Significance of Jangri (Jilebi) Mala and Vada Mala according to HH Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati, the seer of Kanchi
Sri Hanuman (Anjaneya) Swamy
“Yatra Yatra Raghunaatha-Keertanam
Tatra Tatra Krita-Mastaka-Anjalim
Maarutim Namata Raakshasa-Antakam”
(Wherever the Glories of Sri Rama are sung, at all such places, with hands held over his bowed head in salutation, and eyes filled with tears of devotion and joy, Maruti (Bhakta Hanuman) is present; We bow to Maruti who puts an end to our sorrows and fear of demons.)
Once a person hailing from North India was among the many who came to have darshan of Maha Periyava, he was seen in hesitancy and Maha Periyava invited him to ask his doubt.
The Northerner cleared his throat and said that Hanuman Swamy is worshipped all over India but he was not able to understand why in South the people adorn Hanuman with ‘Vada-mala’ made of urad dal mixed with pepper whereas in North India they do with sweet Jangiri. He also added that he had not received a convincing answer from anybody.
Maha Periyava was pleased to talk about Hanuman.
He began to explain first that children when they make some fuss to eat, the mother coaxes them to see the Moon outside and the child enjoys seeing the bright Moon and the cool breeze outside and finishes eating.
Similarly, when Hanuman was a child, he took a liking to look at the Sun blazing in the Sky. He did not stop with that. He went on to catch the Sun with his hand.
At the same time, ‘Rahu Devata’ was also racing to catch the Sun God to eclipse the Sun. In the race between Hanuman and Rahu, Hanuman, being the son of Vayu, the Wind God (Vayuputra) won with ease.
In appreciation of Hanuman’s valor, Rahu Deva sanctioned a boon that whoever worshipped Hanuman with a food item made out of urad dal, would get relieved from ‘Rahu Dosha’ and that Rahu Graha would not trouble them anymore. Further, the item offered to Hanumanji had to be made in the form of a garland or bent like a serpent which is how ‘Rahu God’ appears. Rahu also admitted that urad dal was his favorite cereal and the food item prepared with urad dal was to his immense liking.
Maha Periyava, having explained the significance of Vadamala Aradhana to Hanuman Swamy went on to bring out the background for the differences in the culture between the people in the South and North. South India is famous for salt cultivation as the North is for sugarcane. Vada is a food item made of urad dal mainly with salt with some pepper added for improving its taste. So people in the South offer Vada mala Aradhana to Hanuman Swamy.
But the Northerners prefer sweet to salt. However, Jangiri is made mainly out of urad dal which satisfies the condition imposed by Rahu Deva. Sugarcane grows in plenty only in North India. Hence the people there have developed it as a custom to worship Hanuman Swamy with a garland of Jangiris.
Compiled by Advaita from various sources.