Hanuman or Anjaneya


Hanuman Son of the wind god Vaayu and Queen Anjana, Hanuman has a human body with a monkey's head. He is one of the most popular deities amongst Hindus and is seen in temples throughout India. His picture, often with Lord Rama and Sita from Ramayana, can be found in almost every Hindu home. He is considered to be the god of power and strength and as such is the most favored deity of wrestlers and warriors.

There are many interesting legends surrounding Hanuman. When quite young, he saw the rising sun and thought it to be a ripe fruit. He therefore jumped up to it and put the sun in his mouth. This made Indra angry and he whips him with a thunderbolt. In response the wind god Vaayu refuses to breathe air into the world, prompting Indra to apologize and the other gods to bestow immortality and shape ability on Hanuman.

Hanuman was the greatest, most faithful helper of Lord Rama in his campaign against Ravana. When sent as Rama's envoy, Hanuman was given a ring to convince Sita that he truly was her husband's messenger. As he was the offspring of the god of winds, he concentrated his powers and crossed the seas with a formidable leap, reaching Lanka where Sita was being held prisoner by Ravana the demon-king. He succeeded in meeting the Sita queen in a garden called Ashoka-vatika, showed her Rama's ring and assured her that Rama would be coming soon to rescue her from the demon-king's clutches. However, in the process Hanuman was captured by Ravana's guards and brought before his court, but not before he succeeded in killing a large number of guards, including Ravana's son, Akshaya. The demon-king commanded his servants to dip the monkey's tail in oil and set it on fire. Hanuman grew his tail to enormous proportions and the servants rolled his tail with cotton and oil. Then his tail was set on fire. Hanuman set the entire Lanka on fire before escaping and returning to Lord Rama's camp.

Hanuman briefed Lord Rama about the situation in Lanka and with his younger brother Lakshman and with a big army of monkeys, prepared to invade Lanka. Upon reaching the sea shore, Rama first worshipped Lord Shiva and prayed for the success of his mission. However, he did not know how his vast army would be able to cross the ocean to invade. Lord Shiva told Rama to build a bridge with the help of one of his army personnel, an ape named Nal, the son of the god of construction. Rocks were brought and, under Hanuman's supervision, Nal threw them into the sea, where they miraculously floated. A long bridge was thus built connecting Sri Lanka with the shores of India, and Rama's army crossed the sea and reached the outskirts of Ravana's kingdom.

Fierce fighting ensued and in the course of battle, Rama's brother Lakshman was severely wounded and fell unconscious. The arrow that had wounded him was blessed in such a way that whoever was wounded in the night with it could not recover if the cure was not obtained before daylight. The physician prescribed a herb that could save Lakshman's life but it grew far away in one of the mountain ranges of the Himalayas and someone had to fetch it before day break. Immediately agile Hanuman volunteered and moved toward that mountain with the speed of the wind. When he could not find the magical herb in his hurried state, he lifted the entire mountain and flew with it back to the battlefield. To thwart his efforts, powerful Ravana compelled the sun to arise on the mountain at midnight. Enraged by the conspiracy, Hanuman leapt up, seized the sun under his arm and put the mountain on his head. Only after the application of the desired herb upon Lakshman's wound did Hanuman permit the sun to depart.

After a ferocious battle of many days, Ravana was defeated and victory ensued. Hanuman accompanied Rama upon his triumphant return to Ayodhya and there was given by Rama the blessings of perpetual youth and deathless existence.

Hanuman remained celibate his entire life and is known as the greatest devotee of the god Rama, who loved him the best. His devotion to Lord Rama and Sita was so great that once he tore open his chest with his claws to show that images of Rama and his wife were engraved upon his heart.

Hanuman was not only a warrior of great strength, but he was also well versed in the scriptures and science. Hanuman is the ninth author of grammar. Tuesday is considered as the sacred day of worship for Lord Hanuman.