Hindu World

How Anjaneya came to be known as HANUMAN

Anjaneya was born to Anjana and Kesari and was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Anjana was actually a heavenly girl whose name was Punjikastala. She had come down to the earth because of a curse. Anjana was to be free from the curse if she gave birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. After the birth of Anjaneya, Anjana was free to return to the heavens.

Vayu, the Wind God loved Anjaneya like his own son and also came often to meet him.

Once Anjana wanted to visit the heavens. She called Anjaneya, ‘Anjaneya! I am going to the heavens to my home, to see my sisters!’

Anjaneya pouted, ‘I will get bored there…I do not want to come…’

Anjana frowned, ‘Ok. You stay here and play with your friends…I will be back soon…’

‘Mother…’ Anjaneya asked his mother innocently, ‘What will I do if I get hungry?’

Anjana laughed, ‘You eat the fruits, Anjaneya…You will not be hungry…’

‘What fruits should I eat?’ Anjaneya asked.

‘Any fruits, which look as bright as the rising sun…are yours to eat…’ Anjana smiled, little realizing the effects of her words…

Anjaneya laughed, ‘Ok Mother…You go home…I will stay here…’

Anjana left and Anjaneya played with his friends. After some time he got bored and felt hungry too…He looked at the rising sun and remembered his mother’s words…Any fruits, which looks as bright as the rising sun…’

Anjaneya had a sudden thought…All the fruits here are so small…I will feel hungry again and again, if I eat them…I will eat the sun itself…It is so big..If I eat that I will never be hungry… Thinking thus, the child leapt and headed straight for the sun!

As Anjaneya was nearing the Sun, Anjaneya saw something which surprised him. A huge head of monster was trying to swallow the ‘fruit’ he was after!…. Anjaneya was furious. Someone else was after the fruit he wanted….That could not be allowed.

What Anjaneya did not know that it was the time of the solar eclipse. In Hindu Mythology it is believed that the head of Rahu, an Asura swallows the Sun during eclipses as punishment for ratting out on him during the churning of the ocean…

Anjaneya pushed the head of the Asura away before it could come near the ‘fruit’. Rahu tried fighting with the child, but Anjaneya was phenomenally powerful…Rahu did not stand a chance. Anjaneya thrashed him. Rahu ran away and ran straight to Indra. Though Indra was his enemy, Rahu knew that he was the only one who was strong enough to stop such a strong child…

Hearing Rahu’s story, Indra suddenly had worries of his own..A child was racing towards the sun! Why?…What would the child want…If the child actually ate the sun…his next target would be ME! Indra was foolishly thinking all this and clutching his Vajrayudha his weapon and headed towards the Sun.

Meanwhile as Anjaneya came closer and closer, Surya, the Sun God got worried! What was a child doing here so close to him…He shouted, ‘Stop child! Do not come any closer….You may get hurt…’

Anjaneya snorted..It would be so odd to listen to a fruit asking him not to eat it..It was obviously a trick..He flew faster towards to Sun…He could feel the sun burning his face, but Anjaneya ignored it and continued towards the Sun.

Surya burnt even more fiercely but it had no effect on Anjaneya. Now Surya was worried…That was when Indra came there.

Indra saw that even the Sun’s heat had not affected the child. Indra was now in a full scale panic mode and felt that if he did not stop the child now, he was going to pay for it…

Without thinking about the consequences of his action or about anything else, Indra took out his Vajra and shot it straight at the young child!

The young child was no match for the powerful weapon. The weapon hit the child straight in his jaw and hit him with such a force that the child swooned and fell down on the earth from the skies!

However Vayu, the Wind God flew everywhere. He saw everything and knew everything that happened on earth. He saw his beloved Anjaneya hit by the hasty Indra and saw the child tumble out of the skies. Vayu rushed towards Anjaneya and collected him in his arms. He pulled Anjaneya close to him and to his horror found that Anjaneya was not breathing!

Terrified and furious with the foolish act of Indra, Vayu picked up Anjaneya and hid in a cave in the Paatala [underground]. Vayu felt angry with Indra. He decided to punish the people of the earth for worshiping such a hasty God. He being the Lord of the wind, sucked in all the winds of the earth inside him…Soon there was no air on earth and people, animal and plants all were struggling as there was no air to breath….! But Vayu did not care…His precious Anjaneya was also dead…

The people of the earth, prayed to Lord Brahma to come to their rescue. Lord Brahma ran to the cave in the Paatala to find Vayu. Vayu was sitting beside the lifeless form of Anjaneya tears in his eyes. Lord Brahma spoke, ‘Vayu! You have failed in your duty..Why…?

Vayu almost pounced on Lord Brahma, ‘MY DUTY? INDRA IN HIS FOOLISHNESS HAS KILLED A DEFENCELESS INNOCENT CHILD AND YOU EXPECT ME TO DO MY DUTY….’ Vayu shouted. Lord Brahma pacified Vayu with great difficulty. Slowly Vayu told him the whole story…Lord Brahma became more and more angry as he heard the story. Finally he summoned Indra to come there immediately.

Frightened Indra appeared there. Looking at him, Vayu became even more furious, ‘You are a coward! You hit this child with your VAJRA! Seriously is that a weapon to use on a young child….Look my innocent child is lying…’ Vayu choked unable to continue…

Indra said, ‘He…He was going to swallow the sun..’

Both Lord Brahma and Vayu snorted, ‘Really Indra?’ Lord Brahma spoke first, ‘Is this how you behave…You were supposed to explain to the child what he was doing…not hurl your weapons at people every time you get afraid…’

Indra hung his head in shame..If only he had acted a little prudently…

Lord Brahma said looking at Indra angrily, ‘Apologise to Vayu now….’

Indra slowly came up to Vayu and muttered an apology. But Vayu was not listening. He turned his head and ignored Indra. He looked at Lord Brahma with desperation, ‘My Lord! No ‘sorry’ can bring back my son! I just want my son back.. sir! Please!’ He almost begged Lord Brahma.

Lord Brahma smiled and nodded. He took some water from his kamandalam [jug] and sprayed it on Anjaneya. Lord Brahma then muttered a prayer and touched the child on his chin.

To Vayu’s surprise the child awoke as if from a deep sleep. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the three Gods before him in wonder!

Lord Brahma said, ‘The place where the Vajrayudha hit will be always broken…that cannot be mended, Vayu!’ But Vayu did not care! A child with a broken jaw was no big deal!

Lord Brahma looked at the child and smiled, ‘Son! You will be called as Hanuman henceforth, which means the ‘one with a broken chin’. The child rubbed his chin and found that it was broken and nodded his head at Lord Brahma!

Vayu happily allowed the air to once  again flow on the earth as everything went back to normal.

Indra came forward and looked at Hanuman and said, ‘Son! I am sorry for hurting you! To pay for my mistakes, I will grant you a boon – you will die only when you want to die!’

Hanuman joined his hands and fell on Indra’s feet. As Indra disappeared, Lord Brahma came forward and said to Hanuman, ‘One of the most powerful weapons is the Brahmastra – I give you immunity from that son!’ Hanuman again bowed to Lord Brahma as he disappeared.

Vayu also blessed his son. By the power of all these boons, Hanuman became immortal and super powerful. Thus the young innocent Anjaneya became Hanuman!