Diwali Yagna at Vishnu
At Vishnu Mandir in Minneapolis, we had a three day Yagna dedicated to Laxmi Devi conducted by our three resident pandits: Jagarine Misir, Paul Persaud, and Totaram Doobay. On Sunday, October 18th, I was a Co-MC with our President, Beeshoon Ram, and had an opportunity to present the story of Anjana, Hanuman's mother.
Every woman births something into existence. That is what motherhood is about. Some women birth children. My motherhood is experienced within my spiritual community by highlighting the contributions of women, goddesses and feminine power when telling their great stories.
Anjana birthed Hanuman, one of Hinduism's great beings. Agni, the fire god, appeared to King Dasharath with a bowl of rice pudding, which the king gave to the three queens who birthed four divine children: Ram, Latchman, Bharat, and Shatghna. An eagle captured part of the pudding and dropped it into her hands. The wind god dropped it into her hands. She devoured the pudding and then gave birth to Hanuman. This is a great story, but there is an even more powerful story about her known as "Anjana's Milk." You see, Ajana is a great being in her own right. It my pleasure to tell her great story.
On the way to Ayodhya, Ram and the coronation party visited the monkey capital, Kishkindha. Sita met Surgiva's wife and other royal women and invited them to the coronation ceremony and festivities. Hanuman wanted to visit his mother, Anjana, and asked Ram for permission to do so. Ram replied: "And what about us? Shall we be denied the opportunity to offer our saluations to this noble lady?" So, the whole party visited with her. Hanuman cried for joy when he saw her. She met Ram, Sita, Latchman and many others. Hanuman told her the whole story of Ram's exploits, besides Hanuman's part in Ravana's defeat. She was very happy at first to hear the tale. Then all of a sudden she got angry and said: "You are not worthy of being my son. You have disgraced your mother's milk! Why didn't you yourself slay Ravana and his army and hurl him into the sea? I nursed you in vain!" Hanuman explained to her that he was limited by the instructions given to him by Jambavant, the bear clan chief. Jambavant told her: "If Hanuman had done all the things fo which he was capable, it would have lessened Ram's glory." She finally understood and hugged Hanuman. Latchman didn't know if he believed the power of her milk. She said: ""Perhaps you think this old monkey lady is making rather too much of a fuss about her milk, eh? After all, what's so special about it? Well, see for yourself." She squirted the breast milk, which traveled to the summit into two pieces. Anjana exclaimed: "Such was the milk that nurtured my son." From this day forward Anjana declared to Hanuman that Ram and Sita should be considered to be his father and mother. Their images were emboldened on his heart.
The moral of this great and wonderful story: Never under estimate the power of a mother's milk. That milk nurtured you and made you what you are today. Your mother is your first teacher, Guru. As a child, my mother was my first spiritual teacher. My father brought me to church, but she is the one who taught me ethics, justice, right, consideration, and love. She did not go to church, but she lived in a spiritual way. She did not care what a person's religion was. What she cared about is how the person was in the world with their fellow human beings. I remember when I was a child she said that Hinduism is a beautiful, peaceful religion, even though she was a Protestant Christian. She only saw the person in front of her, not a category or sterotype. I know my mother's milk accomplished powerful and great things. It was the cradle of everything great and powerful in my world and those my mother interacting with on a regular basis. She cooked goodies for bake sales for the music programs and churches to help raise money, and she sewed outfits for church plays so they could raise money. She raised seven children, and she spoke her mind when injustice was happening. She even challenged those in authority at times. She encouraged us to try new and creative things and break out on new paths. She even introduced me to some great monkeys to play with my brothers and sisters. She, like Anjana, was one great mother.
JAI SHRI ANJANA!, Radhapriestess