Hanuman, the monkey-god and the constant companion of Lord Rama, is worshipped all over the country. There are temples which are dedicated to Lord Hanuman and people throng these places with complete devotion.
The idol is either in a standing position (alone) or in a submissive position, bowing before Lord Rama and Sita. Hanuman has many names. Hanumat, Maruti, Pavan-sut and Anjaneya are some of them. Tuesday is a sacred day for all the devotees of Hanuman.
Hanuman is the god of strength, power and celibacy. He practiced Brahmacharya throughout his life. Though Lord Rama had many great devotees, Hanuman will always be remembered as the greatest.
Also Read: Role Of Lord Hanuman In Mahabharata
Hanuman is a major character in the Ramayana and his valour and bravery has been described greatly in it. There are other religious books that mention Hanuman too, like the Mahabharata and the Agni Purana.
The monkey-god is described as a being with a stout neck, a rounded reddish face, sharp white teeth, hair that resemble the Ashok flowers and a tail that sways like Lord Indra's banner.
Other than his super human strength, he also possesses the capability to shrink to the size of an ant or grow as large as a mountain when he wishes, as per mythological stories.
Stories Of Lord Hanuman
Hanuman is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is said that when Lord Vishnu was about to take birth as Rama, Lord Shiva wished to be born on earth to serve Lord Vishnu.
Sati Devi was not happy with this because she feared they would have to stay apart. As a compromise, Lord Shiva decided to have his Ansh (a part) to be born on earth.
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Next, the question of the form of the incarnation arose. After much discussion, Lord Shiva decided to be born as a monkey who lives a simple and ascetic life. When the time came, Lord Shiva was born as Hanuman and served Lord Rama.
Hanuman was born to the king Kesari and his consort Anjana. It is said that Anjana was an apsara (celestial nymph) who served Lord Brahma. She was filled with ego and narcissism.
She irked a sage due to her behaviour and he cursed her. The curse was that she would turn into a monkey the moment she fell in love. Lord Brahma was sorry for her and he sent her to earth where she fell in love with the monkey king Kesari and married him.
Anjana was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Pleased with her devotion, Lord Shiva granted her a boon that he would be born as her son.
Also Read: Is Lord Hanuman Married Or A Bachelor?
Meanwhile, king Dasharatha was performing the 'Putrakameshti Yaga' to receive the blessing of sons. He was presented with payasa which would give the three of his wives sons. While consuming the payasa, a kite snatched a portion of it from the hands of the queen Kausalya and guided by Vayu, dropped it into the praying hands of Anjana. Anjana thought the payasa to be the blessing of Lord Shiva and consumed it. And thus, was born Hanuman. He was known as Anjaneya after his mother, Anjana.
The Meaning of Hanuman
Hanuman was called Anjaneya (the son of Anjana) as a child. Once Hanuman was hungry and asked his mother Anjana for food. Anjana was engrossed in some work and asked Hanuman to consume ripe fruits from the garden. Hanuman was a child and didn't know to differentiate between a ripe fruit and an unripe one.
When asked, Anjana told him to have any fruit that was reddish yellow in colour. The young Hanuman ran into the garden and looked for a fruit that looked like his mother had described, but found nothing that could satisfy his appetite.
He looked heavenwards and saw the blazing sun and mistook it for a large ripe fruit. Hanuman greedily leapt towards the sun.
Surya Dev, the sun God, asked Lord Indra for help against the boy who wanted to eat him. Lord Indra tried many ways to dissuade Hanuman, but nothing could stop him.
As a last resort, Lord Indra threw his weapon, the Vajra, at Hanuman. The Vajra hit Hanuman on the jaw. Hurt, Hanuman finally fell to the ground.
The word 'Hanu' means the jaw and 'man' translates to disfigure. And this is how Anjaneya came to be known as Hanuman.