Hanuman, the monkey deity in Hinduism, son of the wind-god Vayu or Marut and a semi-divine female called Anjana,who was married to a monkey. Kesari. Hanuman is one of the most universally worshipped divinities of the Hindu Pantheon.
Hanuman, The Ramayan's monkey hero, is Rama's most loyal devotee. In the Ramayana (Story of Rama) epics, Hanuman plays an important role. Rama (deity worshiped as the seventh incarnation of Vishnu) is assisted by Hanuman, chief of the monkeys, in his great battle for the rescue of his wife Sita.
Lord Hanuman symbolizes the qualities of an ideal devotee of God, which can be represented by the letters of his name, as follows:
- H - Helpfulness (kindness)
- A - Adoration (devotion)
- N - Naturalness (sincerity)
- U - Understanding (knowledge)
- M - Modesty (humility)
- A - Allegiance (loyalty)
- N - Nishkama-karma (selfless work in service of God)
Hanumanji is known by many names as Anjaneya, Anjani Putra, Bajarangbali, Hanuman, Mahaveer, Marutinandan, Pavanputra etc. Hanuman was a bachelor (brahamachari) and is worshipped in all the temples of India. Every temple of Sri Rama contains an icon of Hanuman. Worship of Sri Rama is complete only with the worship of Hanuman. The worship of Hanuman symbolizes the worship of the Supreme Lord, for acquiring knowledge, physical and mental strength, truthfulness, sincerity, selflessness, humility, loyalty, and profound devotion to the Lord. Students pray to him for intelligence and soldiers for strength.
Lord Hanuman is known for his superman powers, his celibacy, his ability to expand himself, and his learning. He is regarded as a special divinity of wrestlers and acrobats.
On Tuesdays and in some cases, Saturdays, many people keep fast in honour of Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is a common faith among Hindus to chant the name of Hanuman.
The Ramayana relates that after his birth, Hanuman grew stronger and wiser with every passing year, destroying local demons, slaying rogue elephants and even flying up to grasp the rising sun, ehich he mistook for an apple. It is said that Hanuman as a child saw the sun, thought it was an apple, and leaped up to catch it. Lord Brahma once gave him the boon that he would not be slain in the battle. Hanuman had a very long tail of considerable strength, about which there are many stories.
In Ramayana there is an amusing tale about Hanuman's tail. Ravana, the king of lanka abducted Rama's wife Sita, and carried her off to Lanka where she was kept under guard in the palace garden. Hanuman was asked to search Sita. With a formidable leap he crossed the seas and reached Lanka. He succeeded in meeting Sita and gave her Rama's righ as token of recognition, and reassured her that she would be rescued soon. But, he was caught and captured by Ravana's guards, who was then brought to the demon-king's court. At Ravana's command his tail was set on fire and with his burning tail Hanuman created a great havoc in Lanka. Hanuman lengthened his tail and, leaping from house to house, caused enormous fire damage to Lanka. He returned to Rama unharmed.
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.
During the battle against Ravana, Rama's brother, Lakshmana, was wounded, but the herb which could save his life could only be found on a distant mountain Gandhamadana. With Hanuman's life-saving act of carrying the mountain that contained the miraculous herb Sanjivani cured Lakshman is remembered even today.
Hanuman is also found in one passage of Mahabharta, where he meets Bhima, his half-brother. Bhima, known for his power, fights with hanuman and is defeated. Only afterwards do they realize that they are half-brothers.