|Idol of Ashwattha Maruti Carved by Bapu
“O Subhata (Shreehanumanta – the supreme, the ultimate bhakta) lead me on the path of bhakti, show me the way to the bhagavanta. It is from You, that I want to learn bhakti” says Sant Tukaram in one of his compositions. Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) too has said time and again that it is guided by Hanumanta that every bhakta takes his first step or in other words begins his journey on the path of bhakti. And so Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) initiated for all His shraddhavaan friends, the ‘Shree Ashwatthamaruti poojan’ – the celebration of bhakti. In 1996 Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) initiated the Ramnavmi festival which was the very first followed by the Shree Ashwatthamaruti poojan festival in 1997.
About the Upasana:
* This festival is marked by the installation of the idol of the Hanumanta that Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) Himself has created. Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) actually sculpted this idol using the hammer and the chisel. Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) is an excellent sculptor. “Sculpting -carving out and lending the desired shape, is Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) inherent nature”. It comes so easily to Him!” The highlight of the festival is that all shraddhavaan bhaktas can take the darshan of this idol of the Hanumanta and feel blessed. Also, this idol is endowed with all the aspects and features possessed by Shree Hanumanta as described in the Panchamukhahanuman stotra.
* A small idol of Shree Hanumanta is kept in a platter placed before the main idol of the Hanumanta sculpted by Bapu (Aniruddhasinh).
* A small sapling of the Peepal, a symbolic representation of the Ashwattha tree, is placed behind the idol of the Hanumanta.
* Sugarcane stalks are arranged around the idol as part of the decoration.
* The ‘Dhuni Mata’ is installed before the idol of Hanumanta. On this day the poojan is also offered to the ‘Dhuni’ i.e. Anjani Mata, the ‘Mata’ – the Mother of Bhagvan Hanumanta. A group of Prapathak do a continuous and uninterrupted recitation of the Shree Hanumanchalisa.
* Following the ‘shodashopchar poojan’ of Shree Hanumanta (shodash=16. the term ‘shodash+upchar’ indicates the 16 manners of offering the poojan), five unmarried men apply the ‘shendur’ to the idol coating it completely. All the shraddhavaan bhaktas too can then apply a little ‘shendur’ to the idol and take the darshan.
* After the poojan in the morning, a cyclical recitation of the Shreepanchamukha Hanumatkavacha then the Shree Sankatmochan Hanuman Stotra and lastly the chanting of the jap “Om Shreeramdootaaya hanumantaaya Mahaapraanaaya Mahaabalaaya namo namah” 54 times, continues throughout this day.
* The poornahuti (a rite that marks the conclusion and the fulfillment of the poojan offered) is done late in the evening at 9.00
* Every shraddhavaan bhakta can perform the ‘abhishek’ on the idol of the Panchamukhi Hanumanta.
|Abhisheka being Performed on Lord Hanumant’s Idol
Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) refers to Shree Hanumanta as His ‘Rakshakguru’, the guru who protects and it is for this reason that
1) the Panchamukhi Hanumanta occupies the central, the pivotal position in the ‘Shreemadpurushartha Yantra (the Kshama Yantra) at the Shree Aniruddha Gurukshetram
2) Once in the year, a week-long (saptah=a week i.e. seven days) recitation of the Shree Hanumanchalisa takes place at the Shree Aniruddha Gurukshetram. A minimum of 108 shraddhavaan bhaktas do a minimum of 108 recitations of the Shreehanumanchalisa on each of these seven days.
3) The festival of the Ashwattha Maruti poojan takes place at Shreegurukul in the month of Shravan.
4) For every function and on every Thursday at Shreeharigurugram the picture of “Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) Rakshakguru” Hanumanta is installed on the main stage behind Bapu (Aniruddhasinh).
5) The sacred place of pilgrimage at Ratnagiri established by Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) grace is called ‘Atulitabaldhaam’ and houses the idol of the Panchamukhi Hanumanta that originally belonged to Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) own home. The ‘Hanuman Pournima’ is celebrated here every year.
6) Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) recites the Sunderkand every day
7) At least once a year, Bapu (Aniruddhasinh), Nandai and Suchitdada make it a point to recite the Hanumanchalisa 108 times in a day. Moreover, their daily upasana includes the Bheemarupi Maharudra stotra and the Panchamukhi Hanumatkavach apart from of course the Hanumanchalisa. Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) wishes that just like Him, His shraddhavaan friends too include these in their daily upasana regime.
8) Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) has given the name ‘Shreegurucharan maas’ to the period spanning from the Vat pournima (the full moon day of the month of Jyeshtha) to the Guru pournima (the full moon day of the month of Ashadh) and He recommends that all His shraddhavaan friends do the recitation of the Hanumanchalisa 108 times on any one day during this month.
9) As part of the regular upasana at Shreeharigurugram, initially Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) Himself and then Suchitdada used to recite the Shree Panchamukhahanumatkavach. Now the jap ‘Om Shreeramdootaaya Hanumantaaya Mahaapraanaaya Mahaabalaaya namo namah’ is recited in its place.
10) It was until a few years ago that the group of Prapathak recited the “Bheemaroopi Maharudra Stotra” every Thursday as part of the upasana at Shreeharigurugram.
11) During the period when at Shreeharigurugram, the upasana on Thursdays was based on the ‘Aradhanajyoti’, Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) got the shraddhavaan bhaktas to recite many an upasana addressed to Shree Hanumanta.
12) Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) office on the 2nd floor of Happy Home too has a picture each of the Panchamukhi Hanumanta and Daas Hanumanta (the server and the most intimate mate of Shreeram).
13) On every Thursday, at Shreeharigurugram, following Bapu’s (Aniruddhasinh) discourse and the Satsang, gajars are sung during the time the bhaktas take darshan but these too are sung only after the recitation of the Shreehanumanchalisa.
Shreehanumanta is the only deity who is the god of the shraddhavaan and the bhakta of Shreeram as well. So that we understand this fact, as part of His discourses based on the ShreeRamraksha, Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) spoke at length about how and why we ought to do the bhakti of Shreehanumanta.
Bapu (Aniruddhasinh) says, no work and infact nothing at all in this world is more beautiful than Hanumanta and ‘Sunderkand’ which illustrates His supreme valour.
दनुजवनकॄशानुं ज्ञानिनामग्रगण्यम् l
रघुपतिप्रियभक्तं वातजातं नमामि ll