Hari-Hara, The Unity of Shiva and Vishnu

In the early centuries of the Common Era, sectarian strife was a major issue between the followers of Shiva and the followers of Vishnu. With the advent of Advaita or non-dualistic philosophy, the differences between these two sects and many others have been partially reconciled. The unity of the major gods Shiva and Vishnu has become increasingly popular, and many temples now house the image of Hari-Hara.

The iconographical depiction of Hari-Hara or Shankara-Narayana combines the two deities, Shiva and Vishnu, into a single body. The icon itself is aesthetically pleasing; however, the underlying philosophy is even more beautiful.

The Hindu trinity is comprised of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the dissolver. Brahma represents the creation of the universe, this world, and everything within it. There is no way to refuse that the creation of all that surrounds us, as well as ourselves is astonishing. Therefore Brahma does not find himself to be the subject of sectarian division. The argument instead revolves around the relative greatness of Vishnu, the guardian of Brahma’s creation versus Shiva, the one capable of destroying the entire creation and providing a blank canvas for Brahma to begin again.

When looking at the descriptions of Shiva and Vishnu according to various texts, it is interesting to see the juxtaposition between them. Vishnu, who represents the Sattvic Guna is depicted as cloudy black in color, while Shiva who represents the Tamasic Guna is depicted as crystalline white. If that is not confusing enough, Vishnu who is responsible for the protection of the world is depicted as lounging on the back of a snake in the depths of the ocean while Shiva who is responsible for various culminations, one of which being sleep, is depicted as ever-awake and deep in contemplation.

 

While perplexing at first, the hidden symbolism is very significant. Vishnu is described to be the color of a dark rain cloud. In this context he is associated with water, which is appropriate because water is the basic necessity of survival. Only with water can plants grow to be later used for food, lumber, and clothing. Shiva is described to be the color of ash. From his third-eye emanates a ferocious fire. Fire is the basic element that causes destruction and stimulates renewal. After burning anything, the result is white ash, which represents the transient nature of life. The cycle of life can also be understood in the context of this symbolism. Vishnu resides in the bottom of the ocean while Shiva resides at the top of the Himalayas. This shows how man starts at the very bottom and is nurtured by Vishnu, then as he gains knowledge, prosperity, and energy (think Saraswathi, Lakshmi, and Parvathi!) he soars to the heights of this world and will eventually receive Moksha, another culmination granted by Shiva.

While this is only a drop in the vast ocean of symbolism and philosophy regarding these two major deities, it is an introduction to understanding the profound beauty behind the sculpture of Hari Hara. On the right stands Shiva, clad in tiger skins and yielding the axe that cuts our ties to this universe. On the left stands Vishnu clad in silk garments and yielding the conch that signals the victory of good and the mace that represents the power of the mind and body. Together on a single pedestal they stand and reassure us that our good qualities will be preserved and our bad qualities destroyed.

śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu

~Svasti~

 

Lord Hanuman Mantras

Wood Hindu God Lord Hanuman statue

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Hindu God Lord Hanuman (The Monkey God) or Hanuman Ji is the greatest devotee of Lord Rama and plays a vital role in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He is the son of Vayu or Marut (The Wind God) and Anjani. Anjaneya, Anjani Putra, Hanumat, Bajarangabali, Hanuman, Mahaveer (the great hero), Maruti, Pavanputra (son of air) are some of His names used by devotees. Hanuman, worshiped for his strength, knowledge, valor, divinity, agility, and considered as the symbol of devotion and dedication.

His devotees will fast on Saturdays and Thursdays, give offerings to him and chant the mantras to please Him so that He will do miracles in the life of the devotees.

Here, are some of the popular Mantras of Hanuman:

1. Hanuman Beeja Mantra

Aum Aeem

Bhreem Hanumate,

Shree Ram Dootaaya Namaha

Meaning: We plead to the Lord Hanuman, who is the greatest server and messenger of the Lord Shree Rama.

 

2. Hanuman Mantra – For Jobs, Promotions & Examinations
Thursday is considered to be the auspicious day to chant this mantra and it is widely used by students to pass the examinations as well as employees to get promotions.

Om

Shree Vajradehaya

Ramabhakthaya Vayuputhraya

 

3. Hanuman Gayathri Mantra
It is believed that the energy that fills up your life by chanting this mantra will guard you against all dangers and strengthen you with courage and knowledge.

Om Anjaneyaya Vidmahe

Vayuputraya Dheemahi,

Tanno Hanuman Prachodayat

Meaning: We pray to the son of Goddess Anjani and the son of the “Wind”. May Lord Hanuman lead our intellect towards intelligence and “knowing”

Bronze Kneeling Hanuman statue

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4. Hanuman Mantra
This mantra praises Hanuman as the messenger of the Lord Rama, who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hanuman can travel swiftly and is very intelligent. He is also described as the chief of the monkey army and the son of Vayu (Wind God).

Manojavam
Maarutatulyavegam

Jitendriyam Buddhimataam
Varistham,

Vaataatmajam
Vaanarayoothmukhyam

Sriramdootam Saranam
Prapadhye.

5. Mantra of Bhakta Hanuman

Amjanii-Garbha Sambhuuta

Kapii-[I]ndra Sacivo[a-U]ttama

Raama-Priya Namas-Tubhyam

Hanuman Rakssa Sarvadaa

Meaning: I bow to you, mighty Hanuman, Who was born from the Womb of Mother Anjani, and who is the most Excellent Minister of the King of Monkeys. He is extremely dear to Sri Rama; I Bow to You, O Hanuman, Please Protect me always.

6. Jai Hanuman Gnan Gun Sagar – Hanuman Chalisa

Shrii-Guru Carann Saroja-Raja,

Nija-Mana-Mukura Sudhaara

Barannau Raghu-Bara Bimala Yasha,

Jo Daayaka Phala-Caara 

Meaning: I clean my mind with the help of the dust of the lotus like feet of Sri Gurudeva. I describe the Sacred Glory of Sri Rama Chandra, who bestows the Four Fruits of Life (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha).

Buddhi-Hiina Tanu Jaanike,

Sumirau Pavan Kumaar

Bala Buddhi-Vidyaa Dehu Mohi,

Harahu Kalesha Vikaar 

Meaning: O Pavan Puthra, I meditate on you, please consider me as I am ignorant. Bestow on me Strength, Wisdom and Knowledge, and Remove my Afflictions and Blemishes.

Jay Hanumaan

Jnaan Gunn Saagar

Jai Kapiis

Tihu-Lok Ujaagar

Meaning: Victory to You, O Hanuman. You are the Ocean of Wisdom and Virtue. Victory to the king of the monkeys and the enlightener of the three Worlds.

Raama-Duut Atulit Bala-Dhaamaa

Anjani-Putra Pavan-Sut Naamaa

Meaning: O Lord, you are the Messenger of Sri Rama possessing incalculable Strength. You are known as Anjani-Putra (son of Anjani) and Pavana-Suta (son of Pavana, the wind-god).

Mahaa-biir Bikrama Bajarangii

Kumati Nivaar Sumati Ke Sangii

Meaning: O Lord, you are a great hero whose is extremely valiant and have a strong body as that of thunderbolt. You are the dispeller of evil thoughts and companion of Good Sense and Wisdom.

Kancan Barann Biraaj Subeshaa

Kaanan Kunddala Kuncita Keshaa

Meaning: You possess a Golden Hue, and you are Neatly Dressed, You wear Ear-Rings and have beautiful Curly Hair.

Haath Bajra Au Dhvajaa Biraajai

Kaandhe Muuj Janeuu Saajai

Meaning: You are the one who holds both the Thunderbolt and the Flag in your Hands. You also wear the Sacred Thread across your Shoulder.

Shankar-Suvan Kesharii-Nandan

Teja Prataap Mahaa Jag-Vandan

Meaning: O Lord, you are the incarnation of Lord Shiva and son of Kesari, who has been adored by the whole world because of your power and bravery.

Vidyaavaan Gunnii Ati Caatur

Raam Kaaj Karibe Ko Aatur

Meaning: You are the one who is extremely intelligent, virtuous and scholar. You are always ready to serve Sri Ram

Prabhu Caritra Sunibe Ko Rasiyaa

Raamalassann Siitaa Man Basiyaa

Meaning: You are delighted when the glories of Sri Ram are played. You have Sri Rama, Sri Lakshmana and Devi Sita Dwelling in your Heart.

Suukssma Ruupadhari Siyahi Dikhaavaa

Vikatt Ruup Dhari Lamka Jaraavaa

Meaning: In the Diminutive Form, you appeared before Sita Devi and you also assumed the awesome form to burn Lanka.

Bhiim Ruup Dhari Asur Samhaare

Raamacandra Ke Kaaj Samvaare

Meaning: Assuming the gigantic form, you destroyed the Demons of Lanka, thereby accomplishing the task bestowed on Him by Sri Ram.

 

Hanuman statue Carrying the mountain of herbs

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Laal Deha Laaleel-Se,

Arudhari-Laal Langoor

Vajra Deha Daanava Dalan,

Jai Jai Jai Kapi-Soor

Meaning: We pray to the red-colored one, whose entire body is red, and is decorated with red colored sindoor. We pray to the one draped with a red colored loin-cloth. We pray to the one whose body is firm and strong like the vajra. We pray to the destroyer of demons. We bow in praise again and again to the supreme among Gods, Lord Hanuman.

 

 

8. Prayer for Hanuman

Manojavam Maruta Tulya Vegam,

Jitendriyam Buddhi Mataam Varishtham

Vaataatmajam Vaanara Yooth Mukhyam,

Shree Raama Dootam Sharnam Prapadye

Meaning:

Manojavam- Let I pray to the one who is swift as thought

Marut.tulya.vegam- the one who is more powerful than the wind

jitendriyam- the one who has conquered his senses

vaataatmajam- the one who is supreme among all intelligent beings, the son of the wind-god

vaanar.yooth.mukhyam- the commander of the army of forest creatures

 Give me refuse, the messenger of Lord Rama, the incomparable Lord Hanuman. Please accept me and my prayers at your feet.

Avatar of Shiva: Virabhadra the Ferocious

Like many of the Hindu deities, Hindu God Shiva is said to have many Avatars.  One such Avatar is that of Virabhadra.  Virabhadra is said to have been born when Shiva grabbed a lock of his own hair and threw it upon the ground.  He was a powerful being created by Shivas wrath when we wanted to destroy Dakshas Yagna, or fire sacrifice.

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Legend has it that Dashkas youngest daughter Sati set her sights on Shiva at a young age.  When she was at an age to marry, Dashka invited all the gods and princes together to find a suttor for her, leaving out Shiva.  Furious that he did not invite the one she loved, Sati threw her wreath into the air calling upon Shiva.  Shiva appeared with the wreath around his neck, forcing Dashka to allow her to marry her.  Disapproving of the match however, Dashka again omitted Shivas attendance to a great fire sacrifice.  Sati, out of fury, confronted her father.  She condemned his actions and fell dead at her father’s feet.

When Shiva heard of this, he became enraged.  Out of anger, her tore out a lock of his hair that with glowing with his furious energy.  At this moment Virabhadra was born. His tall menacing body had a thousand arms, 3 burning eyes, and fiery hair.  He was draped in skulls and carried unfathomable weapon.  Shiva instructed him to destroy the fire sacrifice of Daksha and sever Daksha’s head.  Vuraghadra is a said to be a tremendous warrior causing other gods to flee the battle field whenever he appears.  No gods are a match to his fury and strength in battle.

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Shiva as Bhairava: Annihilator of Evil

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Hindu God Shiva, The Destroyer, comes in many forms.   One such important form and his most fear invoking is that of Bhairava, the annihilator of evil.   This fierce form is manifested when demons make themselves present and are in need of destruction.  Shiva in this form is often depicted draped in serpents as jewelry, wrapped bare naked in tiger skin, and decorated in a ritual adornment of human bones riding atop his divine vehicle, a dog named Shvan.  His frightful characteristics as banisher of evil are almost indistinguishable from Hindu Goddess of Death Kali.   He is seen with devastatingly angry eyes, sharp teeth, and carrying a noose, trident, and skull within his hands. In this form he is said to embody the very essence of fear itself, often forcing those who come upon him to confront their most terrifying sources of fear

The origination of Shiva as Bhairava is said to have been by Shiva himself in order to chastise Brahma, the great creator of the Universe.   Legend has it that Brahma lusted after his own daughter and created four heads in order to constantly be able to see her. His desires for his daughter caused her shame and she is said to have ascended to the heavens in escape.  Brahma then created a fifth head and insisted on her letting him live with her.  Upon hearing of this, Shiva used his sword to rid Brahma of his new fifth head.  Seeing this as an act of killing, Shiva was punished to walk the earth as a beggar carrying around the fifth head of Brahma until he was forgiven of his sin, in which case the skull of Brahma would finally fall from his hands.  Many did not recognize Shiva in his naked and violent beggars form as he howled and danced in madness.

Finally one day as Shiva enters the holy city of Varanasi, the skull falls from his blackened hands and he is rid of Brahmas curse.

Hindu God Shiva as Harihara

Glory to you, O Shiva! Glory to you, O Omkaara! May Brahma, Vishnu and the assembly of other gods, including the great Lord Shiva, relieve me of my afflictions!

Hindu God Shiva

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As many know, Hindu God Shiva comes in many different forms.  One such popular form is that of Shiva as Harihara, an important integration between Hindu God Shiva and Hindu God Vishnu.  The worship of Shiva as Harihara is an important form as it reiterates to devotees that worship of Shiva, Vishnu, or any of the prominent Hindu Gods is but the worship of every prominent Hindu God, one and the same.  When one worships Shiva, one also worships Vishnu, and all the other important deities collectively in the spirit of divine oneness.  All followers of Hinduism are all looking for one thing, the divine.  When one comes to fully realize this concept, they understand that we are all worshiping the same inherent thing, dharma, just from different approaches.  Both Vishnavites and Shaivities worship Harihara as a form of the one supreme god.

There is often much debate within Hinduism as to the inherent importance of Shiva and Vishnu.  Vishnavites believe that Vishnu is the supreme god, while Shaivities believe Shiva to be the ultimate being.  Conversely others believe that both are equal, manifesting different aspects of the same Supreme Being.   In many cases, however, even if one is preferred over the other, much respect is allotted to the other.

“Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same entity. They are essentially one and the same. They are the names given to the different aspects of the all-pervading Supreme Soul or the Absolute. ‘Sivasya hridayam vishnur-vishnoscha hridayam sivah—Vishnu is the heart of Siva and likewise Siva is the heart of Vishnu’.”

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