Maharaj-ji always spoke of Hanuman, ther Monkey God as being the “Breath of Ram(God) . He said over and over that Hanuman and Christ were the same. The Hanuman Chaleesa is a hymn of 40 verses that describes his life and exploits. It begins with the phrase,”I take the dust of the Guru’s lotus feet to cleanse the mirror of my heart.” The grace of the Guru is necessary to begin to understand the deepest levels of the story of Hanuman in the Ramayana. Maharaj-ji once said, “Hanuman was always present in all time in the universe.”
There is a song written by Tulsi Das in which he quotes Ram Himself as saying:
“Without Hanuman, no one in this world would have known of me.” Then Tulsi Das writes, “I am telling you of the greatness of Hanuman in the very words that the Lord Himself spoke.”
I learned the Hanuman Chaleesa in India in the old days. In Maharaj-ji’s temples, the Chaleesa is sung around the clock during special celebrations, and little booklets with Hanuman’s picture on them are given to temple visitors. I asked and was told the booklet contained a prayer to Hanuman, so I decided to learn it. I wrote out all the words by sounding out the letters and a friend in Kausani, a little town in the Himalayan foothills where we were spending the rainy season, helped with pronunciation and a melody. My idea was that if we Westerners could learn the Chaleesa, we could ‘bribe’ Maharaj-ji to call us into his presence to sing it for him. As it turned out that was exactly what happened.
We hadn’t even learned six out of the forty verses before we were called down from the back of the temple to where Maharaj-ji was sitting. He was very excited and said ‘Sing the Chaleesa!’ We managed to sing the few verses we knew. He laughed and was very happy. We now became an official part of the show; whenever there were some Indian devotees having darshan he would call us and have us ‘perform,’ as it were. No matter how many times we did it, he would always act as if it were the first time. With a look of total amazement on his face, he would laughingly abuse His Indian devotees for their supposed lack of devotion and sincerity, saying, “Look at these people. Out of their love for God, they have left everything behind in America and learned the Chaleesa. You wicked, greedy people come to see me out of your own selfish desires!” Of course it was all part of His unique way of showering grace all around.
Recently I visited Maharaji’s temple at Kainchi and spent many hours talking and sitting with one of His very old great devotees, Shri Kehar Singh, ‘Poppa’. As I was getting ready to leave for America, he gave me his blessings and a bit of advice. He asked, “Do you know why we sing the Chaleesa?”
I said, “To praise Hanuman.”
He asked, “Do you think Hanuman needs you to praise him?” Then he explained that when Hanuman was a child, he had such strength and was so mischievous that he caused havoc all around – disturbing the rishis (sages) during their worship, pulling their beards, and even putting them up in trees. So the rishis cursed Hanuman, saying he would not remember his strength unless he was reminded. Poppa continued, “So the first verses of the Chaleesa are to remind Hanuman of who he is. In the last verses we ask him to grant us our wish. And our wish is that he come to live in our hearts, with Ram, Sita and Lakshman.”
It’s not necessary to ask Hanuman for anything for He is the ‘knower of all hearts.’ Maharaj-ji would very often tell people to recite the Chaleesa when they came and asked for blessings. Then when their prayers had been answered and they came to thank him, he would say, “I didn’t do anything. It was all Hanuman-ji’s grace.” Hanuman lives only to serve the God within us and to prepare us to live fully in the spirit.
Shree Hanuman Chaleesa
Shree Guru charana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhari
Baranaun Raghubara bimala jasu jo daayaku phala chaari
Having polished the mirror of my heart with the dust of my Guru’s lotus feet
I sing the pure fame of the best of Raghus, which bestows the four fruits of life.
Budhi heena tanu jaanike sumiraun pawana kumaara
Bala budhi vidyaa dehu mohin harahu kalesa bikaara
I know that this body of mine has no intelligence, so I recall you, Son of the Wind
Grant me strength, wit and wisdom and remove my sorrows and shortcomings.
Bhajelo Ji Hanuman! Bhajelo Ji Hanuman!
Oh Friend! Remember Hanuman!
1. Jaya Hanumaan gyaana guna saagara
Jaya Kapeesha tihun loka ujaagara
Hail to Hanuman, the ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Hail Monkey Lord, illuminater of the three worlds.
2. Raama doota atulita bala dhaamaa
Anjani putra Pawanasuta naamaa
You are Ram’s emissary, and the abode of matchless power
Anjani’s son, named the “Son of the Wind.”
3. Mahaabeera bikrama bajarangee
Kumati niwaara sumati ke sangee
Great hero, you are as mighty as a thunderbolt,
You remove evil thoughts and are the companion of the good.
4. Kanchana barana biraaja subesaa
Kaanana kundala kunchita kesaa
Golden hued and splendidly adorned
With heavy earrings and curly locks.
5. Haata bajra aura dwajaa biraajai
Kaandhe moonja janeu saajai
In your hands shine mace and a banner
And a sacred thread adorns your shoulder.
6. Shankara suwana Kesaree nandana
Teja prataapa mahaa jaga bandana
You are Shiva’s son and Kesari’s joy
And your glory is revered throughout the world.
7. Bidyaawaana gunee ati chaatura
Raama kaaja karibe ko aatura
You are the wisest of the wise, virtuous and clever
And ever intent on doing Ram’s work.
8. Prabhu charitra sunibe ko rasiyaa
Raama Lakhana Seetaa mana basiyaa
You delight in hearing of the Lord’s deeds,
Ram, Sita and Lakshman dwell in your heart.
9. Sookshma roopa dhari Siyahin dikhaawaa
Bikata roopa dhari Lankaa jaraawaa
Assuming a tiny form you appeared to Sita
And in an awesome form you burned Lanka.
10. Bheema roopa dhari asura sanghaare
Raamachandra ke kaaja sanvaare
Taking a dreadful form you slaughtered the demons
And completed Lord Ram’s mission.
11. Laaya sajeevana Lakhana jiyaaye
Shree Raghubeera harashi ura laaye
Bringing the magic herb you revived Lakshman
And Ram embraced you with delight.
12. Raghupati keenhee bahuta baraaee
Tuma mama priya Bharatahi sama bhaaee
The Lord of the Raghus praised you greatly:
“Brother, you are dear to me as Bharat!”
13. Sahasa badana tumharo jasa gaawai
Asa kahi Shreepati kanta lagaawai
“May the thousand-mouthed serpent 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, gods and the great saints,
Narada, Saraswati and the King of serpents,
15. Yama Kubera digapaala jahaante
Kabi kobida kahi sake kahaante
Yama, Kubera and the guardians of the four quarters,
poets and scholars – none can express your glory.
16. Tuma upakaara Sugreevahin keenhaa
Raama milaaya raaja pada deenhaa
You did great service for Sugriva,
Presenting him to Ram, you gave him the kingship.
17. Tumharo mantra Bibheeshana maanaa
Lankeshwara bhaye saba jaga jaanaa
Vibhishana heeded your counsel
And became the Lord of Lanka, as the whole world knows.
18. Yuga sahasra yojana para bhaanu
Leelyo taahi madhura phala jaanu
Though the sun is thousands of miles away,
You swallowed it, thinking it to be a sweet fruit.
19. Prabhu mudrikaa 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. Durgama kaaja jagata ke jete
Sugama anugraha tumhare tete
Every difficult task in this world
Becomes easy by your grace.
21. Raama duaare tuma rakhawaare
Hota na aagyaa binu paisaare
You are the guardian at Ram’s door,
No one enters without your leave.
22. Saba sukha lahai tumhaaree sharanaa
Tuma rakshaka kaahu ko daranaa
Those who take refuge in you find all happiness
and those who you protect know no fear.
23. Aapana teja samhaaro aapai
Teenon loka haanka ten kaanpai
You alone can withstand your own splendor,
The three worlds tremble at your roar.
24. Bhoota pisaacha nikata nahin aawai
Mahaabeera jaba naama sunaawai
Ghosts and goblins cannot come near,
Great Hero, when your name is uttered.
25. Naasai roga hare saba peeraa
Japata nirantara Hanumata beeraa
All disease and pain is eradicated,
Brave Hanuman, by constant repetition of your name.
26. Sankata ten Hanumaana churaawai
Mana krama bachana dhyaana jo laawai
Hanuman releases from affliction
those who remember him in thought word and deed.
27. Saba para Raama tapaswee raajaa
Tina ke kaaja sakala tuma saajaa
Ram, the ascetic, reigns over all,
but you carry out all his work.
28. Aura manorata 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. Chaaron juga parataapa tumhaaraa
Hai parasidha jagata ujiyaaraa
Your splendor fills the four ages
your glory is renowned throughout the world.
30. Saadhu santa 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. Ashta siddhi nau nidhi ke daataa
Asa bara deena Jaanakee Maataa
You grant the eight powers and the nine treasures
by the boon you received from Mother Janaki.
32. Raama rasaayana toomhare paasaa
Sadaa raho Raghupati ke daasaa
You hold the elixir of Ram’s name
and remain eternally his servant.
33. Tumhare bhajana Raama ko paawai
Janama janama ke dukha bisaraawai
Singing your praise, one finds Ram
and escapes the sorrows of countless lives.
34. Anta kaala Raghubara pura jaaee
Jahaan janama Hari bhakta kahaaee
At death one goes to Ram’s own city
or is born on the earth as God’s devotee.
35. Aura devataa chitta na dharaaee
Hanumata se-ee sarva sukha karaee
Give no thought to any other deity,
worshipping Hanuman, one gains all delight.
36. Sankata katai mite saba peeraa
Jo sumire Hanumata bala beeraa
All affliction ceases and all pain is removed
by remembering the mighty hero, Hanuman.
37. Jai jai jai Hanumaana Gosaaee
Kripaa karahu gurudeva kee naaee
Victory, Victory, Victory to Lord Hanuman!
Bestow your grace on me, as my Guru!
38. Jo sata baara paata kara koee
Chootahi bandi mahaa sukha hoee
Whoever recites this a hundred times
is released from bondage and gains bliss.
39. Jo yaha parai Hanumaana chaleesaa
Hoya siddhi saakhee Gaureesaa
One who reads this Hanuman Chaleesa
gains success, as Gauri’s Lord (Shiva) is witness.
40. Tulasee Daasa sadaa Hari cheraa
Keejai naata hridaya mahan deraa
Says Tulsi Das, who always remains Hari’s servant:
“Lord, make your home in my heart.”
Pawanatanaya sankata harana mangala moorati roopa
Raama Lakhana Seetaa sahita hridaya basahu sura bhoopa
Son of the Wind, destroyer of sorrow, embodiment of blessing,
Live in my heart, King of Gods, together with Ram, Lakshman and Sita.