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History of Lord Sri Hanuman

Introduction

Dr. Annadanam Chidambara Sastri is a well-known devotee of Lord Hanuman. He is dedicated to the propagation of literature concerning Lord Hanuman for over 30 years in Telugu. He founded the Sri Hannmad Adhyatmika Kendram (Sri Hanuman Spiritual Center). Prominent among his works in Telugu include


· SRI HANUMAN VISHAYA SARVASVAM (An encyclopedia of Sri Hanuman's Worship)
· SRI HANUMADVRATAM
· STORIES OF HANUMANTHA (Broadcast in Katha Lahari)
· SRI PARASARA SAMHITA (16 Parts)
· THESIS ON SRI HANUMANTHA
· HANUMA DIKSHA.

He has been instrumental for the growing interest in JABALI HANUMATH KSHETRA at Tirumala, recognized as the birthplace of Lord SRI HANUMAN

"The Divine Story of Lord Sri Hanuman", which is translated to English by P. S. Gopala Krishna, is based on Dr. Chidambara Sastri's Telugu work "SRI ANJANEYA MAHATYAM".

MAY LORD SRI HANUMAN BLESS ALL!

The divine Story of Sri Hanuman

Sri Hanuman who is praised as SRI RAMA SEVA DURANDHARA or the one greatly devoted to the service of Sri Rama, is known for his extra ordinary capabilities. He would not be universally worshipped if he were to be a mere servant. He has many temples dedicated to him.

Lord Brahma told Hanuman: ”PRATI GRAMA NIVASASCHA BHUYADRAKSHO NIVARINE”(O Hanuma!, you would reside in every village to protect from devils, demons etc.,) Thus Hanuman has temples dedicated to him in tiny villages also. Hanuman is installed in every temple of Sri Rama. Temples are exclusively built for Sri Hanuman. Sri Hanuman is worshipped as the one who relieves his devotees from many problems peculiar to the Kali Age.

Sri Hanuman has many specialties. By birth he belonged to Vanara (Monkey) race – a beastly tribe. He was with Sri Rama, Narottama or the best among human beings. Sri Hanuman infact is God. There is a saying in Sanskrit, which proclaims that if one worships Sri Hanuman, all Gods are worshipped (ANJANEYAH PUJITASCHET PUJITA SSARVA DEVATAH).

Sri Hanuman is a personification of all that is divine. He is an extra ordinary state. Sri Hanuman’s life is a divine message. By birth, every one is beastly. Every being could become divine, through refined living.

It is common perception that brain and brawn do not exist together.  Body builders tend to eat more. They exercise well to get the food digested and sleep well. One who eats well and sleeps well may tend to become dull and stunted.

Like wise people dedicated to spiritual pursuits eat less and sleep less, thereby remaining bodily weak.

Sri Hanuman is an exception. His strength is incomparable. He is said to be the storehouse of immeasurable strength, shinny like a mountain of gold (ATULITA BALA DAMAM SWARNA SAILABHA DHEHAM). He has been the idol of strong people. Even in modern age, body builders establish a Hanuman Vyayama Sala (Hanuman Gym) or Maruthi Vyayama Sala (Maruthi Gym). He eliminated many demons. Jambumali, Aksha, Kalanemi, Mainavana etc., were the demons slain by him. Since his strength cannot be measured, he was described as the one with immeasurable strength (ATULITA BALA DAMAM).

Sri Hanuman is also bestowed with matching intelligence. He is described as the best among intelligent people and the first among the spiritual evolvers. (BUDHI matam varishtA, gynanena agraganyA)

Sri Rama himself recognized the intellectual brilliance of Sri Hanuman. Sri Rama recognized Sri Hanuman’s worth in their first meeting itself.

Sri Rama and Lakshmana reach the banks of Pampa, searching for Sita. Sugriva gets worried. Were they sent by his brother Vaali to kill him? Sugriva sends Sri Hanuman to find out. Sri Hanuman goes to Sri Rama and Lakshmana and puts a few questions to them. Sri Rama praises Sri Hanuman’s intelligent speech. Sri Madhava Charya explains that the word Hanumantha denotes only an intelligent person. Thus Sri Hanuman is an epitome of physical strength and intellectual capability.

There have been differences between Saivites (the devotees of Lord Siva) and Vaishanavites (the devotees of Lord Vishnu) in the past leading to great strife.
Many saints and poets tried to bring about harmony between the two sects. They proclaimed that in essence Siva was Vishnu and Vishnu was Siva; while Siva was the heart of Vishnu, Vishnu was the heart of Siva. Telugu Poets like Tikkana (One of the authors of Mahabharata in Telugu) and Nachana Somanatha dedicated their literacy works to Hariharanatha, the lord who is both Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Siva). Both Saivites and Vaishanavites commonly worship Sri Hanuman.

Sri Hanuman is a devoted Vaishnava. He is recognized as the one born with the aspects of Siva. Sri Hanuman is the greatest devotee of Sri Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Every hair follicle on Sri Hanuman’s body is said to chant Sri Rama’s name. Vaishnavism recognized the importance of service devotion (DASA BHAKTI). Sri Hanuman is great example of Dasa Bhakti. We find his idol installed in temples dedicated not only to Sri Rama but also to other incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Sri Hanuman is worshipped with many names. One of them is “OM RUDRA VEERYA SAMUDBHAVAAYA NAMAHA” (The one who is born with the aspect of Rudra). Sri Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Siva (or Rudra). Panchamukha Anjaneya (Sri Hanuman or Anjaneya with five faces) is recognized as the complete incarnation of Sri Siva. Like Siva, Sri Panchamukha (Five faced) Hanuman has three eyes on each of his faces. Some Saivites temples also have the idols of Sri Hanuman.

Lord Vishnu is said to be fond of ornaments and adornment while Lord Siva is said to be fond of bathing (Abhishekham) (ALANKARA PRIYO VISHNU ABHISHEKA PRIYO SIVA). Sri Hanuman is described as the one fond of “Alankara” (Adornment) and “Abhisheka” (Bathing). Sri Hanuman grants many a boon, if bathed with the chanting of “Manyu Sukta”.

Sage Saunaka observed: “Where there is a Bhoga (Enjoyment), there is no Moksha  (Bliss or Salvation) and vice versa. But those who worship Sri Hanuman are blessed with Bhoga and MOKSHA”. Is there any thing more a human being can aspire for?

Sage Parasara asserted that the worship of Lord Hanuman ensures happiness and prosperity.

In an ancient age named Radhantara Kalpa, there lived a Brahmin named Kasyapa. He was a Vedic scholar and a pious person. His wife Sadhya was a pious woman. Kasyapa and his wife went to Kailasa, the abode of Lord Siva, where Kasyapa performed a penance, bearing heat and cold. Kasyapa’s penance attracted the fire God “Agni” and the wind God “Vayu”, and they began providing him with food and material for worship. Lord Siva was pleased with the penance of Kasyapa. He appeared before Kasyapa in his fire faced form, along with his concert Parvathi. Lord Siva sought Kasyapa to seek any boom of the latter’s choice. Kasyapa who was overwhelmed with joy, said with folded hands: “Lord!, I want you to be born as my son”. The benevolent Siva said: “Yes. I shall be born to you as your son with the name of Hanuman”. Agni and Vayu who were present their sought Lord Siva to bless them with a similar boon. Lord Siva promised that he would become their son as well. Kasyapa reincarnated as Kesari, a vanara (monkey). His wife Sadhya took birth as Anjana, the daughter of sage Goutama and his wife Ahalya.

There was a demon by the name “ Gardhaba Nisvana”. He performed a great penance and Lord Siva was pleased with it. The demon sought a boon that no God or demon or yaksha should kill him. Siva granted the boon. Siva’s boon emboldened the demon Gardhaba Nisvana (the one who brays like a donkey). The demon used to bray very loudly killing the listeners. He tormented sages and disturbed their holy activities

Unable to bear the deeds of Gardhaba Nisvana, many sages and Indra (the Lord of heaven) went to complain Brahma, the creator of the universe. Brahma said that since the demon was a devotee of Lord Siva, it is better to seek Lord Siva’s advice. Lord Siva said that he couldn’t kill the demon devoted to him. The sages Indra, Brahma and Siva than went to Lord Maha Vishnu. Lord Vishnu assured them that he would kill the demon. Lord Siva interrupted: “It would be difficult to kill the demon Gardhaba Nisvana as he is protected by my grace”. Lord Vishnu replies: “The demon’s strength is diminishing, due to his misdeeds and I shall surely kill him”.

Lord Siva said emphatically: “It would be impossible to kill Gardhaba Nisvana. If you do kill him, I shall serve you”. Lord Vishnu replies: “If I don’t kill the demon, I shall become the servant of the Siva and stay at Kailasa it self”.
After these proclamations, Lord Vishnu once again took the form of Mohini, the celestial beauty. Lord Vishnu in his female form, entered the garden where Gardhaba Nisvana was resting, carrying a vessel filled with an intoxicating drink. The demon was attracted by Mohini and sought her to be with him. She sought him to drink the wine she was carrying as a prelude to their enjoyment. The demon started drinking and soon fell down, unconscious. Lord Vishnu left his form as Mohini and took the form of a Wolf and tore the abdomen of the Gardhaba Nisvana, killing him instantaneously.

Having lost his wager, Lord Siva got ready to serve Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu dissuaded Lord Siva, saying that their wagers were intended for the welfare of the universe. “You will serve me incarnated as a Kapi Veera (Monkey Hero) when I incarnate as Sri Rama in Treta Yuga”, asserted Lord Vishnu.

Thus Lord Siva incarnated as Sri Hanuman to serve Sri Rama, to fulfill his word to serve Lord Vishnu.

 

In Treta Yuga, there lived a Vanara Veera (Monkey Warrior) by name Kunjara. He was married to Vindhyavali. The couple was unhappy, as they had no children. With a view to get progeny, Kunjara set to perform a penance, worshipping Lord Siva. Lord Siva was pleased with the penance of Kunjara. When Kunjara sought progeny, Lord Siva said: “you are not destined to have children. But due to your good luck, you would get a foster daughter and your clan will be blessed through her progeny”. Having thus blessed Kunjara, Lord Siva disappeared. Kunjara told Vindhyavali of Lord Siva’s blessing and was eagerly waiting for his foster daughter.

Sage Gowtama and his wife Ahalya had two children – a son named Satananda and a daughter named Anjana. Gowtama cursed Ahalya, as she was duped by Indra and Surya (The sun God). Gowtama was worried about the upbringing of his young children.

Sage Narada visited Gowtama and told him: “O! sage no one can change destiny. You may not in position to bring your children up. You send your son to the philosopher king Janaka, so that your son can become Janaka’s state priest. There is a monkey warrior by name Kunjara. He is child less. Let your daughter Anjana become Kunjara’s foster daughter.” Sage Gowtama acted as advised by Sage Narada. Anjana became the foster daughter of Kunjara and was brought up fondly. As days went by she became a beautiful maiden.

There was a Kapi Veera of eminence in those days named Kesari, the monkey warrior helped the gods by slaying the demon known as “Samba Sadana”. He also helped the sages by killing two rogue elephants, Sankha and Sabala. The gods and sages wanted to suitably help Kesari, who was leading a life of celibacy. It was felt by them that Anjana would be the ideal wife of Kesari. They made Kesari to agree to get married. Then, they went to Kunjara and told him of Kesari. Thus, Kesari wed Anjana. They were a very happy couple.

As years passed by lack of progeny was bothering Kesari and Anjana. Anjana wanted to perform a penance, seeking children. She sought Kesari’s permission for her endeavor. He agreed. She took his leave as she was proceeding to perform penance, Sage Matanga appeared before her. Knowing of her resolve, he advised her to go to Vrishabhadri (the present Tirumala Hills) to perform penance. She used to take bath in Akasa Teertha and was worshipping the Almighty. The Wind God Vayu, used to give her a fruit every day. One day he dropped a special fruit in the hands of Anjana. It was no ordinary fruit for it contained the essence of the aspects of all Gods, passed on by Lord Siva to his consort Parvathi, who in turn gave it to the fire god Agni, from whom Vayu took it.

Anjana was not aware of the specialty of the particular fruit. As was her practice, she ate the fruit provided by Vayu. As a result she became pregnant. She was greatly worried as she was the devoted wife f her husband. She was ashamed as well. A terrible fear engulfed her.

A divine voice (Aakasa Vani) told Anjana: “ O! Anjana, your sanctity is intact. You have nothing to feel sad. By the Almighty’s grace, you are going to deliver a great person”.

Anjana narrated her experience to Kesari. The couple was very happy.

The birth of Sri Hanuman

It was the dasami (tenth) tithi in the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the lunar month of Vaisakha. The star of the day was Purvabhadra, with Vaidhniti yoga. It was in that afternoon, Anjana delivered Sri Hanuman, in Karkataka lagna, at a very auspicious time.

Sri Hanuman was infact an incarnation of all Gods. Accordingly he took birth at a very auspicious time. He took birth decked in silk dress, diamond earrings, a golden YAJNPAVEETHA (sacred thread), diamond studded anklets, a kaupina (loin cloth) fixed to his skin. He had a mountain like body. He had broad shoulders. He had diamond crown and matching ornaments on the shoulders. He had auspicious signs on his soles. He had a huge tail and prominent cheeks.

He appeared as if he was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, due to his luminescence.

To celebrate the birth of the divine child, the gods showered flowers. Divine drums started ringing in the Heavens. Gods and other celestial beings danced in happiness. Nature became very pleasant. There were pleasing winds. Sages who were involved in fire worship found good omens. Flowers started oozing honey and spread their aroma all round.

While the virtuous had pleasant experiences, the demons had unpleasant experiences. They encountered bad omens. Diamonds fixed on the crowns of the demons fell to ground. They experienced a great turbulence. Foetuses in the wombs of the demon women trembled.

The divine child born to the Anjana was called “Anjaneya”. As he took birth due to the kindness of VAYU, he was called Vayunandana, Pavanasuta, or Anilakumara (the son of Vayu). As he was born as an aspect of Lord Siva he was called Sankarasuta (Son of Sankara) and Parvathi nandana (Son of Parvathi).

He was also called Kesari Nandana (the son of Kesari). Since he took birth with Yajropavita (sacred thread), he was called Bala Brahmachari (the child celibate) He could verily be called with any divine name, as he is an incarnation of all that is divine.

Where did Sri Hanuman take birth?

It was at Tirumala. PURANAS and PARASARA SAMHITA support this opinion. It is stated in BRAHMANDA PURANA that since Anjana delivered a child through a great penance at the hill, the hill was blessed to be known as “Anjanadri”. Anjanadri indeed is one among the seven hills that make the Tirumala Hills.

Sri Hanuman went to Kishkinda, as per his mother’s advice, to become the minister of Sugriva. Sage Jabali performed penance at Sri Hanuman’s birthplace atop Tirumala and Sri Hanuman revealed himself at the spot. It is known as JAPALI HANUMATH KSHETRA. The spot is on the way to Akasa Ganga from Tirumala. It was in a very inhospitable state.

I (Annadanam Chidambara Sastri) made many representations to the endowments department of the government of Andhra Pradesh and the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams authorities. It is heartening to note that the sacred spot is now easy to reach and worship. It is requested that those devotees who under take Hanumad Deeksha relinquish their deeksha at the sacred birthplace of Sri Hanuman atop Tirumala Hills. It would be only a matter of time before this sacred place gets renowned as a renowned Kshetra of Sri Hanuman. All devotees who undertake a pilgrimage of Tirumala must visit the sacred birthplace of Sri Hanuman.

Puranas differ on arriving at the birthday of Sri Hanuman. They mention CHAITRA BAHULA CHATURDASI, CHAITRA SUDDHA EKADASI, VAISKHA BAHULA DASAMI or MARGASIRA BAHULA DASAMI as per different Puranas. While some say it is a Saturday, others feel that the day was either a Tuesday or a Wednesday. VAISAKHA BAHULA DASAMI is recognized as the birthday of Sri Hanuman. VAISAKHA BAHULA DASAMI occurs in May. MARGASIRA SUDDHA TRAYODASI is observed as HANUMADVRATAM. It occurs in December. Some people observe the day as the birthday of Sri Hanuman.

A hymn in RIGVEDA proclaims: ----------. It indicates that the day on which the birth of the star of a god occurs has to be reckoned as the birthday of the god. Sri Hanuman’s birth star is PURVABHADRA. But his “Adhisthana” star is Swathi. The birth of the star of Sri Hanuman occurs on VAISHAKHA BAHULA DASAMI and the day has to be observed as his birthday.

It is appropriate to celebrate Sri Hanuman’s birthday in May.

How Sri Hanuman got his Name?

It was VAISAKHA BAHULA AMAVASYA (New Moon Day). Anjaneya was five days old. The divine child was feeling hungry. He asked his mother to feed him. She replied: “I will get you some ripe fruit. You can also look for any ripe fruit and eat them”. So saying, she left. Anjaneya looked up. It was about to dawn. The rising sun appeared to be a ripe red fruit. Anjaneya felt very happy. He spontaneously sprang into skies and caught hold of the rising sun. A solar eclipse was to occur on the particular new moon day. Rahu was just than moving to capture the sun. Rahu was astonished to see the capture of the sun by some one else. He went near Anjaneya and cautioned: “you… monkey boy, why are you grabbing the Sun – contrary to nature?”

Perhaps the black colored Rahu looked like a black colored fruit to Anjaneya. He wanted to grab Rahu as well. Rahu was terrified. He swiftly moved away and went to Devendra. Rahu told Devendra: “An extra ordinary boy is about to swallow the image of the Sun contrary to the established practice of my eclipsing the Sun. Stop the danger and let the established practice take place”.

Devendra left at once on his elephant Iravata. The white elephant attracted Anjaneya. He quickly moved towards it. Indra was astonished by the strength of the extra ordinary boy who was holding the sun. He threw his weapons, the Vajrayudha at Anjaneya. Anjaneya stopped it with a hair follicle. Angered Indra set the Brahmastra at the boy. Anjaneya pushed it aside with another hair follicle. All the gods were astonished. Brahma and other gods arrived at the scene and started to pray Anjaneya thus: “ Dear child of Anjana, one of valor, the one who took birth because of Parvathi and Parameswara, O great warrior, the one with great strength and powers, you have taken birth to benefit human beings, gods and sages. O Anjaneya, you have taken birth as the son of Vayu who provides life to the World. Since you have grabbed the Sun, all sacred activities including those prescribed by the Vedas, have come to a halt. So please leave the Sun”.

On hearing the prayer, Anjaneya released the Sun. Indra who was looking at the astonishing event was enraged as Anjaneya belittled the Vajrayudha. He wanted to have the upper hand. He noticed that Anjaneya was distracted. Using the opportunity he struck at Anjaneya’s jaw with the Vajrayudha. Anjaneya fainted and fell on the rock ground. His jaw area became blood red. Vayu saw the plight of his dear child.

Vayu was pained. His pain led to anger. He withdrew the life winds from all living beings and nature and remained motionless. With the withdrawing of the wind, all life activities of the Universe came to a halt. All the celestial beings, sages and Gods including Devendra and the trinity came to Vayu. The Gods realized that Vayu had to be pleased to save the Universe. Brahma sprinkled holy water from his kamandala on Anjaneya, to awaken the boy. Anjaneya awakened. Brahma wanted all the Gods to bless Anjaneya and grant him boons to pacify and please Vayu deva. The gods bestowed special and unique boons to Anjaneya. Such boons were never given to any one in the past. The boons bestowed on Anjaneya included Longevity, strength, valor, health, piety, intellect, knowledge, gift of good speech, compassion, bravery, equanimity, devotion to Lord Vishnu, ability to bear any onslaught, celibacy, ability to withstand attack by any divine or demonic arms and many others. Indra asserted that Anjaneya would not be slain by the Vajrayudha. Since Anjaneya was bestowed with strong jaws, which with stood the blow of the Vajrayudha, Indra said that the boy would be known as HANUMANTHA. Thus Anjaneya came to known as HANUMANTHA.
We have already noted that Madhavacharya explained the word Hanumantha as the name of one who is “Gnani”.

Chanting the name of Hanumantha results in many a boon.  

Sri Hanuman’s education and Marriage

The boons granted by the gods made Hanuman invincible. The monkey child became uncontrollable. He became very mischievous. His pranks irritated many. He did not spare the sages even. He would pounce on them and tear their dress. He would throw fruit and leaves, perched atop trees. They bore with him patiently being aware of his future. One day a sage was very much disturbed by Hanumantha. The sage went into a rage and cursed Hanumantha: “ May you forget your strength with which you have caused us so much of pain”. The curse changed the life of Hanuman altogether. He became very calm and inert. The change pained the sages. They altered the curse on him. They blessed him thus: “If any one reminds you of your strength, you would recognize your strength and abilities and succeed”.
 
This boon chastened Hanumantha. He became a well-behaved child and an epitome of virtuousness.

Hanuman was growing older. His mother told him: “Son! It is time to get educated. There is no better teacher than Surya, the Sun god, who dispels all darkness. Go to him and gain knowledge.”

Even though he was omnipotent, Hanuman obeyed his mother. He reached the Surya Mandala and humbly prayed the Sun god: “O! Surya Deva, I want to learn Vedas, Vedangas, and Upangas from you. Please teach me.” Surya replied: “O! Boy of Anjana, I am always on the move, as ordained by Almighty, how can I teach you? ”

Hanuman was angered. He blocked the path of Surya. Surya pacified Hanuman. He said: “I have no objection to teach you. But you have to find a way to learn”.

Hanuman stood facing the sun and started walking backwards. Surya was moving forward and was teaching Hanuman. Lord Siva is said to know all and Hanuman, who is Lord Siva’s incarnation, proved to be one who knows all as well. With in a week of his education, he astonished Surya. Surya praised Hanuman. Hanuman wanted to continue his education. Instead of walking backward, he put one foot on the rising hill and the other one on the setting hill to face the Sun god. Hanuman’s interest and devotion pleased the Sun god. Surya taught all that is to be taught to Hanuman.

Surya was married to Sanjana, a daughter of Viswakarma. Sanjana was devoted wife but was unable to bear the heat emanating from the Sun’s rays. She was suffering with anguish. Her mother noticed the daughter’s plight and sought to know as to what the problem was. Sanjana explained her problem to her mother. Her mother in turn told Viswakarma of Sanjana’s problem. Viswakarma told Surya that he would polish off some of the luminescence of Surya. Surya agreed. Viswakarma was able to polish off some luminescence of his son-in-law. The luminescence thus separated took the form of young woman. Her beauty and grace astonished even gods. Indra wanted to know as to who would marry that shinning brilliant young women. Brahma thought for a while and replied: “Hanuman who is essence of Lord Siva’s fiery power will marry the young woman. Since Hanuman tried to grab the ever glowing Sun god, he alone can bear this glowing young woman”.

Surya remembered Brahma’s utterance. By than Hanuman’s education was complete. He was ready to graduate. He bowed to Lord Surya and said: “O! My divine teacher! Thanks to you I am educated now. I would like to take your leave now. I would like to offer you an appropriate fee as Guru Dakshina. Kindly order me”. 

Surya immediately replied: “O Hanuman, you are the incarnation of Lord Siva who bore the poisonous HAALAAHALA to save the universe when the ocean was churned. You are also son of Agni, the fire god. Viswakarma separated a part of my luminescence and the world is unable to bear it. You are the only one who can bear it. So I want to offer you my daughter Suvarchala formed from my ‘VARCHAS’ (luminescence), in marriage. Marry my daughter. Since husband is the one who is to bear, you also bear my ‘Suvarchas’ by marrying Suvarchala. Your marrying her shall be my Guru Dakshina”.

Hanuman listened to his teacher and replied politely: “O Lord! I have decided to follow Brahmacharya through out my life. How can I marry?” Surya replied: “O Hanuman, this Suvarchala is a divine one, Ayonija. She would be a devoted wife. I am giving you the boon that you would still be a Brahmachari even after marriage. You would continue to be a Prajapatya Brahmachari. Your marriage is only for the welfare of the Universe and it would not affect your chosen course of celibacy. You were a born Brahmachari with a Yajnopavita (Sacred thread). Brahmacharya will be your eternal pursuit. Since you are going to be a Brahma in future, Suvarchala will then occupy the place of Vani”.

Hanuman obeyed his preceptor’s advice. Surya presented Suvarchala to Hanuman. It is stated in PARASARA SAMHITA, that Surya offered his daughter Suvarchala in marriage on JYESTHA SUDDHA DASAMI. It was a Wednesday under the star UTTARA. Those who respect tradition, even to this day, observe “HANUMAT KALYANAM” (Hanuman’s Marriage) on JYESTHA SUDDHA DASAMI day.

Sri Hanuman’s First Meeting with Sri Rama

On the completion of his education, Hanuman prayed his mother to advise him on his future course of action. She was pleased with her son’s good intentions. She said: “Son! I am the daughter of Ahalya and sage Gowtama. My mother who was duped by Indra and Surya bore two sons. My father, who knew the truth, threw the children into a river and cursed them to be monkey shaped. The cursed duos are Vali and Sugriva. Vali is born due to Indra and Sugriva is born due to Surya. Both are my brothers. Sugriva is pious. Vali has misunderstood Sugriva and took away Sugriva’s wife. Vali is following an evil path and he is intending to kill Sugriva. You go to Sugriva and be his minister and saviour. Even though my two brothers are at logger heads, you don’t fight with Vali”. She added further: “My child! In your call of duty, you would meet your Lord. You would recognize him at once, as his very sight would induce inexplicable feeling in you. You serve him and fulfill your life mission”.

Devoted son that he was, Hanuman prostrated at the feet of his mother and sought her blessings to succeed in his future endeavours. Anjana bade a tearful but resolute fare well to her son.

Anjana’s advice set Anjaneya on his own mission, the mission of his Lord and the mission of his teacher Surya. Since Sugriva was Surya’s progeny, serving Sugriva was like serving his Guru. As advised by his mother, Anjaneya became Sugriva’s minister.

Ravana abducted Sita. Sri Rama and Lakshmana set in search of her. They saw Jatayu, who was about to die. Jatayu told them of Ravana’s misdeed. He informed that Ravana traveled south. Accordingly Sri Rama and Lakshmana traveled south and reached the banks of river Pampa. It was than Sugriva saw them. He thought: “were they sent by Vali?” He was worried. He shared his worry with Hanuman. Hanuman tried to reason with Sugriva. He said: “They do not appear to be dangerous. Further Vali or his followers cannot come to our place. You are suffering from the ever wavering attitude peculiar to the monkey race”. Sugriva was restless. He wanted Hanuman to go to the two strangers, in the guise of a mendicant.

The strangers Sri Rama and Lakshmana were GRUHASTHAS (married men). Hanuman was in the guise of a mendicant. As per established practice, the married men must pay respects to a mendicant, but not other wise. Contrary to tradition, Hanuman, who was in the guise of mendicant paid his respects to Sri Rama and Lakshmana, by folding his hands in a NAMASKARA.

The very sight of Sri Rama made Hanuman very happy. He was experiencing strange feelings of devotion. He at once recalled his mother’s words. Hanuman recognized his Lord in Sri Rama.

He started to speak: “Great men! You are dressed like sages, but wear swords, bows and arrows. Your shoulders suggest that they deserve royal insignia. Please tell me who are you. I am born to a Vanara Veera by name Kesari and his wife Anjana through the blessings of Vayu Deva, the wind god. My name is Hanumantha. I am a follower of Sugriva”. After telling everything about himself, Hanuman proclaims: “I have spoken so much and you don’t respond”.

Hanuman’s words astonish Sri Rama. He shares his astonishment with Lakshmana when he says: “Lakshmana, only a person well versed in four Vedas alone can talk like this. He could not have spoken so well, if he were not a scholar in the nine types of grammar. Who is this great person?”

Thus Sri Rama praises Hanuman’s capabilities in their very first meeting. That is why Anjaneya gained popularity as ATHI VAKRA NIPOORNAHA KAPIHI - the kapi who is the great exponent of speech.

Beginning the service of Sri Rama

 Hanuman listened to the Sri Rama in rapt attention. When he knew that Sri Rama came in search of Sita, Hanuman thought that Sugriva should forge a friendship with Sri Rama. He carried Sri Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders and reached RUSHYAMUKA PARVATA, the hill abode of Sugriva. He made them seated comfortably and went to Sugriva. He told Sugriva everything he learnt about Sri Rama. Sugriva accepted Hanuman’s advice. He went to Sri Rama and politely welcomed him. Hanuman made proper seating arrangements for them with leaves and branches of trees.

Sri Rama and Sugriva exchanged notes. Sugriva offered to serve Sri Rama. He said: “Sri Rama, from now you will be my master and the master of my followers. All of us would search for your wife”. Sri Rama assured Sugriva that he would help the latter. Hanuman churned the fire sticks and started a fire. Sri Rama and Sugriva entered into a bond of friendship with fire god as witness. Thus the NARADHIPA (The king of men) and the VANARADHIPA (The king of monkeys) were brought together by Hanuman.

As he was talking to Sri Rama, Sugriva remembered of a bundle of ornaments, which fell before the Vanaras, a few days earlier. Hanuman shows the bundle to Sri Rama and Lakshmana. They recognize the ornaments as belonging to Sita. Sri Rama’s anguish increases. Sugriva assures Sri Rama that he would search for Sita and unite her with the Lord.

Sri Rama, the epitome of Dharma slew Vali as per his promise. Tara, Vali’s wife was greatly dedicated to her husband. She was bitterly crying for her husband. Hanuman did not want Tara to curse Sugriva, to ensure that the purpose of Dharma was not defeated. He endeavors to pacify Tara. With great foresight, he gains her confidence and advises her to act with fortitude for the sake of her son Angada. Tara relents. With his great ability of precise speech, Hanuman saves Vanaras.

Sugriva was crowned as the king of Vanaras. As he was bound by his filial dictate of residing in the forests, Sri Rama did not attend the coronation of Sugriva. He stays in a cave in the PRASRAVANA hills. Sugriva, who had a very difficult time when Vali was alive, was tempted to taste the pleasures of life. As it was rainy season, Sri Rama allowed Sugriva to enjoy. Even after the rainy season, Sugriva continued to be indifferent to his promise to Sri Rama. Hanuman was disturbed. He went to Sugriva to advise. He said: “Sri Rama fulfilled his promise to kill Vali. You have forgotten his help. You cannot be indifferent. If Sri Rama gets angry, no one can save us”.

Hanuman’s advice prompted Sugriva to call Neela. He ordered Neela to send word to Vanaras from all over. Having ordered Neela, Sugriva continued to indulge in pleasures.

The indifference of Sugriva vanished the moment he learnt of the visit of Lakshmana, sent by Sri Rama to remind Sugriva. Lakshmana was seething with anger. Sugriva humbly submitted to forgive his folly. He went to Sri Rama along with his followers and promised him of immediate action.

The Vanaras from all over congregated at KISHKINDA. Sugriva drew plans to search for Sita. It was decided that Hanuman should go south along with Angada, Neela and Jambavanta. Sugriva provided description of different areas to his followers. He had a special advice for Anjaneya: “Hanuman, you are bestowed with great physical strength and rare intellect. You know how to behave properly in different situations. You are also very virtuous. You would definitely achieve the mission.”

Sri Rama was assessing the capabilities of Hanuman ever since he met the latter. He observed Sugriva praise Hanuman. Since Ravana traveled southwards, Lanka was certainly in that direction. Sri Rama recognized Hanuman’s ability to achieve. He handed over his ring, which was imprinted, with his name to Hanuman. Hanuman took Sri Rama’s ring with great reverence. He took leave from Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sugriva and departed to search Sita.

 

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