Hanuman The Monkey God

An ardent devotee of Sri Rama,Hanuman is a god worshipped by millions of people in India, who is a symbol of devotion, strength and education.

Hanuman the monkey god, an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Rama, is worshipped by millions of people in India. Hanuman is the embodiment of devotion, dedication and strength. Devotees pray to Hanuman to remove the sufferings created by Saturn's god for humans and also to fulfil their wishes.

The epic of Ramayana contains the heroic deeds of Hanuman and stories of his devotion to Sri Rama, and his wife Sita. Hanuman jumps over the Indian ocean and reaches Sri Lanka in search of Sita, who was abducted by Ravana, the demon king. In the battle between Sri Rama and Ravana, in which Ravana is killed, Hanuman plays a major role.

There are temples all over India and in certain foreign countries, where Hanuman is worshipped as a god.

Hanuman remained a bachelor throughout his life. He was adventurous, strong, wise, cunning, knowledgeable, a musician, highly religious, courageous, fearless and, over and above all, totally devoted to his master Sri Rama.

The Origin of Hanuman:

The angel Punjikasthala was an inmate in the ashram of Sage Brihaspathi. She was young, obedient, good natured and beautiful. The sage loved her as his daughter.

As a young girl, she too had several sweet dreams about life. One evening she came out of the ashram and entered a lovely garden, away from the ashram. She saw a few young and handsome boys practicing exercises on horseback. She was attracted by the beauty and skill of these boys and she stood there watching them, forgetting her own surroundings.

At that time the Sage Brihaspathi was passing through that way and observed Punjikasthala totally immersed in her dreams. The Sage asked her, in a very loud tone, to go back to the ashram. The boys who had not so far seen the girl, heard this and looked at her. She could not tolerate the insult of when the boys laughed at her and made fun of her.

She told the sage: "˜It is true that I am supposed to obey you. But you should not have insulted me like this. So I do not propose to come to the ashram.'

The sage was angry. She was disobeying him, due to her youthful frailties! She was now considered unfit to be in the ashram. He cursed her to become a female monkey and live on earth.

Punjikasthala was terrified. She felt sorry for disobeying the sage. The sage also regretted his emotional action. But the curse would not go to waste: the sage could not withdraw it. But then he knew, through his inner mind, that this curse would produce a good result for mankind. He told her:'My dear daughter, you don't worry now. With the blessings of Lord Siva and Parvathi, you will soon get a son who will be respected by everyone. He will be full of virtues and will never face defeat. He will be the embodiment of knowledge, fearlessness, strength and real devotion.'

With tearful eyes she bid farewell to her father. At that time, the sage told in her ears "˜Anjana , Anjana"˜. She knew then that her name has been changed to Anjana and that she would be known here after only in the new name.

Then Anjana reached the dense forests on the earth and wandered aimlessly. She could not get any food which she liked. Her hunger and weakness increased and she felt like falling down. But then suddenly she saw ripe mangos on the nearby tree. She collected a few of them and started to eat. But she heard the following anonymous words 'Anjana, don't eat anything before taking a bath and before worshipping Lord Siva and Parvathi. You should worship them in the morning and evening with full devotion. They will bless you.'

She looked all around but nobody was there. She thought that these words were from a god himself and did everything as was told. Later she ate the fruits and continued her aimless journey.

Then there was a storm. All the trees started swaying heavily. The terrified animals ran around looking for safety. Anjana too was frightened. Was it an earthquake or a storm? Who would save her? She closed her eyes and prayed earnestly to Siva and Parvathi to save her.

Suddenly there was a very loud noise of laughter. In extreme fear Anjana opened her eyes and saw a terrific sight - there was a huge demon, about to swallow her. The demon in his frightening voice said 'Don't worry, lovely girl. I am Sambasadan. No one in all the three worlds is capable of facing me. If you will marry me I will protect you.' Anjana could not bear her anguish. She simply cried. Sambasadan advanced to her, but she walked backward. Then she fled. The demon followed her. Anjana, even while running, was praying loudly to Siva and Parvathi.

Sambasadan was about to catch her, when suddenly she fell down. At that time she heard the loud cry of Sambasadan. She got up and looked at him. A highly poisonous snake had bitten him and he had fallen unconscious. The snake told her "˜Anjana, he is not dead - just unconscious only. You may escape now.' In a moment the snake had vanished.

Anjana ran fast and reached an Asram on the top of the hill. The saints who lived there consoled her and gave her food and water. She told them her story in detail. She knew from them that Sambasadan was a dangerous demon and that he was a threat for them also. They had requested that Veerakesari, a monkey hero, kill the demon. If he succeeded all of them would be saved. Anjana again prayed to Siva and Parvathi and slept well during night in the safety of the Asram.

Next morning Veerakesari arrived there to protect the saint and their religious ceremonies. Anjana saw him and felt confident that he would kill the demon. Then suddenly there was the thundering shout of Sambasadan. Veerakesari assured the saints and Anjana that no harm would be done to them.

The demon approached Anjana and pulled her to his side. She cried loudly as the demon put her on his shoulders.

Veerakesari obstructed him by sending several arrows at the demon. Anjana escaped when a terrific fight ensued between them. The demon was badly injured. Then, using his magical powers, he took the form of an elephant. It attacked the Asram and the saints. Anjana was hiding behind a huge tree. Veerakesari reduced his size, became a small monkey and jumped on the head of Sambasadan. He resumed his original huge shape and attacked the elephant in different ways. Then the demon took back his original shape and threw Veerakesari far away. Luckily he was not injured. He got up and again attacked the demon, but he was getting weaker.

Anjana observed these and prayed to Siva and Parvathi for help in saving Veerakesari. At that time she heard an anonymous voice: "˜Sambasadan can be killed only with his own blood. Try that'. Anjana thought of several ways. She at last took some arrows and dipped them in the blood of Sambasadan, which had formed a pool there. She gave these arrows secretly to Veerakesari. He used these arrows against the demon, and as was his fate the demon fell dead.

The saints were immensely happy as the eternal problem of the demon had been solved once for all. They wanted to reward Veerakesari suitably. But, what would they offer? Finally they arrived at a decision.

The sage Panga called Anjana to his side and told her:'We have decided to give you in marriage to Veerakesari, who has saved all of us from the demon. Do you have any objection?'

Anjana did not have any objection. On the other hand she had wished for it. Their marriage took place on an auspicious day.

Time passed by. Anjana did not have a baby, and the couple was sad. But they continued their usual prayers to Siva and Parvathi. They observed fasting, prayed continuously and spent all the time in devotion of these gods. At last, the gods were pleased. One day Siva and Parvathi came to Veerakesari's house in the shape of monkeys and started eating the special fruits kept for worshipping the gods. Veerakesari wished to drive away the monkeys, but Anjana did not agree. She knew that gods may come in any shape. She started praying. Veerakesari also joined her. In fact, the monkeys were Siva and Parvathi, and they were pleased.

They took their real forms and told Anjana:'There is a solitary tree in the middle of forest. You go around that tree daily. As time passes on, with the help of Vayudeva(a god of wind) you will get a ripe mango. When Anjana eats it, she will get a beautiful baby, who would be blessed by all gods and would be as fast as the wind'.

They reached the centre of the forest and found the mango tree. They did everything as advised by Siva and Parvathi, for six days. On seventh day, while they were circling the tree praying, they heard an anonymous voice: 'Anjana , Veerakesari, the god is pleased with you. The blessed time has arrived. You may take this divine mango fruit.'

The fruit had by now come down to their level, without anyone holding it. They were really afraid to take it. Again the anonymous voice said: "˜I am Vayudeva ( god of wind). The mango is in my hand. It is God's will that my power is also to be mixed with the power of Lord Siva. Therefore, the son that is going to be born for will you will have courage, strength and devotion. When Veerakesari gives the mango to Anjana the child will get his power also.'

Anjana ate the mango after praying to Siva and Parvathi. Shortly thereafter, Anjana became pregnant and a male child was born in due course. Thus was Hanuman, otherwise known as Anjaneya, born.

As years went by Hanuman grew up and came into contact with Sri Rama and became his devotee. For him Sri Ram was everything in the world. His devotion to Sri Ram can be seen from the following story.

Hanuman's devotion to Sri Ram

Once, Hanuman was presented by certain saints a necklace, fully laden with costly pearls. On getting the necklace, Hanuman plucked each pearl and cracked it with his sharp teeth, looked inside, and threw away all the pearls, one by one, with disappointment. The saints asked him what he was doing. Hanuman replied: "˜They are no good. I do not see my venerable Sri Ram and Sita in any one of them. What is the use of such necklace for me?"˜

The saints were shocked. How was it possible to see the images of gods inside pearls? Hanuman clarified:'My gods Sri ram and Sita stay everywhere, in all living and nonliving things. They are inside my heart also.Do you wish to see for yourself?' The saints asked for proof. Hanuman closed his eyes and prayed with deep devotion 'Hare Ram Jai Sita Ram.' Then, with his strong hands, he beat his chest and opened his breast and showed them the images of Sri Ram and Sita imprinted there!

The saints were wonderstruck with this miracle. They were extremely happy with Hanuman's devotion to Sri Ram.

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