Devotion and valour distinguish Lord Hanuman



 

Lord Hanuman is known for several remarkable feats

Nitin Kumar
New Delhi, October 10, 2022

Hanuman is the most colourful and significant player in Ramayanam and the chief architect in Rama’s conquest of Ravana and the liberation of Sita.

The origin of Hanuman is still a subject of debate but none disputes the fact that he was born to Vayu, the King of Vanaras (monkeys) and his wife Anjana.

When Vali came to know that Anjana was pregnant with a child that would become a powerful rival, he decided to kill the child in Anjana’s womb.

He created a missile using five metals: gold, silver, copper, iron and tin. When the unsuspecting mother was asleep, he directed the missile into her womb. A normal child may have succumbed to this dastardly attack, but not one born of Shiva.

Lord Hanuman keeps Lord Rama and Goddess Sita in His Heart

(Editor’s Note: According to another mythological tale, the seed out of the Shiva-Parvathi union was planted by Shiva in Anjana’s womb).

The missile melted and transformed into a pair of earrings. Thus, even before birth, Hanuman was glorious and victorious.

Hanuman was no ordinary child. He was restless, spirited, energetic and inquisitive. He was endowed with awesome strength and powers, which he discovered while growing up in the Kingdom.

Devouring the Sun

Indian scriptures abound in tales expounding his remarkable feats.

Once he mistook the Sun (Surya in Sanskrit and other Indian languages) for a ripe fruit (monkeys are naturally lured by red, ripe fruits), and rushed towards the sky in an attempt to grab it.

But he saw Rahu (considered as one of the nine planets influencing human beings by Hindu Astrology), making his way to devour the Sun, causing an eclipse.

Thinking it was a worm, Hanuman dashed towards Rahu and attempted to catch him.

Rushing for his life, Rahu sought shelter under Indra, the King of Devas. Indra picked up his deadly thunderbolt, mounted his white elephant named ‘Airavata’ and went after Hanuman.

The clouds rumbled and lightning thundered across the vast skies as an indication of Indra’s wrath. But neither this scary scenario nor the mightily armed Indra on his high mount ruffled Hanuman.

He attacked ‘Airavata,’ shaken by which Indra struck Hanuman with his thunderbolt. Seeing his son lying helpless, Vayu cursed everyone who harmed his son to die.

Taken aback, Creator Brahma, Protector Vishnu, Indra and Agni appeared before Vayu and blessed Hanuman with eternal life, ordaining him to become the greatest devotee of God and remain unbeaten in strength and speed.

Agni promised never to affect him.

An ardent pupil

As he grew up, Hanuman sought to educate himself and chose the Surya as his Guru.

“You see everything there is to see in the Universe and you know everything there is to know. Please accept me as your pupil,” he said, addressing the Sun.

Surya hesitated. “I don’t have the time. During the day I ride across the sky, and at night I am too tired to do anything,” he said.

“Then teach me as you ride across the sky during the day. I will fly in front of your chariot, facing you from dawn to dusk,” Hanuman replied.

Impressed by Hanuman’s zeal and determination, Surya accepted him as his pupil.

Thus Hanuman flew before the chariot of the Sun God, withstanding the awesome heat until he was well-versed in the four books of knowledge (the Vedas), six systems of philosophy (Dharshanas), 64 arts (Kalas) and 1008 Tantras.

It was time for Hanuman to pay for his education (Guru Dakshina).

Surya asserted that watching the devoted pupil study was a fee in itself, but Hanuman insisted on giving something to express his gratitude.

Surya asked him to look after his son Sugriva, (stepbrother of Vali, another King of the monkeys).

Before Vali became the Lord of the Apes, a simian named Riksha ruled over them.

It is understood that sometime earlier, Riksha fell into an enchanted pool and turned into a woman. Both Indra and Surya fell in love with her and she bore each of them a son.

Indra’s son was her firstborn Vali. Thereafter, Riksha regained his male form.

The rule of Saturn

Another interesting legend deals specifically with the planet Saturn (Sani).

Perceived to be unfavourable for many, Saturn affects every person at least once in his or her lifetime for a period of seven-and-a-half years.

As fate would have it, Saturn descended on Hanuman when he was busy building a bridge over the ocean to help Rama and his army cross over to Lanka.

Hanuman requested the planet to postpone his visit till he had successfully assisted Rama in regaining Sita. But Saturn was adamant and Hanuman had to bow against the will of nature. He suggested that Saturn sit on his head as his hands were engaged in serving Rama and his legs were too lowly for Saturn.

Saturn happily settled on Hanuman’s head and the mighty monkey continued with his work, piling heavy boulders and stones on his head in a casual manner and carrying them to the construction site.

After a while, Saturn found it impossible to bear the load of the heaped boulders and wished to descend. Hanuman insisted that he should complete his mandatory seven-and-a-half years but Saturn pleaded for immediate release, saying that the seven-and-a-half minutes he stayed on Hanuman’s head felt like seven-and-a-half years anyway.

Saturn took leave of Hanuman and since then his (Hanuman) worshippers could be assured of the ‘low intensity’ negative effects of Saturn’ during the seven-and-half years of the planet’s transition through their horoscope chart.

A heart-opener

According to another legend, Sita once gave Hanuman a pearl necklace, which the latter broke to give each pearl a closer examination.

When asked to explain, Hanuman said, “I am looking for Rama and Sita.”

“They are now seated on the Royal Throne,” someone said.

“Show us, if can,” another person said.

Unhesitatingly, Hanuman stood up and with his sharp talons and tore open his chest. There, within his throbbing heart, the astonished audience was taken aback to find enshrined an image of Rama and Sita. Never again did anyone make fun of Hanuman’s devotion.

 

 

 

Nitin Kumar is the Editor of Exotic India based in Delhi, India. The above article has been published with his permission. www.exoticindia.com

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