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Hanuman Jayanti 2020: Story Behind The Birth Of Ramayana’s Hero

Lord Hanuman, the God of energy and strength is widely worshipped across India, particularly by people belonging to the Hindu community. He is considered to be the hero of Ramayana, the Sanskrit epic of ancient India. Those who are the worshippers and devotees of Lord Hanuman, they know that he has a monkey face and is a disciple of Lord Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. People call Lord Hanuman by different names and most of these names are given to him depending upon how he was born. On this Hanuman Jayanti i.e., on 8 April 2020, we have curated some popular stories that tell how Lord Hanuman was born.

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Once an apsara (divine woman) named Anjana came across a meditating sage. Somehow she found the appearance of the sage to be extremely funny. She found that the physical appearance of the sage was resembling that of a monkey. As a result, she started laughing at the sage but since the sage was in deep meditation he didn't pay attention to the apsara. In fact, he didn't even realise that the apsara was laughing at him. Encouraged by the silence of the sage, she started throwing stones, pebbles and fruits at the sage.

Due to meditation and determination, the sage didn't react. Soon Anjana hit the sage on his forehead which broke the concentration of the sage. He opened his eyes and looked at Anjana who was aiming a stone at him. After seeing the furious look of the sage, Anjana dropped the stone and stood there. The sage said, "What wrong did I do to you that you threw stones, pebbles and fruits at me?" Anjana couldn't say anything as she was already scared due to the furious look of the sage.

The sage said, "You have now broken my meditation. I could have forgiven you for laughing at me but you broke my meditation by throwing a stone on my forehead. Therefore, I can not forgive you." "I curse you to become a monkey for the rest of your life and stay on earth forever," cursed the sage. Anjana soon fell into the feet of the sage and started apologising to him. She said that she realised her mistake and therefore, the sage should take away the curse. She said that from now onwards she won't be making fun of anybody.

The sage soon realised that Anjana is genuinely regretting her mistakes. Therefore, he said, "I can not take back my words but yes I can give you some relief. The curse shall end after you give birth to the incarnation of Lord Shiva." Saying this, the sage went away from that place. Grief-stricken, Anjana went deep into a forest.

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Soon she came across a river where she saw that fur grew out of her body, her face looked like a monkey and she had a tail also. She thought of worshipping Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. She made a linga and worshipped it. The next day, she roamed aimlessly into the forest and came across an Ashram. She was welcomed by the members of the Ashram. They didn't make fun of her, instead offered her food and water. They also asked how she managed to find the Ashram and walk into the forest throughout the night. Later an ascetic explained that there is a mighty demon who disturbs the people and may attack the ashram tonight.

Anjana saw that all of them were preparing to fight against the demon and protect the Ashram. She too thought of helping them and therefore, she first worshipped Lord Shiva to give her strength. She then went off to take some rest and it is then when she dreamt that the demon can be defeated using his blood only. When she woke up, she found all the members were already picking up weapons to defend their Ashram. She too picked up the weapons and this is when she came across a well-built man who appeared to be quite strong. Soon she realised he too is a monkey and seemed to be the King of monkeys. He was none other than Kesari, the King of Sumeru. Both of them introduced themselves. The King expressed his gratitude to Anjana for helping them fight the demon.

Together they defeated the demon. After the war was over, the head of the Ashram took Anjana aside and asked her if she would like to marry Kesari as they found them to be perfect for each other. She agreed and so did King Kesari. Both of them were married and they started living like a happy couple. But they were unable to bear a child. Meanwhile, in a parallel story, King Dashrath performed a Putrakameshti Yagya. During the Yagya, Lord Agni, the fire God came before the King. He gave a divine pudding to the King and asked him to give the same to his queens. However, a part of the pudding was taken away by a bird. The bird later dropped the pudding away from Ayodhya. But Vayudeva, the Wind God didn't let the pudding fall on the ground. Instead, he blew the pudding to Anjana and asked her to eat it saying that the pudding is divine. At that moment, Anjana and Kesari were worshipping Lord Shiva as usual. Anjana consumed the pudding. Soon she conceived and later gave birth to a healthy and strong monkey-faced baby boy.

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This boy was named as Anjaneya after his mother Anjani. Due to his biological father Kesari, the boy also came to be known as Kesarinandan. But since it was Vayudeva, who blew the pudding towards Anjana, and transferred some of his energies to her womb, the baby also came to be known as Pawanputra. Legends have it that Vayudeva always cared for Lord Hanuman like his own son.

Story first published: Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 7:00 [IST]