The Panchamukha Anjaneya Avatar

Shri Hanuman is the great divinity who has transcended the five senses and dedicated them to the devotion of Shri Ram. The five senses are like the five elements of him and are said to the representations by which his greatness is attributed. As the son of the wind (air), the one who crossed the Ocean (water) through the element of sky (sky) the one who met the daughter of Mother Earth (Earth) and finally as the one who burnt the golden city of Lanka with fire (fire). It is also the Sundar Kand which is the fifth Kand which highlights all these great qualities of Hanuman in Ramayan.


With great significance to the five great factors of Hanuman, the Panchamukha Avatar is one of the great incarnations of Shri Hanuman. This was taken by Hanuman during the battle of Lanka. Fearing defeat after losing his dearest son Indrajeet, Ravan decides to take the help of his other brother Mahiravan, who was the ruler of the Patal lok. When Mahiravan arrives on Ravan’s call, Ravan explains him everything and asks Mahiravan to take away Shri Ram and Lakshman to the Patal Lok and sacrifice them to Goddess Kali. Mahiravan agrees and secretly carries away Shri Ram and Lakshman from their camp and holds them captive in the neither world.

The whole Vanar army is dejected on the disappearance of Shri Ram and Lakshman, But Vibhishan knowing that they were held captive by Mahiravan mentions the same to Hanuman and asks him to go to the neither world and save them. Knowing the secret of how would the demon be defeated and killed, Hanuman rushes to the neither world and after a futile search meets Shri Ram and Lakshman who were being ready to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali. Hanuman releases them and a war starts between the demon and the two brothers. Shri Ram and Lakshman engage many Astras and Sastras on Mahiravan, but none of them harm the mighty demon.

Hanuman who knew the secret as to how would the demon meet his end mentions to Shri Ram and Lakshman to keep Mahiravan engaged in battle and catch his attention. The only way of killing Mahiravn was to burn out five lamps in five different directions with great force at the same time. Assuming the Panchamukha Avatar with the faces of Varah, Garud, Anjaneya, Narasimha and Hayagreev, Hanuman blows wind with great force with his five faces to the five different directions at the same time and extinguishes the lamps at the same time. Mahiravan grows weak by the destruction of his life power and Shri Ram slays him with a powerful Astra and thus ends the life of the demon Mahiravan. Hanuman returns back with Shri Ram and Lakshman much to the jubilation of the Vanar army, and finally Ravan is left alone to fight Shri Ram.

As the icon of intellect and power, the Panchamukha Anjaneya Avatar is considered as the most divine form of Shri Hanuman. It is a strong belief that for this very reason that the chanting of Shri Hanuman’s name or circling his idol is done for fourteen, twenty three times or thirty two times or any number which adds to the number five would bring in courage, health and happiness in one’s life with the blessings of the rare Avatar of Shri Hanuman as the Panchamukha Anjaneya form.