Hanuman Jayanti falls on March 31 this year. On this sacred occasion, let us pay our humble respect to Lord Hanuman who was known for his devotion and loyalty towards Lord Rama. It was Hanuman who had built up an army to fight against Ravana and his demons and had helped Lord Rama in bringing back abducted Sita from Ravana’s Lanka to the kingdom of Ayodhya, the abode of Lord Rama.
Lord Hanuman, son of Vayu (wind God) and Anjana, was very powerful. There are different versions of how he was born. One is that on Ramanavami, when Rishyashringa performed yagna, divine nectar which contained the seed of Lord Shiva was given to the three wives of King Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya.
After consuming it, Ram, Lakshman, Bharat, and Shatrughna were born to them. But one portion of the nectar was carried away by a large bird into the sky. However, Vayu took that portion away from the bird
and brought it to Anjana. She drank it and Lord Hanuman was born.
Having the potencies of Lord Shiva and Vayu, Hanuman was extraordinary. So one day when he was just a little baby he felt hungry and started looking for some food. It was early morning and he was lonely. He then began to call his mother so that she could feed him. At that point of time, the sun was rising on the eastern horizon. When Hanuman saw the beautiful rising sun above, it appeared to him that the sun was a fruit.
He saw the sun and wanted to have that fruit. So he flew into the sky at great speed and jumped towards the sun. The devas were watching him and they could not believe what they were seeing. This little baby was flying. He was flying faster than Vayu. He was flying faster than Garuda, the bird carrier of Vishnu. He was flying faster than the mind towards the sun. Within a moment he was almost there. As baby Hanuman was getting closer and closer to the sun, Vayu followed him and with his cooling wind, he kept Hanuman safe. Thus Hanuman was protected from catching fire and getting burnt due to heat emanating from the sun.
Even Rahu was moving towards the sun. You are aware that at certain intervals Rahu is able to swallow the sun or eclipse the sun. But then he saw Hanuman going towards the sun. So Rahu was disturbed and came nearer to Hanuman. Rahu was gigantic but he was thrown away by Hanuman. Aggrieved, Rahu then approached God Indra to seek his help.
Lord Indra, riding on elephant Airavata, went towards Hanuman. To Lord Hanuman, elephant Airavata appeared to be a big fruit and he rushed charging at him.
Now Indra had to take it seriously as Hanuman was charging towards him to eat his elephant. So Indra took his thunderbolt and threw it at Hanuman. It crashed against Hanuman’s chin. Then the little baby monkey Hanuman fell on a mountain, rolled down and became unconscious. Vayu came to his baby son and found that he was unconscious. He was very disturbed.
He said, “You killed my baby. All he wanted was to eat some fruit. What was his fault? Every baby want to eat fruits.” Now Vayu wanted to teach Indra a good lesson. As he was the god in charge of air, he withdrew the air of the universe from both within and without. Nothing can happen without air. Life came to a standstill almost. Everyone was worried, including the gods. The universe was about to end.
The devas understood exactly what had happened and they went to Lord Brahma. They approached Brahma saying he was the father of all living beings and that he was also the father of Vayu. Lord Brahma brought Shiva, Agni, Varuna, and all other devas and they all went to the mountain where Hanuman was lying unconscious. Vayu was with him.
Brahma appeared before Vayu who placed Hanuman in his lap. As Lord Brahma stroked Hanuman with his hands full of love, the little baby gained consciousness and Vayu was happy. He then took back his curse and ended the withdrawal of wind from the universe.
All the gods then gave boons to Hanuman. Lord Shiva gave Hanuman a great boon that he shall never be defeated in battle. He also got a boon from Yamraja that he shall be alive in all times to come. Thus Hanuman got many boons and powers from the gods. Vayu then handed over Hanuman to his mother Anjana.
While Hanuman was powerful he was also known for his loyalty and devotion. When Lord Hanuman asked the Sun god what dakshina can he give him for teaching him everything about knowledge and academic scriptures, Lord Surya replied that he always expected Hanuman to be a friend to his son Sugriva. So Hanuman was loyal and he was faithful to Sugriva.
He thought that he would rather accept exile and have everything taken away than not being loyal to Sugriva. Since his childhood he never knew he had powers and boons because nobody ever reminded him. So, he was living like a regular vanara or monkey but was still very strong.
Then came the period when Rama was searching for Sita after Ravana had kidnapped her. Jatayu had informed Rama that it was Ravana who had abducted her and taken away in the southern direction.
Rama and Lakshmana were searching in the forest in the southern direction looking for any hint, any trace, but they drew a blank. Then there was a huge mountain-like asura named Kabandha.
He was like a mountain with one eye in his chest. His belly was his mouth. He was bigger than the other mountains.
He had long arms and he was eating elephants, tigers, and rhinoceros like we eat pulses. He was also set on eating Rama and Lakshmana. There was a fight and ultimately Rama and Lakshmana defeated him. Then Kabandha said, “Burn and bury me and then I will tell you, how you could find Sita.” He was actually a Gandharva in his past life and was cursed to this form. So they made a big hole to bury him.
Just as they completed the job, Kabandha became a beautiful golden-complexioned Gandharva and was seated on a chariot. He told Rama and Lakshmana that Sugriva could be of help to them with his band of monkeys to free Sita from the clutches of Ravana and Hanuman was Sugriva’s minister and he too could help.
The rest is history and as you know Sugriva and Hanuman went to Lanka along with their monkey army accompanied by Rama and Lakshmana. They fought with Ravana and his army and ultimately defeated them. We also know that Hanuman gave a new lease of life to Lakshmana who had fallen unconscious at the battlefield. In order to get Sanjeevani herb he flew to a far off place. As he could not recognise the herb, Hanuman brought the entire mountain to Lanka and thus Lakshmana gained consciousness.
The loyalty and devotion of Hanuman to Lord Rama would always remain sacred and be talked about in all times to come. The author, Radhanath Swami Maharaj, is spiritual leader of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)