Ramayana is one of the greatest tales ever written and it is filled to its brim with stories of characters that deserve their own novels.
Lord Hanuman, a devout follower of Shri Ram is a well-loved deity whose presence continues to warm our hearts.
With a love for Shri Ram that was as wide as the ocean, Lord Hanuman tore open his chest to reveal the insides.
Revered for his strength, courage, and devotion to Lord Rama, he is depicted as a human-like monkey and is one of the central characters in the Hindu epic Ramayana and is believed to have played a pivotal role in the battle between Rama and Ravana.
According to Hindu mythology, Hanuman is the son of the wind god, Vayu, and is also known as Anjaneya and Maruti. He is known for his unwavering devotion to Lord Rama and is considered a symbol of selfless service, courage, and loyalty.
Lord Hanuman, is often depicted carrying a mace or gada and a mountain on his shoulders, symbolizing his immense strength and courage.
Numerous tales sing of Hanuman's undefeated courage against enemies, making him one of history's most invincible warriors.
He is also the beloved deity, revered by countless devotees worldwide. The celebrated saint Tulsidas composed the Hanuman Bahuk, a beautiful devotional prayer that honors Lord Hanuman's virtues and glory.
Moreover, Surdas, a renowned poet-saint, composed hymns and verses that extolled the devotion, courage, and loyalty of Lord Hanuman, further cementing his significance in the hearts of devotees.
Panchmukhi Hanuman is a form of Lord Hanuman with five faces. The five faces are believed to represent the five elements of nature: fire, water, air, earth, and ether.
And this article follows Lord Hanuman’s avatar of Panchmukhi and the incredible story behind it!
Origin of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman
Sri Panchamukha Hanuman is based on Lord Hanuman, a titular character from the Ramayana. To keep Ram and Lakshman safe, Lord Hanuman used his tail to create a makeshift fort.
When Indrajit, Ravana's son, is killed by Rama, Ravana turns to his brother Ahiravana for assistance in the Ramayana. King Ahiravana of Patala (the Underworld) offers assistance. Vibhishana learns of the scheme and alerts Rama to it.
Hanuman is put on guard duty, and he is ordered to keep Rama and Lakshmana room locked. Ahiravana tries several times to enter the room, but Hanuman always stops him.
After assuming the form of Vibhishana, Ahiravana is finally allowed inside by Hanuman. Ahiravana bursts in and whisks away a dozing Rama and Lakshmana to the realm of the dead.
To find Rama and Lakshmana, Hanuman traveled to the underworld, or called the pathala loka.
In order to defeat Ahiravana, a formidable rakshasa black-magician and practitioner of the dark arts during the Ramayana conflict, Sri Hanuman took on the Panchamukhi, or five-faced form.
Hanuman enters Patala after vanquishing his son and meets Ahiravana and Mahiravana. Hanuman is instructed by Chandrasena that the only way to defeat their powerful army is for him to blow out five candles at once, one in each of the cardinal directions, in exchange for a pledge to wed Lord Rama.
Hanuman transforms into Panchmukhi Hanuman, extinguishes all five candles at once, and puts an end to Ahiravana and Mahiravana's lives.
At several points throughout the epic, the demons cast a spell that knocks both Rama and Lakshmana out.
He then assumed the Panchamukha form, which combines the features of Hanuman, Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda, and Varaha, and snuffed out the candles, all at once. This caused Mahiravana to be silenced right away.
Despite the well-known legend, it is considered that Sri Panchamukha Hanuman was the upasana deity of Sri Ragavendra Tirtha, the holy man of Mantralaya.
A temple dedicated to Panchamukha Hanuman has been constructed right at the heart of where Lord Hanuman is considered to have meditated.
This place is now famously known as Panchamukhi. Panchamukhi Hanuman is popularly worshiped at a temple in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu as well.
Also, for those interested in exploring the grandeur of Hanuman statues across India. This article showcases the ten biggest Hanuman statues in the country, providing detailed insights into these magnificent sculptures.
Next we will see the significance and direction of panchmukhi hanuman faces.
Significance of Five Faces & their Directions
Shri Hanuman – (Facing East)
The removal of all stains caused by sin and the bestowing of mental purity are the two aspects of this face that contribute to its significance.
Narsimha – (Facing South)
The importance of this face lies in the fact that it vanquishes the dread that is caused by one's adversaries and bestows victory. Lord Vishnu took on the shape of Narasimha, the Lion-Man Avatar, in order to shield his devotee Prahlad from the clutches of his villainous father, Hiranyakashipu.
Garuda – (Facing West)
The removal of all harmful effects in one's body as well as the driving away of evil spells, black magic influences, and negative spirits are all significant aspects of the significance of this face.
This bird is Lord Vishnu's vehicle, and it is said to be able to reveal the mysteries of both death and the afterlife. A Hindu scripture called the Garuda Purana is based on this body of information.
Varaha – (Facing North)
The significance of this face lies in the fact that it protects one from the difficulties brought on by the negative influences of the planets and bestows success on all eight types (Ashta Aishwarya). This incarnation of Lord Vishnu, known as Varaha, was responsible for the excavation of land.
Hayagriva – (Facing Upwards)
The meaning of this face lies in the fact that it bestows knowledge, triumph, a good marriage, and progeny upon its wearer.
Lord Hanuman’s avatar, the Panchamukha Anjaneya, often called Panchamukhi Anjaneya, is a widely worshiped incarnation of Sri Hanuman.
Sri Hanuman is also known by the name Anjaneya, which translates as "son of Anjana". With his charm and unfailing devotion, Lord Hanuman remains to be a popular deity.
Everyone of his believers can take comfort in the fact that the world is subject to the control of at least one of his five faces. They also represents caution and command over the compass points of north, south, east, west, and up.