Hanuman, the well-known monkey god, can be
seen in temples throughout the country. In some temples his image is set up alone
standing with a mace in the right hand or sitting in a devotional posture before
the images of Rama and Sita. He is considered to be the god of power and strength,
who remained a celibate through his whole life. He is worshipped
as being the greatest devotee of Rama, who loves Hanuman the most.
|HANUMAN - THE MONKEY GOD
Hanuman's other names are HANUMAT and PAVAN-SUTA. He is
the son of VAYU, the lord of winds and ARIJANA, the female seduced by Vayu. Along with Rama, Hanuman
is invariably worshipped and he is the most favored deity of wrestlers and grapplers.
Tuesday is the sacred day on which lakhs of Hindus worship Hanuman and pray to
him for strength and prosperity.
Hanuman's deeds of bravery and feats of valor are related
in great detail in the Ramayana and also scantily in a few other religious books
like Mahabharata and Agni Purana. This god is described as having a short thick neck, a round
red face, sharp white fangs, a mane like Ashoka flowers, a tail like Indra' s
banner and ability to expand until he could be as large as a mountain or to contract
until he could be as small as a fly.
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 VISHWAROOP OF HANUMAN
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 became the greatest and the most faithful helper of Rama in his campaign
against Ravana. When sent as Rama's envoy Hanuman was given a ring to convince
Sita that he was truly her husband's messenger. With a formidable leap he crossed
the seas and reached Lanka. He succeeded in meeting Sita and brought her news
back to Rama.