Monkey god, Hanuman, at the gym and hilltop

Hanuman temple outside Bangalore
Hanuman temple outside Bangalore

Saturdays in India are for honoring Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.  I learned this during my first visit to an Indian gym, PDMBA Health Club.  An entire gym of 50 locals joined together in a Hindu prayer to ask Hanuman for bravery and physical strength.  Other than the early morning devotion, this Pune, India gym appeared similar to an american gym.  India is a land where the natural world and spirituality are inseparable, as evident in the divine in this animal form.

Close to the gym, Hanuman Tekdi (hill) was bustling with runners, hikers, yogis, and any Hanuman worshiper.  I was relieved to walk away from constant traffic and honking horns with my local friend, Suchitra.

Suchi and I escaping to nature's refuge from the busy city life
Suchi and I escaping to nature’s refuge from the busy city life

We hiked up this beautiful green, rocky hill to find two temples built for Hanuman at its summit.  I asked Suchitra why there was a kids’ playground and a stage next to the temple.  The monkey bars and gymnastics rings were not for child’s play, but for an adult’s conditioning set to build physical strength under Haneman’s grace.  So of course that was not a stage, but a place to lay yoga mats – worship Haneman through asanas (yoga postures), while praying for physical fitness.

A Hanuman deity.  My friend predicted that a fortunate event happened to someone when they found this rock.  It was then deemed holy as a manifestation of Hanuman and then carved and painted to worship within the temple
A Hanuman deity. My friend predicted that a fortunate event happened to someone when they found this rock. It was then deemed holy as a manifestation of Hanuman and then carved and painted to worship within the temple

Back at the gym, preceding the group prayer to Hanunman, Dr. Anand Godse,  spoke about how Surya Namaskaar (sun salutation) is great for stress reduction and relaxation.  This brilliant psychologist wrote his entire dissertation on the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of this series of yoga postures or asanas.  At the end of his lecture a body builder stood up to demonstrate the yoga poses with Dr. Godse.  By the way, this body builder is muscular solely because of his daily practice of 100 (50 right side, 50 left side) sun salutations!  I observed incredible physical strength of the modeled yoga postures.  More impressive was the impressive reverence and calmness to these men’s Hanuman day’s morning workout through Surya Namaskaar. .

This was the calmest gym and hilltop I’ve ever been to! India is a fascinating country that sees spirituality in everything – gyms, hilltops, and animals.

Hanuman Hill - my preferred way of seeing a city
Hanuman Hill with a view of Pune, India – my preferred way of seeing a city

Thank you:
-PDMBA gym for welcoming me this morning.
-Dr. Godse for sharing your knowledge.
-Suchitra Naidu for showing me around this weekend.

This wild monkey was just fed corn on the cob, perhaps by someone who thought it to be an offering to Hanuman.  Others think of wild monkeys as a nuisance.
This wild monkey was just fed corn on the cob, perhaps by someone who thought it to be an offering to Hanuman. Others think of wild monkeys as a nuisance.

One thought on “Monkey god, Hanuman, at the gym and hilltop

  1. Pingback: Yoga Teacher Training Complete in India! | Laura Schetter

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