Hindu dharma is polytheistic as well as monotheistic, one can believe in the main God and also worship other subsidiary gods. Each Hindu god and goddess represents some characteristics or aspects to illuminate our mind, our dynamic soul and our knowledge. One of them is the mighty Lord Hanuman, the minister of Sugriva (Monkey King) during the Ramayana period, who portrays the own example of divine power and strength that one can obtain with discipline in his devotional heart.
Said to be the avatar/incarnation of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is the most famous devotee and follower of Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman’s shraddha (devotion) towards Sri Rama was beyond question and without any selfishness. The hero of the epic Ramayana, Hanuman, has been described as the one with enormous strength, supreme knowledge, and a faithful ally who would even carry a hill and sacrifice his own life for his master.
An incarnation of Lord Shiva As mentioned in the Shiva Purana, Hanuman is an avatar of Lord Shiva. When it was decided that Lord Vishnu should be born as Rama in a mortal realm to defeat Ravana, Lord Shiva also decided to take the form of Hanuman and serve Rama throughout his journey. Why? Because Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are said to complete each other’s existence. They are the divine form of the same cosmic energy and therefore work together in multiple ways. Thus Lord Shiva was awakened by Lord Vishnu (as Mohini) and brought about the birth of Hanuman, who later helped Rama (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to find Sita.
Born of a cursed heavenly fairy
Hanuman’s mother, Devi Anjana, is said to be a cursed heavenly fairy named Punjikasthala. Due to her immature act, a sage of hers cursed her to be a cute princess. It was said that her curse would be revoked only when she gave birth to the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Later, Anjana married Kesari, a monkey chieftain, and gave birth to the divine child, Hanuman. Being the son of Anjana and Kesari, Hanuman was named as Anjaneya and Kesari Nandan. The legend further says that Vayu Deva, the god of the wind, also plays an important role in the birth of Hanuman, and that is why Hanuman is also known as Vayuputra.
Defaced jaw: Hanuman
The actual meaning of the name Hanuman in Sanskrit is Defaced Jaw, where Hanu means “Jaw” and Man means “Defaced”. He got this name after the incident with the Sun and Lord Indra. Hanuman once tried to eat the sun by mistaking it for his fruit. When Indra saw this, he tried to prevent Sun from consuming by attacking him with her weapon (Vajrayudha), which wounded Anjaneya and made a dent in her jaw. Therefore, since this incident, Anjaneya was known as someone with a disfigured jaw “Hanuman”.
Hanuman was seriously injured and unconscious after being attacked by Indra (from the Defaced Jaw incident). Vayu (God of the Wind) was enraged when he saw the condition of his son, so he stopped circulating the wind throughout the entire triad of the world, making every suffering gasp. Seeing this, most of the gods went to the place and begged the Wind God to fulfill his duty. Lord Brahma made Indra apologize for his mistake and revived Hanuman from his unconsciousness. Then all the main gods blessed Hanuman with various blessings, among which was the blessing of being immortal, that is, his death would occur only by his own will.
Damn forget his power
The mischievous Hanuman continued his childish act even after his terrible accident. His activities would sooner or later go from amusing to somewhat destructive. Being irritated and furious at his disturbance, Matang Muni, a sage, cursed Hanuman to forget all of his divine powers, until someone reminded him.
Death penalty for Sri Rama
Once in Sri Rama’s palace, the great scholars and sages were present at some events. Narada Muni brainwashed Hanuman to greet all the sages except Vishwamitra, and Hanuman finally did. Being provoked by Narada Muni, Vishwamitra became enraged and asked Sri Rama to punish Hanuman with the death penalty, for disrespecting him. Since Vishwamitra was Rama’s guru (teacher), he could not deny his orders.
The next day, in the field, Rama shoots arrows to cut off Hanuman’s head, but surprisingly none could harm him. It was because Hanuman continually chanted Rama’s name as “Sri Rama”. Seeing this, Narada confessed the fact of himself, saying that he wanted the world to see that the name “Rama” is more powerful than Rama himself.
One day, out of curiosity, Hanuman asked Mata Sita about the sindoor (red colour) on his forehead. “The sindoor app prolongs the life of my husband and your master,” Sita replied. Hanuman was so influenced by this. Since his love for Rama was indescribable, he also applied sindoor all over his body for the long and happy life of his lord. Therefore, Hanuman’s idols are always covered with Sindoor.
God Bramhachari with a son
Although Hanuman was single (Bramhachari), he had a son named Makardhwaja, who was born to a fish. The legend has many versions behind the birth of Makardhwaja. However, the most popular one says that, after burning Lanka, Hanuman bathed in the sea to cool off. Due to the massive heat, some of his sweat beads fell into the mouth of a giant reptile-like fish, thus impregnating it. King of Patal (underground kingdom), Makardhwaja has interesting stories, from his birth to be the ruler of a kingdom.
Bhima (from the Mahabharata) meets Hanuman
As mentioned in the Mahabharata, Hanuman from the Ramayana period had an interesting encounter with Bhima, before the Mahabharata war. Once, Bhima went in search of the heavenly flower called Saugandhika, at the request of his beloved wife Draupadi. On his way, Bhima found a monkey leaning against a tree, whose tail was blocking the walkway. Bhima yelled at the monkey to get out of his way and tried to scare him away, but couldn’t. In response, the monkey asked Bhima to wag his tail by himself if he was so strong. Bhima tried hard but couldn’t move it one bit. Bhima, at that moment, realized that the monkey was not an ordinary monkey and asked him to introduce himself. A monkey returned to his real form as Hanuman and blessed him. He also explained that they were brothers (both were the son of the Wind God), and he taught Bhima never to be insolvent due to his strength and powers. Hanuman also assured Bhima to help him on the battlefield, saying “my voice will join yours when you roar on the battlefield, which will terrify your enemies.”
Hanuman would not allow Yamaraj to take Rama’s life
When Rama realized that the time had come to leave his mortal self, he called on Yamaraj (king of death) to take his life. But he also knew that Hanuman would not allow Rama to leave his earthly body, so he ordered Hanuman to find his ring that had fallen in Patal Lok (underground kingdom). Hanuman in search of the ring met Vasuki (King of Serpents) and asked him to help him on his mission. Vasuki then led him towards the Ring Mountain. This trick was all to distract Hanuman so Yamaraj could easily take over Rama’s body.