Hanuman is the immortal devotee; it is well known that Lord Rama granted immortality to Hanuman and told, “Wherever the Ramayana is chanted, there, you may be present!” Here, we take up narrative between Hanuman and Ravana, and one story about Shiva taking birth as Hanuman.
Apart from conducting prayers and pujas, people also undertake pilgrimages during the 41-day Deeksha period (which begins on Chaitra Purnima – Wednesday, April 8, 2020).
Devotees chant or listen to Hanuman Chalisa and Hanuman Ashtakam on the day. Some people read the Sundara Kandam from the Ramayana.
In the epic Ramayana, Hanuman continuously thought of Rama; every hair on his body reverberated the name of Rama. Hanuman visited Lanka and developed friendship with Vibishana. Knowing that Hanuman had been with Rama, Vibishana said to him, “How lucky you are. You are so fortunate to be serving Rama. Though I have much wealth, I am without inner peace. Even though I chant the name of Rama, I have not yet had the darshan of Rama.” Vibishana felt sad still waiting for an opportunity to serve Rama. This episode from the Ramayana illustrates that it is insufficient to only sing the glories of Rama; one must also serve Him.
Hanuman then spoke, “Sita has been staying here so many months in Lanka. Did you try to save Sita by attempting to persuade Ravana to free her? You never attempted to save her. You should help in Rama’s mission.” Vibishana replied, “I will show you Mother Sita if you show me Father Rama.” Hanuman went to Ashoka gardens with Vibishana where all the demons began to make fun of the monkey. On Ravana’s command Hanuman’s tail was set on fire, thus he destroyed the houses and various other places in Lanka when they caught fire. Finally Angada, the son of Ravana, was sent to Lanka to settle the matter. He asked Hanuman, “Who are you and where do you come from?” Hanuman replied, “I am the servant of Lord Rama.” As it was the principle not to kill the ambassador to their country, they merely caught Hanuman and brought him to Ravana. Hanuman, seated upon a low seat, continued to repeat the Lord’s name while coiling his long extended tail round and round into a big pile. Hanuman, now seated on a higher level, faced Ravana and forced him to look up. The ground below Ravana fell and this was considered to be a very bad omen.
Ravana asked, “Who sent you; you are only a monkey and you are spoiling the entire country of Lanka.” Hanuman replied,” That king who cut off your sister’s nose has sent me. Although you have excelled in 64 forms of knowledge, you have no wisdom, peace or moral values. This is like a school without teachers.” There is nothing to equal a devotee. Ravana’s end was fast approaching; he could not act and think properly.
Shiva decided to born as Hanuman, the son of Vayu the wind god and the Apsara Anjana who had been cursed to the form of a monkey. Hanuman as an avatar of Shiva is not accepted by everyone, but there are still many people who believe it. The story of Lord Shiva taking birth as Hanuman is given below from the Brihaddarma Purana.
The Brihaddharma Purana (abridged)
Chapter 16 – The history of Rama
This king had seven hundred and fifty wives, among whom Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra were the principal ones. He had not, however, been blessed with a son, and he, therefore, had a Putreshti sacrifice performed by the great sage, Rishyasringa, the son of Vibhandaka Muni.
While this sacrifice was being performed, the god Brahma, accompanied by other gods, paid a visit to Narayana in Vaikuntha loka, and said
“Kesava, you know Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka. We pray you to incarnate yourself as man in order to kill him. He once obtained a boon from me by virtue of which he has secured exemption from being killed by all other beings except man whom he thought it beneath his dignity to seek exemption from. Now, here is an opportunity for you to remove this scourge of gods and man. King Dasaratha is performing a sacrifice with the object of being blessed with issue, and as he is your devout worshipper, deign to please him by being born as his son.”
“Brahma, I feel the necessity of complying with your request. I shall descend to the earth as Dasaratha’s son, but let all these gods also go there and be born as monkeys and bears to help me in killing the great demon.”
Thereupon all the gods went home to make necessary preparations, and Narayana and Brahma went together to Kailasa, the abode of Siva. Siva, after giving them a fitting reception, took them to his wife whom they found seated on a golden throne surrounded by eight other goddesses.
Vishnu addressing her said,
“Mother, Brahma has persuaded me to descend to the Earth in the form of a man in order to kill Ravana, and I have asked the gods to become incarnate as bears and monkeys to help me in the accomplishment of this great object. There is, however, one insuperable obstacle in our way. This mighty demon has been worshipping you and your husband, Siva, all his life, and in doing so, has pleased me also, because whosoever worships you both, worships me as well. How am I, therefore, to kill him? Moreover, you both have augmented his strength and prowess, and you, as the patron goddess of Lanka, are always guarding its lord’s interests. We have, therefore, come to you to ask how this pest should be got rid of.”
The Devi smiled and said,
“True it is, Kesava, that Ravana worships my husband and myself with unprecedented zeal and devotion, and has, therefore, gained such ascendency over all the worlds, but as he is tyrannizing over them beyond measure, I quite agree with you all that it is time that he should die. Brahma’s proposal that you should incarnate yourself as man to kill him is an excellent one, but you will not be able to accomplish your aim until I leave Lanka, and I shall tell you how I shall do so. When you are born as man let your wife, Lakshmi Devi, be also born as woman in order to be your partner on Earth. Ravana will in due course of time kidnap her and bring her forcibly to Lanka; and, directly this is done, I shall leave the place with the permission of Sankara. The ill-treatment which my friend Lakshmi, will receive at his hands shall be the cause of his ruin and death. I shall always come to your assistance whenever you remember me. Now, propitiate Sambhu and invoke his help.”
Thereupon Vishnu cast an imploring and enquiring look on Siva who in consultation with his wife said,
“I shall be born as the most powerful monkey, and shall faithfully obey your orders. I shall perform such feats of strength as no one else in all the three worlds shall be able to perform. I shall enter Lanka as a monkey, and on my doing so, Parvati will leave it. Now, let Brahma tell us how he proposes to help us, in this undertaking.”
“I shall be born as a mighty and far-sighted bear and be your minister. Dharmadeva has already become incarnated in Lanka as Vibhishana.”
In due time Vishnu descended on the earth with the object of entering into the wombs of the three principal queens of Dasaratha. Although he was one he divided himself into four parts because the sacrificial Charu was divided into four parts.
One most famous and venerated Anjaneya Temples is located in Tumakuru City, Karnataka, India. At the entrance of the temple there is a 75 foot tall Hanuman statue in standing posture with Rama & Lakshmana over his shoulders.
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