Devotees sing the Hanuman Chalisa with Meaning with devotion in temples and during religious gatherings.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 9 in English with Meaning & Analysis
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 9 Adapting to Context
सूक्ष्म रूप धरि
सियहिं दिखावा ।
बिकट रूप धरि
लंक जरावा ॥
Sukshma roop dhari
Vikat roop dhari
You took a small vulnerable form
You took a giant fearsome form
to burn Lanka.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 9 Meaning in English
In the first quarter of the Hanuman Chalisa, a lot of emphasis is placed on the origin, form and attributes, the role as well as the preferences, of Hanuman. We refer to his mother, his earthly and celestial fathers, we refer to his appearance and his symbols, his qualities and capabilities, his love for Ram’s stones, and his desire to serve Ram.
With this verse we are describing his many feats: his ability to contract and expand himself physically as the situation demands. To the frightened Sita, he appeared as a small non-threatening monkey. To the arrogant Rayana, he appeared as a giant fearsome creature. Hanuman is thus no ordinary creature he is a shape-shifter who knows what shape other people respond to.
In Hinduism, God is constantly playing games (leda) nudging the devotee-child to realize his divine potential. Thus God can expand or contract, encompass infinity (virat-rupa), and change shape and size for the benefit of all living creatures. Vishnu, for example, manifests as a fish, a boar, a priest, a king, or a cowherd. This ability to adapt for the benefit of the other is a hallmark of divinity, one that Hanuman also possesses.
The transformations of Hanuman described in this verse, of contracting and expanding in size, come from a chapter known as Sundar-kand in the Ramayana. The chapter is named beautiful (sundar) as it evokes hope: the possibility of Sita and Ram reuniting, thanks to the intervention of Hanuman.
It is also thus named because it is the only place where he experiences the tenderness of Ram’s love for Sita and Sita’s love for Ram. Hanuman conveys Ram’s words and describes Rain’s sorrow to Sita, and Sita conveys her feelings to Ram through Hanuman, even sharing intimate secrets, such as how Ram used to rest his head on her lap when he was exhausted in the forest.
Hanuman’s puny form makes Sita wonder how he could possibly have leapt across the sea. So Hanuman reveals his giant form and reassures her. Later, Hanuman lets himself be caught by Ravana’s soldiers so that he gains an audience with the rakshasaking. Hanuman is astute enough to realize that sensible words will not work with one such as Ravana who is consumed by his own self-importance, and is so frightened that he constantly feels the need to dominate those around him.
Unable to break free from his animal nature, Ravana only understands the language of force. So when Ravana refuses to treat Hanuman as a messenger and give him due respect by offering a seat to him, Hanuman creates his own seat, extending and coiling his tail; only Hanuman’s seat is at higher level than Ravana’s throne, forcing Ravana to look up rather than down, a humiliation that Ravana cannot bear. Furious, unnerved, the king of Lanka orders his soldiers to set Hanuman’s tail on fire.
Hanuman responds by twirling his tail in every direction, setting fire to Ravana’s beautiful palace and the city of Lanka around it, before leaping off the island-kingdom. In India, there are broadly two types of monkeys – the redfaced monkey with golden fur and the black-faced monkey with silver fur. In folklore, it is believed that the soot of Lanka burning turned the red-faced monkey into the black-faced monkey.
In art, Hanuman images can be classified into two types depending on the location of the tail: if it is lowered, it indicates the gentle (saumya) form with which Hanuman approached Sita and Ram; if Hanuman’s tail is raised, it indicates the fierce (rudra) form with which Hanuman stood up to Ravana. This reaffirms Hanuman’s relationship with Shiva who is known for both his gentle (Shankara) and fierce (Bhairava) forms.
Hanuman is also depicted, especially in the south, with his arm extended as if he is going to slap someone. This is called ‘tamacha’ Hanuman: the form he took to humiliate Ravana. By contrast, when his image is placed next to Ram, his arms are in a position of veneration: this form is called Ram-dasa, the servant of Ram.
Hanuman Chalisa Chaupai 9 Analysis in English
sukshma rupa dhari siyahi dikhava
bikata rupa dhari lanka jarava ll9ll
In a tiny form you appeared before Sita,
In a terrifying form you burnt Lanka. (9)
In his journey to Lanka, Hanuman assumed a diminutive form as many as seven times. And it was in this tiny form that he made contact with Sita. After a long and arduous search through the island of Lanka, Hanuman finally reached Ashok Vatika gardens. That was the only place he had not yet scanned. Considering this to be Ravana’s favourite garden, Hanuman thought this could be an ideal place to hold Sita captive.
Ravana may have probably wanted to invoke the romantic side in Sita by hosting her in a scenic and extremely beautiful garden with beautiful flowering trees and sweetly chirping birds. Since Hanuman had kept his eyes and ears wide open, he knew quite a few secrets of Lanka by now. With great hope, Hanuman hopped into the garden.
Taking a very tiny form, he scaled the wall of the garden and leaped onto a tree inside. From tree to tree he traversed across the garden. Since there was a dense array of trees, there was no way anyone could spot him in his tiny little form. He had assumed that tiny monkey form for two prominent reasons. One, of course, was to remain discreet and invisible to the demonesses, 700 of whom were guarding Ashok Vatika. The second was more personal. This was the first time Hanuman would come in front of Mother Sita.
Rama had become his spiritual father and naturally Sita was his eternal mother. When Hanuman met her for the first time, he wanted her to address him as ‘son’. His logic was that if he appeared small in size, it would awaken Sita’s motherly affection towards him. As he scouted around the garden, he reached the central section, which was also the most beautiful part of the garden. Right in the middle was a huge Simshupa tree. Under that huge tree was a raised platform on which sat, morosely, an extremely beautiful lady in simple attire.
Looking at her aroused great feelings of reverence and respect in Hanuman’s heart. Without any tangible proof, Hanuman instantly knew that this was Sita indeed. He was so excited to have finally found Sita that he wanted to jump right in front of her and talk to her about Rama. But he contained his excitement when he saw the hordes of rakshasis strolling around keeping a close watch on her.
He decided to wait for an appropriate moment when he could get a private audience with her. A few hours later, in the wee hours of the night, Ravana walked into the garden with great pomp along with his entourage of women carrying electric gifts.
In the middle of the night, though in the midst of so many beautiful women, Ravana had remembered Sita and come to pay her a visit. For the last ten months he had been trying unsuccessfully to convince her to forget Rama and marry him instead. But Sita hadn’t paid heed to his courting and attempts to coax her into submission. This was yet another failed attempt.
Sita insulted him once again and Ravana could no longer bear it. He almost assaulted her physically, restrained only by his wife Mandodari. He stormed out in a huff, giving her a warning to submit within two months or be ready to face death.
As soon as Ravana left, the rakshasis ganged around Sita and abused her verbally for her foolishness in not submitting to Ravana. Hanuman wanted to jump down and punch those hooligans on their faces. But he restrained himself considering that he wouldn’t be able to talk to Sita if he did that.
In addition it could also happen that Sita may even consider him to be Ravana or one of his allies disguised as a messenger of Rama. While Hanuman in his tiny form was seething in anger seated on the branch of a tree above Sita, something very interesting happened. A demoness called Trijata walked towards the others and began to share her nightmare with them.
She had a vision of a monkey coming into Lanka and destroying it. She saw the whole city go up in flames and the wild monkey destroying everything including the king’s palace. The only person the monkey seemed to be interested in was Sita. She further said that if the rakshasis ill-behaved with Sita, then surely Sita wouldn’t protect them from any upcoming danger. This scared the rakshasis who then left Sita alone and began drinking liquor in sheer frustration. Eventually all of them fell asleep.
This was the chance that Hanuman was waiting for. Just as he was about to jump down in front of Sita, he saw something shocking. Sita had tied her hair into a noose and was about to hang herself from the branch of the very tree on which he was stationed.
He panicked and almost fell down. He realized that Sita was in too delicate a frame of mind to accept a stranger monkey as a messenger of Rama’s. She wouldn’t even want to hear him out before giving up on her life. Thus he chose to do something else. Something he had great faith in. He decided to narrate Rama Katha, the story of Lord Rama.
As soon as the first words of Rama Katha escaped from his mouth, Sita’s heart skipped a beat. She immediately connected to his melodious divine voice. Someone was here who loved Rama as dearly as she did. She withdrew the noose and relaxed. When Hanuman saw the effect his narration had on Sita, he continued enthusiastically.
Keeping himself hidden behind a leaf, he narrated the entire story of Rama to the attentive Sita. Several times during the narration, Sita tried to find the narrator but couldn’t as he was carefully concealed behind a leaf. Finally when Hanuman felt it was the right time, he jumped down in front of Sita.
When Sita saw such a cute little monkey, her motherly affection surfaced. As Hanuman had desired, she called him son. That address made Hanuman smile blissfully, sukshma rupa dhari siyahi dikhava He told Sita that he would take her back to Rama. Sita almost giggled at his proposal. How could a tiny monkey claim to take her back? She didn’t want to be insensitive by showing that she doubted his capacity, but she still needed clarity. So she asked him whether all monkeys were similar in size in Rama’s army.
The intelligent Hanuman immediately smelled the doubt in her voice. The next instant, he expanded in size. He kept expanding till he was much taller and much bigger than the tree under which she sat. Now Sita was thoroughly confused. First he appeared so small and now he was so huge. She asked Hanuman what his original size was.
Was he small, was he big, or was he medium-sized? Hanuman gave a brilliant answer that showed his humility. He replied that he was originally small and insignificant but in the service of Lord Rama, he could take up any size and any responsibility.
By the grace of Lord Rama, there was nothing that he couldn’t achieve and there was no obstacle that he couldn’t cross. Sita was so happy to hear that answer. This was the essence of devotion. After a long and deep conversation with Mother Sita, Hanuman decided to do something, which he considered equally important. Create new history in Lanka! Do something that was historical and impactful!
He began to wreak havoc in Ashok Vatika. Every single thing that was standing at night was broken and dismantled by morning. When the demonesses woke up after a long slumber, they saw the once beautiful garden of Lanka was nothing but a disaster. Soon thousands of soldiers were rushing towards the garden to figure out what had happened.
When the demonesses saw a monkey emerge from the midst of that wreckage, they immediately panicked. Trijata’s dream was coming true after all. They ran helter-skelter while the foolish soldiers ran towards the monkey for a head-on collision. Soon thousands of dead soldiers lay scattered here and there. All day Ravana kept sending his soldiers and all day Hanuman kept destroying every single demon that came by. Soon some of Ravana’s most powerful men were dead including his own son Akshay Kumar.
Having no choice left, Ravana sent Indrajit with the instruction to capture the arrogant monkey alive. Indrajit soon managed to bind Hanuman with the Brahma pasha. Though Hanuman had a boon that no weapon would work on him and Brahma had himself given him immunity from the Brahma pasha, Hanuman wilfully got bound. This had to do with the execution of the second part of his mission.
He wanted his visit to serve as a warning to Ravana. Something that Ravana would remember forever. When he was dragged into the courtroom, Hanuman gave Ravana fine advice, which of course, did not even enter into the ears of the proud demon. Ravana wanted to kill the mischievous monkey, but Vibhishan convinced him that a messenger should not be killed. Then Ravana chose to set his tail on fire.
Miles of cloth soaked in gallons of oil was brought, to be tied and spread on his tail. Mystically, Hanuman’s tail kept growing. Soon all the cloth and all the oil in Lanka was over. As soon as his tail was lit with fire, Hanuman simply freed himself from the ropes that bound him and jumped out of the courtroom. Once outside the building, he expanded himself and jumped around burning all the houses and structures in Lanka. Soon the whole city was a blazing inferno, bikata rupa dhari lanka jarava.
In the midst of chaos in Lanka with the fire raging intensely, Hanuman was disappointed to see that it suddenly began to rain all over Lanka. More specifically, it was pouring over the sections of Lanka that were burning. Hanuman was very upset with the rain god, Indra, for having done that. He had taken so much effort to bum the city and here was the rain god undoing everything.
When he summoned the rain god and complained, instead of offering a justification, Indra simply smiled. He told Hanuman to look carefully; he wasn’t showering water, rather he was showering inflammable oils so that the city would bum harder. Ravana had tortured the gods enough and this was Indra’s first chance to retaliate.
After all the adventure, when Hanuman returned to Lord Rama and shared the details of his actions in Lanka, Rama had a very fundamental doubt. He asked Hanuman why did he bum the city when he was only sent as a messenger to deliver a message to Sita. Hanuman explained that it wasn’t his idea but rather Rama’s own idea which he simply executed.
Rama was confused, how it could be his idea when he wasn’t even present in Lanka at that time. Hanuman explained to the Lord that though he wasn’t physically present, as paramatma he was very much present in the heart of Ravana.
It was he who had implanted the idea in Ravana’s mind to bum the tail of Hanuman rather than injure it in any other way. It was Rama who had predicted this would happen as a dream in the mind of Trijata. As soon as Hanuman had heard the dream he was quite sure that this was Rama’s desire.
But he wanted to be doubly sure that it was indeed Rama that wanted Lanka to be burnt. The only way he could ensure that it wasn’t the trick of his mind but actually the will of the Lord was by allowing himself to be bound and being helpless to take any decision on his own.
Thus he agreed to be bound by Indrajit’s Brahma pasha. Hearing Hanuman’s logical explanation, there was nothing that Rama could do except applaud him silently. Hanuman was not just an expert in deeds but an expert in his words too.