It was my dad who had first introduced Sri Hanuman Chalisa to me during one of our visits to Rishikesh. I was 11 years old then and the memories are still intact. We were sitting in the balcony of the ashram watching the heavy rain in the month of June when he opened a small book where Sri Hanuman Chalisa was printed in red bold letters in Awadhi. It was my very first encounter with the epic work of Goswami Tulsidas Ji and also with the beautiful Awadhi language.
Sri Hanuman Chalisa actually happened to me while attending the evening aarti at Parmarth Niketan. The rhythm and devotion with which they chant at Parmarth Niketan had made me learn Sri Hanuman Chalisa so much effortlessly that it has stayed with me in all these years. Going to Maa Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh with my family is one of the fond memories of my childhood.
Last Saturday, I had the chance to revisit this place after 14 long years. What made it more blissful was the silence meditation course I was doing alongside.
As I stood there at the banks of Maa Ganga soaking in the chant of aarti, bhajan, mantra and watching the rays of Surya Deva enlightening everything around, my eyes were soaked in the ecstasy of the divinity flowing there. While childhood memories crowded my mind, the realization of being introduced to this path left me with goosebumps all over.
What more can you ask for?
And when hundreds of people chant together, Dharma becomes and remains sanātana.