The Firekeepers of Jwalapuram

Bhagwan Hanuman's traits are what every person should hope to imbibe.

The Firekeepers of Jwalapuram

Bhagwan Hanuman is called “Bhole Veer” in many Hindu traditions. This moniker is a result of two things. The first being that he is considered an Avatar of Shiva, also called “Bhole Nath”, in many North Indian traditions. The other reason is that he generally does what his leader, Bhagwan Ram, tells him to do. But Bhagwan Hanuman is also lauded by Bhagwan Ram as a great scholar and one who has amazing wit and presence of mind. These two characteristics most define the great Anjaneya. Bhagwan Hanuman was also a great Bhakta and had ultimate trust in Bhagwan Ram, as well as the ultimate patience. These two characteristics best define the Bhakti of the great Pawanputra. An illustration of this is the events leading to the recent Bhoomi Pujan at Ayodhya, for the construction of Ram Mandir. It was Bhagwan Hanuman who stayed in Hanuman Garhi and waited patiently for his Lord to return to his place of birth. It was also the dispute on Hanuman Garhi in 1855, that spurred the first movement for Ram Janmabhoomi amongst the locals. It was as though Bhagwan Ram, the loving soul he is, got annoyed only at the insult of his greatest Bhakta and spurred the locals to act to reclaim his Janamsthan. It was also as though Bhagwan Hanuman was waiting for just this kind of divine opportunity to help the locals in their fight for building a Ram Temple at Ayodhya. This method of acting in accordance with what his loved ones need and having God’s Grace always by his side is Lord Hanuman’s biggest gifts.

Prof Vamsee Juluri in the book “The Kishkinda Chronicles: The Firekeepers of Jwalapuram” has tried to elucidate these characteristics of Bhagwan Hanuman through a fictionalized account of his early life. I had the opportunity to read the first part of this book series “Sarasvati’s Intelligence” on a train journey from Pune to Vadodara in 2017. I didn’t sleep through the journey, as the book was too engrossing for me to finish. Ever since then, I have been pestering Prof Juluri to write further parts of this story and finally book 2 was out this March. I tried to inculcate a little Hanuman in me and ordered the book immediately. Further, I finished the book the day after it reached me, and it was a treat during the very first days of the lockdown.

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, the ability to comprehend requirements and act in a sincere, timely and smart way is the biggest attribute of Bhagwan Hanuman. This book provides us with multiple instances of the same. The way Hanuman acts with utmost urgency without getting flustered in the face of great challenges shows us his true Yogic powers. Early in the book, a tired Hanuman is called upon to rescue children caught in a tunnel. His dearest friend (and companion) is also in the tunnel with the children. The way both him and this companion of his (read the book to find out more about her) handle the situation calmly, with utmost trust in each other is a hallmark of true friendship, something that today’s children need to be taught. Another feature of this incident that we can tie to the first paragraph is the patience that Hanuman has in a dire situation. This patience is a result of his trust in his companion, for whom he has internalized his love. This love and devotion help him maintain a deep connect with her and never doubt her abilities. It further allows him to act in exact accordance with what his loved ones need.

In another incident, Hanuman’s friends are faced with an impossible battle. The opposing armies are large and fierce but Hanuman’s companion somehow knows that his presence will ensure that their are victorious. His confidence and action-oriented attitude will help them fight without fear, while his Bhakti towards the Goddess would bring them providence. Just as visualized by his companion, Hanuman’s arrival tilts the scales of the battle, an impossible situation is converted into a manageable one and good fortune comes along. Further his ability to talk in an appropriate, friendly and just manner (Vak-Chaturyam) helps him to win the unlikeliest of allies who help him overcome the most insurmountable odds. The divine help that comes in this episode is a result of the absolute trust in the Goddess and the great penance of Hanuman.

As we move along in this enthralling story of survival, from beasts and nature alike, we understand why laws are needed and how they should be framed. We also understand the need to limit bloodshed and always stock up for times of need. We understand the importance of sacredness. We understand why nature ought to be worshipped, and why worshipping nature is the most obvious and sustainable thing to do. We are exposed to how greed can cause havoc to communities and how even the bravest, noblest of souls are led astray in the search for power. We are taught lessons in realpolitik in the simplest of ways. Finally, we are taught about the concept of Dharma and its ever-changing but eternally constant meaning. Through this entire journey, the striking feature of Hanuman is his willingness to learn new things and ability to internalize them by meditating on them. It is as though his mind is like a sponge, childlike in its ability to pick up things and saint-like in its ability to soak them in.

The defining feature of this book is the simplicity with which Prof Juluri presents concepts vital to the survival of a civilization through a simple story with a legendary God as its central character. The respect given to Bhagwan Hanuman while also humanizing him is also a striking feature. So, if you are an adult seeking to understand Dharma from a contemporary perspective, a kid seeking to learn about the wonderful uncertainties of life or a parent wanting to teach their kids about Dharma, please pick up this book and give this a try.

You may purchase a copy here.

About Author: Aarkesh Venkataramanan

Aarkesh is a BTech and MTech Dual Degree holder in the field of Mechanical Engineering. He loves to travel, engage with new people and read up on subjects such as history, physics and maths. He is enthusiast about the depth of Indic knowledge systems and has a special interest in Indian Architecture and Philosophy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.