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This article is from the book Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

Hanuman

By

Sri Swami Sivananda

hanuman.jpg (28404 bytes)

Introduction
Birth of a Hero
His Greatness and Glory
His Superhuman Exploits
The Episode of the Pearl Necklace
First Among the Heroes of the World
Prince Among the Dasya Bhaktas
Related Links

Introduction

O Lord Hanuman!
Servant of Lord Rama!
Son of Anjana Devi
And Wind-God!
O mighty Hero!
O learned Nava-vyakarana-Pundit!
O wise Sage!
Prostrations unto Thee.

SRI HANUMAN is worshipped everywhere in India, alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Lord Rama has the Murti of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman is the Avatara of Lord Siva. He was born of Wind-God and Anjana Devi.

Birth of a Hero

Anjana, known also as Punjikasthala, was the wife of the Kapi chief Keshari. She was the daughter of Kunjara. Spotless Anjana was reputed for her beauty in the three worlds. There was none like her on the earth. On account of a curse, she was born as a Vanara woman. She could assume any form at her will. She was endowed with heavenly virtues.

Once Anjana was strolling about over the green hills. The Wind-God gently wafted her garment. Her body was exposed. He was charmed by her beauty. He embraced her in love. Anjana was frightened by this. She asked, "Who is molesting me like this?"

The Wind-God replied, "Do not be afraid, O Anjana. I am not doing you any harm. I am entering your body in thought. You will bear in your womb a strong and intelligent boy. He will possess the power of moving like me."

Anjana was very much delighted at these words of the Wind-God. She delivered Hanuman in a cave. As soon as He was born, He saw the sun rising in the sky. He sprang up three hundred Yojanas, and yet, He was not affected by the heat of the sun. Indra became angry and hurled his thunderbolt at Hanuman. As He was struck by it, He fell down on a rock. His left jaw was broken.

When the Wind-God saw that Hanuman was struck by Indra, He ceased to blow. The people of the three worlds became frightened by this. The gods tried to please the Wind-God. Brahma said, "Your son Hanuman will not be destroyed by arms on account of my blessings." Indra was struck with astonishment when he saw that Hanuman survived even though He was struck by the thunderbolt. He blessed Hanuman and said, "The Son of Wind-God will die only at His will on account of my blessing."

Hanuman was named after the city Hanumpur over which His maternal uncle Parti Surya ruled. Hanumanís body was hard as a stone. So Anjana named Him Vajranga. He is also known by the name Mahavir or mightiest hero, because He exhibited several heroic feats. His other names are Pavana Suta, Marut-Suta, Pavan Kumar, Bajrangabali, Balibima and Maruti.

His Greatness and Glory

The world has not yet seen, and will not see in future also, a mighty hero like Sri Hanuman. During His life-time, He worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valour. He has left behind Him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a mighty influence over the minds of millions of people.

Hanuman is one of the seven Chiranjivis. He is the only learned scholar who knows the nine Vyakaranas. He learnt the Shastras from the Sun-God. He is the personification of Brahmacharya. He is the wisest of the wise, strongest of the strong, and bravest of the brave. He is the Sakti of Rudra. He who meditates on Him and repeats His Name attains power, strength, glory, prosperity, and success in life. He is worshipped in all parts of India, particularly in Maharashtra.

He had the power to assume any form He liked, to swell His body to an enormous extent, and to reduce it to the length of a thumb-nail. His strength was superhuman. He was the terror of Rakshasas. He was well-versed in the four Vedas and other sacred books. His valour, wisdom, knowledge of the scriptures, and superhuman strength attracted everybody who came near Him. He had extraordinary skill in warfare.

Hanuman is the chosen messenger, warrior, and servant of Sri Rama. He is the votary and devotee of Lord Rama. Rama was His all-in-all. He lived to serve Rama. He lived in Rama. He lived for Rama. He was a minister and intimate friend of Sugriva.

Hanuman saw Sri Rama for the first time in Kishkindha. Sri Rama and Lakshmana came there in the course of their search of Sita whom Ravana had carried away.

A Rishi had pronounced a curse on Hanuman for His wrong action in leaping at the sun that He would remain unconscious of His great strength and prowess till He met Sri Rama and served Him with devotion. As soon as Hanuman beheld Sri Rama, He became quite conscious of His strength and power.

His Superhuman Exploits

In Lanka, Hanuman exhibited His immense strength and extraordinary powers. He destroyed the beautiful grove which was a pleasure resort of Ravana. He uprooted many trees and killed many Rakshasas. Ravana was very much infuriated at this. He sent Jambumali to fight against Sri Hanuman, who took the trunk of a tree and hurled it against Jambumali and killed him. Ravana sent his son Aksha to fight against Hanuman. He was also killed. Then he sent Indrajit. Hanuman threw a great tree upon Indrajit. Indrajit fell down senseless on the ground. After some time, Indrajit recovered his consciousness. He threw the Noose of Brahma on Hanuman. Hanuman allowed Himself to be bound down by the noose. He wanted to honour Brahma. Indrajit ordered the Rakshasas to carry the monkey to his fatherís court. Even hundred Rakshasas were not able to lift Hanuman.

Hanuman made Himself as light as possible. The Rakshasas lifted Him up. When they placed Him over their shoulders, He suddenly became very heavy and crushed the Rakshasas to death. Then Hanuman asked them to remove the rope. They removed the rope. Hanuman proceeded to the council-hall of Ravana.

Ravana said, "O mischievous Monkey! What will You say in Your defence? I will now put You to death." Hanuman laughed and said, "O wicked Ravana! Give back Sita to Lord Rama and ask His pardon. Otherwise, you will be ruined and the whole Lanka will be destroyed." These words of Hanuman made Ravana very furious. He ordered the Rakshasas to cut off the head of Hanuman.

Vibhishana intervened and said, "O brother, it is unlawful and unrighteous to kill a messenger. You can inflict some punishment only."

Ravana consented. He wanted to deprive Hanuman of His tail and to make Him ugly. He ordered the Rakshasas to wrap Hanumanís tail with clothes soaked in oil and ghee. Hanuman extended His tail to such a length and size that all the clothes in Lanka would not cover it. Then Hanuman reduced His tail of His own accord. The Rakshasas wrapped the tail with clothes soaked in oil and ghee, and lighted the pieces of cloth. Hanuman expanded His body to an enormous size and began to jump from place to place. The whole Lanka caught fire. All the palatial buildings were burnt down to ashes.

Hanuman then jumped into the sea in order to cool and refresh Himself. A drop of His perspiration fell into the mouth of a great fish which gave birth to a mighty hero named Makar Dhuaj. Makar Dhuaj is considered as the son of Hanuman. Thereupon Hanuman went to the Asoka-grove and told Sita all that He had done.

Then He crossed the sea through the air and came back to the place where His army was placed. He told them all that had happened. Thereupon they all marched quickly to carry the good news to Sri Rama and Sugriva. They reached the city of Kishkindha. Hanuman gave Sitaís ring to Lord Rama. Sri Rama rejoiced heartily. He praised Hanuman and embraced Him and said, "O mighty Hanuman! I cannot repay Your debt."

When all the brothers and sons of Ravana were killed, Ravana sent for his brother named Ahi Ravana who was the king of the nether world. Ahi Ravana came to Lanka. Ravana asked his help to fight against Sri Rama and Lakshmana.

Ahi Ravana consented to help his brother. At dead of night, he assumed the form of Vibhishana, brother of Ravana, an ally and devotee of Sri Rama, and reached the place where Rama and Lakshmana were sleeping. Hanuman was keeping the watch. He thought that Vibhishana was coming. Therefore He allowed him to enter the camp. Ahi Ravana slowly took the two brothers on his shoulders and repaired to his kingdom.

When the day dawned, Hanuman found out that Sri Rama and Lakshmana were missing. He found out that Ahi Ravana had carried them to his kingdom. At once He proceeded to the nether world and received information that Ahi Ravana had made arrangements to kill the brothers in a sacrifice. Hanuman assumed a tiny form entered the temple, and sat over the image of the Goddess. The image went down into the earth. Hanuman took up Her seat. When Ahi Ravana was about to sacrifice the two brothers, Hanuman appeared in His own form and killed him. He installed Makar Dhuaj, His own son, on the throne, took the brothers on His shoulders and brought them to Lanka.

Hanuman killed many heroes in the great war. Dhumar, Vajro, Roshat, Ankhan, and several other great warriors were killed only by Him.

When the great war was over, Vibhishana was installed on the throne of Lanka. The time of banishment was about to be over. Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman sat on the Pushpaka Viman or aeroplane and reached Ayodhya in time.

The Episode of the Pearl Necklace

The coronation ceremony of Lord Rama was celebrated with great ťclat and pomp. Sita gave Hanuman a necklace of pearls of the rarest quality. Hanuman received it with great respect and began to break the pearls with His teeth. Sita, and other ministers who were sitting in the council-hall, were quite astonished at this queer act of Sri Hanuman.

Sita asked Hanuman, "O mighty Hero! What are You doing? Why do You break the pearls?" Sri Hanuman said, "O venerable Mother! It is the most valuable necklace, indeed, as it has come to me through Thy holy hand. But I want to find out whether any of the pearls contains my beloved Lord Rama. I do not keep a thing devoid of Him. I do not find Him in any of the pearls." Sita asked, "Tell me whether You keep Lord Rama within You." Hanuman immediately opened His heart and showed it to Sri Rama, Sita and others. They all found Lord Rama, accompanied by Sita, in the heart of Sri Hanuman.

Lord Rama rejoiced heartily. He came down the throne and embraced Hanuman and blessed Him. Sri Hanuman passed the rest of His life in the company of the Lord.

When Sri Rama ascended to His supreme abode, Hanuman also wished to follow Him. But the Lord asked him to remain in this world as His representative, and attend all assemblies of men where discourses on His deeds were held and heard, and help His devotees in cultivating devotion.

Hanuman is a Chiranjivi. He is everywhere. He who has eyes and devotion beholds Him and receives His blessing.

First Among the Heroes of the World

Hanuman ranks first among the heroes of the world. His heroic deeds, wonderful exploits, and His marvellous feats of strength and bravery cannot be adequately described. His sense of duty was extremely laudable. He had great skill in all military tactics and methods of warfare. His crossing the sea of thirty miles in one leap, lifting the crest of the range of a mountain in the palm of the hand, and His carrying the brothers on His shoulders from the nether world to Lanka are all astounding superhuman feats which baffle human description.

He conquered innumerable difficulties which cropped up in His way through His courage, patience and undaunted spirit. He made untiring search to find out Sita. At the time of danger, He exhibited marvellous courage and presence of mind. He was steady and firm in His actions. He was always successful in His attempts. Failure and despair were unknown to Him. He dedicated His life to the service of the Lord. He had not a tinge of selfishness in His actions. All His actions were offerings unto Lord Rama. He is a rare jewel among devotees, the supreme head among Pundits, the king among celibates, and the great commander among heroes and warriors.

Prince Among the Dasya Bhaktas

He is a living embodiment of Rama Nama. He is an ideal Nishkama-Karma Yogi or ideal selfless worker. He is a Bhakta, Brahmachari. He served Rama with pure love and devotion without expecting any fruit in return. He lived to serve Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do. He crossed the ocean by uttering Rama Nam, burnt Lanka, brought Sanjeevini herb and restored Lakshmana to life again. He brought both Rama and Lakshmana from Patala-loka after killing Ahi Ravana.

He had Bhakti, Sakti, Vidya and Seva-Bhava, Brahmacharya and Nishkamya-Bhava. He never boasted of His bravery and intelligence. He said to Ravana, "I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Rama, to do His work. By the command of Lord Rama, I have come here. I am fearless, by the grace of Lord Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it, if it comes while I am serving Lord Rama." Mark here how humble Hanuman was! How devoted He was to Lord Rama! He never said, "I am brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything."

Lord Rama Himself said to Sri Hanuman, "I am indebted to you. O mighty hero! You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You did not want anything in return. Sugriva got the kingdom. Angada became Yuvaraja. Vibhishana became king of Lanka. But you never asked anything at any time. You threw away even the precious garland of pearls given by Sita. I cannot repay your debts. I will always remain indebted to you. I give you the boon that you will live for ever. All will honour and worship you, like Myself. Your Murti will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Wherever My Katha and Kirtan are held, you will be remembered and honoured first. You shall be able to do all that which I Myself cannot do."

Lord Rama praised Hanuman when he came back to Rama after finding out Sita in Lanka. Hanuman was not a bit elated. He fell down at the lotus feet of Lord Rama. Rama asked Hanuman, "O mighty hero! How did you cross the ocean?" Hanuman replied, "By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord!" Again Lord Rama asked Hanuman, "How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?" Hanuman replied, "By Thy grace, my Lord!" Mark here, how humble was Hanuman!

There are many who want wealth in return for their services. Some do not want wealth, but they want name and fame. Some others do not want either wealth, or name and fame, but want approbation or thanks. Still some others want nothing, but they themselves boast of their deeds; but Sri Hanuman was above all these. That is the reason why He is an ideal Karma Yogin, an unsurpassed adept in Dasya-Bhava Bhakti. His life is full of object lessons. Every one should try his best to follow His noble example.

Glory to Hanuman, the blessed devotee of Lord Rama! Glory, glory to Sri Anjaneya, the mighty hero, undaunted warrior, and learned Brahmachari, the like of whom the world has not yet seen and will not see in all times to come.

O mighty Hanuman, untiring devoted Sevak of Sri Rama, joy of Anjana, king of Brahmacharins! Show us the secrets of Brahmacharya and the ways to attain purity in thought, word and deed. May India have such heroes and Brahmacharins evermore!

Where Hanuman is, there are Sri Rama and Sri Sita. And wherever Sri Rama and Sri Sita are praised and their deeds recited, there Hanuman is. May Sri Hanumanís blessings be upon you all. Let us sing His glory now:

Anjaneya Veera
Hanumantha Soora
Vayu Kumara
Vanara Veera
Sri Rama Dootha
Jaya Hanumantha
Jaya Jaya Sita Ram Ki
Jaya Bolo Hanuman Ki
Rama Lakshmana Janaki
Jaya Bolo Hanuman Ki
Jaya Siya Ram Jaya Jaya Siya Ram
Jaya Hanuman Jaya Jaya Hanuman

Related Links:
\ Hanuman Jayanthi
\ Sri Hanuman
\ Shri Hanuman Online


Last Updated: Wednesday, 08-Apr-2009 13:04:25 EDT
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