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Hanuman

Other names : Hanooman, Hanumana, Anjaneya, Pavanputra, Bajrang Bali, Maruti

V

ir (brave) Hanuman was the minister and friend of Sugreeva. He is the greatest devotee of Shri Rama, eternally at his service. Hanuman’s father was Kesari and his mother Anjana. She was an Apsara (a celestial damsel), Punjiksthala, in her earlier life. As a result of a curse, she was born as a vanara (monkey), in the house of a vanara king called Kunjar. Hanuman is also referred to as Pavanputra (Son of the Wind god). Vanarraj (the king of the monkeys) Kesari once undertook a severe penance, and at the end, Brahma offered him a boon. Kesari said, “I wish to be the father of a child as strong and mighty as Vayu, Lord of Air).” Brahma granted his wish.

 

When the young Anjana was enjoying a stroll on the mountainside, in a human form. Vayu devta (wind god) saw her, playfully blew off her silken sari (a type of Indian dress) and embraced her. Anjana was very angry. She said, “Who is this? Who wishes to rob me of my modesty?”

Hanuman’s father was Kesari and his mother Anjana. She was an Apsara (a celestial damsel), Punjiksthala, in her earlier life. As a result of a curse, she was born as a vanara (monkey), in the house of a vanara king called Kunjar.

Vayu reassured her: “Oh Anjana, the pure-hearted, I am here to do as the Gods bade me; with my mental power alone have I made you with child. You may return to your husband as as innocent and pure as ever.”

 

Anjana narrated this encounter to her husband when she arrived home. Kesari said, “Anjana, our son will grow up to be valiant and invincible. This is the fruit of my boon from Brahma.”

 

After nine months, Anjana gave birth to a boy. When he was but a baby, Hanuman saw the rising sun poised on the windowsill and thought it a fruit and lunged towards it to pluck it up and devour it. The Sun saw him coming and terrified, turned his chariot round and started back from whence he had come.

After nine months, Anjana gave birth to a boy. When he was but a baby, Hanuman saw the rising sun poised on the windowsill and thought it a fruit and lunged towards it to pluck it up and devour it. The Sun saw him coming and terrified, turned his chariot round and started back from whence he had come.

There was chaos everywhere and the entirety of creation fell into an unstable state. The enraged Indra (King of the Devas) hurled his thunderbolt at this extraordinary being that had appeared out of nowhere, and it struck him on his jaw and knocked him out of the sky. The child fell unconscious towards the ground and was caught by his father Vayu, who immediately drew all the winds to himself, and the whole world was becalmed. Brahma and the Gods, appalled to find the sun’s assailant was a mere infant, along with Indra, hurried to Vayu to appease him before he took away all the air. They paid homage to Hanuman and blessed him that his body, as strong as the thunderbolt, would always be unconquerable.

 

Hanuman had been injured on his chin and it bore his only scar. A small chibuk (scar) is referred to as Hanu hence his name became Hanuman. Later, it was Surya (the personified Sun) who gave him the knowledge of the Vedas, after Brihaspati refused to teach a monkey who jumped around from place to place and could not stop moving around. The Sun also never stops moving, so the arrangement worked perfectly. This is also why Hanuman has a red face; because he faced the Sun directly the whole time during his lessons.

Hanuman had been injured on his chin and it bore his only scar. A small chibuk (scar) is referred to as Hanu hence his name became Hanuman

As a child he was very mischievous and would torment the forest sages mercilessly with his pranks; putting them up in trees while they were lost in meditation, and throwing away their prayer vessels, thus disturbing their religious rites. They finally cursed him to forget how powerful and energetic he was. “You will have no recall of your prowess and ability. Only when another person reminds you of it, will you become aware of your endless power and immeasurable energy.” Thus he was calmed down, and began instead to develop a friendship with the sages who took him under their wing. Thus the seeds of his devotion to Rama were planted.

 

 

Due to his virtues and his intellectual ability, Hanuman became a minister in Sugreeva’s court, and, also, became his good friend and companion. Bali was Sugreeva’s elder brother, who became his foe and was eager to kill him. To escape the wrath of Bali, Sugreeva had to go on the run everywhere in the world, but Bali followed him, hot on his heels wherever he went. Then Hanuman came up with the suggestion that Sugreeva go to Rishyamukha Mountain, which he had discovered was out of bounds for Bali because of a curse on him put by Sage Matanga. So Sugreeva immediately arranged to take up his residence at Rishyamukh Mountain. Rama arrived there in search of Sita, who had been stolen away by Ravana; he was wandering through the forests with his brother Lakshman, trying to discover where Sita had been taken.

To escape the wrath of Bali, Sugreeva had to go on the run everywhere in the world, but Bali followed him, hot on his heels wherever he went. Then Hanuman came up with the suggestion that Sugreeva go to Rishyamukha Mountain, which he had discovered was out of bounds for Bali because of a curse on him put by Sage Matanga.

Hanuman recognized them, and introduced them to Sugreeva, who befriended them. Sugreeva was missing his wife Roma, who had been taken away by Bali by force. Rama undertook to kill Bali, and made Sugreeva the King of Kishkindha, the capital of the Vanara kingdom, and Roma was returned to him. Sugreeva promised to help Rama in his search for Sita, and sent his monkey spies to search in all directions.

 

 

The responsibility of the search in the South was with Angad, Hanuman & Jambvant. Acknowledging the abilities of Hanuman, Shri Rama gave him his ring which had his name etched on it, so that when he found Sita, he could prove to herbeyond question that he was an envoy of Rama.

 

Yogini Satyavati and Sampati, the eagle Jatayu’s brother, whom they met by the seashore, gave them the information tey needed: that Sita was in Lanka, a prisoner in Ravana’s palace. Now all of them began to ponder how they would cross the ocean to Lanka.

 It was then that Jambavat reminded the silent Hanuman about his immeasurable power, which he had, of course been made to forget about. “Oh! Brave Hanuman, recall to yourself those celestial powers that were bestowed on you!”

 

Hanuman then remembered all the powers he had been blessed with, and gathering himself, with a single leap, reached the shores of Lanka across the sea. He located the palace, and began to search for Sita. She was not in the palace so he looked in the garden, and found her in the Ashokvatika. In the silence of the night, he dropped Rama’s ring near her, while hiding in a tree overhead. He then began to narrate the story of Rama so she could hear him.

 

Sita heard all this, and called him to come before her. He did so, and introduced himself as an envoy of Rama. With Sita’s permission, he then destroyed the Ashokvatika and killed the guards. When Ravana’s son, Akshaykumar, came to catch him, he killed him too. Then Ravana sent Indrajeet to catch Hanuman, with explicit instructions, “Don’t kill him; just secure him, so that I can find out whose spy he is.”

Meghnad finaly secured Hanuman with his Brahmapash (Brahma’s noose) weapon. Or so he thought: Hanuman had allowed himself to be caught, for he had a task of Rama’s to fulfil.

 

 Vibheeshana explained to Ravana “He is just an envoy, a messenger. So don’t kill him; just injure one of his limbs and send him back. A monkey’s pride and joy is their tail, so why not tie an oiled cloth around his tail and set it on fire?” Hanuman was pleased with this suggestion, and stood waiting. They started wrapping his tail with oil-soaked strips of cloth. Hanuman made his tail longer and longer and they kept wrapping until his tail was yards long and completely covered with all the cloth to be had in the kingdom. When it was set on fire, he tore himself free, and jumped up to the ramparts of Ravana’s palace and from there with his flaming tail lashing about, he set the whole of Lanka on fire, to give Ravana a sample of his strength, and to lay the groundwork for the upcoming war.

Sitaji bestowed on him the Ashta Siddhi (Eight spiritual powers) and Nav Siddhi (nine spiritual powers). Hanuman brought Sita’s message to Rama on his return from Lanka. Rama decided to set out at once with his army for Lanka. With the help of the Vanara army, a bridge was built to span the ocean and they then crossed over to Lanka, Vibheeshan broke away from Ravana’s court to join Rama’s army, and the battle between Rama and Ravana began.

 

 After a fierce battle, Lakshman fell into a coma because of the effect of the weapon used by Meghnad. The vaid (physician), Sushena told them the Sanjeevani herb, that was found on the sides of the Himalayan mountains, could alone save Lakshmana’s life. Hanuman flew across the skies to reach the Himalayas, but he could not recognize which plant was Sanjeevani. So, he picked up an entire mountain and brought it to Lanka where the herb was collected and applied. As soon as the Vaid (physician) Sushena used the herb on Lakshman, he awoke from his coma and sat up. The next day, Meghnad was killed by Lakshman in the battlefield. Kumbhakarna was also killed.

 

Then Ravana sent for AhiRavana, another of his sons, and the King of Patal-lok. AhiRavana came to Lanka, and at night got into the camp of Rama’s army by assuming the form of Vibheeshana. He carried away Rama and Lakshman to sacrifice them as an offering to the Goddess. When Hanuman realized that the kidnapping of Rama Lakshman was done by AhiRavana, he at once descended to that underground kingdom. He took the guise of the Devi (goddess), and killed AhiRavana and all his rakshasa soldiers.Seating Rama and Lakshman on his shoulders, Hanuman returned to Lanka, and the battle continued. Finally, Rama killed Ravana, and Vibheeshan was then crowned king of Lanka. Riding on the Pushpak Viman, Rama, Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya. Rama introduced Bharat to Hanuman and said, “Bharat, Hanuman is as dear to me as you are.”

 

 Sugreeva, Angad and other Vanaras were rewarded by Rama, and then returned to their home. However, Hanuman had requested leave to serve Rama, so he stayed behind, by Rama’s side. When his avatar (incarnation) on earth came to the end of its days, Rama bestowed immortality on Hanuman, to remain forever on earth and look after the devotees of Rama. As soon as a devotee remembers Ramabhakt Hanuman, he assumes a minute form and reaches through time and space to help them. According to Shiva Purana, Hanuman is one of the Eleven Rudras, thus he is an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

What better evidence can there be for the devotion to Ramabhakt Hanuman, that today there are far more temples dedicated to Hanuman than to Rama in our country!

 

The Hanuman Chalisa (prayer to Hanuman) is read by many people daily in India. Hanuman is worshipped on Tuesdays (this day is connected with the planet Mangal (Mars) and Hanuman is associated with strength and force which are also characteristics of Mars) and Saturdays (because he is the only one who could circumvent the Planet Shani (Saturn), and so worshiping him on Saturdays removes the malefic influence of Saturn from the horoscope). Hanuman is still believed to be living in the Himalayan ranges and is continually immersed in the devotionals to his beloved Ram. The ultimate image that portrays the devotion of Hanuman towards Ram depicts him tearing open his heart with his claws, and the image of Rama and Sita alone are seen in it.

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