Lord Hanuman is easily among the most popular divinities in India. A small monkey like figure, Hanuman is often portrayed kneeling with joined palms before the Personality of Godhead Ramacandra, Sita (Rama’s consort), and Lakshmana (Rama’s brother). Hanuman is shown sometimes tearing open his chest to show Rama’s image in his heart, other times soaring through the sky with a Himalayan peak in his hand. He is shown long-haired and occasionally five-headed. His hands are often seen in the gesture (mudra) for removing fear (abhaya) and giving benedictions (varada). He is sometimes shown carrying a club, a bow, or a thunderbolt.
Hanuman was born in the Treta Yuga, to Anjana, a female vanara and Kesari, a strong vanara .This birth was planned by the Supreme lord with a perfect idea in the mind. The combination of Vanara and the celestial gave Hanuman strength, divinity and quick wits – his main characteristics. Being Anjana’s son, Hanuman is also called Anjaneya, which plainly means “arising from Anjana”.
Lord Hanuman or Hanumanji is known by many names as Anjaneya, Anjani Putra, Bajarangabali, Hanuman, Mahaveer, Maruti, Pavanputra etc. Hanuman, the monkey god, is the son of Vayu or Marut, the wind god. Hanuman’s mother is Anjani. Hanuman was the chief of the armies of Sri Ramachandra and took a prominent part in the war against Ravana, the king of Lanka, in the Indian epic Ramayana. Hanuman helped restore Sri Sitaji back to Sri Rama. Hanuman, worshipped for his strength, valor, agility, is a man of great learning. He is considered to be an avatar (incarnation) of Lord Shiva. Hanuman, a great devotee of Sri Rama, is the symbol of devotion and dedication. Hanuman carried Sri Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulder when they were in search of Sugreeva, the king of Vanarav in Kishkindha and helped them to find Sita. Prior to the war between Sri Rama and Ravana, Anjaneya visited Lanka, met Ravana, created havoc and burnt down the city of Lanka (Lanka Dahan). During the war, when Lakshmana was injured seriously, Sushena, the surgeon/physician of the monkey army, despatched Maruti to bring herbal medicine, Jadi Buti, from the far-off Sanjeevini mountain in the Himalayas, before sunrise. Flying over the Himalayas and unable to identify the particular herb fast, Hanuman uprooted and carried the entire Sanjivini mountain in time to save the life of Lakshmana. Hanuman was blessed by Sri Rama with immortality (chiranjeevi).
Hanuman was a bachelor and is worshipped in all the temples of India. Hanuman remained a Brahmachaari throughout his life, an unmarried, celibate god. He is especially popular with body-builders, who believe that like him, one need to be celibate in order to have a strong body. Hanuman always treated women in the form of Mother and Sister. There are many incidences in the great epic Ramayana where this fact is proved.
So many interesting myths surround this god. Hanuman, when quite young, saw the rising sun; he thought it to be a ripe fruit, jumped up to it and seizing it ,put the sun into his mouth. All the gods and goddesses, for fear that if swallowed the sun the whole world would perish, prayed to him to spit out the sun. Hanuman agreed and the world was saved from complete darkness. When only ten years old, Hanuman could lift the hills sixteen or twenty miles in circumference and throw these like stones. Once swallowed by a monster, he expanded his body and the monster had to vomit this god out.
On another occasion when one monster put Hanuman in his mouth, this god transformed himself into a very small figure and emerged out of this monster’s big ear. This story runs thus: When Hanuman was on his flight to RAVANA’S Lanka on his job assigned by Ram, a female-demon named SURASA saw that this monkey was going to harm her near relative, Ravana. So in an effort to save her cousin she swallowed Hanuman bodily. To avoid this Hanuman continued expanding his body, while she continued stretching her mouth till it was a hundred leagues wide. Suddenly Hanuman shrank his body and within seconds he became thumb-sized. Taking the female demon by surprise he darted forward and came out through her right ear.
The scriptures state that ‘his form is as vast as a mountain’ and as tall as a gigantic tower. His complexion is yellow and glowing like molten gold. His face is as red as the brightest ruby while his enormous tail spreads out to an interminable length. He stands on a lofty rock and roars like thunder. He leaps into the air and flies among the clouds with a rushing noise, while the ocean waves are roaring and splashing below.
Ramayana further says The chief of monkeys is a perfect being. No one can equal him in learning of SHASTRAS and in comprehending the meaning and sense of scriptures. In all sciences and in the rules of austerity, he rivals the preceptor of the gods. Hanuman is the ninth author of grammar.
Hanuman is worshipped for his strength, agility and valor. The worship of Hanuman, symbolizes the worship of the Supreme Lord, for acquiring knowledge, physical and mental strength, truthfulness, sincerity, self-sacrifice, modesty, loyalty, and profound devotion to the Lord. Sri Hanuman was blessed by Sri Rama with immortality (chiranjeevi). Every temple of Sri Rama contains an idol of Hanuman. Worship of Hanuman is considered mandatory to complete the worship of Lord Rama.
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