Hanuman Chalisa is hindi poem written by Mahakavi Goswami Tulsidas in the sixteenth century in praise of Lord Hanuman. It is very popular among a lot of modern hindus and is generally recited on Tuesdays (considered a holy day for devotees of Lord Hanuman). The poem is called a chalisa as it contains forty (chalis in Hindi) verses. The structure of the poem is extremely simple and rhythmic, thus making it all the more popular. The poem praises Lord Hanuman’s strength and kindness and recounts the Lord’s great deeds.The chalisa is sung cross the country.Hanuman Chalisa is the essence of Sundar Kanda. The themes covered in the Hanuman Chalisa can be divided into the following categories :-
Hanuman's Physique :- He is the symbol of muscular Hinduism. His physical strength is mentioned in verses 2,3,5 (the thunderbot mace),9,10,11,18,19,23 and 24. The chalisa repeatedly mentions the halo that surrounds the deity's entire body (tej). The good are awe-struck by it while evil people find it scary. Verse 23 alludes to the ferocity of Hanuman's anger. Verse 9 and 10 tells the power of Hanuman to transform himself physically.
Hanuman's Intelligence :- The first verse says that Hanuman is a sea of wisdom and virtue. Verse 7 reiterates these two qualities. Verse 16 hints at his negotiating skills and the next verse speaks of the excellence of his advice.
Beloved of the Gods :- Verses 13,14 and 15 tells how the gods sang paeans in praise of Hanuman.
His Heroic Acts :- Verses 18 and 19 recount the incidents of the sun and the signet ring respectively showing his heroic deeds.
Love for Ram :- Verses 7 and 8 tells how intensely Hanuman loved his Lord Ram. Verses 12,13, 21 and 32 show the relationship between Ram and Hanuman.
Hanuman and Sita :- Verse 31 tell the Boons grated to Hanuman by Sita. Hanuman as the mediator: Verses 21 and 33 show the way to attain Sri Ram through Hanuman.Hanuman's humility :- Verse 9 tells the humility when he met Mother Sita.
Hanuman's blessings :- Verses 20,22,24,25,26 and 36 remind that Hanuman is a remover of adversities (sankat mochan) for his devotees.
Hanuman's parentage :- The Chalisa mentions the patronage to Hanuman by his father Kesari, Lord of Wind (Vayu) and Lord Shiv (Hanuman is considered as the 11th incarnation of Lord Shiv)Praise of Hanuman :- Verses 29, 35 and 36 is in sheer praise of Hanuman.
The Hanuman Chalisa should be recited at least once in a week (Tuesdays or Saturdays). Early morning and after the sunset are the favoured times. It is recommended to recite the Chalisa 11 times (Hanuman being the 11th incarnation of Lord Shiv). Some recite the prayer everyday, normally before setting out for work. Tulsidas suggested that the Hanuman Chalisa should be recited a hundred times in order to obtain special benefits and in special occasions - serious illness, important examinations, major hurdles etc.