INDIA. Delhi: Another week of lockdown with a new set of new rules, measures, and markers to ensure strict adherence to social distancing was announced yesterday meaning that places of worship will once again remain closed during another important Hindu festival, Lord Hanuman’s birthday celebrations. It’s the second important festival in the recent, second, and deadliest COVID–19 wave that has hit India badly. The last one was the Durga Chaitra Navratras when lockdowns were announced midway through the religious festival.
Major temples in Delhi will remain shut for devotees, with only resident priests conducting puja inside. Appeals to devotees have already been made by various temples, to celebrate the festival from their homes.
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Hanuman, one of the biggest devotees of Lord Rama as it is believed that no work related to Lord Ram is complete without assigning it to Hanuman. Also, the epic Ramayana is incomplete without him as he played a major role in Ramayana during the battle between Ram and Ravana.
Hanuman Jayanti is observed on the full moon day of the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the main days to pray in front of Lord Hanuman, but, this year, even though his birthday falls on a Tuesday, i.e. 27 April, devotees will have to pray from homes only.
During normal times, on Hanuman Jayanti, devotees visit various temples to offer flowers, special prayers, and prasad. A diya of ghee is lighted, and orange-coloured sindoor and scented oil are also poured on the idol of Lord Hanuman. Devotees sing bhajans and perform aarti while worshipping Lord Hanuman. Devotees seek Hanuman’s blessings through his magical powers to keep away evil spirits. Blessings are also sought by reading Hanuman Chalisa and Sundar Kaand in front of Lord Hanuman. The birthday celebrations are very important and a must-do for Brahmacharis (celibates), wrestlers, and bodybuilders, who celebrate it with great zeal and enthusiasm.
In Indian mythology, Lord Hanuman is the son of mother Anjana, wife of Vanaraja Kesari, the King of Monkeys. He was born as a monkey god to serve Lord Ram. An idol of Lord Hanuman is ubiquitous in every temple, small or big in India. Lord Hanuman is known by various names, such as Bajrangabali, Pavanasuta, Mahavira, Balibima, Anjanisut, Sankat Mochan, Anjaneya, Maruti, Rudra and much more. He is the 11th Rudra avatar of Lord Shiva, and has devoted his life to Lord Rama and Sita.
Guidelines during COVID-19
There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, and the govt. has drafted and issued various guidelines to ensure the safety of devotees, and requested them to stay and pray from their homes only. Various programs are organised in the main temples devoted specifically to Lord Hanuman in Delhi like the Marghat waley Hanuman ji, Connaught Place waley Hanuman ji, and others. But this year no such events including bhajans, kirtans, recitations, etc., or any other form of religious, cultural, or social activities will be allowed. The temples have been instructed to make the darshan available online through websites, and social media.