or Goddesses Gayatri (of the mind, Saraswati (of word) and Savitri (of deed) thereby calling upon the invested child to hereafter ensure his thought word and deed are monitored and disciplined.
In the case of our Hanumanji, we know how pure and perfect he was in thought word and deed and his Janeyu was in many ways a flag that spoke of his perfect state. From the way he greeted Lord Rama and Lakshmana on first sighting them -- recall Ramji had said to Lakshmana, 'Only a person well versed in the Rig Veda can talk with such perfection and purity!" to, how he speaks even to a Ravana, at first reminding him of his duty as a king, then telling him he was making a mistake in capturing another's wife, then asking him to release Sita-ma then warning him that his stubborn refusal was going to cost him dearly...Hanumanji's thought word and deed come through clearly as being in control, and above all, shows he was disciplined always not giving in to impulsive anger or reaction.
I now leave it to you to add, subtract (if there is a wrong assumption made above), debate or discuss.