Birth and Childhood of Hanuman
Hanuman was the son of Kesari, a vanar, and the grandson of Brihaspati, the king of Sumeru. His mother Anjana, was an apsara of the heavens and had descended to the earth as human, due to a curse. She and her husband had performed 12 years of penance and intense prayers due to which, Shiva granted them a child, as a boon. The child was Hanuman himself, due to which he is also interpreted as the reflection or shadow of Lord Shiva himself. Other mythological accounts often called Hanuman, as the son of The God of Wind, Vayu Dev, due to the popular story of the Wind God delivering a sacred pudding to Anjana, which originated from King Dasharatha’s ritual of Putrakama Yagya. The same pudding was had by the three wives of King Dasharatha, leading to the birth of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. This pudding was delivered to her while performing her prayers to Shiva, who steered the Vayu God’s energy into the womb of Anjana. Hence, Hanuman is popularly known as Vayuputra.
Hanuman was a very adventurous and restless child. He is believed to have mistaken the sun to be a ripe and mango, and he pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet, was also pursuing the Sun at that time for a scheduled eclipse, and he thrashed him in order to reach the Sun first. This angered Lord Indra, who struck him with a thunderbolt. Hanuman fell back to the earth, unconscious, and also damaged his chin, leaving a permanent mark on it. This incident enraged Vayu Dev, his father figure, who sucked out all the air from the universe. When all the humans and animals began to struggle for air, Lord Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt, and revived Hanuman, and was also blessed with multiple boons, by the devas, to pacify the Wind God.
Brahma provided Hanuman with the irrevocable Brahma’s curse, which ensures no one would be able to kill him with any weapon in war. He also blessed with the power of inducing fear in enemies, destroying fear in friends, and to be able to change his form to travel anywhere. Shiva blessed with the boons of longevity, scriptural wisdom, and the ability to cross the ocean, and also gave a band that would protect him for life. Lord Varuna blessed him with the boon of immunity from water. The Lord of Fire, Agni Dev, blessed him with the protection of burning by fire. Surya Dev gave him two blessings of yoga “laghima” and “garima”, using which he can attain the smallest or the largest form respectively. The God of Death, Yama, blessed him with the boons of health and immunity from weapons, thus securing him completely from death. Kubera, the treasurer of the Gods, blessed him with eternal happiness and satisfaction. Kamadeva, the Hindu God of love, blessed him to be free from lust, thus declaring him to be a celibate. His father also blessed him with even more speed. Hanuman then became of student of Surya, and acquired a great deal of knowledge from him. Hanuman then asked Surya to charge a guru dakshina from him, which he denied. However, he insisted a lot, and finally Surya asked him to help Surya’s spiritual son, Sugriva, as guru dakshina. Hanuman, then became Sugriva’s minister.
Hanuman, as Rama’s Devotee
Rama and Lakshmana come across Hanuman and Sugriva, while they were wandering in the forests of Kishkindha searching for Sita, just after she had been abducted by Ravana. Sugriva, at first was suspicious about the identities of Rama and Lakshmana, and thinking them to be a spy, sent by his brother Vali. Hanuman, however was confident that those two cannot be Vali’s spies, as they looked like dignified warriors However, just to be double sure, Sugriva sent Hanuman in the guise of a Brahmin to inquire about their actual identities and the purpose of their visit. Rama, upon meeting with him was greatly impressed with his exemplary virtues of good manners, and his perfectly polished tone of speaking. Rama, in him saw the qualities of a trustworthy friend, whom he can depend on, especially at that hour of danger, when Sita was missing. When Rama finally introduces himself to Hanuman, Hanuman removes his disguise, and falls to the feet of Rama, seeking his blessings. This was beginning of an epic friendship between Rama and his greatest devotee. Even today, people quote their relationship as examples of the best ever friendship that was ever there in the history of Hindu mythology. Hanuman is very popularly depicted as opening his chest containing the picture of Rama and Sita. He, therefore, stands to be the greatest devotee to be ever born on the Earth.
Hanuman then introduces Rama to Sugriva, and explains to him the scenario with his brother, Vali. Rama helps Sugriva regain his kingdom from Vali, by killing Vali. In return Sugriva promises to provide Rama with an army of vanars, to assist Rama and Hanuman in finding Sita. He sent the vanars, in all four directions of the Earth to search for Sita. The vanars bring the news that Sita is in Lanka.
Hanuman’s Effort in Finding Sita Devi
Hanuman reached Lanka, by making a giant leap across the ocean from the Indian land. He was really impressed with Lanka’s beauty and prosperity when he looked at it from the top. Hanuman finds Sita in captivity in the Ashoka groves. Hanuman pleads her to come back with him, to Rama, and assures her that he has been looking for her with all his efforts combined. However, Sita refused to go with Hanuman, as it would be an insult to Rama himself. She told Hanuman to give Rama the message that she would return only with Rama. Hanuman also gave Sita a ring given to her by Rama. After his meeting with Sita, all hell breaks loose in Lanka, and Hanuman began to create absolute havoc. He single handedly destroyed the palaces and properties of Lanka, and also kills many rakshasas, including Jambumali and Aksha Kumar. Hanuman also faked getting caught to Ravana’s son, Indrajit, so as to meet with the evil himself, the Ravana. When he met Ravana, he gave him an ultimatum to leave Sita, and he also undermined his strength by saying that he would forgive him, if he returns Sita honorably. This greatly enraged Ravana, and orders the burning of Hanuman’s tail. Hanuman, after letting it burn for a while, jumps from one roof to another, burning large parts of Lanka, while also escaping from his captors, after which he returned too Rama, by again leaping over the ocean back to India.
Hanuman Lifting Dronagiri Mountain to Bring Sanjivani
Lakshmana had been seriously injured during his battle against Ravana’s son, Indrajit. Rama sent Hanuman to fetch a potent life restoring herb, Sanjivani, from the Dronagiri Mountains in the Himalayas, using which Lakshmana’s health could be restored. Ravana, on hearing this, plans for Lakshmana’s death, as that would get Rama too grief-stricken to be able to fight in a war. He dispatches the witch Kalanemi to disrupt Hanuman’s attempts of finding the herb on time. Kalanemi, in disguise, as a sage, initially succeeds in fooling Hanuman. However, Hanuman finds out the disguise with the help of an apsara, whom he released from her accursed state of a crocodile, and he then kills Kalanemi. Ravana, still doesn’t gives up on his attempts, and calls upon Surya to rise earlier than its schedule, Ravana knew that Lakshmana would succumb to his wounds if not treated till daybreak. Hanuman, on realizing this danger, transforms himself into many times his normal size, to prevent the Sun God to appear. He continued his search for the precious herb, but he realized that he was not being able to recognize the specific herb that was required to cure Lakshmana. So, as a solution to his problem he lifts the entire mountain, owing to his infinite strength, and places the mountain in the battlefield of Lanka, where Sushena, the physician identifies the herb and uses it successfully to redeem Lakshmana back to life. Rama was ever grateful to Hanuman, and warmly embraced Hanuman to save his dear brother. Hanuman, then released Surya from his powerful grip, and asked for his forgiveness, as Surya was his teacher.