Hanuman: Shakti, Bhakti, and Brahmacharya

Joseph S. Alter

in The Wrestler's Body

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780520076976
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912175 | DOI:
Hanuman: Shakti, Bhakti, and Brahmacharya

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Every akhara has at least one shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and his worship is an important part of every wrestler's daily regimen. This chapter shows how Hanuman serves as a model for the construction of the wrestler's identity, which is based on three basic themes: the relationship of shakti (energy) to bal (strength), the concept of brahmacharya, and the nature of devotion as bhakti. Before looking at each of these themes, it is necessary to outline briefly some points regarding the nature of Hanuman's divinity. It is surprising that although Hanuman is one of the most popular deities in North India, there is very little written about him in the academic literature. Even in the commentaries on the Valmiki Ramayana and Tulasi Das's Ramacaritamanasa there is scant attention given to an analysis of Hanuman's epic role.

Keywords: akhara; Hanuman; wrestler; shakti; bal; brahmacharya; bhakti; Valmiki Ramayana; Tulasi Das; Ramacaritamanasa

Chapter.  7013 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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