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The role of Anjaneya in the great epic Ramayana!
Hanuman crosses the Ocean!
Anjaneya the greatest devotee of Sri Rama!
In the epic Ramayana, there is one special character, whose devotion to his master Sri Rama is par excellent. He is none other than Sri Anjaneya or Hanuman. Sage Valmiki who penned the greatest epic aptly named the particular chapter pertaining to Hanuman as “Sundara Kanda”. Sundara means ‘beauty’. Many may wonder that Shri Hanuman is from monkey tribe and how the episode is termed as “Sundara”. The episode contains the exemplary valor of Hanuman in crossing the ocean with one leap and locating mother Sita, kept in the custody of ogress who is several in numbers. Their task is cut out. They have to threaten the mother daily with death, if she doesn’t accept the overtures of demon king Ravana! While Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were spending their time in the deep forest Dandaka, Ravana played a trick with his sister’s son Maricha! He told him, ‘transform you as a ‘golden deer’ and play near the hut where Sita dwells. Naturally, she would be attracted by the sight of ‘golden deer’ which is rare. She will pester her dear husband Rama to catch it and bring it for playing. Rama would try to fulfill her wish. But move far away from the hut in deep forest. I will assume the role of recluse and beg for food. Sita would offer me food. Catching the opportunity, I will abduct her in my flying vehicle to Sri Lanka.
Setting fire to Sri Lanka!
How Hanuman or Anjaneya met Sri Rama?
Here we have to remember few truths. Rama is an incarnation of god Maha Vishnu. He came to earth for the specific purpose of destroying the demons who cause lot of troubles to the practicing ascetics in the jungle. Every thing went on well as planned by Ravana. Sita requested Rama to bring the golden deer to keep as pet. Lakshmana was warned that he should guard Sita in his absence. But Maricha who assumed the form of golden deer was canny. When Rama found that he could not catch it alive, he aimed a sharp arrow at the deer which hit the target. While dying Maricha let out a cry in the voice of Rama! Oh“Lakshmana, Oh Sita! Sita requested Lakshmana to rush to the help of Rama! Lakshmana knew well that Rama will never come to harm and this is a hoax call. Again, for the second time Maricha raised his voice and called for Lakshmana and Sita. Naturally Sita become much agitated and ordered Lakshmana to leave her and rush near Rama! This is a drama enacted by Rama and Sita so that Ravana will commit the sin of abducting Sita which is contrary to the canons laid down in scriptures. But Ravana had a curse on his head. If he forcefully lay his hand on a chaste woman, his head will be shattered to pieces. Hence he has not dragged Sita but carried her along with the ground where she stood and placed in her air chariot and flown away to his capital.
While thus being carried away, Sita removed her ornaments one by one and dropped it on the ground without Ravana noticing. While this sad abduction is taking place, Hanuman was staying with Sugriva, the monkey king on a hill top. Meanwhile Rama chided Lakshmana for leaving Sita unguarded. They rushed to the hut in panic and as anticipated Sita were nowhere near. They shouted for her with no response. Rama enacted the drama perfectly shedding profuse tears at the parting of Sita. They were searching throughout the forest for any trace of her. Meanwhile Jadayu, a hawk was laying on the ground with blood all over. Rama recognized it and took its head and kept on his lap cleaning the wound softly with feathers. Jadayu narrated that Ravana was abducting a woman in his chariot and I fought with him courageously but he cut my wings and here I am panting for my life. Rama fed it with water but alas! The hawk laid his life with its head on the lap of Rama. Rama performed all the rites due to the bird king and left the place in sorrow. The approach of Rama and Lakshmana was noticed by Hanuman from a long distance and he informed the matter to Sugriva his king. Sugriva told him to find out the identities of approaching human beings. Hanuman came in the presence of Rama and enquired politely who are they and why they are roaming in the jungle? Rama narrated in few words the missing Sita and the search. Hanuman promised that his master Sugriva will definitely help him and took him to the hill. Actually, Sugriva was hiding in the hill top for fear of his brother Vali who usurped his wife and the share of Kingdom. Vali can not reach the hill due to a curse. When Hanuman narrated the sad story of abduction of Sita by a demon, the king promised Rama that he will search out Sita. He said Rama should help him to get back his kingdom and wife! They both agreed for this deal in front of ritual fire and Rama embraced Sugriva affectionately. Hanuman was overjoyed that he could clinch the deal which is beneficial to both!
Constructing stone bridge!
Search for mother Sita!
From the moment Hanuman saw Rama, he was convinced that Rama is none other than the supreme lord came in human disguise. Hence from then onwards, he devoted himself inwardly to the service of Rama and uttered his name mentally. Rama too understood the deep devotion and surrender of Hanuman to his will. He foresaw that Hanuman will successfully locate Sita and bring about the destruction of Sri Lanka in a phased manner. Rama asked Sugriva to call for a combat with Vali openly. Sugriva knew the strength of Vali and he feared for his life. But Rama assured him that he will save him. But in the first attempt Sugriva was beaten very badly and he ran away for his life. Rama consoled him and said you and your brother look alike and hence I am unable to shot an arrow. Now wear this garland woven by me and I can distinguish you from Vali. Getting confidence, Sugriva called his brother from the fort. Vali was astonished. He has wounded his brother badly. How he got so much courage to challenge me? But his wife told him, Oh Lord! The times seem inauspicious, otherwise how your brother could challenge you. Better avoid this! But Vali told her, ‘none can harm he and I have defeated even Ravana in combat. He rushed out and jumped like a tiger over his brother. Sugriva fought valiantly but his strength was no match to his brother. Rama hiding behind a tree shot an arrow at Vali who fell down like a mountain. He saw the name Rama in the arrow! Just then Rama came in his presence! Vali ridiculed him for hiding behind a tree to kill him. But Rama told him, “you have usurped the kingdom and wife from Sugriva! This is immoral and unrighteous behavior. Hence I punished you with this arrow. However he granted liberation to Vali and Vali’s soul merged in Rama!
Thus Sugriva got back his kingdom and wife. As promised he gathered the monkey troops to search for Sita. They searched every nook and corner of earth but unable to find her, they came near the southern end of Bharath near the sea shore. They premised that someone capable of jumping across the ocean in one leap could find Sita on the other land. All monkeys were discussing their strength and found none were capable. Hanuman was sitting quiet all the time. He was always immersed in the thoughts of Rama. All the monkey warriors gathered around him and prayed his help. Hanuman prayed Rama and ascended a hill top nearby. Gathering his entire strength, he uttered Ram and he flew up in one leap. From the ocean many obstructions rose to prevent his flight to the other shore. He intelligently succeeded in removing those obstructions and landed in the entrance to the demon kingdom. A vicious ogress guarded the fort entrance. Hanuman took a small form to escape her but she could find the monkey creeping in. She wanted to crush it and swallow it, but Hanuman dealt a heavy blow assuming a gigantic form. Instantly she fell down and told Hanuman that the demon kingdom will meet destruction the moment a monkey kill her as predicted by some sage. She died letting out a huge cry.
Rama blesses Hanuman at coronation!
The vital role played by Hanuman in finding Sita!
Hanuman assumed a small form and searched for Sita everywhere but he could find many women laying themselves on soft beds in the palaces. He thought that none of this could be Sita. Hence he was again searching and he heard the name of god uttered by some noble soul in a palace. That palace belonged to Vibishana, the noble brother of Ravana who always worshipped Hari. Hanuman came in his presence and told him that he is an humble servant of Rama and came in search of mother Sita! Vibishana embraced him and told him about the garden where she is kept in custody of ogress. Hanuman took leave and leaped near the garden. He could observe a lonely women head bent and surrounded by ogress. He understood that she must be Sita. Hence from the tree top, he was uttering Ram, Ram mildly. Astonished Sita looked up and saw a small monkey uttering her Lord’s name.. First she thought that this may be a magic created by Ravana but the monkey came near and handed over the ring of Rama as a token for identification. She pressed the ring to her eyes which was full of tears. She blessed Hanuman and enquired about the welfare of her Lord. Hanuman narrated the entire episode and search. Sita gave her only ornament worn on her head and told him to rush back to Rama with the request to rescue her soon! Hanuman obtained her permission to eat some of the ripe fruits grown on the garden and he left her presence!
Hanuman ate some fruits and plucked some trees with the roots. The demons informed the atrocities to their leader. They came in hundreds to catch him but he killed all with huge trees. Ravana came to know the atrocities of a monkey and he sent a huge army to catch the money alive. Finally Hanuman allowed himself to be bound to be taken to Ravana’s court. He was bound by many bundles of coir. With a simple show of strength, Hanuman snapped all this to the consternation of the demons. Ravana never offered him a seat. Hence Hanuman made a high seat by the coils of his tail and rose and sat above Ravana! Who are you mean monkey? Ravana asked Hanuman. Hanuman told him “I am the servant of Rama! He will pardon you if you hand over the mother back to Rama! Ravana got furious and ordered the demons to lit its tail with fire. Tins of oil were poured on bundles of clothes wound around his lengthy tail and it was lit. Hanuman took a small leap and started burning the houses, palaces and gardens very quickly. Entire kingdom was engulfed in fire. After enacting this destruction, Hanuman doused the fire in the ocean. He leapt back to where Rama was camping and he pronounced the auspicious sighting of mother Sita in Sri Lanka kept in custody in a garden. He gave Rama, the jewel handed over by Sita as a token of her meeting him. Rama embraced Hanuman for the successful tracing of Sita and arrangements were made for crossing the ocean by laying a stone bridge which was floating due to the blessings of one sage to a monkey. Hence all the stones were passed on to him, who threw them on the ocean. The monkeys found that the stones were floating separately and hence they have written “Ra” in one stone and “Ma”” in another. Thus they joined together and a long bridge was laid to connect Sri Lanka. After due formalities, war ensued between the demon king and Rama. At the end of eighteen days, Ravana was slain by Rama by an arrow! Rama made Vibhishana the king and left for Ayodhya with Hanuman and others. The devotion of Hanuman is incomparable and he still incognito wherever the Ramayana is recited.