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Hanuman - The Sage Warrior

We all know the great Lord Hanuman who played a very vital role in Ramayana. Hanuman was the son of Vayu (the Lord of Wind) and Anjana ( a celestial nymph). Anjana had managed to enrage a sage who went ahead and cursed her that she would turn into a monkey. However, when Anjana begged for forgiveness the sage calmed down and said that she would regain her original form once she bears a child as the child would take her form and that is how Lord Hanuman was born. Hanuman was born with extraordinary powers. One day when he was a child he saw the Sun and wanted to catch hold of it and play with it. So he jumped onto the sky to get hold of the fireball. On seeing this Indra (the God of Thunder and Rain) tried to stop him and threw his Vajra (Indra's weapon) on him. Wounded because of this Hanuman fell onto the ground. Upon seeing this the enraged father Vayu went on a strike as he wanted Indra to be punished for his action. The world started suffocating and the Gods knew that they had to placate Vayu. To please him the Gods showered Hanuman with divine boons. Brahma blessed him with immortality and Varuna (the God of the ocean) blessed him with protection against water. Agni (the God of fire) blessed him with protection against fire and Surya (the Sun God) blessed him with the power to change his size and form as per his wish. Finally, Vishwakarma (the Divine architect) blessed Hanuman with a boon that would protect him against everything created in this Universe.

However, all these powers were hidden from Hanuman.

Hanuman wanted to study under Surya the God of the Sun as Surya was the most knowledgeable in the Universe. Surya was reluctant and told him that since he keeps moving from one place to another it shall be difficult for Hanuman to study under his guidance. However, Hanuman was devoted and sincere. He decided to travel with Surya and learn from him. Pleased with his sincerity Surya agreed and imparted all his divine knowledge to Hanuman. Soon Hanuman became a learned scholar. After completing his education Hanuman decided to pay tribute to Surya by giving guru Dakshina. He asked Surya what does he want from him. Surya asked Hanuman to serve his monkey son Sugriva in return. Surya and his charioteer Aruni had a son named Sugriva. Aruni and Indra had a son named Vali. Hence Vali and Sugriva were half brothers and ruled over the kingdom of Kishkinda. Vali was the elder brother and hence was the king of Kishkinda. Once Vali went on to fight a demon who had entered their region. The demon hid inside a cave. Vali decided to go inside the cave and kill him. He asked Sugriva to wait for him outside the cave. Many years passed but Vali did not return. Sugriva thought that Vali might have died fighting the demon. He returned to Kishkinda. Sugriva now became the king of Kishkinda and started ruling. However, after some years Vali returned after killing the demon. Vali had now turned into a demon himself after staying with one for so many years. Vali was furious at Sugriva and thought that he had cheated him. He was so furious that he now wanted to kill Sugriva. He threw him out of his kingdom. He even snatched Sugriva’s wife Ruma. Sugriva then moves to Rishyamukh which was the only place on Earth where Vali could not enter. Vali was previously cursed by Sage Matang that if he entered Rishyamukh he shall die. Surya knew of Sugriva's pain and hence wanted Hanuman to serve him. Hence Hanuman became a part of his clan.

When Ravana kidnapped Sita, Lord Ram decided to seek the help of Sugriva to find her. This was when Hanuman met Lord Ram. Hanuman knew that Ram was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He instantly became his devotee and decided to serve him for life. Sugriva agreed to help Rama only upon one condition that Rama shall help Sugriva defeat Vali and reunite with his wife Ruma.

Rama agreed to help Sugriva. Rama killed Vali and Sugriva was reunited with his wife. After this, the Vanarsena along with Rama and Lakshman headed towards Lanka to rescue Sita. Lanka was an island far off inside the Indian ocean. This is when Jambvan the wise bear helped Hanuman recall his extraordinary powers. Only Hanuman could fly across the ocean and hence reach Lanka. The others decided to wait along the shore side until his return. On reaching Lanka he reduced his size to the size of an ant. He then saw the demon king Ravana in his court. He also saw Goddess Sita captured inside a garden called Ashok Vatika. He met Sita and told her that he was sent by Rama to free her. However, Sita refused to come along and told him to get Rama to Lanka and free her from the clutches of the demon Ravana. Hanuman assured her that they would return with a full-fledged army and strike war against Ravana.

Meanwhile, Ravana got to know that some intruder had entered his kingdom. Hanuman was brought in front of him. He tried to punish Hanuman by putting his tail on fire. However, Hanuman was unharmed as his tail kept growing. Due to his evergrowing tail, the whole of Lanka was set on fire before Hanuman left. Hanuman came back and told Rama about everything that happened in Lanka. Rama built the Ramsetu bridge with the help of VanarSena. They entered Lanka and the battle began. During the battle, Lakshman got severely injured when he was attacked by Ravana's son Indrajeet. His condition was so vulnerable that only certain divine herbs that grew on the mountains of the Himalayas could save him. Hanuman decided to fly to the Himalayas and fetch the same. However, upon reaching there he got confused and was unable to identify the herb. This is when he uprooted the entire mountain and got it to Lanka. Hanuman's timely act saved Lakshman. After days of vigorous battle, Rama succeeded in killing Ravana. Sita was freed from his capture.

Hanuman is a Chiranjeevi and would present on Earth till the end of time. He is also a half-brother to Bheema who was one. of the Pandavas and an iconic character in the epic tale of Mahabharata. Hanuman was celibate warrior and sage. He still holds a very prominent position among Hindu gods and enjoys a huge sect of devotees. His temples are almost everywhere in India. Tuesday is the day dedicated to him.

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