The five-faced grand form of Hanuman Ji, i.e., the Panchmukhi avatar, represents the five directions. According to Ramayana, the five faces of Shri Hanuman Ji’s great form are in five directions. These five faces are the Narasimha (Half human-Half Loin), Garud (eagle), Ashwa (Horse), Vanar (monkey), and Varaha (Boar).
The five faces of Hanuman are considered to be iconic in the east, west, north, south, and vertical directions, respectively. According to mythological belief, Panchmukhi Hanumanji incarnated for the welfare of the devotees. Hanuman Ji, the incarnation of Rudra, is considered a symbol of energy. Hanuman Ji worship increases strength, fame, health, and fearlessness. Hanuman Ji, who is called five-faced Rudra, is very kind and compassionate.
When Shri Ram and Ravana’s army was in a fierce battle and Ravana was near his defeat, to overcome this problem, he remembered his elusive brother Ahiravan, who was an ardent devotee of Maa Bhavani as well as had an excellent knowledge of Tantra Mantra. On his Maya (Magic) strength, he put the entire army of Lord Rama into sleep and kidnapped Shri Ram and Lakshman, and took them to paataal Lok (Hades).
A few hours later, when Maya’s (Magic’s) influence waned, Vibhishan recognized that this work was of Ahiravan and asked Hanuman Ji to go to Hades to help Shri Rama and Lakshman. At the entrance of Patalal Loka, he met Makardhwaja, son of Ahiravan, and after defeating him in battle, Hanuman Ji met Sri Rama and Lakshman. In paataal Lok (Hades), he found five lamps at five places in five directions that Ahiravan lit for Maa Bhavani. When these five lamps are extinguished together, Ahiravan will be killed.
That is why Hanuman Ji took the form of Panchmukhi. Varaha face in the north, Narasimha face in the south, Garuda face in the west, Ashwa (Horse) face towards the sky, and Hanuman face in the east. Holding this form, he extinguished all five lamps and killed Ahiravan, and freed Shri Rama, Lakshman, from him. In this way, Hanuman Ji came to be called Panchmukhi.
Once a terrible demon with five faces appeared. He did austerity and got a boon from Brahma Ji that someone like him can only kill him. He created a terrible furore in the whole world on receiving such a boon. All the gods prayed to God to get rid of this trouble. After getting the Lord’s permission, Hanuman Ji assumed the Panchmukhi form of the monkey, Narasimha, Garud, Ashwa, and Shukra (Varaha). This is why it is believed that the worship of Panchmukhi Hanumanji brings the same fruits as the worship of all the gods.
Kv Gopalakrishnan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
There is another legend also according to which the demon named Marial steals the Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu, and when Hanuman comes to know about this, he vows that he will retrieve the Chakra and give it to Lord Vishnu. The Marial demon was able to change the form at will, so Lord Vishnu blessed Hanuman Ji with the Panchmukhi form. Parvati Ji gave him a lotus flower, and Yama-Dharmaraja gave him a weapon called pash (a rope with a loop). With all these blessings and powers, Hanuman Ji succeeded in conquering Marial. Since then, this Panchmukhi form of Hanuman Ji was recognized.
Source: Flick – Bryn Pinzgauer
According to religious beliefs, worshiping Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji on the day of Hanuman Jayanti or Tuesday resolves all the problems in the devotees’ lives. Enemies are destroyed, longevity is attained, strength and fame are attained, fear is eliminated, and all desires are fulfilled.
After retiring from bathing on the day, sit facing the south at the place of worship. After that, install the idol or picture of Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji on a check post. Now anoint them with water and panchamrit. Now offer red flowers or red roses, vermilion, jasmine oil, akshat (Unbroken rice), incense, odour, lamp, etc. After this, offer gram and jaggery as Bhog. Recite Hanuman Chalisa, Sundarkand, Shri Ram Stuti. Offer them red langot (a type of diaper-like cloth worn by wrestlers) in worship. In the end, perform the Aarti of Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji, and after bowing, express your wishes to him.
• The photo/idol of Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji is believed auspicious. As per Vastu Shastra, the photo or idol of Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji, if placed in the south-western corner of the house, then many of the Vastu Dosha (architectural defects) of the house begins to go away automatically.
• Wrap the thread of worship (Mooli) on a coconut and place rice, vermilion, and yellow flowers on it. Offer this coconut to Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji. This can give you success in everything.
• Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji should be offered pomegranate or ladoo for success in examination or interview. Also, donate a saffron-colored flag to the temple.
• Sit in front of the Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji statue and recite the Shri Rama Raksha Sroot. This will keep peace in the family.
• To get success in the court case, light a lamp of pure ghee in front of Panchmukhi Hanuman Ji and recite Hanuman Chalisa.
• If you are troubled in life, or there are many problems in the family, put a photo of Hanuman Ji’s Panchmukhi avatar on the house’s main door. Your troubles will go away soon.