Hotels in India » Religion-culture in India » Hanuman - The Monkey Faced God

Hanuman - The Monkey Faced God

Jai Hanuman gyan gur sagar Jai kapis tihu lok ujagar....

Praise be to Hanuman who is an ocean of wisdom and virtue Praise be to the monkey god.

He embodies strength. He can do anything. Nothing is impossible for him. He is yet very modest and humble, satisfied to be the servant of Lord Rama. He is unaware of his own strength. He is charming in his thinking. He is courageous in his action. Hanuman is a god almost every Indian believes in. it is customary to call out to Hanuman at all times of need and the devotee is confident that his prayer will be answered. Hanuman is believed to work miracles even today.

If one were to tell the story of Hanuman chronologically, we being with researchers pointing in different directions as his possible place of birth. Many people feel he was born in Nasik, in Maharashtra. The people of Karnataka feel he was born there while the Kokru tribe in Madhya Pradesh who claim to be descendents of Hanuman say he was born in their village. A village in Bihar is named Anjana and there are some who believe Hanuman is a native of this place. There is also great discussion on whether Hanuman came from pre Vedic times or if he was a folk god or if he was originally a tribal deity. Many feel it was Valmiki who immortalized Hanuman in his great epic, the Ramayana.

According to the Ramayana, monkey heroes were sons begotten by nymphs who had been sent down to earth for the purpose of helping Vishnu in his incarnation as Rama. Each god sired a monkey and Hanuman came from the Wind God. some sociologists say this was just mythology’s way of marking the process of evolution. Others says this was a manner by which pre Vedic deities could be incorporated into the Vedic pantheon.

The story goes that Hanuman was born to Kesari and Anjana. Some versions says Kesari was none other than Shiva Himself. Other versions say that Anjana, who was actually a nymph called Punji Kasthala, was cursed to be born on earth. One day, as she was leisurely roaming the countryside, the Wind God beheld an apparition of beauty. He fathered her son with the promise that none would know and that her son would be strong, wise, brave and swift. And so he was.

Hanuman was no ordinary child and for the baby sitter created problems difficult to even imagine. He was extremely hungry the moment he was born and nothing could satisfy his hunger. When he looked around he saw the orange glowing ball called the sun and the stunned fireball took some time to realize what was happening. He hurried across the sky to reach King Indra’s abode. Indra was the King of Heavens. He protected the sun by

hurtling his thunderbolt at the baby monkey so keen and determined at his first job! Poor little Hanuman was injured and feel to the ground. Vayu, the Wind God, was enraged. He shook the worlds with his anger and indignation. The gods realized they had wronged the newborn babe and immediately assembled to assuage the father and comfort the child. Each one of them gave the child gifts: one promised immortality and another psychic powers by which he could alter his size and shape at any time. The sun accepted him as his student and taught him the Vedas (ancient scriptures) and gave him one hundredth of his brilliance. Kubera the god of wealth gave him wealth while Yama the god of death gave him a life free from disease. In this manner Hanuman collected many gifts. One among them was his name. Hanu means the chin and mana means hurt so he got his name due to his hurt chin. Hanuman then returned home with all his gifts and grew up as a mischievous child.

Hanuman’s story as told by Valmiki does endear one greatly to the God. the Sundarakandam, s section of the Ramayana, is in itself greatly inspiring. This section deals with the story of how Hanuman crossed the ocean to reach Lanka in search of the abducted Sita. It ends with the story of how he came back after finding her. To the reader unfamiliar with the Indian ethos it may seem a little far fetched to go into rhapsody on the manner in which a monkey crosses an ocean, and that too flying. To the Indian, however, in fact that he was a monkey or that flying across the ocean cannot but be a figment of imagination do not come in the way of admiring and falling in love with the bachelor monkey or that flying across the ocean cannot but be a figment of imagination do not come in the way of admiring and falling in love with the bachelor monkey deity. What emerges of great significance is Hanuman’s character: it is etched beautifully in mythology. The character portrayal is consistent in the epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and all other literature where Hanuman is mentioned. There is strength in his character at all levels: he is brave and courageous physically. He is mentally of very fast. He has conquered the emotions of desire, anger lust and so on.

When Hanuman was flying over the ocean, a giantess accosts him. Her name is Surasa. Actually she has been sent by the gods to test Hanuman’s capability, whether he will succumb to small obstacles or will overcome them. Surasa says that whosoever passes this way must enter her mouth. Hanuman requests her to let him go as he is going on a very important errand. Surasa is unreasonable. So Hanuman expands his body a little. Then a little more and still more. Surasa too opens her mouth larger and larger. Suddenly in a trice, Hanuman reduces himself to the size of a fly an quickly goes into her mouth and out of it again.

Similarly he combats other demonesses with his intellect. When he reaches Lanka and begins his search he assumes a very small size. He searches the whole of Ravana’s palace and around the city. He does not find Sita. He falls into extreme depression. A deity known for his strength becomes depressed. Yes, he does and that is what shows that he is unaware of what he himself can achieve. This aspect of him is charming. Then Hanuman reasons to himself that depression has never really helped anybody. In fact it has come in the way of achievement. So he rises out of it and decides once again to search the universe if need by, but find Sita he must. There are many passages where he decries the emotion of anger. An angry man can destroy himself and others he says. Every situation has a unique solution, thinks Hanuman and carefully weighs each situation before facing it.

Hanuman is a favourite figure all over South-East Asia and his most celebrated quality is his total devotion to his master, Lord Rama. It thus stands as the most important lesson in Hindu philosophy: absolute surrender is the secret to reach the Almighty.