This is the story of Hanuman, the mighty monkey-god. Hanuman who was the son of Vayu, the wind God and Anjana devi. Hanuman is also called Aanjaneya, son of Anjana. Hanuman was a bundle of mischief when he was a child. He was very active. So he had a very healthy appetite too. He was ready to eat anything that was tasty and within his reach.
Every day, an hour before dawn, Anjana went out to collect flowers and fruits. Usually Hanuman was asleep then. So she would leave him at home and return before he woke up.
One day, she was held up on her way back. Hanuman woke up at the usual time. He was terribly hungry. He called out to his mother, “Ma I am hungry”. He waited for his mother to run to him.
He said loudly “Where are you, Ma?” Still there was no reply.
When he found no sign of Anjana he decided to find food on his own. He thought “Why should I not go out and get fruits to eat?” He ran down the steps of his home. Then he noticed a red ball to the east. It was at some distance. It was the sun rising.
Hanuman watched the sight. It was beautiful. The whole sky was aglow with morning twilight; the sun looked like a big juicy fruit. Hanuman thought that the red sun was a fruit and flew up to snatch it. Though the sun’s heat burnt his face, Hanuman was determined and continued to fly towards the sun. Indra, the Lord of Heaven, feared that the sun might be caught.
So he hit at Hanuman with his terrible weapon Vajrayudha. Hanuman fell down and was hurt. His cheeks became swollen. (This is why he came to be called Hanuman. ‘Hanu’ in Sanskrit means the cheek.)
Vayu, the wind god, saw Hanuman was wounded. He also saw the weapon returning to Lord Indra. He picked up Hanuman and ran in to the patalaloka, the world below the grounds of the earth. As the wind god, left the earth, there was no air in the world. People, animals and trees struggled to breathe and started to die.
Then all the gods came and consoled the Wind God. Each god conferred a boon upon the little Hanuman. Brahma, the Creator said, “No weapon will be able to kill this boy.” Indra said to the boy, “You will be a Chiranjeevi’ (immortal).”
Blessed thus by the gods, Hanuman grew up to be as strong as his father. He flew about as freely and was quite mischievous. The Rishis, who were troubled by his mischief, pronounced a curse on him. Hence, Hanuman would never know how powerful and strong he was.
Somebody else will have to remind him about his strength.
Hanuman became a great devotee of Sri Rama and directed all his energy towards the worship of Lord Rama. As we all know his fame has spread far and wide, and he himself is worshipped today purely because of his complete surrender and total devotion to Sri Rama. It was the Rama Nama that made Hanuman realize his strength and made him free from all physical fatigue. When Sri Rama left this world to go back to Vaikuntha, He asked Hanuman to remain in this world and continue to chant the Rama Nama so that the world could be benefited by it. And that is what Chiranjeevi Hanuman continues to do to this day!
Shalini Kelappan, Doha, Qatar