Washington D.C. 14 December :
The perennial battle between the Bharatha Nation (India) and Lanka takes different forms: In India’s epic ‘Ramayana’ the invasion and lethal battle is to retrieve an abducted wife; then the Cholas’ invaded and occupied parts of Lanka in later years followed by the Lankan rulers to seek military help of the Pandyans to chase the Cholas; Then the Pallawa’s had a hand in the affairs of Lanka; in recent times, the great visionary Pannikkar set India’s twentieth century foreign policy trajectory to diplomatically influence Lanka, and rest of South Asia; Now the ancient battle of Rama and Ravaan with Hanuman in the center is being enacted in the American city of Oklahoma.Hanuman: The Mighty Ape of the Hindu Epics
The Hindus of the Oklahoma City with the help of the Hindus in other parts of the United States blessed by a prominent Hindu activist the Universal Society of Hinduism president Rajan Zed of Nevada have petitioned the Oklahoma State legislature for “permission to place a statue of Lord Hanuman” on the public space. Zen goes on to say that: “This statue would raise awareness of Oklahomans about Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.”
Mr. Zen should be reminded that the Lankans in the United States too will raise awareness of the epic battle between Bharatha’s Rama and Lanka’s Ravana with Sita in the middle and Lord Hanuman playing a pivotal role.
The Hindus in the United States got this opportunity following a resolution passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature, giving clearance for religious monuments for display, which allowed 10 Commandments monument that was built in 2012 placed on the grounds of the statehouse.
In early December, the Satanic Temple filed paperwork with the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission to get their own religious memorial placed on the grounds of the statehouse.
The Republican Party-controlled Oklahoma State legislature, of course, went nuts when they heard the news. They came out against the Satanic Temple’s proposal, and revealed themselves as the hypocrites they are.
But now, the Hindu group has also come forward to propose a monument, and it appears that the State of Oklahoma must allow it.
A news report stated the Christian Right didn’t realize this would mean that non-Christian groups would also have the right to build religious monuments.
Both the state and federal constitutions guarantee religious freedom for all, even for Hindus and Satanists.
Media reports further noted it really is funny to watch Oklahoma’s Republican Party struggling to deal with the unplanned results of violating America’s long-standing separation of church and state. For nearly 250 years, this country has operated on the tenet that government and religion should remain apart from each other.
That was the whole point of religious freedom in the first place: To ensure that all of us — including Hindus, Satanists, and atheists — can worship freely.
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Freedom of worship for Hindus, Christians, and all other religions is also backed up by the First Amendment of the US Constitution which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of.”
That’s the US Constitution. The Oklahoma State Constitution is pretty much the same, when it comes to church and state being separate. And it clearly gives Hindus the same rights as Christians.
With the request to install a statue of Lord Hanuman the epic story of Lord Rama, aided by Hanuman, crossing the India-Lanka divide to save his wife Sita is now being reenacted in the Great City of Oklahoma.
Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an avatar of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshiped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion. Hanuman’s tale in the epic Ramayana – where he is assigned the responsibility to locate Rama’s wife Sita abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka — is known for its astounding ability to inspire and equip a reader with all the ingredients needed to face ordeals and conquer obstructions in the way of the world.
Hindus believe in ten avatars of Lord Vishnu among a multitude of gods and goddesses. One of Vishnu’s avatars is Rama, who was created to destroy Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka. In order to aid Rama, Lord Brahma commanded some gods and goddesses to take the avatar of ‘Vanaras’ or monkeys. Indra, the god of war and weather, was reincarnated as Bali; Surya, the sun god as Sugriva; Vrihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, as Tara, and Pavana, the god of wind, was reborn as Hanuman, the wisest, swiftest and strongest of all apes.
The Birth of Hanuman
The story of the birth of Hanuman goes thus: Vrihaspati had an attendant called Punjikasthala, who was cursed to assume the form of a female monkey — a curse that could only be nullified if she would give birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Reborn as Anjana, she performed intense austerities to please Shiva, who finally granted her the boon that would cure her of the curse.
When Agni, the god of fire, gave Dasharath, the king of Ayodhya, a bowl of sacred dessert to share among his wives so they may have divine children, an eagle snatched a part of the pudding and dropped it where Anjana was meditating, and Pavana, the god of wind delivered the drop to her outstretched hands. After she took the divine dessert, she gave birth to Hanuman. Thus Lord Shiva incarnated as a monkey, and was born as Hanuman to Anjana, by the blessings of Pavana, who thus became Hanuman’s godfather.
Worshiping the Monkey God
On Tuesdays and in some cases, Saturdays, many Hindus keep fast in honor of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is a common faith among Hindus to chant the name of Hanuman or sing his hymn (“Hanuman Chalisa”) and proclaim “Bajrangbali Ki Jai” — “victory to thy thunderbolt strength”. Once every year — on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (April) at sunrise — Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman temples are among the most common public shrines found in India.
The Asian Tribune expects all these information incorporated when the statue of Lord Hanuman is installed on the ground of the Oklahoma State House, of course not forgetting the ancient feud between the Bharatha Nation and Lanka.