The origin of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman can be traced to a story in the Ramayana. During the war between Lord Ram and Ravana, Ravana took the help of Mahiravana who was the king of pathala.
Lord Hanuman in order to protect Lord Ram and Lakshman formed a fortress with his tail. But Mahiravana took the form of Vibeeshana and took Lord Ram and Lakshman to pathala loka.
Hanuman entered pathala loka in search of Rama and Lakshmana.He found out that to kill Mahiravana he had to extinguish 5 lamps at the same time. So he took the Panchamukha form with Hanuman, Hayagriva, Narasimha, Garuda and Varaha faces and extinguished the lamps. Mahiravana was killed immediately.
The Panchamukha form of Lord Hanuman has the following five faces:
• Hanuman (a fervent devotee of Lord Rama) – facing the east • Narasimha ( an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who slayed Hiranyakashipu) – facing the south
• Garuda ( the mount of Lord Krishna) – facing the west
• Varaha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who slayed the demon Hiranyaksha) – facing the north
• Hayagriva (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, considered the God of wisdom)– facing upwards
The details of panchamukha Hanuman are
• East facing Anjaneya to grant humanity Ishta Siddhi.
• South facing Karala Ugraveera Narasimha to grant humanity Abhista Siddhi.
• West facing Mahaveera Garuda to grant humanity Sakala Sowbhagya.
• North facing Lakshmi Varaha to grant humanity Dhana Prapthi. • Urdhva Mukha(atop0 being Hayagriva to grant humanity Sarva Vidya Jaya Prapthi.
There are five ways of prayer to the Lord. They are Naman, Smaran, Keerthanam, Yachanam and Arpanam. The five faces depict these five forms. Lord Hanuman always used to Naman, Smaran and Keerthanam of Lord Sri Rama. He totally surrendered (Arpanam) to his Master Sri Ram. He also begged (yachanam) Sri Rama to bless him the undivided love.
Panchamukha Hanuman Kavachami:
The Panchamukha Hanuman Kavacham is a potent stotra meant to praise each of the five forms. This stotra helps to alleviate troubles and keep evil forces away. It serves as a protection to devotees who chant with utmost faith.