THE BREATH OF MY LIFE – DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY


 

LORD HANUMAN, 85 FEET TALL STANDS GRACEFULLY IN TRINIDAD, CARIBBEAN ISLANDS  

WIND OR  AIR  IN  MOTION – A LIFE GIVING FORCE  

Nature supports and sustains life through various material energies, and wind or air in motion is considered to be a vital force. The Sanskrit word ‘PRANA‘ is described as the ‘Breath of Life’ and death is generally viewed as the departure of ‘PRANA’. Wind is described in Sanskrit as ‘VAYU’, ‘PAVAN’, and ‘MARUT’. Wind is very important and it protects planet Earth from Sun’s radiation. Sun heats up the planet in an uneven manner, and the winds redistribute the heat. The importance of wind in controlling climate, rainfall, and ocean currents is well understood. Air is the source of carbon and nitrogen and hence is an important source for food synthesis. Most living organisms also depend upon oxygen to sustain their metabolic activities. The carbon based fossil fuels are derived from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Wind energy is being directly harnessed as an alternate source of energy and will play a greater role in future energy supplies.  

Several cultures across this globe recognize the importance of natural elements such as wind or air. Soul, the life principle of human beings is associated with the act of breathing. If a man is seriously wounded, is bleeding profusely, and is not breathing, the physician would first give attention to the problem of breathing and restore it before he may give attention to the bleeding wounds. If a physician had to attend upon two patients, one fully conscious, howling in terrible pain and is profusely bleeding, and the second patient who is quiet but not able to breathe on his own, the physician would give the top priority to the quiet patient who may have an obstruction in his airways and is not able to breathe on his own. Air and the act of respiration deliver the vital element oxygen to the body and then blood circulates this vital element to rest of the body and the most important organ in the body which is critically dependent upon oxygen being the brain. Compared to heart and circulation, the function of lungs and respiration are more important to human survival.  

THE BREATH OF MY LIFE – DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY  

While Wind, ‘VAYU’, ‘PAVAN’, or ‘MARUT’ are well-recognized as a life-giving force all over the world, Indians have a unique way of celebrating and showing their reverence to this natural energy. Indians all across their Land worship Lord Hanuman who is the legendary son of the Wind God Vayu. Hanuman is invariably described as the son of Wind God and in recognition of that fact He is bestowed with several names such as ‘PAVAN PUTRA’, ‘PAVAN TANAYA’, ‘PAVAN SUTA’, ‘VAYU PUTRA’, and ‘MARUT NANDAN’. When Indians think of wind or vayu, their thoughts automatically lead to Lord Hanuman whom they value for His devotional service to Lord Rama. The worship of Lord Hanuman became popular in India after the Muslim invasion and conquest of India and beginning in the 12th century A.D. several temples were constructed to worship Him. Lord Hanuman symbolizes the ‘BHAKTI MOVEMENT‘ ( DEVOTION TO THE LORD) in India and is generally viewed as the PROTECTOR and to dispel fears about enemy.    

The worship of Lord Rama could be accomplished through worship of Lord Hanuman who had rendered an excellent and devoted service to Lord Rama.

 The following verse in praise of Lord Hanuman describes His characteristics and His personality :  

MANOJAVAM, MARUTA TULYA VEGAM,  

JITENDRIYAM, BUDDHI MATAAM VARISHTAM,  

VAA TAA TMAJAM, VAANARA YUUDHA MUKHYAM,  

SRI RAMA DUUTAM, SIRASAA NAMAAMI.  

Lord Hanuman is described as Lord Rama’s messenger and He is worshipped by respectfully bending the neck and touching the ground with forehead, He is praised for his ability to act with speed like the speed of ‘MIND’, for His ability to move with speed like the speed of ‘WIND’, He is self-less for He has conquered/ has full control on His organs of sense through which gratification of desires is achieved, He is Great in His ‘WISDOM’, He is the son of God ‘VAYU’ and He is an important ‘COMMANDER’ in the army of Monkeys which defeated the evil forces represented by King Ravana.  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970. 

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