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In many images, Lord Hanuman is shown as sitting in a particular posture seen in the images given below:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Here, he is kneeling down with the left knee touching the ground and the right leg is placed flat on the ground.

What is this posture called? And what is it's significance?

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    I think the pose is a Bhakta pose , (devotee) of shree Rama signifies extreme devotion as he is sitting and not standing in front of Rama. But even when alone he is generally depicted in such a leaning posture in pictures or statues. This is my thought offcourse. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 10:20

2 Answers 2

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This indicates the Brahmacharya of Hanuman ji.

In Hinduism,the left side/ left lap of a male married deity/a father deity is reserved for his spouse(ardhangini)

enter image description here

enter image description here

Two instances where this concept is highlighted:

a)In the Vishwanathashtakam,Adi Shankaracharya describes Lord Shiva as “Gauri Niranthara Vibhushita Vama Bhagam”(He who is adorned by Gauri on His left perpetually)

b)In the Rama Raksha Stotra,31st verse is as follows:

“दक्षिणे लक्ष्मणो यस्य वामे तु जनकात्मजा...”

https://www.devshoppe.com/blogs/articles/sri-ram-raksha-stotra-with-meaning

But Hanuman ji is a brahmachari,hence His left lap is not to be filled as such,hence it is depicted in Such a way that sitting on it is not possible ,in the position that it’s shown.

(Hanuman ji does have a spouse who is the daughter of Surya,but since He did not father children,this may be the reason she doesn’t sit on His left lap)

You can find the same logic in depictions of Lord Ayyapa.

enter image description here

He is also a Brahmachari,so His left lap is positioned in such a way that in the position that it is,it cannot be sat upon(signifying His celibacy/Brahmacharya)

Lord Ayyapa is a “naishthik “ Brahmachari,hence His right lap is also in that position as is His left lap(Hanuman ji’s laps are placed differently,yet the left lap is placed in both Their icons,in such a way that in the position that it is shown,it cannot be sat upon.

Edit:

I doubt as to whether the kneeling posture shown in the picture (or for that matter,any single posture) is the proper mandate for depicting Hanumanji,as I’ve seen pictures where the knees are placed reverse with respect to what the question shows:

Left knee folded:

enter image description here

This is loosely connected to the guideline of the left foot at the mulabandha(as shown in the comments section)

Right knee folded:

enter image description here

Both knees folded:

enter image description here

Hanumanji in Padmasan:

enter image description here

Given that Hanumanji is depicted in all these ways,I don’t think that all the four postures shown have their own special meaning,**when Hanumanji is shown in that posture,in a way so as to depict some quality of Hanumanji specifically.

(Last two photos shown are Vajrasan and Padmasan respectively,but again I don’t think there is any specific trait of Hanumanji that they show especially )

So in conclusion,from what I could gather until now,there is no set way to depict Hanumanji,and this is the artist’s choice..

(Please correct if I’m wrong)

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    Can you post some scriptural references (at least some references) that validate your theory? If being Brahmchari is the reason then why two different postures for them? Why not the same one? Also there can exist various other postures too in which sitting on the left lap might not be possible. Then why this particular posture?
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 5:50
  • I am upvoting the answer for your effort but you need to add some references.
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 6:36
  • @Rickross I have cited two instances where the concept of the wife being “vamangi” is shown,but these are from stotras,and not scripture as such.If you are strictly looking for scripture based examples,then give me some time,friend.In the meantime,I’ll try to address the other queries that you’ve asked,the best I can..
    – Amethyst
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 7:02
  • You can take your time but I'm not asking you to add reference to show that wife is the left limb ( see this - hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/46165). Reference is needed to prove that that particular sitting posture is signifying that the deity is a Brahmachari.
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 7:09
  • @Rickross You have already accepted an answer in this regard,but for Lord Ayyapa (hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/24949/…). So I presume I’ll have to answer only for Hanumanji?
    – Amethyst
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 7:47
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This posture of Hanumāna is known as Vīrāsana (वीरासन), or a variation of Vīrāsana thereof.

For starters, I searched through the book - 'Elements of Hindu Iconography' by T.A. Gopinath, to find any possible textual reference, but the author doesn't identify any known idol of Hanumāna with the name of the 'Vīrāsana posture'.

The only reference I could obtain is through a website of an organization Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

Quoting from their Hindi version page

इ. वीर हनुमान

वीर हनुमान योद्धा मुद्रा में होते हैं । वीर हनुमान की मूर्ति वीरासन मुद्रा में होती है । इस मूर्ति के बाएं हाथ में गदा होती है । आगे किए हुए बाएं हाथ को बार्इं जांघ का आधार देकर वह गदा बाएं कंधे पर टिकी होती है । दाहिना पैर घुटने से मुडा हुआ होता है तथा दाहिना हाथ अभयमुद्रा में होता है । उनकी पूंछ उठी हुई होती है । कभी-कभी उनके पैरों तले राक्षस की मूर्ति भी होती है । भूतावेश, जादू-टोना इत्यादि द्वारा पीडा को दूर करने के लिए वीर हनुमान की उपासना करते हैं । वीर हनुमान से शक्ति व दास हनुमान से (राम से उनकी एकरूपता के कारण) भाव एवं चैतन्य प्रक्षेपित होता है ।


Translation of the above by self

  1. Vīra Hanumāna

The 'Vīra Hanumāna' is in 'warrior signature'. Such an idol is displayed in the posture of Vīrāsana. The idol will carry the 'Gadā' weapon in its Left hand. The forwarded left hand supported by the left thigh will carry the weapon placed on the left shoulder. The right leg's knee will be bent, and the right hand is displayed in the 'Abhaya-Mudrā'. The tail will be slightly lifted off the ground. Sometimes, a demon is also shown being crushed under Hanumāna's right feet. Such kind of idol is worshipped to ward off problems of supernatural (ghosts, demons, et al) origin. One gains Power, and courage by Worshipping Vīra Hanumāna while worshipping the 'Dasa-Hanumana' results in oneness with the deity of Sri Rama, through devotion.

This description exactly matches the images shown in the question.

Also,

Kindly note, in general, Hanumāna's iconography is classified into two types, viz.

  • the ‘‘servile form’’ (dāsa rūpa) and
  • the ‘‘heroic’’ or ‘‘virile form’’ (vīra rūpa).

Quoting from the book by Philip Lutgendorf -

Thus it is said -
that Hanumāna murtis may be divided into two basic types: those in ‘‘servile form’’ (dāsa rūpa) and emblematic of bhakti, and those in ‘‘heroic’’ or ‘‘virile form’’ (vīra rūpa), which are charged with shakti. According to Pandit Dube, the worship of the dāsa form should be performed with ‘‘pure’’ (sāttvika) offerings (vegetarian and dairy foods), whereas the vīra form is to be invoked with ‘‘passionate’’ (rājasa) offerings.

(page 389)


So, we may conclude now, that the posture is Vīrāsana, and it signifies the rājasika aspect of Hanumāna, to invoke courage, and fearlessness against all sorts of dangers and problems.




Still, to corroborate the above claim, I searched through some Yoga-āsanas books.

In his celebrated book on Yoga-āsanas called 'Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha' Swami Satyananda Sarasvati, explain the Vīrāsana posture in detail.

enter image description here

(pdf page 127-128)

Benefits: This asana balances the mind, increases the power of concentration, allows more awareness of the unconscious realms, and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise. It is useful for those who think too much or who have disturbed or uncontrollable thoughts. It is very good for the kidneys, liver, reproductive and abdominal organs.

Note: Veerasana is also known as the thinker's or philosopher's pose


  • Other Supplementary sources attesting the Vīrāsana posture: 1, 2

  • As per this website called - 'Kaulapedia'.

Iconography
As per ‘Siddha Dharma’, there are many depictions of Hanuman ji. The most famous form that is prevalent in the society and in ‘Siddha Dharma’ is Hanuman ji ni ‘Veerasana’. Hanuman ji is portrayed as deity who holds a lotus flower in his one hand and in the other, he holds a mace. This particular pose of Hanuman ji is also called as ‘Veer Hanumant Asana’.

He holds a lotus flower in one hand which symbolizes prosperity, wealth and abundance. At the other hand he carries a maze. The maze is the symbol of strength.

  • Some other āsana which are very similar to the Vīrāsana - Añjaneyāsana and Virabhadrasana

  • Interestingly, Vīrāsana finds a mention in the Manu Smriti 11.110 too, but that one doesn't seem like the variant which Hanumāna sits in.




To Conclude:

From the above-detailed discussion, we may summarise-


1. What is this posture called?

  • Ans: It is known as Vīrāsana (वीरासन), or its variant thereof.

2. And what is its significance?

  • Ans: It signifies courage (rājasa-guṇa, vīrya) which is the most classic trait of Lord Hanumāna. This form is worshipped to keep the evil spirits and demons at bay.
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    I don't think this is Virasana ..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 6:38
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    According to Hathayoga Pradipika however the following is the description of Virasana : "Ekam pādam tathaikasminvinyaseduruni sthiram Itarasmimstathā chorum vīrāsanamitīritam One foot is to be placed on the thigh of the opposite side; and so also the other foot on the opposite thigh. This is called Vîrâsana."
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 9:27

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