Naveen C Trigunayat
BIRTH OF HANUMAN
Hanuman is the most charismatic character after the God Incarnation as Rama, his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman. It is believed that Hanuman was born as ‘Shankar Suvan’ or element of Lord Shiva to assist the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Rama to rid the world of evils like Ravan and several other Rakshasa who had troubled all God fearing Rishis and people in Bharatvarsh. This is to say Siva contributed his powers in the baby born of Kesri and Anjani in the form of blessings to achieve feats that were not possible without divine intervention. For this reason, he is believed to be an incarnation of Shiva himself and is the eleventh Rudra.
Punjiksthala, an Apsara had been put on curse and was born as a female monkey by name Anjani. This was in the mountainous region in South India in the erstwhile . state of Vijaynagaram. Today the place is called Hampi. Lord of Vayu (Wind God) approached her and prayed that he would be entering her womb with Shiva’s blessings to be born as a son. Later when she had a baby with Kesari, the strength and speed of winds became natural qualities of the Baby. The Baby was born in the fields to Anjani and she proceeded to tidy up soon after giving birth, leaving the new born on a bed of soft rice husks. While the mother was thus busy, the Baby felt a strong urge to eat. In desperation he looked around and saw the form of the Sun above. His Monkey sense alerted him of the object to be a ripe fruit. Using all his powers and his baby-strength he coiled his body and launched himself towards the fruit of his desire. With speed bestowed on him by Vayu he hastily approached the Sun who cried in fear to Lord Indra to save him. All other Gods too panicked and prayed to Indra, their King for help. Alarmed, Indra cast his Vajra at the Baby and hit him to stop his flight. Aghast, the baby fell back to where he was born and hit his chin (HANU) on a rock. It is due to this damage to his chin that his name became HANUMAN- one with a damaged chin.
All Gods were mentally relieved at this and followed to where the baby had fallen and was now crying aloud due to hurt, hunger and bruised ego. The wise Rishis of the area saw the abnormal level of Godly qualities and prevented the Gods from putting a curse on him. They advised that Lord Shiva be called in to judge what action was to be taken to sober the Baby Monkey. They prayed and Lord Shiva arrived with great speed. He was aware of his own incarnation and declared this in the presence of all Gods and Rishis. The Gods were happy that at last divine appearance was in progress and soon the earth would be rid of the evil Rakshasa.
Each God has a divine power specific to him and one by one they began to bless him with those powers that ranged from long life, great strength and just about any ability. But, being from the Monkey clan the Baby was naturally hyperactive and naughty. This was seen as a great problem because such powers concentrated in one body and that too of a Monkey could always be misused. Brahma thought over the problem and limited the divine powers to appear only when reminded by others. On his own the Baby would not be able to exercise any of his special abilities. He also blessed him to live forever and many people say that Hanuman lives even today. He appears in any form where there are people praying to Lord Rama. Of course, at that time Rama was yet to be born.
As the Baby Hanuman grew into his adolescence, he was like any ordinary person of the Vanar tribe. He gained knowledge from several Rishis in the area and mastered most of the sciences that were blessed to him by the Gods at the time of his birth and rest were there as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The areas of Vijaynagaram those days had only hill tribes and Hanuman soon became part of the King Sugriva’s special doot (missionary) and gained all knowledge. By the time Rama was born, Hanuman had already made an envious place for himself in all walks of life.
IMPORTANCE OF BEING HANUMAN
The epic Ramayan stands awfully close to any other purely Religious works such as the Vedas, the Purans and so on. The story strongly brings out the win of Good over Evil built around the lives of Sri Ram and his Pious wife Sita. There are several other characters that portray supporting casts and those that work against the principal character. Hanuman has been given importance by the two lead Casts- Rama and Sita. And it is at their insistence that he is given a berth almost at par with their own as main leads. In real life too he is said to be created for the success of the mission of Vishnu incarnation as Rama.
Hanuman is physically strong and blessed with unmeasurable strength. To add to his body power, he has capabilities to perform land and in air as special gift. He has been gifted with speed by the Wind God. With just this as strong points hanuman could have been only an able warrior, but, he has great Understanding, analytical powers, power to think out of the box and general smartness that he uses with great ease. A small example is seen when Sugriva asks him to interview the grieving Ram and Laxman dues in the forests of Kishkindha. Similarly, when obstructed in his jump to the Island Kingdom of Ravan by three different guarding Rakshasa he talks his way out and outsmarts them to complete the journey of 100 yojanas.
He is overly sensitive to the environment or to the delicate moment as is shown when he reveals himself to Sita in the Ashok Vatika. He does not want to scare an already hassled lady and yet he does so with great aplomb. He displays this trait whenever he is at service of Sita. On the other hand, when the situation so demands, he is fearless and is self-assured in the name of Ram. When he is standing alone in the presence of the most fearsome Ravan in his court, Hanuman shows excellent control of himself and the proceedings. He speaks and advices Ravan from a position of great strength to return Sita and seek lease for his own life. When he has been punished by Ravan by tying cloth to his tail and then set afire, he has quick thinking to jump from one huge mansion to another, thus, setting almost the entire city of Lanka on fire. Before he returns, he takes time to counsel Sita and instill faith and hope in her to await arrival of Rama to rescue her. He could have saved Sita himself, but he has shown commitment and dedication to ensure that all glory goes only to his Master.
God bestows his blessings on one who has piety, humility, simplicity etc. etc. Only then the undying devotion towards God matures in the heart of a person and he takes up complete dedication towards the deity. There is not even an iota of pride or selfishness in Hanuman. When he had returned after finding Sita in Lanka his team mates had sung great details of the feat to Ram, but when Ram asked Hanuman directly how he set fire to the Lankan Capital which had been planned and protected by Great Ravan himself, then the later replied with great submission. He said that in this achievement he had no hand and it was possible because he had only Rama’s name and thought, this enabled him to damage city buildings without attributing any credit to himself. He explained, “Prabhu, as a Monkey I can only swing from one branch to another. If I jumped across the sea, and set Lanka aflame or destroyed Ashok Vatika or even killed a number of Rakshasa then it was possible only with your blessings. This has no reflection on my accomplishments at all”
The entire epic is laden with events where Hanuman could have himself handled the adversaries, but he always works to make matters simple and effective for the success and achievement of the incarnated Ram.
Hanuman’s character is larger than life and his capabilities even bigger. When he instills total reliability he goes all out, when he wishes to instill fear, he is unbeatable and when he is using his wits to win a situation he has no parallel. The one whom he so wins over is always grossly happy of his own loss and the greatness of Hanuman as a winner. He does not demean the loser.
When Sugriva spotted the brothers in the Pampa Sarovar he had asked Hanuman to verify their antecedents ten he met them with great humility, wisdom, smartness and love and affection. He very tacitly explores their purpose and wins their confidence. Even Rama himself is impressed and says to Lakshman, “Brother, see how this Brahmin speaks with knowledge. He definitely seems to have studied the Vedas and he has mastered them, else how can anyone speak with such authority.”
The moment Hanuman is convinced that Ram is indeed a God he flings himself at his feet and reveals himself. He profusely apologizes and intelligently confesses his own position as a servant of Vanar King Sugriva.
IMPORTANCE OF DEVOTION
A Devotee is not attached to God as long as he remains attached to the world. Devotion is achieved only when one renounces all links with the world and his own body and forsakes his interests in everything except God. One cannot appease both, himself and his God. So long as there is desire and so long as there is want there cannot be true devotion to God, there can not be divine love for what one really wants – God.
The Devotee should understand God as his Own self, have unflinching faith in Him, and let there be no options to his approach to God. He should submit his mind, body, faculties and knowledge to God and be dependent on Him alone for everything like a newborn is for its mother. For this one does not have to go to any special place, one can remain wherever one is, but treat his environment with complete disdain, give up attachment, accept what comes his way and not want what has not come his way. Mind, body and knowledge are all in the ambit of Ego and there is no love in either of them. If one finds love in Ego then Mind, Body and Knowledge too will be integral to Ego and will no longer oppose his renunciation. His body, his mind and his knowledge will all be for his God and not for self.
The Devotee must clearly decide what he really wants. What is his precise requirement? Anything without which a devotee can survive and anything that has to be essentially given up are not his requirements. He must think about his inner self, and see how much he knows of that inner self or is it that he has always carried that self through the world without any real thought and simply enjoyed what world offered him and was aggrieved at not achieving what he never got. He will then realize what his true inner self is and how charming it is without any reflections from the world, this is the God that he actually needs. This is the One God that is there and the One that never let’s go his Devotees.
All things that one thought as his own are temporary and not essential. One has found attachment to his Body, his mother, father, siblings, friends and spouse and all these are transient. They are there some time and then depart for ever. They give pleasure for a while and then leave along trail of pain and agony. It is necessary to renounce these. It is because of these that one strayed away from the God, his absolute savior. Decide this as ones requirement, then completely offer himself to God, believe and trust only Him, and be in love with Him, approach him, remember him always and keep only this real association.
One will soon see that whatever goodness he sees around himself, that is part of his God, because of that God and for that God alone. One loves one’s own life dearly, but he loves another more dearly for whom he can give up his own life. God is that one for whom own life holds no value. That God is the greatest and whose domain has no start and has no end, is endless. Such a thing cannot be understood but can definitely, be achieved.
The living soul is like an infant and the nature of God is like the Mother. The world is like his toy. The child happily plays with his toy and get unlimited pleasure from it. Then, when hunger strike no amount of toys give any pleasure, even his favourite toy becomes unbearable, then the child wants his Mother and her alone- the giver of nourishment and who cuddles him to sleep when he has been fed. Till such time the devotee wants his doze of God’s love and becomes dedicated to receive this love and gives up all interest in the ways of the world, God views him with love and affection like his mother, and when he renounces the world God collects him in his arms and showers the divine love.
THE WISDOM OF HANUMAN
The Wisdom of Hanuman is obvious from his preparations and actions during his flight to Lanka. In his childhood, soon after he had reached for the Sun as a fruit all
the Rishis saw that this infant will be immensely powerful and there will be nothing that he will not be able to accomplish. They realized he was an incarnation of Lord Shiv. They conferred and decided that Hanuman will mostly remain unawares of his capabilities and will consider himself to be at par with just any other person.
Once the troop had reached the tip of Southern India which was nearest to Lanka but still a hundred yojanas away, Jambwan thought it necessary to provoke and remind Hanuman of his great powers. It is only then that Hanuman reassured himself of his prowess. Thus, we see that his wisdom was an undercurrent residing below his devotion towards Ram.
Once Hanuman became aware of his strength he boastfully announced he could kill the demon Ravan and rescue Sita from his clutches. He said he could destroy the city completely and sink it in the sea. Here Jambwan asserted that as emissary of Ram his job was to only locate Sita and return to Ram with information of her location and her welfare. He also advised him that if he was attacked, he could do what it takes for self-defense and that he should not be attacking anybody as an aggression. Hanuman readily understood his role and accepted the advice.
Even during the flight after Hanuman took the great leap he was confronted, firstly by Menak, son of Himalaya who lived under sea surface, and then later by three demoness who challenged him. Since Menak was only offering his respects and offered to let him rest, Hanuman spoke briefly and told him truthfully that he was on a mission for Ram and there was no time for niceties. He then met Surasa, mother of all snakes. Sursa said she wanted to eat him. Hanuman began to grow his body size, larger in stages, and she opened her mouth wide and wider. When her mouth was thus wide open, Hanuman assumed a very tiny form and entered her mouth and before she could snap it shut he exited and was on way forward again. This way he honoured her stipulation to eat him.
He was next accosted by Sinhika who was a demoness residing in the sea and had the power to catch a flying body by its shadow and gobble it up. There was no need for being polite, so Hanuman hit her with a mighty fist and killed her.
Then as he approached Lanka, he assumed a form like a mosquito and decided to slip in unobtrusively. He was spotted again by Lankini who was the guiding demoness for Lanka’s defense. Hanuman hit her with a slap but not hard enough to kill her. She lost her senses and fell.
The three demonesses represent Satvik (True) forces and it is right to fold one’s hands and escape, which Hanuman did with ample skill. Sursa represents the Tamsik (Ignorance) forces. It is best to kill them and proceed without a second thought and Lankini represents Rajsik (Balance between True and Ignorance) and these have to be overcome by fooling them. Hanumans’ action was in compliance with this Vedic sentiments.
He assumed a small form once he saw Sita so that she was neither alarmed nor she would mistake him for a demon. He spoke gently and only in praise of Rama, this convinced Sita and she expressed her confidence. Rama’s Ring made his introduction complete. Thereafter, he took Sita into confidence and destroyed the Vatika completely and killed demons that attacked him. Once again complying to his promise to Jamabwan.
Even when he was produced before Ravan, Hanuman followed the ethics of an emissary. When he met Vibhishan, his conduct was entirely different and he looked at Vibhishan as one devotee looks at another.
Later in the epic his wisdom comes to the fore when he meets Kalanemi (an Asura emissary of Ravan who was sent there to mislead and delay the mission) in search of Sanjeevani and how he plucks the entire mountain top as he has no means to identify the herb himself.
Once while Anjani was readying herself after a bath, baby Hanuman was playing nearby. Suddenly he looked up and saw his mother fill her hair parting with Vermillion. The curious baby asked of his mother as to why she was adding that powder to her hair. Anjani responded that it was a mark of her dedication to her husband and said that all married ladies apply this too. Hanuman took it that any devotee like himself too must apply this orange powder to display his belief in his God.
The next day when he went to see Rama everyone burst out laughing because Hanuman had completely immersed himself in the powder. Rama beaconed him and asked why he had done so. Hanuman, in his innocence replied that his mother told him that the Powder (Sindoor) displayed a woman’s loyalty to her husband, so he also had the urge to display his own devotion towards God. This was why he had applied that chemical (Rasayan) all over.
Rama had no words and the gathering soon fell silent at the innocence of Hanuman. Nobody else, but a complete Bhakt alone could have acted thus. Rama placed his hand on Hanumans head and said that he liked Hanuman in just that appearance and that this rasayan will always remind the world of his devotion. Later Tulsidas Inserted the famous line in his ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ saying , Rama rasayan tumhare paasa, sada raho Raghupati ke daasa”
After Rama’s return to Ayodhya he was accosted in his chamber with Sita ji and some very close kin. Someone had asked Hanuman to wait outside the room. Hanuman could not see his Lord after the doors were shut and it was time for Rama to sleep. Gradually everyone filed out of the room and Sita was surprised to see that Rama was yawning time and again. A worried Sita asked Rama the reason and was told, just call Hanuman inside. Sita went out and found Hanuman snapping his fingers and calling Rama’s name softly. Anyway, Hanuman came in and Sita asked as to why he was snapping his fingers. Hanuman innocently replied that he was not sure when Rama would be sleepy and yawn so he was just randomly snapping so that the customary finger snapping for Ram would suffice.
Sita blessed him for his devotion and Rama blessed him with a hug.
GARUD AND HANUMAN
One day when Garud was saying his evening prayers, Sudarshan Chakra stepped closer to hear what he was saying in his prayers. To his utter surprise he heard him praying not to Vishnu but to Pavansut ( son of wind-God), Hanuman. Soon after the prayers Sudarshan confronted Garud and asked why he was praying to Hanuman and not to his Lord and Master, God Vishnu. Garud smiled and said that he was going to Gandhmadan Mountains to fetch Hanuman for Vishnu’s call, and as everyone is aware Hanuman has a speed that none can equal, hence he is praying that Hanuman will make his job possible. Sudarshan thought he will play a small joke and said,’ if Rama had asked you to fetch Sanjivani herb when Lakshman was injured by Meghnad’s power attack then you would have fetched it much sooner than Hanuman, actually it is your speed that has no parallel’. Garud was flattered but he said with utter humility, ‘Even if this were to be true, I had no physical strength to pluck out a whole mountain top and carry it over such large distance’. Garud continued, ‘even earlier when Meghnad had attacked Hanuman by his Nagpash Shakti, he had just entangled himself in the great coils of the snakes, he had seemed to be very powerless then. Had it been you, Sudarshan then you would have had the strength to cut through the maze of snakes’. Sudarshan now realized how he had inadvertently praised Garud over the very God to whom he had been praying. Sudarshan quietly exited the dialog and positioned himself at the main gates of Vishnupuri.
BHIMA AND HANUMAN
Even though Bhima was born in a different era, he had the great opportunity to meet Hanuman. After the departure of the incarnation of Rama, Hanuman was blessed to be without old age and free from death. He had participated passively in the Mahabharat epic by riding in the flog atop Arjunas chariot during the Kurukshetra war. Krishna himself played the role of the charioteer. Even as the epic unfolded Hanuman was mentioned in several events. This is one such incidence.
Once Bhima had asked Hanuman to show him the great profile he had adopted at the time of fighting with Ravan alongside Ram and his forces of Vanars (Monkeys) and Reech (tribe of the bears).
Hanuman smiled and said, ‘ there is no doubt you have the strength of a thousand elephants but even then, that sight will be a little too much for you to see’. Bhima persisted
Hanuman always was happy to do what he had done in his service to Rama. He expanded his body many folds and let out and ear-wrenching guffaw and a roar that reverberated over miles of emptiness. He wildly thumped his chest and kicked his feet to raise huge amount of dust into the air. The sound permeated to all the three worlds and the earth rumbled underfoot as if a great quake had devasted the land. Bhima had not anticipated any such thing and briefly lost his senses and fell down to the ground.
Hanuman resumed his normal posture and gently cradled Bhima on his lap. When Bhima came to he felt very embarrassed and fell to his feet to seek his pardon.
SITA’S GIFT TO HANUMAN
Soon after Ram had won the Lanka war, he and his family assembled around the sea-coast to celebrate the victory. Both Rama and Lakshman were busy distributing great wealth to all the brave fighters. There was a great pomp and show. Hanuman stood silently and watched the great event. Suddenly Sita, overcome by her gratitude towards the services of Hanuman, stepped forward and put her own valuable necklace round his neck. Tears began to roll down Hanuman’s cheeks for having received such a distinguished present. He moved away.
Next moment he plucked out a great jewel and bit it under his teeth. Vibhishan watched in disbelief, even more so when he threw away the broken jewel and plucked another for similar treatment. Unable to resist, he said, ‘Hanuman! what are you doing? Just destroying such exquisite jewelry and such expensive gems. Hanuman said, ‘I am trying to see if Rama’s name is etched in the jewels and since it is not so I have no use for such trivial and worthless baubles.
Hanuman had place only for the name of Rama in his heart and he had no use for anything that did not reflect the greatness of his God.
In a subsequent incarnation Vishnu came back in the form of Krishna and Sita had reincarnated as Satyabhama. Being Gods they both had remembered their previous life in Bharatvarsh as Rama and Sita. Once they playfully decided to replay the role of Rama and Sita. Satyabhama sat in front of the mirror and dressed herself up as Sita. Then she decked herself up as Sita with jewelry just as Sita had preferred. After a close look in the mirror she appeased herself as Sita complete image and waited for Krishna to come in as Rama. Krishna dressed as Rama came in and appreciated her faultless appearance as Sita. Even as they were in conversation, there was a noise near the door. Krishna said that when they have dressed as Rama and Sita, the one outside would be Hanuman. Lo and behold, instantly Hanuman came in. He fell at Rama’s feet and began to swoon having met his God. Krishna placed his hand on Hanuman and said, ‘Will you not look at Sita Maata’? Hanuman looked around and said, ‘I do not see Sita Maa here in this room.’ Rama pointed out at Satyabhama who was very proud with the Ego of her unsurpassed beauty and of having changed her looks just like Sita. Now she felt uneasy and tried to get in the vision of Hanuman. Hanuman trained his sight back to Rama’s feet and began to live in the ecstasy of his devotion to Rama.
Satyabhama was shattered that she had failed to appear as Sita and asked why he did not see Sita in her. Hanuman simply replied that he did not see the motherly affection of Sita in her and thus he was indifferent. Krishna intervened. He told Satyabhama that he had noticed that she had developed false pride in herself and hence he had set up this scene to break her vanity. Satyabhama immediately fell at Krishna’s feet asking for forgiveness.
Krishna asked Hanuman if he had not been stopped outside by some guard. Hanuman replied that he had sought permission from some guard to come in but that guard was very rude. Since the guard wanted to delay his darshan of Rama he had actually coiled him up in his tail and brought him in as well. Krishna smiled and asked him to release that person and Hanuman complied. Out came Sudarshan from the coils of the tail. Krishna said to Sudarshan that he too had built an Ego about his strength and this should serve to break his false pride.
Krishna thus broke the ego and false pride of both Satyabhama as well as Sudarshan.
SEARCH FOR SANJIVANI
When Lakshman fainted from a power attack by Meghnad there was great distress in the Rama sena. Everyone was aghast and had lost their war quotient.
Ram was disheartened too. He summoned Ravana’s Vaidya (Doctor of Ayurveda medicines) for finding a cure and the Vaidya appeared there as if by magic. After a quick assessment he declared that there was a particular herb called Sanjivani booti which was available atop mountain Gandhgmadan near the seacoast. He also expressed that if the medicine from this plant was applied before Sun-rise next day only then Lakshman would come back to life. In such crisis Rama trusted only Hanuman and asked him to hurry.
Even while Hanuman was flying to the mountain Ravana came to know of it. He ordered his faithful demon Kalanemi to reach the place and detract Hanuman. Kalanemi reached the mountain and assumed the form of a brahmin and having built a small cottage waited for Hanuman’s arrival. As soon as the wind-god touched down he approached him and offered cold water from a spring, and, as Hanuman imbibed the life giving liquid, Kalanemi offered him fruits and roots and then engaged him in tales of Rama’s valour. Hanuman always paid due attention to such stories and listened carefully. By now it was getting dark and hanuman remembered why he was here in the first place. He explained this to Kalanemi who told him that he knew the booti but since it was dark, he could not locate it just then. The two decided to look for the herb just before daybreak, then Hanuman could return before sun-rise. The two engaged in more lores of Rama.
Suddenly a sixth sense told Hanuman that Kalanemi was trying to delay him from his mission and he pushed the demon aside and plucked the mountain top on which there were several herbs, and each one unknown to Hanuman. Hanuman took his massive leap and headed out to where Lakshman lay senseless. On his arrival Sushen administered the herb and as Lakshman was coming to wakefulness he expressed his doubt that it was past sun-rise time yet there was no sign of the sun anywhere. Hanuman said that as he was midway, he saw sun rising in the east. He then asked the Sun to delay his orbit, but he declined so Hanuman wrapped him in his tail, thus preventing a sunrise. At Rama’s behest he released the Sun who then resumed his untiring journey once again.
JUDGEMENT POWER TO GUAGE A PERSON
Hanuman has mastered all the eight Siddhis. These are qualities of increasing or decreasing one’s weight, size, mind-reading other people and so on. By virtue of Ishita Siddhi Hanuman had the extraordinary power to recognise a person instantly after seeing his face, even if he had never met that person before. In Sunderkand of Ramayana there are instances of this great ability.
Upon sighting two strangers in the Pampa Sarovar area Sugriva had sent Hanuman to investigate. Hanuman recognised them and decided to verify himself, so he appeared before them as a Brahmin. Rama had recognised him too and told Lakshman that this person was indeed someone who was well versed in the Vedas.
All people who were in constant presence of Rama did not realise that He was God incarnate. It was only Hanuman who recognised Rama as God himself and displayed unflinching loyalty and Bhakti towards Rama.
When Vibhishan came to Rama to surrender and seek asylum all present thought him to be a spy agent of Ravana. Some of the prominent Vanars even attacked him. But Hanuman instantly recognised the true intent and convinced Rama as well as all others that Vibhishan indeed had genuine intent of surrender.
SERVICE AND ABJECT SURRENDER
Soon after his birth and after the incident when he wanted to devour the Sun as a fruit all the Devas had arrived at the site and when they realised that Rudra had blessed him, they all inculcated their special powers in him. Later he was instructed by the very God he had attempted to eat- Surya deva. This becomes clear when one reviews the scene when he was produced, tied by Nagpash, in Ravana’s court. Hanuman was completely forthright and answered all questions with dignity and skill of a seasoned ambassador.
Despite outstanding knowledge, powers and understanding, Hanuman surrendered to Rama as a servant, he had no pride in his own capabilities. He was always pained when ever Rama had a problem, he became uneasy when there was any helplessness and he was most uncomfortable when he did not get a chance to serve his master.
Whatever service Hanuman could do for Rama he did only with the thought to please the God, he was never aware that his service could bear fruit for his own well-being.
GOD OF THE MASSES
It is difficult to say since when people began to pray to Hanuman, in Ramayana itself there is no clear instance that he was prayed to. But Hanuman did not serve just Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana, but he served Bharat and Shatrughan as well. He also extended his services to any body who held Rama as his God.
Hanuman had complete mastery of Veda’s , and other current formats of learning, which included Tantric Vidya as well. Thus, people seeking any form of knowledge prayed to him to achieve different streams of academics. Besides, statues and icons painted in vermillion colours cropped up just any where and one did not have to visit a regular temple. Most prayers to Hanuman were part of folk lore and casting the local dialect for easy recitation. His unparalleled strength and power of a celibate were widely seen by people as support to most of day-to-day problem that crop up in mundane life.
Another important contributary factor to his popularity is Rama’s boon that wherever people pray to Him, Hanuman too will find a mention as a people’s God.
There is no specific format of ritual procedure. Even just one pronouncement of his name is enough to give confidence in the heart of a bhakta that all will be well. His name is a relief in all cases but most practiced to ward off fear and evil.
HANUMAN IN UPNISHADS
Hanuman’s name appears wherever there is matter related to Rama. These references occur in Ramrahsyopnishad, Rampoorvtapniya, Muktikopnishad and several others. He is mostly portrayed as the person who is either seeking or revealing substance of the divine mysteries of his master. In Ramrahasyopnishad there is a piece that when Sanaka Rishis and others including Prahlad asked him what was the substance-text of the Four Vedas, Eighteen Purans, Six shastras, and all other spiritual texts, he replied that Rama is the Brahman, the five elements, the Tarak brahma and the text of the creation.
Hanuman’s name also figures in Rampoorvottartapniya Upnishad in great details. Here, he answers questions relating to Rama’s name, meaning of his name, details of Rama’s description, benefits of Chanting his name, and meditation on Rama. Here one finds brief description of Hanuman’s contribution in locating Sita and preparation for the assault on Lanka.
Similarly, Hanuman is mentioned in the Vedas and Mahabharat as well.
HANUMAN AS RUDRA INCARNATION
An ancient story found in the Purans is that once Shiva saw Vishnu in the form of Mohini and overcome by her beauty he spilled his vital fluid. Some Rishis present there collected it on a leaf. Subsequently, the Wind God established it in the womb of Anjali through her ear. There is also description that he is the Eleventh Rudra and was granted to be ageless and deathless, accordingly it is said that he still roams the world incognito, but appears in some form or the other wherever prayers are being offered to Rama.
Usually, Hanuman is portrayed as peaceful and fully submerged in his devotion to Rama. But it is mentioned in the Ramayan that while he was fighting alongside Rama and against Kumbhkarna he was seen in a fit of rage and appeared like Narsimha with red eyes. There maybe more mentions of his being in rage but it is exceedingly rare to come across his angered form in picture or statue.
Since he had the gift of all Vidya’s, Hanuman was accomplished in Tantra Vidya as well. In Tantric practices even the person performing pooja is depicted to be in Rudra-roop. Thus, the Hanuman idols used are also displaying him in his Rudra form.
IN THE ROLE OF A POLITICIAN
Mahirshi Shukracharya has been quoted to say that a qualified person in political correctness like Rama was never born nor will ever exist. His one name describes him as Maryada-purushottam, a person adept in working within laid out boundaries of freedom and action. It is Rama who had acknowledged Hanuman’s Political acumen. After the first meeting with Hanuman, Rama was enamoured with his approach as some one who must surely have studied the Vedas and had the right education in all aspects. He told Lakshman, ‘Even the heart of some one who has raised a sword to kill will change after hearing such pleasant words. If any King does not have a counsel so well learned he can never be a successful ruler in his kingdom. When a King does have such accomplished executives then most of his administrations are automatically accepted by his subjects’.
We see another flash of his caliber as an ambassador when he is presented in the Court of Rama. He forthrightly and without frills conveys Rama’s message to return Sita without any personal comments. He then defends his action of destroying Ashok Vatika and killing only those asuras that attacked him with natural dignity.
AN ABLE STUDENT
All the Gods, including the Veda’s had blessed and imparted their skills in Hanuman’s mine soon after his birth. But unless there is formal education under a Guru all the knowledge available can not produce required impact. At birth, despite being nearly eaten up by Hanuman Surya had committed that when time comes, he will formally educate him. At the age of five and after his Yagyopaveet (thread ceremony) Hanuman approached Surya to avail his boon. Surya informed him that since his chariot never stops there needs to be a solution to impart knowledge while moving. Hanuman used his Siddhi power and moved in the space just outside Surya’s chariot.
Having completed his classes in just a few days, he offered Surya his Guru-dakshina. Surya advised him that since he himself does not need anything Hanuman should serve his God-child Sugriva. Hence before meeting with Rama, Hanuman served Sugriva as a friend and advisor.
BREAKING SHANI’S PRIDE
Once, when Setu bride between Bharat and Lanka was under completion, Hanuman was meditating on his God, Rama. The sun was about to set when Shani happened to come that way. Shani was immensely proud of his powers as a son of the mighty Surya and he was looking to pick up a strength match with someone of his own class, he was spoiling for a fight. Seeing Hanuman, he challenged him for a duel. But Hanuman was absorbed in his meditation and advised him to go away. Bur Shani attacked and dragged him to fight. Hanuman began to increase his tail length and wrapped him in its coils. Then, with Shani so tied, he began to run the length of Setu, each time striking his tail on the stones.
At last Shani had enough and cried out in pain. Hanuman released him and asked him to go away, but Shani’s body was so badly bruised that he started to ask for some curative oils. From that time people offer Mustard oil to Shani every Saturday.
HANUMAN THE MUSIC GURU
As said earlier, Hanuman had been blessed by all the Gods who gave him their individual traits and skills. Amongst the Vidya’s received by him, music also was one. Later Hanuman sharpened his skills and made valuable contribution to the science of music. The scriptures say that Hanuman, Shardul and Kahal are the three fathers of this vidya. There are three volumes of sangeet-shastra and one of them is written as Hanuman-mat. The other two are attributed to Shiva and Bharat, respectively.
In sangeet-shastra Hanuman -mat is better known as Anjaneya or Marut-mat.
The tales of Hanuman are as endless as his Tail. He stars not only in folk lore’s of Ramayan but also had a substantial appearance in the epic of Mahabharat. As he was blessed to be without old-age and death many believe that Hanuman still.
lives. He always appears wherever there maybe people offering prayers to Rama. Wit one incarnation of Vishnu still to take place as Kalki dev, there may be many who will be blessed to see his presence again.
In a broad sense Ramayana’s two prime characters are Lord Rama himself and Hanuman who served to be his right hand. The epic is full of many other characters and some of them actually, move the story forward, but none really indispensable.
Many say that Since that time, hanuman continues to stay in this very world, as indeed seven others who were so blessed. Hanuman alone makes for his appearance both in the times of Rama as well as Krishna who incarnated one yug after Rama. This apart so many folk lore’s have generated themselves in his name from region to region and country to country. But the essential character of Hanuman as a devoted servant of Rama has been upheld all around. Being an incarnation of Lord Shiva, Hanuman has unlimited powers but he has completely ignored his capabilities and served his lord and master who incarnated in Treta yug as Rama.
Perhaps among temples there is no count of them in India, but the gretest number of them must be in the service of Hanuman, completely over shadowing those of other deities, Rama included. My aim here is to heighten his role in India as a personal God who professes complete dedication to his Master. This gives us feel that Gods are in a hierarchy of their ascendance, and even the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva have a God superior to them.
I dare say that stories of hanuman are unending and this text merely aims to bring alive Hanuman and mentally revise so many feats of him that have been dormant in the mind of the reader.