This article narrates the story of the illustrious monkey God, Sri Pawanputra Hanuman, the son of Kesari and Anjana. He was renowned for his unparalleled devotion to Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. His selfless service and dedication endeared him to Lord Rama and his family. Hanuman was so obsessed with their comfort and well-being, that he could not bear the thought of ever being separated from his beloved Lord.
Birth of Lord Hanuman
In ancient days, a great sage named Gautam resided in the mountains of Meru. Very close to the sage’s ashram, was the abode of the monkey couple Kesari and Anjana. The virtuous Anjana was an exemplary woman who served her husband dutifully; she was once a heavenly maiden who assumed a monkey form with the specific purpose of giving birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva on earth.
The story of Anjana
Once, when Anjana was wandering through a forest, she came upon a monkey who was engrossed deep in meditation. Anjana envisioned the monkey as a holy sage and unwittingly mocked the sage with her laughter. The monkey ignored her initially, but Anjana continued her childish behavior and threw stones at the monkey to chase it away. Ultimately, the primate revealed his true form as a powerful sage who had assumed the form of a monkey to focus on his spiritual meditation. He called upon her and enlightened her on the purpose of his meditation as a monkey. He also informed Anjana that she would be born on earth as a monkey and be blessed with a mighty son who was an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Anjana’s sojourn on earth
When Anjana was born on Earth as a monkey, she performed severe penance to Lord Shiva. Her dedication and prayers to Lord Shiva were so intense, that she even stopped consuming food or water. Eventually, her meditation was acknowledged by Lord Shiva, who blessed her with the boon of an illustrious and powerful son who will be immortal.
While these events were occurring, in the far away kingdom of Ayodhya, King Dasaratha was performing the Ashvamedha Yagna for progeny. The God of fire ‘Agni’ was pleased with the ‘Yagna’ (Fire Lab) and offered a divine sweet to the king that was to be shared by all his three wives. On the instructions of Lord Shiva, a small portion of the sweet was carried by ‘Vayu’ the wind God, and gave it to Anjana. She consumed the sweet and immediately felt the blessings of Lord Shiva envelop her being. Vayu duly informed Anjana that she would soon bear a son who was like none other and possess immense intelligence, courage, strength, speed and the power to fly. Upon hearing this, Anjana was so overwhelmed with joy that her happiness knew no bounds.
Sure enough, Anjana soon gave birth to a divine monkey-face child who was named ‘Anjaneya’ (son of Anjana). Immediately after, Anjana resumed her original form as a heavenly maiden and returned to Heaven, after entrusting the child to his father. Hanuman soon grew up to become a mischievous and courageous boy, while at the same time displaying extraordinary prowess.
Tales of Hanuman
According to legend, Anjaneya once burnt his mouth as he mistook the Sun to be a tasty fruit and leaped into the Heavens to take a bite of the celestial body; such was his bravery and strength.
This extraordinary monkey child is called by many names, including Anjaneya, Hanuman, Maruti, Pawanputra, Sankat Mochan etc. Hanuman played a pivotal role in the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’ and will be revered for posterity as the epitome of strength, dedication and courage.
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