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.