Lord Hanuman, an immortal incarnation of Lord Shiva and a devotee of Lord Rama, is worshipped as an icon of ideal devotion, an ideal warrior and a follower of abstinence. The birth celebration of this most popular Deity is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu Lunar month of Chaitra which falls on 14th April this year. On this day Hindus all over the world gather at temples or homes to celebrate the birth of Hanuman, the ideal devotee. On this day the Principle of Maruti (the Deity Hanuman) is very active in the atmosphere. The maximum benefit of this Principle can be gained by chanting “Shri Hanumate Namaha” on this day.
In Mauritius though, Hanuman Jayanti has a special place apart from the celebrations that take place around the world. Mauritius has a large Hindu population and Mauritian Hindus are known world over for being religious and devout. One example of their piousness is the little known fact that they have a Hanuman temple in front of almost every home.
For generations, Hindu families in Mauritius have been building a Hanuman temple in front of their home when constructing a new home. Before entering the new house, prayers are offered to the Deity Hanuman and two red flags (dhwaj) are erected on either side of the temple to protect the home. Gruhapravesh, or the ritual of entering a new home, is done only after this ritual is completed.
Mauritian Hindus are taught to worship at the Hanuman temple from childhood itself. They offer prayers and worship daily. In the morning, the Idol is worshipped by offering a pot of water with flowers and lit incense sticks. Just before sunset a lamp is lit in front of the Idol. Prayers such as Hanuman Chalisa and Hanuman Ashtak are done regularly to invoke Deity Hanuman’s protection against negative energies.
Once a year, special prayers are offered at this temple and new flags (dhwaj) are erected. Most devotees perform this yearly ritual on Hanuman Jayanti. If anyone is not able to do the ritual on Hanuman Jayanti, they try to perform it on another auspicious occasion such as the Ramayan Saptah or on Shri Ramnavmi.
Elsewhere in the world, there may not be an option of having a temple in front of the home but Hindus all over the world can learn from the devotion of Mauritian Hindus and do whatever they can to follow the tenets of the great Hindu Dharma.