Panchmukhi Hanuman – The Full Story
Panchmukhi Hanuman is a less common depiction of Lord Hanuman, showing him with five heads and 10 arms.
The Five Heads Of Panchmukhi Hanuman
From left to right, the five heads of Panchmukhi Hanuman are usually shown as follows:
Varaha – the third incarnate of Lord Vishnu, with a boar’s head. Varaha is believed to have saved the Earth from the demon Hiryanaksha.
Garuda – A bird-like humanoid, believed to be the mount of Lord Vishnu.
Hanuman himself is usually in the centre facing forwards.
Narasimha – the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu, Narasimha is depicted with a man’s torso and lower body and a lion’s head and claws. Following the death of his younger brother Hiryanaksha at the hands of Varaha (the third avatar of Vishnu), Hiranyakashipu prayed to Lord Brahma for extra powers. When granted, he used these for evil and was eventually slain by Narasimha.
Hayagriva – The name translates as “horse-neck” and indeed, Hayagriva was a horse-headed incarnation of Lord Vishnu (not one of the 10 known avatars, however). There is not as much known or agreed about the significance of Hayagriva, but the most common belief is that it is Hayagriva who pulls the Sun into the sky each morning.
The Story Of Panchmukhi Hanuman
During the war of Lanka in the Ramayana, Lord Ravana asked the kind of Patala Loka (or Hell), Mahiravana for help, as he was well versed in dark magic.
Mahiravana took the form of Vibheeshana and lured Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman to hell with the intention of killing them.
When Lord Hanuman found out, he rushed to Patala Loka to rescue them. In order to kill Mahiravana, he needed to extinguish five lit lamps at the exact same time.
So he assumed the form of Panchmukhi Hanuman, extinguished all five lamps, killed Mahiravana and rescued Rama and Lakshman.