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Hanuman Chalisa

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Hanuman Chalisa
Hanuman showing Rama and Sita within his heart

The Hanuman Chalisa (Hindi pronunciation: [ɦənʊmaːn tʃaːliːsaː]; Forty chaupais on Hanuman) is a Hindu devotional hymn (stotra) in praise of Hanuman.[2][3][4] It is an Awadhi language text attributed to Tulsidas,[2] and is his best known text apart from the Ramcharitmanas.[5][6] The word "chālīsā" is derived from "chālīs", which means the number forty in Hindi, as the Hanuman Chalisa has 40 verses (excluding the couplets at the beginning and at the end).[2]

Hanuman is a devotee of Rama and one of the central characters of the Ramayana. According to the Shaiva tradition, the deity Hanuman is also an incarnation of Shiva. Folktales acclaim the powers of Hanuman.[7] The qualities of the god Hanuman – his strength, courage, wisdom, celibacy (brahmacharya), his devotion to Rama and the many names by which he is known – are detailed in the Hanuman Chalisa.[7] Recitation or chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa is a common religious practice.[8] The Hanuman Chalisa is the most popular hymn in praise of Hanuman, and is recited by millions of Hindus every day.[9]


The authorship of the Hanuman Chalisa is attributed to Tulsidas, a poet-saint who lived in the 16th century CE. He mentions his name in the last verse of the hymn. It is said in the 39th verse of the Hanuman Chalisa that whoever chants it with full devotion to Hanuman, will have Hanuman's grace. Among Hindus worldwide, it is a very popular belief that chanting the Chalisa invokes Hanuman's divine intervention in grave problems.


The most common picture of Tulsidas
Home of Tulsidas on the banks of River Ganga Tulsi Ghat Varanasi where Hanuman Chalisa was written, a small temple is also located at this site

Tulsidas[10] (1497/1532–1623) was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion for Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known for being the author of the epic Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi language. Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayana in Sanskrit.[11] Tulsidas lived in the city of Varanasi until his death.[12] The Tulsi Ghat in Varnasi is named after him.[10] He founded the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman.[13] Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaption of the Ramayana.[14] He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and World literature.[15][16][17][18] The impact of Tulsidas and his works on the art, culture and society in India is widespread and is seen to date in vernacular language, Ramlila plays, Hindustani classical music, popular music, and television series.[14][19][20][21]


The Hindu deity to whom the prayer is addressed is Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Rama (the seventh avatar of Vishnu) and a central character in the Ramayana. A general among the vanaras, Hanuman was a warrior of Rama in the war against the rakshasa king Ravana. Hanuman's exploits are much celebrated in a variety of religious and cultural traditions,[22] particularly in Hinduism, to the extent that he is often the object of worship according to some bhakti traditions,[23] and is the prime deity in many temples known as Hanuman Mandirs. He is one of the seven chiranjivis (immortals). Hanuman also appears in the Mahabharata on Arjuna's chariot as his dhvaja (flag).


The work consists of forty-three verses – two introductory dohas, forty Chaupais, and one doha in the end.[2] The first introductory doha begins with the word shrī, which refers to Shiva, who is considered the guru of Hanuman.[24] The auspicious form, knowledge, virtues, powers and bravery of Hanuman are described in the first ten Chaupais.[25][26][27] Chaupais eleven to twenty describe the acts of Hanuman in his service to Rama, with the eleventh to fifteenth Chaupais describing the role of Hanuman in bringing back Lakshmana to consciousness.[25] From the twenty-first Chaupai, Tulsidas describes the need of Hanuman's kripa.[28] At the end, Tulsidas greets Hanuman with subtle devotion[29] and requests him to reside in his heart and in the heart of devotees.[30] The concluding doha again requests Hanuman to reside in the heart, along with Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita.[31]


Depiction of Bharata meeting Rama watched by Hanuman, Sita and Lakshmana. From left – Hanuman, Bharata, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana

Before the 1980s, no commentary had been composed on the Hanuman Chalisa, which Rambhadracharya attributes to the work not being included in printed editions of collected works of Tulsidas.[2] Indubhushan Ramayani authored the first brief commentary on Hanuman Chalisa.[2] Rambhadracharya's Mahaviri commentary in Hindi, authored in 1983,[2] was called the best commentary on Hanuman Chalisa by Rama Chandra Prasad.[32]

In popular culture[edit]

The Hanuman Chalisa is recited by millions of Hindus every day,[9] and most practising Hindus in India know its text by heart.[33] The work is known to be popular among people from diverse educational, social, linguistic, musical, and geographical groups.[33]

Classical and folk music[edit]

The Hanuman Chalisa is one of the best selling Hindu religious books and has been sung by many popular bhajan, classical and folk singers.[33] The rendition of Hanuman Chalisa by Hari Om Sharan, originally released in 1974 by the Gramophone Company of India and re-released in 1995 by Super Cassettes Industries,[34] is one of the most popular, and is regularly played at temples and homes across Northern India.[33][35] This rendition is based on traditional melodies in the Mishra Khamaj, a raga belonging to the Khamaj That,[34] with the base note taken at the second black key (kali do) of the harmonium.[34] A recording based on the same traditional melodies was released in 1992 by Super Cassettes Industries, with Hariharan as the singer and Gulshan Kumar as the artiste.[34]

Other notable renditions include those by bhajan singers Anup Jalota and Ravindra Jain, Hindustani vocalists Pandit Jasraj and Rajan and Sajan Mishra, and the Carnatic vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi.[34] The renditions by Unni Krishnan, Nithyasree Mahadevan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji and Morari Bapu are also popular.[36]

Among western singers Krishna Das has performed the Hanuman Chalisa in both slow and fast formats.[37]

Popular movies[edit]

In the Hindi movie 1920 (directed by Vikram Bhatt), Hanuman Chalisa is frequently used in different scenes. One of the scenes show the protagonist Arjun Singh Rathod (played by Rajneesh Duggal), reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in full. It is used in an important sequence in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, when the protagonist fights back against child traffickers and rescues a little girl from them.[38]

An animation movie named Shri Hanuman Chalisa directed by Charuvi Agarwal and designed by Charuvi Design Labs is a film on Hanuman.[39][40]

Popular music[edit]

Popular singers who have sung the Hanuman Chalisa include Carnatic singer M. S. Subbulakshmi, as well as Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Shankar Mahadevan, Anuradha Paudwal, Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh, Sonu Nigam, and Udit Narayan.[33]

The Hanuman Chalisa was sung by Amitabh Bachchan in chorus with twenty other singers.[33] This recording was released as a part of the Shri Hanuman Chalisa album in 2011 and received an unprecedented response by the releasing music label during November 2011.[41]

A rendition of Hanuman Chalisa sung by Hariharan became the first devotional song and first on YouTube to cross 3.5 billion views in November 2023. [when?][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nityanand Misra 2015, p. xviii.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 1–8. Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Hanuman Chalisa in digital version". The Hindu Business Line. 26 February 2003. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  4. ^ "किसने लिखी थी हनुमान चालीसा, जिसके बारे में कही जाती हैं कई बातें". News18 India. 9 April 2020. Archived from the original on 4 May 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Book Review / Language Books : Epic of Tulasidas". The Hindu. 3 January 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Lineage shows". The Hindu. 29 November 2002. Archived from the original on 3 January 2004. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  7. ^ a b Peebles 1986, p. 100
  8. ^ Peebles 1986, p. 99
  9. ^ a b Karan Singh, in Nityanand Misra 2015, p. xvi.
  10. ^ a b de Bruyn 2010, p. 471
  11. ^ Lutgendorf 2007, p. 293.
  12. ^ Prasad 2008, p. 857, quoting Mata Prasad Gupta: Although he paid occasional visits to several places of pilgrimage associated with Rama, his permanent residence was in Kashi.
  13. ^ Callewaert 2000, p. 90
  14. ^ a b Handoo 1964, p. 128: ... this book ... is also a drama, because Goswami Tulasidasa started his Ram Lila on the basis of this book, which even now is performed in the same manner everywhere.
  15. ^ Prasad 2008, p. xii: He is not only the supreme poet, but the unofficial poet-laureate of India.
  16. ^ Prasad 2008, p. xix: Of Tulsidas's place among the major Indian poets there can be no question: he is as sublime as Valmiki and as elegant as Kalidasa in his handling of the theme.
  17. ^ Jones 2007, p. 456
  18. ^ Sahni 2000, pp. 78–80
  19. ^ Lutgendorf 1991, p. 11: ... – scores of lines from the Rāmcaritmānas have entered folk speech as proverbs – ...
  20. ^ Mitra 2002, p. 216
  21. ^ Subramanian 2008, p. inside cover
  22. ^ Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies. 2007, page 537
  23. ^ Rosen, Steven. Essential Hinduism. 2006, page 67-8
  24. ^ Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 11–14 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ a b Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 46–47 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, 48–49 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Rao 2009, pp. 393–397
  27. ^ Mehta 2007, p. xv
  28. ^ Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 56–57 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 78–79 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 81–82 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Rambhadradas 1984, pp. 83–84 Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Prasad, Ram Chandra (1999) [First published 1991]. Sri Ramacaritamanasa The Holy Lake of the Acts of Rama (Illustrated, reprint ed.). Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0443-2. Retrieved 7 June 2013. श्रीहनुमानचालीसा की सर्वश्रेष्ठ व्याख्या के लिए देखें महावीरी व्याख्या, जिसके लेखक हैं प्रज्ञाचक्षु आचार्य श्रीरामभद्रदासजी। श्रीहनुमानचालीसा के प्रस्तुत भाष्य का आधार श्रीरामभद्रदासजी की ही वैदुष्यमंडित टीका है। इसके लिए मैं आचार्यप्रवर का ऋणी हूँ। [For the best explanation of Śrīhanumānacālīsā, refer the Mahāvīrī commentary, whose author is the visually-disabled Ācārya Śrīrāmabhadradāsa. The base for the commentary on Śrīhanumānacālīsā being presented is the commentary by Śrīrāmabhadradāsa, which is adorned with erudition. For this, I am indebted to the eminent Ācārya.]
  33. ^ a b c d e f Nityanand Misra 2015, pp. xvii–xxi.
  34. ^ a b c d e Nityanand Misra 2015, pp. 199–212.
  35. ^ Manuel, Peter (1993). Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India – Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology (2, illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-226-50401-8.
  36. ^ Kats, Local (11 May 2023). "Hanuman". localkats.com. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
  37. ^ "Ep. 27 | Spiritual Experiences, Auschwitz and Bernie Glassman". 15 June 2020. Archived from the original on 29 May 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  38. ^ "Bajrangi Bhaijaan Plot Summary – Times of India". The Times of India. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 1 March 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  39. ^ "Charuvi Design Labs release The Second official teaser for "Shri Hanuman Chalisa"". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  40. ^ "Charuvi Design Labs release The first official teaser for "Shri Hanuman Chalisa"". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  41. ^ "All in praise of the Almighty". The Times of India. 6 November 2011. Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  42. ^ "Hanuman Chalisa by Gulshan Kumar crosses 3 billion views on YouTube, another World record made by T-series". Infotonline. 27 May 2020. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.


  • de Bruyn, Pippa; Bain, Keith; Allardice, David; Joshi, Shonar (2010). Frommer's India. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. p. 471. ISBN 978-0-470-60264-5.
  • Callewaert, Winand M.; Schilder, Robert (2000). Banaras: Vision of a Living Ancient Tradition. New Delhi, India: Hemkunt Press. p. 90. ISBN 9788170103028.
  • Chaturvedi, B.K. (1994b). Shri Hanuman Chalisa (Roman). New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books. ISBN 81-7182-395-5.
  • Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Encyclopedia of World Religions. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9. It can be said without reservation that Tulsidas is the greatest poet to write in the Hindi language. Tulsidas was a Brahmin by birth and was believed to be a reincarnation of the author of the Sanskrit Ramayana, Valmiki.
  • Mehta, Pt. Vijay Shankar (2007). Kripa Karahu Guru Dev Ki Naain (2nd ed.). New Delhi: Radhakrishnan Prakashan. p. 9. ISBN 978-81-8361-041-4.
  • Misra, Munindra (2015). Shri Hanuman Chalisa in English Rhyme with original text. United States: Osmora Inc. ISBN 9782765913702.
  • Misra, Nityanand (2015). Mahāvīrī: Hanumān-Cālīsā Demystified. Mumbai, India: Niraamaya Publishing Services Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9788193114407.
  • Mitra, Swati (2002). Good Earth Varanasi City Guide. New Delhi, India: Eicher Goodearth Limited. p. 216. ISBN 9788187780045.
  • Peebles, Patrick (1986). Voices of South Asia: Essential Readings from Antiquity to the Present. United States: M.E. Sharpe Inc. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-7656-3480-1.
  • Rambhadradas (8 June 1984). संकट तें हनुमान छुड़ावै। मन क्रम बचन ध्यान जो लावै [Shri Hanuman Chalisa (with the Mahaviri commentary)]. Jagadgururambhadracharya.org (in Hindi). New Delhi, India: Krishnadas Charitable Trust. Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  • Rao, Cheeni (2009). In Hanuman's Hands: A Memoir (First ed.). United States: Harper Collins Publishers. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-06-073662-0.
  • Sahni, Bhisham (2000). Nilu, Nilima, Nilofara (in Hindi). New Delhi, India: Rajkamal Prakashan Pvt Ltd. pp. 78–80. ISBN 9788171789603. हिन्दी का सौभाग्य है कि उसके काव्यकुंज की तुलसी-मंजरी की जैसी सुगंध संसार की साहित्य वाटिका में शायद कहीं नहीं। ... आकर्षण दोनों में अत्यधिक है अपने-अपने ढंग पर दोनों ही बहुत बड़े हैं, पर फिर भी सब तरफ़ से केवल काव्य के सौंदर्य पर विचार करने पर तुलसीदास ही बड़े ठहरते हैं – भाषा साहित्य में रवीन्द्रनाथ के संबंध में कहना पड़ता है कि भ्रम त्रुटियाँ मिल सकती हैं पर तुलसीदास के संबंध में कोई शायद ही मिले। ... और यही कारण है निराला जी तुलसीदास को कालिदास, व्यास, वाल्मीकि, होमर, गेटे और शेक्सपियर के समकक्ष रखकर उनके महत्त्व का आकलन करते हैं।
  • Subramanian, Vadakaymadam Krishnier (2008). Hymns of Tulsidas. New Delhi, India: Abhinav Publications. p. inside cover. ISBN 9788170174967. Famous classical singers like Paluskar, Anoop Jalota and MS Subbulakshmi have popularised Tulsidas's hymns among the people of India.