Amongst multiple religions around the world, Hinduism holds its unique place – like each of those others. But being a religion of multiple deities, we have specifically, cleanly and beautifully divided the days for the worship of some deities. One of those is Lord Hanuman whose day it is believed is Tuesday. But, almost everyone who believes in Hanumanji knows that he is worshipped on Saturdays too.
Faith isn’t dependent on logic, and that being there, many of us, especially from the young generation do not know why we worship Hanumanji on Saturdays. And THAT is what I will be writing about today.
So there are two theories as to why Saturdays are believed to be a special day to get blessings and boons of Hanumanji.
Here is the first!
Hanumanji and Suryadev, his teacher:
Hanumanji was the son of a Vaanar chief Kesari and his wife Anjana. Strong and mighty Hanuman when grew up, was sent to Suryadev, Lord Sun to receive the education and knowledge which is in the immense form with Lord Sun it is believed.
After completing the education and receiving all the divine knowledge that Suryadev bestowed upon him, he asked Lord Sun to ask him to grant a Guru Dakshina to the former(Lord Sun); Guru Dakshina being an integral part of the ancient Indian education system in which a disciple after the completion of education gives something to the guru, the spiritual master. Dejected and despondent Lord Sun told his excellent and obedient student that the only sorrow of his life is his son Shani (Shanidev or Lord Shani – who later got referred as the savior of justice). Suryadev told Hanumanji that Shani is a disobedient son, and is full of pride and arrogance owing to his power to destroy anything with just one glimpse. All he (Suryadev) wants is that his son’s pride should be contained. If that is done, nothing more will be there that Suryadev could desire. Hanumanji obliged and flew with the wind-speed towards the abode of Shanidev. He defeated many Grah and other servants of Shanidev in his way and finally after a duel with Shanidev, defeated the latter. Pleased with Hanuman’s might and thankful to him for repressing his pride, Shanidev granted a boon to Hanumanji that although the day of Shanivar(Saturday) is his, anyone who will worship Hanumanji on that day and will ask for his forgiveness for any wrongdoing, Shanidev won’t even touch the happiness of that devotee, let alone be harming them. From that day onwards, Saturday got special status for all Hanumanj’s devotees and those too, who want to get rid of punishments inflicted by Shanidev.
Now, coming to the second story.
Hanumanji, Ravana, and Shanidev:
All of us who have ever heard of the story of Ramayana or seen the serials or movies on this epic have seen how Hanumanji burnt the golden palaces of Lanka(now Sri Lanka) when he reached there in search of Maa Sita to give information to Lord Rama about the place where Ravana, the demon king, the Asura had kept Maa Sita as a hostage. And also, that before burning the golden palaces of Lanka, he was presented as a prisoner in front of Ravana, and there was given an order that let his tail be burnt. BUT, fewer people know that something of very very crucial importance also occurred when Hanumanji reached Ravana’s court.
It is believed that Ravana was so powerful, that he had held as captive all the 9 planets (Nav Grahas) including Shanidev in his court and they were there, in a humiliating state. When Hanumanji reached there, all the planets paid their obeisance to Hanuman including Shanidev. Hanumanji freed those planets and Shanidev as well from Ravana’s captivity.
In some versions, it is said that Ravana would keep Shanidev as a dais, a low platform and would keep his feet on Shanidev’s back. Not only to humiliate Shanidev but also to save himself from the crooked vision of Shanidev which can bring bad-luck and destruction to anyone that it falls upon.
The moment Hanumanji reached the court of Hanumanji, it is believed that Shanidev lifted his head and looked at Hanumanji and then Ravana. Hanumanji was immune to his vision as Brahmaji gave him a boon that no power of destruction could ever affect Hanuman; but it is said that Ravana’s bad luck begun the moment Shanidev’s eyes, his vision fell on him. And after that, due to that vision, the whole Lanka got burnt, and eventually all the sons of Ravana and his army got defeated and completely annihilated from the hands of Lord Rama and his Vaanar Sena.
Now coming back to our story; when Hanumanji freed all the planets and Shanidev from Ravana’s captivity, Shanidev granted him a boon that he, along with Shanidev will be worshipped on Saturdays, and anyone who will worship him will always be saved from the anger of Shanidev.
And here we are, visit any temple of Hanumanji on Saturday and you will see people offering him laddoos, orange vermillion, flag, and a lot more things. Not only that, but also, if you visit any temple of Shanidev, you will often find an idol of Hanumanji near him, and people worshipping him too, especially on Saturdays.
Fascinating isn’t it? That’s the culture of Hinduism – full of tales that will not be dependent on rationality but pure love, and that is the culture of India – land of purity, love and immense affection for all the beings!
I hope you liked this article; let me know through comments and show some love. ALSO, drop in the comment box if any other question bothers you about Hinduism or India!
For Hindus, he is the God himself, for non-Hindus, he is a legendary figure, and for all of us his believers, he is the ideal man, a complete man, and perfection personified. That’s the reason he’s called Maryada Purushottam – the man who is supreme in honor and righteousness. And about five lesser known facts about Lord Ram, I will write down today. So, let’s have a look at some fascinating facts about Lord Shree Ramachandraji and I hope this knowledge will bring you closer to the Hindu religion’s facts, closer to God, and will enrich your knowledge about the same. Let’s begin!
1. Lord Ram Is Not A Poorna Avatar(Complete Incarnation)
Now before many of you start feeling that I am trying to say that Lord Ram was any less, let me tell you that you are mistaken. Because Lord Ram is complete and absolute; he is the Lord himself and everything is in him, from him. However, when I say that he is not a complete incarnation, I imply that he possessed the 14 out of 16 Kalas or qualities in him and 2 were not to be seen. Now there is a reason behind it. Although he is a god, why he doesn’t possess all the 16 qualities that are there in Lord Vishnu, whose incarnation Lord Ram is? The reason is, that Lord Ram appeared on this earth to safeguard the righteousness and annihilate the evil, by killing the demon Ravan. And since Ravan had a boon that he could be killed by a man and not a God, Lord Ram had to come like a man in this world. And THAT is the reason why Lord Ram never displayed the remaining two qualities. For if he would, he could no more be called a man born of a man. The two qualities that he never showed were Paripurna & Swarupavasthitha. And the result of the absence of these Kalas could be seen on incidents such as the moment when Lord Ram cried when Maa Sita was abducted by the demon king Ravan, and when he took the aid of monkeys and bears and other beings in his journey to cross the ocean and annihilate the evil; these(crying and taking help from others) are qualities, emotions, and actions that we humans display, not God, and the reason Lord did it was that he was here as a human to kill Ravan. So basically, he had all the qualities, but he never displayed those just to respect the boon received by Ravan from Brahma to be killed by a man.
Trivia: The remaining two qualities along with others were present in the next incarnation of Lord Vishnu, LordShree Krishnaji which is why he is called a Poorna-avatar, God almighty, and Parabrahma, the supreme soul who is the cause of all!
2. Lord Ram’s Weapon And Height
Lord Ram is a master of multiple weapons of diverse powers. He can make oceans dry, he can destroy the whole creation with his single arrow, and he can make any of his opponents cry – Rodayati Nishacharan Yah Sa Rudrah. But it is not the reason why he is God; in fact, since he IS God, he holds such divine powers. But majorly, what we see him holding in his hand in pictures is his legendary Bow known as Sharanga, the Bow of Lord Vishnu. But there’s an interesting incident that tells how Lord Ram got this Sharanga bow in his human form. The story is like this – when Shree Ram went to Mithila(modern-day Nepal) in Maa Sita’s Swayamvar, he was required to tie the string of the legendary bow of Lord Shiva to win Maa Sita’s hand in marriage. While tying the string, the bow broke and he could now marry his divine consort, Maa Sita.
Now as per Valmiki Ramayan, when Shree Ram was going back to Ayodhya with all his brothers and family, Parshuram encountered him and stopped his way, as he was extremely furious as the bow of Lord Shiva was given to him which he had given to king Janak(Maa Sita’s father) for keeping it safe. He was angry at the man who had broken it. In his angry conversation, when he sensed that Ram was no ordinary a man, he asked Shri Ram to hold the famous Sharanga bow of Lord Vishnu which was with Parshuram at that time (I will write about this story in the upcoming post) and pull an arrow on it. Lord Ram, being the Lord who is God yet simplicity personified, did what was asked, and Parshuram finally realized that Ram was none other than the preserver of the creation, Lord Vishnu. It is also said that he actually saw Vishnu in Ram. The very moment, Parshuram gave the bow to Shree Ram, to whom it belonged, and asked him to use it in his Ram avatar.
And that is how Lord Ram received his weapon, his bow from Parshuram, who too was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, although not a complete incarnation.
But as to the weapon that Ram used to kill Ravana, it was another weapon, a divine bow that was given to him by sage Agastya when the former was in his exile period. Along with the bow, Agastya gave Lord Ram a divine quiver which would never run out of arrows.
And after the meeting of Ram and Parshuram, the Sharanga remained with Lord Ram.
Lord Ram’s HEIGHT is something that we can quite often see people discussing. Especially when people call him Aajaanubaahu. Here, people sometimes mistake this name with the one who is very tall with broad shoulders where in reality, this name is used for the one who has hands long enough to reach his knees. And it is needless to say that we all know and have read it at many places that Shree Ram has hands that reach to his knees.
Actually, in Ramayana, Shree Ram is said to be of a height of 4 Kishkus, where,
1 Kishkus = 24 inches; So,
4 Kishkus = 96 inches = 8 feet.
So Shree Ram is considered to be 8 feet in height. Although in some references, he is considered to be 10 or 12 feet tall, depending upon the religious text which is under the discussion. And trust me, it is one of the lesser known facts about Lord Ram.
Interestingly, if he was 8 feet tall, we can say that his bow must have been around 10 feet or so. Mighty and magnificent I must say!
3. Lord Ram And A Squirrel
How can I not include the story of a small squirrel amongst the five lesserknown facts about Lord Ram? So, when Lord Ram was creating a bridge to cross the ocean to set foot in Lanka, all the creatures nearby were helping him vigorously. Not only monkeys and bears, but deers, tortoises, ocean entities, and birds like vultures were there among many.
Amidst all of them, there could be seen a squirrel who was holding a small pebble to through it in the ocean to create the bridge. Suddenly, when monkeys and other beings saw the squirrel, they burst out laughing, mocked the squirrel, and made the fun of the little being on its petty contribution in the noble cause. The squirrel felt hurt and became sad. However, God was around her in the very manifested form and couldn’t see her sorrow. Lord Ram took the small squirrel in his hands and caressed it, asking her not to be sad as she was God’s creation too and was no less important either in creating the bridge or in its existence in the world. He told the squirrel that it too was very crucial in the process. The monkeys and others around realized their mistake and repented.
While caressing the squirrel, Shree Ram brushed the back of the squirrel with his three fingers and it is said my friends that that is the reason why we see the three lines or strokes in black on the back of squirrels to this day. Yes, the three black lines on white squirrels’ back are the mark left by Shree Ram in the Treta Yug – the mark of affection and love towards the smallest of entities created by God.
And this way, Shree Ram delivered a tremendous motivational lesson as well, that no matter how small you are, or how small your contribution in a cause is, you and your hard work matters along with your existence. He taught that God has created each being for a reason and each one of us matters in this world.
4. Lord Ram’s Death/ His Decision To Go Back. How He Distracted Hanuman?
According to Ramayan, Lord Shri Ram ruled for long 11,000 years. But there came a time when he realized that it was time for him to end his leela (his divine and pleasing deeds on this earth). Maa Sita had already left the earth long back and had gone back to Baikuntha Lok(the place where Lord Vishnu resides with Maa Lakshmi) via mother earth. But how was he going to convince Hanuman? Since Shree Ram was on earth as a human, he needed to co-ordinate with Yamaraj(deity of death in Hinduism) to end his leela. But Hanuman would never let Yama enter the vicinity where Lord Ram would be.
However, Lord Ram is almighty. One day, he took off his ring and dropped it inside a crack in the earth and asked Hanuman to get his ring back. Innocent and obedient Hanumanji obeyed and went inside the crack which was deep enough to take him to the underworld/Paataal Lok/Naag Lok(the abode of snakes) where he asked the king of serpents where the ring of Lord Ram was. The king understood the whole scenario and showed Hanumanji a valley of rings where innumerable identical rings could be seen. Each ring was identical and resembled the ring of Shree Ram. Hanumanji got confused! And then, king of serpents told him that Shri Ram is eternal- he is without a beginning or an end. He told that –
Shree Ram takes birth not once but in each and every cycle of this creation. It means that after the whole creation ends and begins once again, then all four Yuga start all over again. And then, in Tretayug, Lord Ram takes birth each time with his consort Maa Sita and the leela begins all over again. And whenever he wishes to end his leela of Tretayug, he drops the ring in this crack to distract Hanuman. Because guess what, Hanuman too is there in each manifestation of Shree Ram, like other characters of Ramayan. That is the reason there are so many rings there. Hanuman got astonished. Although he knew that Lord Ram is God, he got even more surprised to know that Lord Ram has taken so many avatars again and again, by seeing the numbers of rings.
5. Lord Ram’s Journey Back To The Baikuntha. His Order For Lakshman’s Death!
So now when 11,000 years passed, Yamaraj/Kaal went to meet Lord to remind him that he has been sent by Brahmaji to remind the lord that to let the world run according to the plan of creation by Brahmaji, he would have to end his residency on earth. Now let me clarify that Lord Ram is omniscient and he knows everything and doesn’t need any reminder, but he does so just to gives others the golden opportunity to be a part of his leela.
So Kaal/Yamaraj went to meet Shree Ram in a form of a sage, a rishi. Before starting the meeting, he put forward a condition that he wanted to have a word with Shree Ram in private and to maintain the secrecy of the topic that would be under the discussion, Lord Ram will give death sentence to anyone who will interrupt their meeting. Shree Ram agreed. He gave the responsibility of keeping a guard at the door to his beloved, obedient brother Lakshman. At the same time sage Durvasa, known for his fierce anger across the world arrived to meet Shree Ram – again a leela of God!
Sage Durvasa expressed his wish to meet Lord Ram, to Lakshman. And on being denied he threatened to destroy the whole capital city of Ayodhya. Lakshman got confused as to what to do.
As Ayodhya is much more dear to Shree Ram than even the best of the capitals of other universes, Lakshman thought he should tell Shree Ram about Durvasa’s arrival. He went inside the chamber and there it was! Kaal was sitting with Shree Ram in his real form, reminding him about his time on earth.
As per the condition, Shree Ram had to give death sentence to Lakshman, but on sage Vashishta’s insistence, capital punishment was converted into Lakshman being abandoned by Shree Ram forever, because, in those days, these two punishments were considered equal under certain circumstances.
And this is how Lakhmanji who is Sheshnaag incarnated, went inside river Saryu and ended his part of Shree Ram’s leela and went back to Baikuntha.
After some time, Shree Ram too left this earth for Baikuntha, where he met his consort Maa Sita/Maa Lakshmi.
So these were the five lesser known facts about Lord Ram, our beloved Lord Shree Ram, that I thought I should share with you. Hope you liked it. For more, you may drop a comment or a message on my contact section via Instagram, Facebook, or email. Thanks! Jai Shree Ram.
He was the one who tried to burn the Pandavas alive; but he was good. He planned the disrobing of Draupadi; but he was good. He was responsible to put an end to the lineage of Kauravas, but he was good. He was Shakuni, the maternal uncle of Kauravas – Duryodhana and his 99 brothers; and YES, he WAS good! How? That is an interesting and forgotten tale I am gonna recite today.
But before that, I apologise to you all for having kept you waiting for so long before coming with this tale. But the reason was a good one for me as I was working on my debut novel which is a romantic fiction and is out now on Amazon for you all – The Monsoon Marigolds🙂 So read it and let me know how do you find it! *Show me some support* 😉
So let’s begin! We all are more than aware that the great Mahabharata is chiefly about the war between the Kauravas and Pandavas which ended with the end of the Kaurava clan. We all know how Shakuni, the maternal uncle of Kauravas always kept the fire of enmity between the cousin princes, lit. But little do we know that Shakuni, like many Mahabharata characters, had his own gloomy and disturbing past which tells that he wasn’t bad at all and we all would have done the very same thing he did to end the Kaurava clan.
The story begins in Gandhar, modern day Qandahar in Afghanistan, ruled by king Subal, father of Shakuni and Gandhari(named after Gandhar). King Subal had 100 sons and one daughter and Shakuni was youngest of all the brothers. Now one day, king Subal organised a Yagya, a ritual in front of sacrificial fire and had invited many sages and seers. There, arrived an astrologist who told Subal that his beloved daughter Gandhari has some bad luck in her fortune chart owing to which, her first husband won’t survive. King Subal became ultimately disturbed by it; Gandhari, the extremely beautiful princess was her much-adored child after all. To end the gloomy affair that could disturb her future, Subal came with a solution to marry her off to a goat and then sacrifice it, to be in accordance with a fact that her first husband will not live long. In that way, her second husband, who of course will be a man, will survive and she’ll have a happy married life. So he did the same and married his daughter off to a goat and sacrificed it.
(Just to let those of you know who are not very much familiar with these practises, in India, these type of marriages are done to avoid the Mangal dosh of girls who are Mangalik. The girls get married to a tree or an animal who afterwards gets sacrificed. In case they get married to an earthen pot, the pot is supposed to be broken, taking away with it the bad luck that could creep in in the life of a future husband of a girl. This is called Kumbh(earthen) Vivah(pot). (Note: I would also like to clear it here that I do not endorse any such practice and am only informing those who are not aware of these practises of the past.)
So the problem was solved and everything was alright now, at least that is what the family of Gandhari had thought.
In a turn of events, Gandhari later gets married to Dhritarashtra, the prince of Kuru clan of Lunar dynasty (Chandravansh),who was blind. The beautiful Gandhari who was known for her beauty and specifically for her beautiful eyes, blindfolds herself for whole life, just to engulf herself in the darkness that her husband had always been engulfed in, and to see and live the life the way he did. Everything was good; until Dhritarashtra got to know the fact of Gandhari’s first marriage.
The day came when Dhritarashtra got to know of the first marriage of his wife Gandhari and felt betrayed and fooled. He was the king of the mighty, invincible Hastinapur. He couldn’t bear it and imprisoned the whole family of king Subal – the king and his 100 sons. It is also said that both Dhritarashtra and Bheeshm Pitamah were involved in this imprisonment. The punishment, although, was yet to be given to the family of Subal. And it was really cruel. It was decided that the whole family king Subal, of 101 men, in the prison will get only a handful of grains per day. It was meted out in order to starve the Subal family to death as of course, one handful of grains could never suffice the hunger of 101 men. Subal realised that the end of his family was impending. He got an idea; he contemplated that only if one out of all 101 men could get that one handful of grain per day, that “one” would survive. But who will it be? Subal himself, his eldest son, or some other son? And he decided to test his sons. He wanted to know who was the sharpest one, who could live to avenge the death of his 99 brothers and his father, as Subal knew that his and his sons’ days were numbered now and they were destined to die while starving. He came up with a test. He took a bone and asked his sons one by one to insert a thread in the bone and take it out from the other side. All failed, except the youngest and brightest son of Subal, prince Shakuni. When he got his turn, he tied one end of the thread with a grain and another end with an ant, who walked through the bone and took the thread to the other side. Shakuni, the youngest prince had proved his mettle and he was chosen, not only by king Subal but probably by the destiny as well, to bring drastic turns in the History of Hastinapur and our country. As a result, he was given the grains every day and he saw all his brother die painfully, one by one. At last, his father, when he was about to die, requested to Dhritarashtra to leave the youngest prince Shakuni, and Dhritarashtra did it. (God knows whether he did right, or it was the biggest mistake Dhritarashtra ever committed).
Because on his deathbed, Subal asked Shakuni to avenge the death of his clan by Dhritarashtra. Shakuni, the young prince was embittered on the fate of his family – first, the marriage of his dear sister with a blind man, and then the painful and cruel death of his family in front of him. It is said that his father hit him hard on his leg which turned Shakuni lame. In case you have seen Mahabharata serials on TV, you must have realised that Shakuni is always seen walking with a limp. This was done by Subal to make Shakuni realise with every step in his life what his goal was. And Shakuni now had a goal – to annihilate the clan of Kauravas. It is also said that king Subal knew dark magic and had asked Shakuni to use his thigh bone to make dices which will never disobey Shakuni. Again, if you see Mahabharata, you can see how Shakuni’s dices always obeyed him like loyal slaves. The dices which made Yudhishthira, a servant in the game of dice called Chausar. The same dices that resulted in Draupadi’s disrobing and Pandava’s exile.
Now Shakuni did what he was left with, he vowed loyalty to the kingdom of Hastinapur. But he was the one who fed on the aspirations and human weaknesses of Dhritarashtra and his 100 sons. Interesting, isn’t it? Subal had 100 sons and 1 daughter. And similarly, years later, Dhritarashtra too had 100 sons – amongst which Duryodhana was the eldest one – and a daughter, Dushala. And Shakuni did the same with Dhritarashtra – he made sure that not a single son of Dhritarashtra would survive, and that too by being their most beloved Mama(maternal uncle).
Being a person of such a sharp brain, it is hard to believe that he never recognised Pandavas strength. It is even harder to believe that he never recognised Lord Krishna, who was always with Pandavas.
And in the end, we all know what happened, not a single son of Dhritarashtra was spared by Pandavas. Even Jayadratha, husband of Dushala, Dhritarashtra’s daughter, was killed in the battle of Mahabharata.
And if you are wondering about Shakuni’s death, the prince of Gandhar who always saw pain of his loved ones, who could never forget the grotesque pictures of his family members’ death, and who never went to Gandhar to rule it after his father’s death, was killed by Sahdev, the youngest Pandava.
It is indeed inevitable that Shakuni in his life committed heinous crimes – trying to burn the Pandavas alive, planning and encouraging the disrobing of a woman, killing of Abhimanyu, and many others, but was he bad in doing so? What would you have done had you been in his place? If you had seen your family dying such a cruel death? It is up to us to decide.
Although for me, he was never a hero, but it is said that after his death, he attained heaven, because he was always goal-oriented, and whatever he did was for his family and his very beloved sister Gandhari, who HAD to marry Dhritarashtra.
Not only this, but there is also a temple dedicated to him in Pavithreswaram in Kollam district of Kerala, India.
Tell me in the comments what you think about this tale of Shakuni which is told in the folk stories and also tell me if you want me to write about or on any specific character or story of our mythology.