By Philip Lutgendorf
Hanuman, the dedicated monkey helper of Rama and Sita, has lengthy been well-known as a favored personality in India's historical Ramayana epic. yet extra lately he has additionally turn into essentially the most cherished and worshiped gods within the Hindu pantheon - enshrined in majestic new temples, yet both found in poster paintings, ads, and mass media. Drawing on Sanskrit and vernacular texts, classical iconography and sleek television serials, and huge fieldwork and interviews, Philip Lutgendorf demanding situations the educational clich? of Hanuman as a "minor" or "folk" deity by means of exploring his complicated and growing to be position in South Asian faith and tradition. This wide-ranging examine examines the historic evolution of Hanuman's worship, his shut organization with Shiva and goddesses, his invocation in tantric ritual, his actual immortality and enduring presence in sacred websites, and his attract devotees who contain students, wrestlers, healers, politicians, and middle-class urbanites.Lutgendorf additionally deals a wealthy array of wonderful tales no longer formerly on hand in English: an increasing epic cycle that he christens the "Hanumayana." Arguing that Hanuman's function as cosmic "middle guy" is in detail associated with his embodiment in an enthralling and provocative simian shape, Lutgendorf strikes past the Indian subcontinent to interrogate the broader human fascination with anthropoid primates as boundary beings and as powerful signifiers of either Self and different.
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Extra info for Hanuman's Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey
Such narratives are never entirely objective, but are shaped by the personality and worldview of the narrator; the Ramayana tradition regards Hanuman’s narrative as exemplary not only because of his personal role in it, but because his motive in telling it—devotion to Rama—is thought to have been ideally pure. Yet tradition also maintains that Hanuman’s perfect narrative became irretrievably ‘‘lost,’’ surviving only in fragments ﬁltered through the lenses of human storytellers: Valmiki, Kampan, Krittibasa, Tulsidas, and so on.
When I began research for this book in the late 1980s, English-language scholarship on Hanuman was slim indeed. Camille Bulcke’s 1960 article ‘‘The Characterization of Hanuman’’ presented some material drawn from his inﬂuential Hindi treatise on the evolution of the Rama narrative, which contained a long section on Hanuman (1999:520–51). Leonard Wolcott’s 1978 article in the Journal of Asian Studies, based on ﬁeldwork in the Bhojpurispeaking region of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, rightly emphasized Hanuman’s intimate association with Shiva and with the elemental power of shakti; more recently, Ian Duncan supplemented Wolcott’s insights with data from a village in Madhya Pradesh (Wolcott 1978; Duncan 1999).
Recent monographs by Mathieu Claveyrolas (2003, in French) and by Istva´n Keul (2002, in German) present detailed ﬁndings based on ﬁeld research at Hanuman shrines in Banaras. Two works in Hindi, published in the mid-1970s, have proved to be especially valuable sources and will be cited many times in the pages that major and minor 27 follow. The popular religious magazine Kalya¯n (‘‘beneﬁcence’’), published _ Pradesh, issues an annual monthly since the 1920s from Gorakhpur, Uttar ‘‘special issue’’ that is actually a book-length anthology of articles and illustrations.
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