When I met Lord Hanuman
About a year ago, I came to know from AAJ TAK channel that a Sri Lankan organization called Setuu was doing research on some tribes living in jungles of Piduru mountain. Most of the tribal people of Sri Lanka are believed to be descendants of Ravana’s brother Vibhishana. But a tribe called Mathang was found to be related to Lord Hanuman. People of this tribe claimed that Lord Hanuman is immortal and comes to meet them every 41 years. Though Lord Hanuman is famous for His physical power, Mathangs claimed that Lord Hanuman is their Guru and comes to impart the supreme knowledge to their new generation. Not only that, people of this tribe record words spoken and Leelas done by lord Hanuman in a ‘logbook’. Setuu Organization was studying this logbook. I also came to know that any Hanuman devotee could do Sadhana under guidance of Setuu Masters and become eligible for Sakshat Darshan of Lord Hanuman. I sent my application for Sadhana by email to Setuu.
First condition of Setuu was that I should not have any family responsibilities, because it was necessary to devote at least one year in the service of Lord Hanuman. During this 1 year of Sadhana, I would have to remain completely detached from family and society and not talk to them even over phone. I agreed on this condition. Their second condition was that my soul should be deeply connected to Lord Hanuman. To evaluate my soul’s connection with Lord Hanuman, they asked me several questions. Some questions were to know my spiritual background, and some were on the supreme knowledge (Brahma Gyan). I had been deeply devoted to Lord Hanuman from my childhood, and with His grace I had ample knowledge of soul and supreme soul. I answered Setuu’s questions on the basis of my limited knowledge. After a few days I got an email informing me that I had been selected for Sadhana. This was a huge pleasant surprise for me.
After completing all the formalities, that golden day came when I landed in Colombo for Sadhana. I was taken 200 km away from there in a village called Mandaram Nuwara. I was imagining that Setuu Hanuman Bodhi would be some big place like a Hindu Ashrama where hundreds of Sadhus would be living. But I stayed in an ordinary house of Mandaram Nuwara village that night. This house is center of Setuu’s activities but it is not Setuu Hanuman Bodhi. The Bodhi is 4 kilometers higher from there in the mountains. And it is not allowed to take any artificial thing up there. I was allotted a box in that house where I kept all my belongings, except two pair of white clothes which I had brought on instructions from Setuu. Except these white clothes, I was not allowed to take anything to Setuu Hanuman Bodhi. I was asked to keep my mobile and camera also in the box.
Next afternoon, clad in white clothes, I reached Setuu Hanuman Bodhi with a Sadhaka. I found that there were only 14 Sadhakas and 3 Setuu Masters there. I was 15th Sadhaka. I was surprised, and felt proud that out of millions of Hanuman devotees I had got the opportunity to do this Sadhana.
Purpose of first 6 months of Sadhana was to remove the “sense of I” or “Ego” from me. The Ego creates the illusion that I am a body, I have a mind, I have a family, society etc etc. The truth is that I am a soul and I am riding on a body. The body is like a car. We usually keep riding on the same body throughout our life. But if we realize that we are a soul, and detach ourselves from our bodies, all the bodies in the world become ours. We can enter in any body whenever we want. But it is very difficult to master this Yog Sadhana.
The day came when I completed 3 months of Sadhana. I was still not allowed to attend the Sakshat Hanuman Pooja, because my “ego” or “sense of I” was still not destroyed. I was told by my Guru that I would be able to attend Sakshat Hanuman Pooja once I complete 6 months of Sadhana. I had heard that Lord Hanuman gives His Divya Darshana in the Sakshat Hanuman Pooja. This Pooja is different from the Charan Pooja. Charan Pooja is performed only once in 41 years and Lord Hanuman appears in His body form in that Pooja. On the other hand, Sakshat Hanuman Pooja was started in relation to Lord Kalki’s arrival. There were signs that Lord Vishnu was going to come in His Kalki avatar soon. Lord Hanuman had given instructions that Sakshat Hanuman Pooja be started and performed continuously until the secret of Lord Kalki’s birth is revealed.
A session of Sakshat Hanuman Pooja lasts for about one hour. After end of a session, next session can be started at a different place, but the fire used to light the lamps and the Havan Kund has to be from the last session. This way, this Pooja goes on continuously. Like Charan Pooja, Arpanam of fruits is done in this Pooja too. After the Arpanam, fruits are then distributed to Vanaras, Sadhakas and sages. The Sadhakas who have done Sadhana of less than 6 months can do only one Seva in this Pooja : The Seva of helping in bringing fruits of Arpanam from Mandaram Nuwara village to Setuu Hanuman Bodhi. These fruits are sent by Hanuman devotees from around the world.
The place where Charan Pooja and Sakshat Hanuman Pooja are performed is called ‘HanuMandal’. It is a circle made with wheat flour on which special oil lamps are lighted. Either Mathangs can enter in this circle or the Setuu Masters or the Sadhakas who have destroyed their ‘sense of I’ completely. This circle is usually made either in a cave or in dense forest. Lord Hanuman appears in this circle only. Sadhakas like me used to be in the know as to where Hanumandal has been created for a particular session of the Pooja, but we weren’t allowed to go there. One day I got an idea — ‘I should click a picture of HanuMandal. If luck helps me, I may be able to take picture of Lord Hanuman too!’ I had brought a camera from home with me but that camera was in the box in Mandaram Nuwara village. I was not allowed to bring it to Setuu Hanuman Bodhi. We Sadhakas used to go down in the village every day to volunteer in bringing the Arpanam fruits up the hill. I planned that I would bring that camera secretly at Bodhi.
As per my plan, one evening, I succeeded in bringing that camera up the hill at Bodhi. Luckily the battery of the camera was not fully discharged. I took it as a hint that Lord Hanuman had no issue with this act of mine otherwise the battery, which was lying idle for 3 months, would have got discharged. At that time also, I knew why Setuu had prohibited machines like camera. Because any man made thing like camera only shows us the outer world. The purpose of Sadhana is to detach from outer world and travel in the inner world towards Moksha. Even today, I feel ashamed of this act of mine. My attachment to the gross world even after 3 days of Sadhana was indeed shameful. Standing on a cliff, I had taken only two pictures that evening that a group of Vaanaras came towards me aggressively. These Vaanars of Piduru mountain do not harm Setuu Sadhakas. The fact that they were aggressively coming towards me was an indication that I had wasted 3 months of my Sadhana by a single act. I immediately got down from the cliff and ran towards Setuu Hanuman Bodhi. I hid the camera in the same basket in which I brought it. Next morning, I went to the village and kept the camera back in the box.
I am writing this experience after Sadhana of 1 year so that new Sadhakas do not experiment like this. I am sharing the two pictures clicked by me that day. First picture is that of Asurrahs. If you have read 6th and 7th chapter of Lord Hanuman’s Leelas on Setuu website, you know that Surrahs and Asurrahs both come to HanuMandal. The Surrahs look like a white light in HanuMandal and Asurrahs look like red light. The soul who makes Arpanam in the holy feet of Lord Hanuman gets rid of influence of Surrahs as well as Asurrahs. In the image below, Asurrahs can be seen going towards the holy Hanumandal.
The second picture is that of Hanumandal in which Lord Hanuman is seen sitting in His Asana in middle of the Hanumandal. This picture is not clear because it is not possible to capture Lord Hanuman in a camera. I have made an arrow on this image. If you look towards that, you will see Lord Hanuman sitting there.
Usually Sadhakas become eligible to enter HanuMandal after Sadhana of 6 months but because of this childish act of mine, I got this opportunity only after 9 months of Sadhana (6 months after I tried to take these pictures).I would advise new Sadhakas that, earlier they detach themselves from the outer world, earlier they shall meet Lord Hanuman. Leave alone capturing Him in camera, He cannot even be described by words. Yes, through words of wisdom we can detach ourselves from the outer world, and become eligible for His Sakshat Darshan. Word is Brahma, while the picture is merely an illusion in Time and Space. When the words of Lord Hanuman’s Leelas enter in your mind, the door of your mind shall open. After coming out of gross world created by mind, you will enter in the subtle world of soul. In that subtle world, you will meet Lord Hanuman. Devotees who cannot come to Setuu Hanuman Bodhi for Sadhana can read Lord Hanuman’s Leelas on Setuu’s website. Almost every month, a new chapter of Lord Hanuman’s Leelas gets published on Setuu’s website www.setuu.org . Every chapter takes us one step closer to Lord Hanuman.
[This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a creative commons license with attribution to www.setuu.org]