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Hanuman Jayanti: A Universal Celebration

April 9, 2024

Reflecting on my journey at Mount Madonna Center, I find myself drawn back to the first time I set foot on the grounds. It was a warm day, but the pear trees scattered across the property had not yet regained their leaves – the bare branches stood stark against the brilliant sky. My friend and I were spending the day driving along the central coast through towns whose names we had known our whole lives but had never stopped to explore. We were both intrigued by the possibility of exploring Mount Madonna’s grounds and visiting the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. I had had childhood experiences in Bay Area Buddhist satsangs and my friend had a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies, and we’d both heard of Mount Madonna. We were surprised to be welcomed through the open gates without a reservation, and informed by the gate attendant (now a dear friend of mine!) that the community was celebrating Hanuman Jayanti – the birthday of the revered Hindu god Hanuman.

Little did I know then that this holy day would mark the beginning of a profound journey into the heart of Hindu mythology and its universal significance. That night, I decided to enroll in Mount Madonna’s residential volunteer program, and here I am a year later with the privilege of relaying the rich and layered significance of Hanuman Jayanti and why anyone, no matter their religious or spiritual background, may find deep meaning and connection to its themes.

While the narrative of Hanuman’s adventures alongside Ram and Sita in the ancient epic Ramayana is deeply ingrained in Indian tradition, its symbolic resonance transcends cultural boundaries, offering profound insights applicable to all seekers. Hanuman’s very name – “remover of obstacles” – speaks to the universal human experience of overcoming inevitable challenges on a path to self-realization. In the Ramayana, Hanuman’s unwavering devotion and selfless service play a pivotal role in reuniting Ram and Sita, symbolizing the reunion of individual consciousness (Sita) with the eternal consciousness (Ram).

The philosophy of Yoga, as detailed by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, is inherent in many, varied schools of spiritual thought: The word “Yoga” means union – the union of body and mind. This union allows us to strengthen the relationship of our individual consciousness with the divine. Rituals such as Hanuman Jayanti serve as tangible expressions of this alignment, providing any who choose to participate with a means to quiet the mind and cultivate a deeper connection with their chosen concept of the divine. Whatever our ishtadev or “chosen image of the divine,” we deepen our relationship with that higher power through ritualistic practices that strengthen our spiritual bond and align ourselves with our eternal, sanatana dharma — which translates to, “the eternal dharma” or “eternal way of being in alignment with nature” (one’s own dharma, or alignment with all of nature); or “the way of being in harmony.”

Hanuman Jayanti also invites us to embody the qualities of strength, loyalty, and resilience in the face of adversity, qualities displayed by lord Hanuman as he valiantly journeyed to reunite Sita and Ram. Celebrating Hanuman Jayanti offers an opportunity for introspection, growth, and alignment with the highest truths of existence, regardless of religious or spiritual background.

As I reflect on my journey, I am grateful for the unexpected blessings that Hanuman Jayanti brought into my life: a deeper understanding of self, a heightened sense of purpose, and a profound connection to the timeless wisdom of Hindu mythology. This year, in celebration of Hanuman Jayanti, the gates of Mount Madonna Center will be open to all on April 23, as they were for me so auspiciously a year ago.

May Hanuman’s blessings continue to inspire and guide us on our self-discovery and spiritual awakening paths.

Jai Hanuman!

The Author

  • Allie Wells

    Allie is a writer, artist, and former resident of Mount Madonna Center. She lives in San Francisco and spends her time reading, walking in Fort Mason, and drinking lots of coffee.

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