Hanuman is the monkey deity renowned for his
courage, power and faithful, selfless service. The Life of
Hanuman is related below in the form of short numbered and
illustrated accounts of some of the most important parts of
1. Some say Hanuman was born as the
son of the King and Queen of the Monkeys.
To others, he is the son of Anjana, an female Apsara
who had been transformed into a monkey by a curse, and
Vayu, the wind god. It is also said that from his father
Vayu Hanuman received the ability to fly.
2. As soon as Hanuman was born he
felt hungry and his mother could not satisfy him. Then
he caught sight of the Sun and thinking it was a fruit
he leapt after it. The Sun took flight but Hanuman chased
him as far as Indra's heaven. Here however, Indra intervened
and injured Hanuman's jaw with his thunderbolt.
3. But his father was quick
to avenge him and entered the bodies of all gods and
gave them colic. Indra apologized to Vayu and agreed
that Hanuman should become immortal. All
the gods came together to bless young Hanuman in a
4. As a young monkey god, Hanuman
was quite naughty and abused his powers to pester
the saints living in the nearby forest. On this painting
Hanuman can be seen creating a whirlwind with his
breath, drinking offered water, pulling a supporting
stick with his tail, pulling a beard and dousing a
5. Finally all the gods prayed
to Brahma to find a solution. Thus a curse was created
to protect the world from the mischief that young
Hanuman created, by removing his knowledge of his
6. The Power of Hanuman - of which
becoming big is just one example - only became available
again when Jambavant, King of the bears, remembered
Hanuman that he has that power.
7. And that power was really great.
Hanuman could easily fight an elephant for example,
since he could become much bigger than the elephant
8. At the time of the Ramayana, Hanuman
was send as an advance spy to Lanka. To reach the island
he had to fly over the sea but there was blocked by
Sursa, who wanted to test him. She had a boon that everybody
who comes before her must pass through her mouth. However,
when she wanted to swallow Hanuman, he became bigger
and bigger so she also had to become bigger and bigger.
Then Hanuman suddenly became very small and went in
through her ear, coming out of her mouth, thus fulfilling
9. In the Ashokvatika or forest
of Ashoka trees on Lanka, Hanuman spies on Ravana,
who is trying in vain to press Sita into becoming
his wife. Later he contacted Sita in the gardens of
Ravana's palace, told her of the plans being made
for her deliverance and gave her Rama's signet ring
as a token.
10. Pleased with his succes, Hanuman
fought the demon Meghnaath, son of Ravana, in the
gardens of the palace of Lanka. He won over Meghnaath,
but was finally captured by Ravana's demons.
11. Brought before the demon king,
Ravana ordered that while as a messenger of Rama he
could not be killed, his tail could be set afire with
cloth and oil. But Hanuman used his powers to enlarge
his tail indefinitely, untill the demons had no cloth
left to cover it. While they still tried to put fire
to his tail, Hanuman became suddenly very small and
escaped from his ropes.
12. Trailing his burning tail behind
him, Hanuman then set fire to all of Lanka and flew
back to the mainland. He rejoined Rama and gave him
valuable information on Ravana's forces. The army
crossed a bridge to Lanka that was made by another
monkey leader and master architect called Nala.
13. During the mighty battle that
followed, Hanuman defeated the Demon Lankini, who was
the principal guard of the city of Lanka.
14. Hanuman's greatest feat during
the battle of Lanka however was to bring back the herb
that cured Lakshman from a fatal wound. He flew al the
way to the Himalayas to find it, harassed by many demons,
such as Kalanemi. Because Indra was confusing him, Hanuman
could not find the herb and finally brought the entire
mountain to Lanka.
15. Ravana was defeated by Ram and Ram
and Sita were crowned King and Queen of Ayodhya. Obviously
Hanuman was present, remained Ram's favorite general
and continued his life in service to him. When Rama
offered him any boon that he cared to name, he asked
to live for as long as men spoke of the deeds of Rama.