Hanuman or Anjaneya or Sankat Mochan is perhaps one of the most revered and adored deities in the Hindu scriptures. The Lord is an embodiment of Shiva and exemplifies strength, devotion, compassion and perseverance. The tales of Hanuman have taught us numerous lessons; his selfless service for Rama teaches us the meaning of true friendship. His unwavering faith in the almighty reiterates the true definition of faith and worship. Always eager to help those in need, he always stood for the truth and dharma. Our childhood was galore with stories regarding the Monkey God who swallowed the sun and who helped Rama in his battle against the ten headed demon. But beyond the tale of Ramayana, there are numerous stories which we are not so familiar with and hence, I have made an effort to bring to you a collection of rare and unheard stories about our beloved Bajrangbali. Indulge your aesthetic senses and learn a little more about Pawanputra.
Story Of Hanuman’s Birth
When Lord Vishnu decided to incarnate on earth in the form of Rama, Lord Shiva professed his desire to serve him. Shiva’s intention perturbs Sati as she would have to stay apart from her beloved husband. Learning of Sati’s concern, Shiva promised to send only a portion of him to earth so that he could fulfil both the purposes. But the form which Shiva should adopt for his reincarnation became a cause of great distress to both Sati and Shiva. Finally after much deliberation, Shiva decided to assume the form of a monkey, as the humble creature can sustain with a simple lifestyle and is free of all bondages of caste and traditions. Thus he took birth in the form of Hanuman, who served Lord Rama with utmost devotion.
Pawanputra Hanuman Was An Incarnation Of Lord Shiva
Hanuman was the son of Anjana and the monkey king Kesari. Anjana was an ethereal fairy who served in the celestial palace of Lord Brahma and was apparently self-obsessed and egotistical. In her vanity, once she enraged a sage who in turn cursed the divine beauty that her beautiful face would morph into one that of a monkey the moment she falls in love. Lord Brahma took pity on Anjana and sent her to earth where she was smitten by Kesari. The two then exchanged nuptial vows.
Anjana who was a zealous devotee of Lord Shiva wished for the Lord to take birth as her son. Thus she set about meditating to appease the God. In the end Shiva granted her the boon that he will incarnate on this earth as her offspring.
King Dashrath of Ayodhya had four queens but was still childless. On advice of his state priest, the King conducted a yagna to please the almighty. As offering to the Lords, kheer, a sweet dish, was prepared and was distributed among the four queens of Dashrath. While Kaushalya, the eldest queen was about to have the kheer, a Kite snatched away a portion of it and flew away. On Shiva’s instruction, Lord Vayu, the God of Wind, placed the sweet offering near Anjana who was engrossed in meditation. She believed the kheer to be a blessing from Lord Shiva and consumed it. Thus Anjana’s son, Anjaneya, came to be known as an incarnation of Shiva and son of Lord Vayu or Pawan Putra Hanuman.
The Meaning Of The Name Hanuman In Sanskrit
The word Hanuman is derived from two Sanksrit words ‘Hanu’ and ‘Man’. While the word ‘Hanu’ means jaw, ‘Man’ means disfigured. According to legend, Hanuman tried to swallow the sun, as a child, thinking it to be a huge fruit. To dissuade him from his pursuit, Lord Indra had to use his vajra on Anjaneya, who was thrown onto earth thus disfiguring his jaw forever.
The Curse On Hanuman
Lord Hanuman had earned the reputation of being notorious during his childhood. He used to pester meditating hermits, who had taken refuge in the kingdom of his father, King Kesari. During one such incident, an annoyed sage had hexed Hanuman. Due to the spell Hanuman was unable to remember the powers vested in him by the deities unless someone reminded him of it. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Jambavantha had to remind Hanuman of his powers, so that he could pursue the search for Sita.
How Sugriva Became His Companion
Hanuman was a minister in the army of king Sugriva, who was another ruler of the monkey clan. The story of how Hanuman came to assist Sugriva began when the monkey God was learning scriptures from Lord Surya. With his never ending inquisitiveness and dedication, it took him only sixty hours to become proficient in all the scriptures. Lord Surya was highly impressed with his disciple’s feat and waived off the gurudakshina. Hanuman though was insistent on paying the gurudakshina and when the Sun Lord asked him to become a companion of his Sugriva, he readily agreed.
Hanuman’s Hunger Tale
Once during Sita’s exile, Hanuman went to meet her in priest Valmiki’s cottage. Sita was overwhelmed with happiness to see him and cooked many delicacies for Hanuman. Sita continued to serve food to Hanuman and was at the verge of exhausting all the food supplies but was unable to satiate his hunger. In despair, she prayed to Lord Ram who advised her to add a Tulsi leaf in the food being served to Hanuman. Since Tulsi is offered to the Lord and Hanuman was a die-hard follower of Ram, Sita was finally able to gratify the hungry Hanuman.
Panch–Mukhi (Five Headed) Hanuman
The demon king Ravan had sent his brother Ahiravan to capture Ram and Lakshman. Acting on his brother’s advice, Ahiravan held Ram and Lakshman in captivity, in the Nether world. Hanuman was determined to save his Lord but in order to kill Ahiravan one needed to extinguish five lamps in five different directions. Thus Hanuman adopted the panch-mukhi form to achieve this and defeated Ahiravan. The four other faces are believed to be of Garuda, Narsimha, Varaha and Hayagriva, which face the north, south, east, west and the sky.
Lord Shani And Hanuman
During Rams’s quest to free Sita from the clutches of Ravana it was Hanuman who flew across the sea to reach the demons king’s palace and discovered the whereabouts of Sita. When Ravan became aware of Hanuman’s presence in his palace, he ordered his soldiers to capture and kill the petty monkey. In order to crush Ravan’s ego, Hanuman set about destroying Lanka with his tail that was set ablaze by Ravan’s soldiers. In this commotion he found Lord Shani imprisoned in the palace’s basement, who was cursed by Brahma to remain in captivity till an incarnation of Shiva frees him. Hanuman released him from the confinement. Delighted, Lord Shani helped Hanuman in his pursuit to destroy Lanka and even granted him a boon. Hanuman who always wished well for his followers, asked Lord Shani not to cause trouble for the devotees who worshipped Hanuman.
Hanuman & Bharat
When Laxman was injured in the war, and only the Sanjeevani herb could save his life, Rama instructed Hanuman to obtain the plant for him. Hanuman could not identify the herb and thus uprooted the entire mountain to bring with him. While he was crossing over Ayodhya, Bharat, who was the de-facto ruler of the kingdom then, mistook Hanuman for some demon who was trying to destroy Ayodhya and shot an arrow. As the arrow had the name of Rama inscribed in it, Hanuman did not obstruct it. The arrow hit Hanuman’s leg who then stopped to explain the situation to Bharat. Upon understanding his folly, Bharat was filled with grief and offered to help Hanuman by firing an arrow which the monkey god could ride to reach his destination. Despite being injured, Hanuman refused to take Bharat’s help and continued on his journey.
Once, Lord Ram Issued A Death Sentence To Lord Hanuman
Narada Muni or sage Narad is infamous as the official troublemaker in the heaven. An ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, he was jealous of the bond between Ram and Hanuman. With the intention of driving a wedge between the two, Narad asked Hanuman to greet all the sages present in the court of Lord Ram except for Vishwamitra. He further explained to Hanuman that Vishwamitra was not a sage by birth and was a ruler by profession once. Hanuman did as advised but the result was not to Narad’s liking as Vishwamitra did not bother.
Narad then set about instigating Vishwamitra telling him it was an insult to the meritorious sage and that Hanuman should be punished for it. The furious Vishwamitra went to Ram demanding Hanuman should receive capital punishment for his misdemeanour. Lord Ram could not contradict his teacher and thus Hanuman was sentenced to death. Unfazed Hanuman kept chanting Ram’s name and all the arrows aimed at him failed to even scratch his skin. In a bid to keep his word to his guru, Ram used the Brahmastra on Hanuman but even the most dangerous weapon failed to cause any harm. Narad realised the depth of Hanuman’s reverence for Ram and admitted his mistake to Vishwamitra, thus putting an end to the tribulation.
The Deity Once Applied Sindoor All Over His Body For Lord Rama’s Long Life
One day Hanuman observed Sita applying sindoor or vermillion on her forehead and out of curiosity asked her why. Sita explained the significance of the custom where every married woman applies sindoor to show her unconditional love and respect for her husband and how the vermillion represents her prayers for her husband’s well-being and long life. The naïve Hanuman then smeared sindoor all over himself, thinking if a pinch of sindoor on Sita’s forehead could bring prosperity and long-life to his Lord, then applying sindoor all over himself would extend Ram’s life even more. Rama was touched by his gesture and said that anyone who offers sindoor while worshipping Hanuman will see all their troubles abated.
Hanuman Fought With Rama And Defeated Him
Upon his Guru Vishwamitra’s instruction Rama set about killing Yayati. But Yayati went to Hanuman to seek refuge. As it was the dharma to grant amnesty to all refuge seekers, Hanuman vowed to protect Yayati even though it meant he would have to fight with Ram. In the battle field, Hanuman refused to fight with weapons and instead started chanting Ram’s name. All the arrows shot by ram went in vain and Vishwamitra who was dumb-founded by Hanuman’s devotion relieved Ram of his dilemma.
The Hanuman’s Duty
After completing the fourteen year exile, when Rama returned to Ayodhya he was crowned as the king of the state. Hanuman as usual continued to remain at his beck and call thus leaving others with nothing to do. Sita decided to distribute all the work between the members of royal family and relieve Hanuman of all his duties. But Hanuman countered her proposal citing that one very important task is yet unassigned. When asked, he said who would click fingers when Ram yawns? As per popular belief not clicking ones fingers while yawning shortens their lifespan. Sita was amused by Hanuman’s diligence and assigned him the responsibility. Rama out of respect and love for his ardent devotee starts a yawning spree and Hanuman without fail clicked his fingers every time. A confused Sita approaches sage Vashistha who ended this tirade.
Lord Hanuman Once Rejected Goddess Sita’s Gift
After emerging victorious in the war with Ravana when Rama returned to Ayodhya with Sita, they decided to reward their followers who stayed with them through thick and thin. Sita took her own pearl necklace and presented it to Hanuman as a token of appreciation but Hanuman politely refused to accept the gift as it was devoid of Ram’s name. Some of the onlookers mocked Hanuman’s reverence for the Lord and to prove his devotion he ripped his chest for the world to see that Ram and Sita literally reside in his heart.
How did Rama tricked Hanuman to let him die?
Everyone has heard stories of Hanuman’s unending devotion to Lord Rama. He was always eager to serve Ram and would go to any lengths to protect him from even the slightest harm. When it was time for Ram to leave for the eternal abode, he had to distract Hanuman, who guarded his gate thus barring any harm that might come Rama’s way. For granting Yama (the God of Spirits) entry into Rama’s palace, the Vishnu incarnate feigned to have lost his ring which he had intentionally dropped into a crack that ran deep into the nether world. Hanuman went to fetch the ring and encountered a heap of rings. He realised that there was a hidden message and it was no coincidence that Rama’s ring was lost in the pile. It indicated that Rama’s time on earth had come to an end and that the deity would have to leave for Vaikuntha.
Hanuman’s Promise To Ram
When Ram decided to leave for the heavenly abode, many including his wife Sita and Lakshman followed him. But his most ardent devotee vowed that he would stay on this earth for as long as the name of Rama is chanted by its inhabitants. Hanuman is one among the Chiranjivis or immortals, according to the Hindu traditions, who resides in this world protecting us from the evils.
Hanuman Also Created His Version Of Ramayan
When finally peace prevailed in the kingdom and Rama ascended the throne, Hanuman travelled to the Himalayas where he continued to worship the deity. A master of all scriptures, Hanuman carved into the rocks of Himalayas the deeds of Lord Rama. When Valmiki encountered Hanuman, he realised that Hanuman’s version of Ramayana was far more superior to his own. Realising Valmiki’s predicament Hanuman renounced his version of the Ramayana leaving Valmiki in awe. The astonished Valmiki said it would be his pleasure to be born again to sing praises of the Monkey God.
Although He Was A Brahmchari, Lord Hanuman Had A Son ~ Makardhwaja.
After destroying Lanka, with his tail, when Ravana’s soldiers set it on fire, Hanuman went to take a dip in the sea. According to popular legend, it was then that his sweat was consumed by a giant fish and thus his son Makardwaja came into being.
Lord Hanuman And Bhima Were Both Brothers
Lord Hanuman and Bhima (one of the Pandava brothers) are believed to be the son of Lord Vayu. Bhima took much pride in his physical strength and considered everyone below him. Once during the exile, Hanuman posed before Bhima as an old and frail monkey who was blocking his path. As he was tired, the monkey asked Bhima to remove his tail. Though amused at the request, Bhima went ahead to lift his tail. He tried with all his might but was unable to move the tail even by an inch. Realizing his folly, Bhima apologised to the monkey upon which Hanuman revealed his true identity.
Hanuman On Arjuna’s Chariot
Arjuna was a skilled archer and was capable of conjuring wonders with his arrows.
During the Mahabharata war, he requested Lord Hanuman to be present on his chariot to which Hanuman asked him to prove his mettle. Arjuna then claimed that he could reconstruct the bridge Rama’s army had built to cross the ocean. Intrigued by his claims, Hanuman challenged him to create a bridge that would be able to withstand his weight. He promised that if Arjuna succeeded in the task, Hanuman would accompany him on his chariot. An eager Arjuna, created the bridge in a jiffy but it collapsed even faster as soon as Hanuman set foot on it. A crestfallen Arjuna approached Lord Krishna who convinced Hanuman that Arjuna should be given another chance. With Krishna’s blessing Arjuna built the bridge again, and this time it did not crumble under Hanuman’s weight. Hanuman then realised the fact that Krishna was an incarnation of his revered Lord Vishnu and was overwhelmed. He agreed to aid Arjuna in his battles with the Kauravas and thus Arjuna’s chariot featured Hanuman on its flag.