Let us come to the story of the Hanuman Mandir at Basant Gaon, New Delhi, which was established by Maharaj Shri Prabhudatta Brahamachari Ji.
The installation of this massive idol of Hanuman, as the Kotwal of the Capital, was the last labor that this Hercules of spirituality undertook.
After my first Darshan of the temple in November (Click here for the blog report ) I wanted to get some details about this great installation…. As I searched the Net, I did get some information, but they were somewhat anecdotal. Searching around, I found a link to a site which gave details of Brahmachari Ji’s books, and in that I found a two volume autobiography that he had written – called ‘Apni Niji Charcha’. I checked with the Basant Gaon temple, and they did not stock the books of Prabhudatta ji. They told me to check in his Ashram at Jhusi or Brindavan. I called some numbers listed on the Net, but things happen at their own pace in the timelessness landscape of Indian spirituality, and I did not manage to get the books. Sometime in December, a friend of mine was on a visit to Brindavan, to Ananda Vrindavan Ashram (of Maharajshree Swami Akhandananda Sarawati). There being an Ashram of Prabhudatta Brahmachari Ji in Brindavan too, I asked my friend to check about the availability of the books there. To cut to a long story short, some process was set into motion, and by the grace of Maharajshree, the Vol 2 of ‘Apni Niji Charcha’ came to me by courier, sent by his Sanyasi disciple. This is a continuance of the Ahaituki Kripa of Maharajshree on this undeserving one. It was a book of around 350 pages, and I approached it with some trepidation. But I need not have felt any, for it was such a wonderfully written book. The pages just flew. Considering that this book was written after he had completed 110 volumes of Bhagavati Katha – one can well understand that the writing hand was simply in the zone – dancing with the divine. I read that book end-to-end, but did not get details about how the Hanuman mandir got to be made. It was but natural, because the Hanuman temple was done in the last years of Prabhudatta Ji, and these books had been written earlier (around 1978). At the end of the book, there was a mention of the red-faced-one (Hanuman) now ‘camping on his head’, and asking him to install a Hanuman idol in Delhi…. He conveys his conversations with Hanuman, where he tells him to catch hold of someone else, for where could he go for the means to build such a monument… He ends that parley by asking Hanuman to assign some man of means to enable the project, and that he would then carry out Hanuman’s command….
So that was as much as I could find from the autobiography.
In January, I visited Delhi again.
I reached on 22nd Jan, Friday. On Saturday 23rd Jan, I visited this temple again, with my friend Shiva. It was night time, and the atmosphere was divine. I chanced to ask a pujari if there was any ‘lekhni’ (write up) about the temple. To my pleasant surprise, he said that there was. On my enquiry he said that there was a book which described how the temple got to be made. And that I could buy one. By the time I finished the Darshan at the temple, he brought a copy from somewhere, which I grabbed gratefully. It was a book titled ‘Hanumat Yatra’, written by Dr Vidyadhar Dvivedi, a close disciple of Prabhudatta Ji. I started reading the book the same night, and finished it at around midnight. And that was a blessing. Because, as I came to know, the idol of Hanuman was installed on 24th of January, 1990. I had the book in my hand on the very date!
Here are some details about the idol of Hanuman, as described in the book.
Project start: October 1983
Height of idol: 40 feet
Width: 12 feet
Weight: 150 tons
Installed on : 24 January 1990
Idol type: Carved in Granite
Where sculpted: Karkala (Karnataka)
Sculpted by: Sri Radhamadhav Shenoy
How did this project actually kick off?
It was sometime in 1983.
Brahmachari ji had gone with a group of people on Yatra to Rameshwaram. His first stop was at Bangalore. There, he happened to visit a temple of Hanuman, which was atop a hillock. The temple had a huge idol of Hanuman, made of black stone.
(One guesses that the temple he visited would have been the Pressana Veeranjaneya temple, at Mahalakshmi layout, Bangalore… There is an interesting story behind this temple. In the 1970s, there was a huge rock, 22 feet tall, that stood on top of a hillock here. The local people decided to paint a picture of Hanuman on this rock. Then they started worshipping the painting. It was soon decided that the rock should be sculpted to form an idol of Hanuman. The project was undertaken by the local community. And the idol of Hanuman was made. Prana Pratishtta was done, and the energized idol was formally inaugurated in 1976… ( To know more click here )
Here is a picture of that Hanuman…
After darshan of Bangalore Hanumanji, when Prabhudatta Ji was back in his place of stay, he was lost in deep thought. He then conveyed to the author, Dvivedi Ji, that he wished to have a similar idol, even larger, of around 40 feet height, to be installed in the Basant Gaon Ashram in New Delhi. He desired to get the idol made in Karnataka itself. He said “Delhi has been the Capital of India not just from recent times, but from ancient times of Kaurava-Pandavas. Our Hanuman Ji there would protect the capital, acting as the Kotwal (Chief Official Guardian of the Fort or Country), and would be known as the ‘Kotwal of Delhi’”.
A Sadhu’s sankalpa….
Bol Siyavar Ramachandra Ki ….
- To be continued