Hanuman: Hindu Monkey God
of the outstanding figures that enters the holy pages of Ramayana and
strides across like a colossus, is Hanuman. His matchless character,
heroic deeds and towering spirituality made Swami Vivekananda remark,
'You have now to make the character of Mahavira your ideal. See how at
the command of Ramachandra he crossed the ocean. He had no care for
life or death! He was a perfect master of his senses and wonderfully
wise. You have now to build your life on this great ideal of personal
service. Through that, all the other ideals will gradually manifest in
life. Obedience to guru without questioning, and strict observance of
Brahmacharya this is the secret of success. As on the one hand
represents the ideal of service, so on the other he represents leonine
courage, striking the whole world with awe. He has not the least
hesistation in sacrificing His life for the good of Rama. A supreme
indifference to everything except the service of Rama, even the
attainment of the status of Brahma and Siva. the great Gods! Only the
carrying out of Rama's behest is the one vow of his life! Such wholehearted
devotion is wanted.'
is the embodiment of the four yogas. His will, emotions, intellect and
actions were perfectly refined and grounded in spirituality. This is
the mature all-round character development that Swami Vivekananda
placed before all seekers of God. Hanuman, an ancient ideal, is
therefore highly relevant to modern man.
Chalisa, the boon of Tulsidas, will find a place in every home where
it can act as a panacea for all problems, be they physical, mental or
Hanuman is said to be an incarnation of Siva. Brihaspati, the guru of
the gods, had an attendant by the name of Punjikasthala. She was
cursed to assume the body of a female monkey. The curse was to be
removed on her giving birth to an incarnation of Siva. She was born as
Anjana. She lived a life of chastity and purity. With her husband
Kesari (so named on account of his being as brave as a lion), she
performed intense austerities for many years, and worshipped Siva.
Pleased with her devotion, Siva granted her a boon that He would be
born to her.
was the king of Ayodhya. He performed a sacrifice in order to have
progeny. As a result, he got sacred pudding to share among his wives.
Thus were born Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. By divine
ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and while flying
over the forest dropped it where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu,
the deity of wind, delivered that pudding to the outstretched hands of
Anjana. She immediately swallowed it. Hanuman was born to her as a
the birth of Hanuman, Anjana was released from the curse. She wished
to return to heaven. Hanuman asked his mother what his future would be
and how he was to earn his living. She assured him that he could never
be destroyed, and said that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would
form his food. When he saw the glowing sun he thought that was a fruit
his mother referred to. Being divine in nature, he made a leap, and
started flying towards it. Rahu, one of the gods presiding over the
planets, saw this. He was exclusively enabled to harrass the sun ,thus
causing eclipses to it. He complained to Indra, the king of gods, of
this new threat to his power. Indra struck Hanuman with thunderbolt,
his weapon, wounding his chin and causing him to fall down to earth.
Vayu carried Hanurnan to the nether regions. When Vayu, the wind-god
departed from the earth all life was endangered. Brahma and all the
other gods went to him and begged him to return. In
order to appease him they conferred great boons on the baby
Hanuman. The blessings of all the gods made Hanuman invincible.
mentally chose Surya, the Sun god, as his guru. Surya aecepted him
as his disciple. But there arose a problem. Sun is always on the move
across the sky. It was not possible for him to stop his journey for
the sake of teaching Hanuman. For, if he stops the world-would be in
chaos. But Hanuman was so mighty that he said that he would travel
with Sun with the same speed. Thus Hanuman traversed the sky and at
the same time concentrated fully on his lessons. Within a short period
he mastered all the scriptures. Surya
considered the manner in which Hanuman accomplished his studies
as sufficient dakshina, the tuition fees. but Hanuman pressed him to
accept more. Surya then asked him to assist his son Sugriva, who was
living at Kishkindha, by
being his minister and constant companion.
met Rama while the latter was in banishment. He was with his brother
Lakshmana, and was searching for his wife Sita, who was abducted by
the demon Ravana. Their search had taken them to the vicinity of the
mountain Rishyamukha. There Sugriva was hiding from his brother Vali,
with his ministers. Sugriva was suspicious that they might have been
sent by Vali to kill him. Hence, he sent Hanuman to ascertain whether
they were friends or foes. Hanuman approached them in the guise of a
brahmin. His first words to them were such that Rama immediately said
to Lakshmana, 'None can speak thus without mastering the Vedas and
their branches. Nor is there any defect in his countenance, eyes,
forehead, brows, or any of his limbs. His accents are captivating.
Even an enemy who has his sword uplifted will be moved. Indeed,
success awaits the king whose emissaries are so accomplished.'
Rama revealed His identity, Hanuman fell prostrate before him and Rama
picked him up clasped him to his bosom. Thereafter the story of
Hanuman is inextricably interwoven with that of Rama, and is
exhaustively dealt with in the Ramayana. To summarize Hanuman
introduces Rama to Sugriva: goes off in search of Sita; discovers and
consoles her in Lanka; burns the city and kills many demons; brings
together Vibhishana and Rama; returns to Lanka with Rama, features
very prominently in the battle that ensues between Rama and Ravana;
saves the life of Lakshmana by bringillg the sanjivini, the life
giving herb, from the Himalayas; and serves Rama forever.
finds a place in the Mahabharata, the other epic, too. He helped the
Pandavas in the battle of Kurukshetra by positioning himself on the
flag of Arjuna's chariot stabilising and protecting it.
is said to be chiranjivi, one who lives eternally. He serves, protects
and inspires the servants of God. Saints like Tulsidas had the vision
of God through the grace of Hanuman.