LORD HANUMAN


Hanuman is a Hindu deity, who is an ardent devotee of Rama, a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana. A general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, Hanuman is an incarnation of the divine, whose fate it is to aid the hero Rama in the struggle against the demon king Ravana.

Known also as Anjaneya, Maruti, Pavanputra, Anjaniputra, and Hanumat, Hanuman's exploits are much celebrated in a variety of religious and cultural traditions, particularly in Hinduism, so much so that he is often the subject of worship according to some

Hanuman was born to Anjana, a female vanara, and Kesari, a male vanara, near Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra. According to the Vedas, his mother was an apsara who was born on Earth as a female vanara due to a curse. She would be redeemed from this curse on her giving birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who is also known as Rudra, that is also endowed with the Supreme Power of exalted devotion to Bhagwaan Hari. Hanuman is endowed with 28 transcendental divine opulences, with perfection in each.

Hanuman was born in Aanjan, a small village about 18 km away from Gumla. The name of the village is derived from the name of the goddess Anjani, mother of Mahaveer Hanuman. Aanjani Gufa (cave), 4 km from the village, is believed to be the place where Anjani once lived. Many objects of archaeological importance obtained from this site are now held at the Patna Museum. It is also debated that Hanuman was born on Anjaneya Hill, in Hampi, Karnataka, near the Risyamukha mountain on the banks of the Pampa, where Sugreeva and Sri Rama met. There is a temple that marks the spot.

Anjana, along with her husband Kesari, performed intense prayers to Lord Shiva to beget Him as her Child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva granted them the boon they sought. Hence, Hanuman is also known as "Maharudra" because he was born of the boon given to Anjana by Shiva. The Valmiki Ramayana states that Kesari is the son of Brihaspati and that Kesari also fought on Rama's side in the war against Ravana.

Several different traditions account for Hanuman's birth. One is that at the time that Anjana was worshipping Lord Shiva, elsewhere, Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, was performing the Putrakama Yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred pudding, payasam, to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu, the Hindu deity of the wind, delivered the falling pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it. Hanuman was born to her as a result.

Hanuman, in one interpretation, is the incarnation or reflection of Shiva. Other interpretations, such as that of Dvaita, consider Hanuman to be the son of, or a manifestation of, Vayu, god of wind. When Ravana tried to enter the abode of Shiva, he called Nandishwara "a monkey". Nandishwara in turn cursed Ravana, that a monkey would burn his Lanka.

Another story of Hanuman's origins is derived from the Vishnu Purana and Naradeya Purana. Narada, infatuated with a princess, went to his God Lord Vishnu, to make him look like Sri Vishnu, so that the princess would garland him at Swayamvara. He asked for a Hari-Mukh. Hari is the name of Lord Vishnu and Mukh means face. But Vishnu instead bestowed him with the face of a monkey. Unaware of this, Narada went to the princess, who burst into laughter at the sight of his monkey face before all the king's court. Narada, unable to bear the humiliation, cursed Vishnu, that Vishnu would one day be dependent upon a vanara. Vishnu replied that what he had done was for Narada's own good, as he would have undermined his own powers if he were to enter matrimony. Vishnu also noted that Narada's request for Hari has the dual Sanskrit meaning of vanara. Upon hearing this, Narada repented for cursing his idol. But Vishnu replied, do not repent as your curse will act as a boon, for this will lead to the birth of Hanuman, without whose help I cannot kill Ravana.

References to Hanuman in classical literature could be found as early as those of 5th to 1st century BC in Panini's Astadhyayi, Abhiseka Nataka, Pratima Nataka, and Kālidāsa's Raghuvasya.

As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. In the nature of Rahu, the Tamas Gua predominated. To convey a message to the universe that Satva Guṇa always prevails, Hanuman goes to take sun in his abode. Indra, king of devas, was approached by Rahu with disappointment, enraging Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset, Vayu went into seclusion, taking the atmosphere with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt, and the devas revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons. A permanent mark was left on his chin, explaining his name.

On ascertaining Surya, the Hindu deity of the sun, to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested that Surya accept him as a student. Surya refused, claiming that as he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn effectively. Undeterred by Surya's refusal, Hanuman enlarged his body, placed one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges, and with his face turned toward the sun made his request again. Pleased by his persistence, Surya accepted. Hanuman then moved (backwards, to remain facing Surya) continuously with his teacher, and learned all of the latter's knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his "guru-dakshina" (teacher's fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. Hanuman insisted, whereupon Surya asked him to help his (Surya's) spiritual son Sugriva. Hanuman's choice of Surya as his teacher is said to signify Surya as a Karma Saakshi, an eternal witness of all deeds. Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realizing that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person. It is hypothesised that without this curse, the entire course of the Ramayana war might have been different, for he demonstrated phenomenal abilities during the war. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kanda and Sundara Kanda when Jambavantha reminds (the quietly wondering) Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita. The specific verse that is recited by Jambavantha is :

You are as powerful as the wind (Hanumanji was the son of Pawan, God of wind);

You are intelligent, illustrious & an inventor.

There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you;

Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.

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