The popularity and power of the Hanuman Chalisa

‘The Hanuman Chalisa has brought courage and strength in some of my hardest moments of life,’ says Priya Morjaria. ‘I remember going in for major surgery and asking the consultant if he could keep the Chalisa on in the background throughout the surgery. He told me afterwards it was one of the few times he had seen his team work so effortlessly and so in tune with one another.’

The 40-verse prayer on the divine form of Lord Hanuman is believed to purify the body and mind of the person who chants it, as well as sparing them from everyday evils. It is traditionally chanted 108 times on Hanuman Jayanti, the birthday of Hanumanji.

‘I chant it in my head when things are hard at work to remind myself of what it means to truly lead and be brave when facing challenges,’ says Priya. ‘Because Hanumanji himself was a great leader with humility and compassion.’

The Hanuman Chalisa verses date from the 16th century, but its power and popularity is still growing today. One woman, who prefers to stay anonymous, says she derived great strength from it after years of feeling belittled by her in-laws. ‘The words, ‘all the ghosts, demons and evil forces keep away, with the sheer mention of your great name Lord’, rang in my ears daily and I gradually came out of my mental hole,’ she says. ‘It inspired me to rebuild my life.’

While Jignesh Ghaghada says he began reciting it in his twenties when going through a stressful time, at his mum’s suggestion. ‘I was pretty sceptical, but I was surprised to find that it started bringing me a lot of peace, although I didn’t really understand what I was saying.’

Over the years he memorised the words, eventually studying the meaning. ‘The lessons hidden within are profound and have been instrumental in changing my mindset, the way I approach life, and in opening up my heart to devotion for the Lord.’

Like Priya, he will be celebrating this Hanuman Jayanti by chanting the Hanuman Chalisa at Chinmaya Kirti in Hendon, on Sunday 2nd April with many others, on a day filled with love, energy and devotion,

‘When we’re fortunate enough to sing it 108 times together, I find I am able to quieten the mind and meditate on the essence of the Hanuman Chalisa, and on the spirit and nature of Hanumanji. And more often than not, I discover yet another hidden gem that fills my heart with joy.’

Article published in Asian Voice, March 2023