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Story of the Four-Handed Sri Yoga Anjaneya Worshipped at Sholingur

Sholingur, located in Tamil Nadu, India, is renowned for its two prominent hilltop temples: the Yoga Narasimhar Temple and the Sri Yoga Anjaneya Temple. The Sri Yoga Anjaneya Temple is particularly notable for its unique depiction of Hanuman (Anjaneya) with four hands, a rare and significant iconography in Hindu tradition.

The Unique Four-Handed Hanuman

In the Sri Yoga Anjaneya Temple, the deity is portrayed with four arms. In his upper hands, he holds the shankha (conch) and chakra (discus), and he is seated facing west. This form is associated with several fascinating stories and legends that explain its origin and significance.

Legend of King Indradyumna and the Demon Kumbhodara

One prominent story involves King Indradyumna and his battle against the demon Kumbhodara. During this conflict, Lord Indra, the king of the gods, provided Indradyumna with his divine chariot and the powerful Vajrayudha (thunderbolt weapon). Other demigods also contributed their celestial weapons to aid the king.

As the battle raged, Lord Narasimha (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) called upon Anjaneya (Hanuman) to assist the king. In response to this divine request, Hanuman assumed a form with four arms to effectively combat the demon. In this form, he wielded the shankha and chakra, showcasing his readiness to protect and support. Hanuman continues to bless his devotees in this powerful and protective four-handed form.

Hanuman's Role in the Protection of Sapta Rishis

Another version of the story connects to the concluding events of the Ramayana. When Lord Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, was preparing to depart to his divine abode, Saketa Dham, Hanuman expressed his desire to accompany him. However, Lord Rama assigned Hanuman a significant task instead. He instructed Hanuman to go to Sholingur and safeguard the sapta rishis (seven sages) from the disturbances caused by demons.

To aid Hanuman in this mission, Lord Rama bestowed upon him the shankha and chakra, symbols of divine power and protection. This form of Hanuman, with four hands, was to remain in Sholingur, providing darshan (sight) and blessings to devotees until the end of the Kali Yuga, the current age in Hindu cosmology.

Hanuman and the Kalakeya Rakshasas

Another belief among devotees is that Hanuman was given the shankha and chakra by Lord Narasimha specifically to defeat the Kalakeya rakshasas, a group of formidable demons. After accomplishing this task, Lord Narasimha instructed Hanuman to remain in Sholingur in his four-armed form to continue blessing and protecting devotees.

Significance of the Four-Handed Hanuman

The four-handed form of Sri Yoga Anjaneya in Sholingur symbolizes Hanuman's divine mission and his unwavering dedication to protecting righteousness and aiding devotees. Each element he holds, the shankha and chakra, represents his close association with Lord Vishnu and his avatars, particularly Narasimha and Rama. This form of Hanuman serves as a reminder of his unparalleled strength, devotion, and his role as a protector and divine helper.