A Tribute to Hanuman

Hanuman's Blessing

For me, this website wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge and express gratitude to those that brought us here. For me, one of those beings is a Hindu God named Hanuman.  

We all have something or someone that provides us with some roadmap in life. For example, the Bible offers a blueprint for millions of people, as do Mohammad and the Buddha for others. Or sometimes, we connect with a person like a grandmother who lives her life in a way that we admire. A presence like this often guides our faith, our beliefs, and our desire to seek. It’s important to recognize and honor the impact of having such a role model in our lives.

Hanuman gave me this roadmap for reasons beyond my understanding. He is a symbol of unconditional love and steadfast support. To me, he personifies every single admirable aspect of any being. Over the years, he gave me something to aspire to, guided me on my spiritual journey, and became the role model I never had growing up.

This page is entirely dedicated to my main teacher and spiritual guide: Hanuman.

This page is entirely dedicated to my main teacher and

spiritual guide: Hanuman.

This page is entirely dedicated to

my main teacher and spiritual

guide: Hanuman.

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple in Mt Madonna Watsonville, CA

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Mt Madonna Watsonville, CA

Hanuman Temple in TAOS, NM

Hanuman Temple, TAOS, NM

Who is Hanuman?

In the Hindu tradition, it is said “the Absolute, Timeless and Formless Presence descends to this mortal plane in the form of the gods, for certain mysterious purposes of it’s own. This is known as the lila, or the play of god” (Vanamali 2). Hanuman is one of these Gods and one of the most loved in modern times.

Noted as one of the greatest devotees of all time, Hanuman is a “symbol of utter and selfless devotion” to his beloved Ram (Vanamali 3). Hanuman and Ram are so intimately connected it has been said that Hanuman is “the breath of Ram.” 

The story of the Ramayana is told and taught throughout all corners of India and many other places in the world. In the Ramayana, we meet Hanuman, the precious devoted monkey who saves Lord Ram’s beloved Sita from the demon Ravana. Here Hanuman shows us “his personal commitment to principles of valor and justice, along with his humble demeanor, that help make him such an admired figure” (Vanamali 5).

Hanuman’s lineage was brought forth to the west in the late ’60s and ’70s by teachers like Ram Dass, Krishna Das, and Jai Uttal, who were all devotees of Neem Karoli Baba. Neem Karoli Baba, also referred to as Maharaj-ji, was considered to be the incarnation of Hanuman. And through Maharaj-ji, his disciples received a transmission of Hanuman’s shakti. Through their teachings and music, Hanuman entered the American yoga scene. Nowadays, Hanuman is everywhere and can be found in most yoga studios in the west. 

Hanuman and Bhakti Yoga:

The Path of Devotion

Devotion (noun): love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.

Devotion (noun): love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or

cause.

Devotion (noun): love, loyalty, or

enthusiasm for a person, activity, or

cause.

Ram Dass and Krishna Das are some of the leaders of the modern movement of Bhakti Yoga, a practice focused on loving devotion towards a personal deity and attaining God through love and the loving recollection of God. Hanuman is the epitome of Bhakti. He is the only one of the Hindu gods devoted to another God. Early on, subconsciously, I think this is why I could connect with Hanuman so profoundly. I couldn’t fathom the idea of any other type of relationship with a God of any form.

In an interview on Wanderlust, Krishna Das says, “It’s inconceivable to us the devotion that Hanuman has for Ram. He has no ego. He does all he can to serve Ram, but never sees himself as the doer. He lives only to serve love. Imagine that. We spend nearly all of our time thinking. Yet here is Hanuman with no thoughts. Just guided by his love for Ram. He knows sometimes they appear separate, but he also knows they are one.”

As westerners, our identification with our ego and being separate from the divine is rock solid.

The concept of being a part of one underlying source, one God, is typically far too foreign for the majority. But for most of us, religious or not, we can grasp the idea of devotion. We are devoted to someone that we love, our child, spouse, Jesus, or Allah. And each day, from a place of love, we perform actions free from attachment because of our devotion. For example, we bring devotion into our daily lives by saying a prayer, cleaning the dishes, or doing other simple acts of service.

Hanuman shows us his commitment and dedication in all the selfless actions he performs for Ram. For Hanuman, there is nothing else, only his commitment to the being that he loves the most.

Through the practice of Bhakti Yoga, we find a bridge, a conduit of connection to this vital source,

this fundamental energy of love that is all-encompassing.​ In the role as a devotee, the love that you

give becomes you. And if you are love, you are also part. of that infinite divine energy,

the underlying ground of being.

Through the practice of Bhakti Yoga, we find a bridge, a conduit of

connection to this vital source, this fundamental energy of love that is

all-encompassing.​

In the role as a devotee, the love that you give becomes you. And if you

are love, you are also part,

of that infinite divine energy,

the underlying ground of being.

Through the practice of Bhakti

Yoga, we find a bridge, a conduit of

connection to this vital source,

this fundamental energy of love that

is all-encompassing.​

In the role as a devotee, the love

that you give becomes you.

And if you are love, you are also part.

of that infinite divine energy,

the underlying ground of being.

Towards the end of the Ramayana, there is a passage when Ram and Sita discuss the significance of who they are and explain to Hanuman his role as a devotee. Their union can only be solidified because of him. His love is essentially the glue that holds it all together. 

 “Rama said… “Know me to be the Supreme Purusha, the eternal, unchanging, infinite spirit. Sita then continued. “Know me to be Prakriti, cosmic matter, the supreme embodiment of all manifestation. Rama is the transcendent Absolute and I am his manifest power. Rama continued, “Together we constitute the universe. We validate each other’s existence and delight in each other’s company. Ravana is the ego that separates these two entities. What unites them is bhakti, or devotion. You [Hanuman] are the embodiment bhakti…”

*Passage from the Ramayana found on page 285 Hanuman: the devotion and power of the monkey God by Vanamali.

Aspects of Hanuman

There are so many aspects of Hanuman that we as westerners can relate to and find admirable. 

Krishna Das says Hanuman’s characteristics include deep devotion, selfless service, gentleness, faith, courage, wisdom, compassion, and strength. It is no surprise that Hanuman is said to be the Hindu God who most aligned with the principles of AA: service, love, and devotion.

Additionally, Hanuman is disciplined and maintains perfect self-control, yet he is humble and loving. The actual name Hanuman gives a clue to his character, as the combination of two Sanskrit words, hanan (annihilation) and man (mind), indicates “one who has conquered his ego” (Vanamali 6).

Hanuman is also known as a demi-God: half-human and half-monkey. Due to his human-like qualities, it is easier to understand, identify, and feel closer to Hanuman. For instance, as a mischievous young boy, he has an insatiable appetite and gets into a ton of trouble. These traits are human and attainable qualities that we can grasp and bring to life in our daily lives.

In Hindu symbolism, “a monkey signifies the human mind, which is ever restless and never still” (Vanamali 5). Hanuman is symbolic of a disciplined, perfect mind. As an incarnation of Vishnu, Hanuman is known to be the “pinnacle of human perfection” (Vanamali 4), representing the asana or physical practice of yoga. In honor of his celestial guru, Surya, Hanuman is said to have created the asana series Suryva Namaskar. Meanwhile, he also is the son of Vayu (The God of Wind), who “taught him pranayama, or the science of breath control. In turn, Hanuman also taught pranayama to human beings.” 

Hanuman is the essence of vitality, the perfect yogi, and the God of both asana and pranayama.

Representing and demonstrating many tools and elements of the awakening process, Hanuman

becomes a backdrop within which awakening evolves.

Hanuman is the essence of vitality, the perfect yogi, and the God

of both asana and pranayama.

Representing and demonstrating many tools and elements of the

awakening process, Hanuman becomes a backdrop within which

awakening evolves.

Hanuman is the essence of vitality,

the perfect yogi, and the God of both

asana and pranayama.

Representing and demonstrating

many tools and elements of the

the awakening process, Hanuman

becomes a backdrop within which

awakening evolves.

I have spent many years getting to know Hanuman and understanding how his existence has influenced my everyday life. Nowadays, it is simply an underlying knowingness. Hanuman is not in my thoughts; he is in a place beyond my thoughts. He is an experience rather than something I intellectually understand, and that is why he is so powerful. His existence makes me feel like I am home and I am safe and nurtured. 

Hanuman is the glue that holds it all together. He is the love that flows through all creation.

Hanuman is the glue that holds it all together. He is the love that flows

through all creation.

Hanuman is the

glue that holds it all together. He is the love

that flows through all creation.

Awakening 101 Logo

Abdi Assadi is unlike any other healer or spiritual teacher ever encountered. He is an expert in martial arts, and a dynamic healer practicing a diverse array of Chinese and Eastern Medicine, indigenous shamanic rituals, and meditation techniques. With a clinical practice in New York City for almost 4 decades, Abdi has accumulated a vast knowledge of real life experience working with several thousands of individuals, guiding them through the most difficult times, and teaching them how to understand themselves. One of the greatest things about him is he merges the human psyche with the spiritual psyche.

Steeped in deep wisdom and insight that is rare to find on this planet in these modern times, Abdi has an extraordinary ability in perceiving and comprehending human souls and their individual psyche. Guided by the divine, Abdi guides you to open up and see beyond your limited Self, into your own soul. His impeccable discernment enables him to unleash personal remarks that pierce through your veil, statements that you will never forget and in an instant alter your perception of yourself and your reality.

– Quotes from Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi:


All spiritual masters teach us that love is an activity before it is a condition – and that love is all-encompassing.
Page 18


It felt like I was coming off a race track and driving in a school zone. He knew, years before I did, that my speed was my way of suppressing my early childhood anxiety, and that only slowing down could heal it.

Why do you need to use all these words like God and spirituality? It is right here Abdi, all around you, all the time
Page 40


one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Page 51


Ultimately it keeps grace out of our lives because we are using our will power to manipulate every event and person around us.
Page 74


His lesson, which I had begun to learn for myself, is that outside circumstances do not define our internal experience if we can surrender into them. Painful or undesirable situations will always arise; true suffering comes from our ego’s desire to resist life as it is.
Page 77


Note from Pernilla:
I met Abdi in the fall of 2014 and when I arrived in his office the first thing he said was, “It’s time that you stop carrying other people’s anxiety.” In the year that followed, my entrenched codependency patterns reared their ugly heads and I was confronted with a part of myself that I had never even known was there.

A few years later, Abdi said, “When are you going to start writing your book?”I looked at him in surprise. I was not a writer. My expertise was centered around creating crazy good Excel spreadsheets. However, I started writing and collecting notes about life issues and life experiences … and here we are a few years later.

Sally Kempton is a preeminent meditation teacher of our time.

She is an expert scholar in Hinduism and all Hindu texts especially in Kashmir Shaivisim. Formerly Swami Durgananda, she left monastic life in the 1980’s to teach publicly. She has written several books and is one of the most known and loved spiritual teachers in our time.

Note from Pernilla:

I met Sally at one of her workshops at City Yoga in LA in 2003. She had the most gentle and loving disposition, and I just wanted to always be around her. I was fortunate to have been part of her two year-long “Transformative journey” courses in 2006 and 2007 and many retreats ever since. She is the true representation of unconditional love and transmits intense shakti from her Guru Swami Muktananda.

Sally is the primary building block and foundation in my spiritual journey. Without her, I would have never found and stuck with meditation – the most transformative experience of my life. Without her, I would have been lost without a clue where to go next. Her wealth of knowledge of yogic philosophy and incredible understanding of the human condition is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.  She understands your depth and makes you feel seen, heard, validated, and deeply loved.