Hanuman was major character in the Ramayana. He is a Vanar (monkey). He is a Chiranjivi, meaning he is still alive. He is the son of the wind god, Vayu. He is an incarnation of Shiva.
- Father: Kesari
- Mother: Anjana
- Godly Father: Vayu
- Godly Brother: Bhima
- Son: Makardhwaja
Punjikasthala was an Apsara living in Swarga. She had been forced to live on Earth as a Vanar because of a curse she was given. If she gave birth to a son, she would be free to return to Swarga. So, she married the Vanar king Kesari of the kingdom of Sumeru and was called Anjana. After many years of penance for getting a son, Shiva appeared in front of her. Anjana asked for a son. Shiva took a part of him and gave it to Vayu. Vayu brought the son to Anjana and Kesari. As he was brought by Vayu to his parents, he is also the son of Vayu. He is also a part of Shiva. Anjana and Kesari named him Maruti. Anjana called him Anjaneya.
Once, Anjana was going to go with Maruti to Swarga to see her friends.
“I don’t want to go, it’ll be boring,” Maruti complained.
“Then stay here and play with your friends. If you get hungry, eat some fruit,” Anjana said.
“What fruits do I eat?” Maruti asked.
“Any fruits as bright as the rising sun,” Anjana said and then left to meet her friends.
Maruti played with his friends for a while, but soon got bored. He realized he was hungry and ate some fruits. But he was still starving. He glanced up at the Sun. Mistaking the Sun for a mango, Maruti thought, “All fruits are so small. The Sun is like a mango. If I eat it, it will quench my hunger.”
So, he flew into the air. When he neared the sun, he saw a big head also approaching the Sun. This angered Maruti. He thought the head was trying to eat the big mango also. He flew rapidly towards the head.
“Who are you child, move away. I am Rahu, the great asura who creates eclipses. I am here to eat the sun,” the head exclaimed.
“I will not let you do that,” Maruti cried. “I will eat it before you.”
Rahu became furious. He rushed towards Maruti in rage. He tried to defeat Maruti, but soon realized that he was no match for Maruti. He fled in terror to Indra. Even though Indra was his enemy, he knew only Indra was capable of defeating the boy. He explained to Indra the dilemma.
“Who is that young boy. If he eats the sun, he will come for me next. I will have to kill him,” Indra wondered aloud.
Saying this, Indra rushed to Maruti on his elephant Airavata. He had his weapon, the Vajra, in his hand.
Meanwhile, Maruti got closer and closer to the sun. Surya, the god of the sun, also started to get worried. “What is this boy doing,” he wondered.
“Child, stop. If you come any closer, you will burn to the death,” Surya shouted.
But Maruti just ignored him. Surya increased his heat and rays, but they had no effect on Maruti. At that moment, Indra reached Maruti. He realized that even Surya’s rays weren’t stopping the child. In panic, he threw his Vajra at Maruti’s chin. It hit Maruti really hard and he started falling to the Earth.
Vayu deva saw all this happening and when he realized his son was falling to the Earth, he immediately rushed to Maruti and put him in his arms. In horror, he realized Maruti wasn’t breathing. He was furious at Indra’s actions. Vayu took Maruti to a cave in Patala. In grief and anger, being the god of wind, he sucked up all the wind from Earth. All life started to die. The people of Earth started praying to Brahma to save them. Brahma heard their prayer and found Vayu in the cave.
“Vayu, you haven’t followed your duties,” Brahma said.
“Do you think I care about my duties when my son is dead,” Vayu cried.
Vayu told Brahma the whole story. Brahma was really mad at Indra. He summoned Indra to the cave. In fright, Indra appeared there. Brahma made Indra apologize to Vayu. But Vayu wasn’t consoled. He wanted Maruti to be alive again. He begged at Brahma’s feet. Finally, Brahma agreed and sprinkled water on Maruti. Instantly, Maruti woke up and saw the three gods in front of him.
“Vayu, Maruti is alive but his chin can’t be mended. Thus, he will be called Hanuman, one with a broken chin,” Brahma announced.
“Child, sorry. I will give you a boon. You will be immortal,” Indra said.
Brahma blessed Hanuman that he would be immune from the Brahmastra. Vayu also blessed Hanuman. After all the boons, Hanuman became really powerful. Vayu let the wind flow and life was restored on Earth. Vayu returned Hanuman to Kesari and Anjana, who had returned from Swarga.
When Hanuman heard that Surya was a great teacher, he really wanted Surya to teach him. He flew to Surya and begged of him. Surya said that it would be challenging because he was always moving in his chariot. After Hanuman kept begging, Surya was pleased and accepted. Hanuman learned a lot from Surya. When the time for gurudakshina came, Surya said he didn’t want any. But Hanuman really wanted to give gurudakshina, so Surya asked that Hanuman blesses his monkey son Sugriva, who was the brother of King Bali of Kishkinda. Surya then blessed Hanuman with two powers: Anima and Garima, which allowed Hanuman to shapeshift, shrink and become huge.
Once, another king gave Kesari a divine mace. If it was thrown, the mace would come back to the owner’s hand. It could travel far distances and hit far targets. The mace was the strongest mace on Earth. It never lost speed. Kesari decided to give this mace to Hanuman. Kesari taught Hanuman how to use the mace and many other weapons. Hanuman soon became a master at using the mace.
Once, Hanuman was in the forest near Sumeru, playing with his friends. He saw a few rishis meditating. He ran to them and silently snatched their belongings. When the rishis woke up, they noticed this. They looked around and saw Hanuman hiding with their possessions behind a tree. They were furious. They went to Hanuman, and realizing he was just a child, placed a mild curse on him that he would forget most of his special powers and would only remember if reminded by someone.
Anjana soon left to live in Swarga permanently.
Staying with Sugriva in Mt. Rishyamukha
When Hanuman got older, he left Sumeru and went to find Sugriva as Surya had told him to. When he went to Kishkinda, he found Bali, but not Sugriva. He kept looking for Sugriva and finally found him in a deep cave in Mt. Rishyamukha near Kishkinda. He got to know Sugriva and became his minister along with Jambuvana and others. Sugriva had a small army of monkeys.
“Your father told me to find you in the palace of Kishkinda, but you weren’t there,” Hanuman told Sugriva once.
“I used to live there. Once, Bali and I went to kill Mayavi. Mayavi hid in a cave, so Bali went in to kill him. He told me to stay guard outside. After a few days, I saw blood coming out the cave. I thought Mayavi had killed Bali, so I took a boulder and blocked the opening of the cave. I returned to Kishkinda. But after a few days, Bali, who had killed Mayasura, came back in rage. He thought I had purposely locked him. He was so angry that he banished me from Kishkinda, so I came to live here with a few monkeys, where he would never find me,” Sugriva told Hanuman.
Hanuman lived with Sugriva and his monkeys for years.
Once, one of Sugriva’s monkeys saw two men approaching Mt. Rishyamukha. He rushed to tell Sugriva. Sugriva told Hanuman to go see who they are. Hanuman took the form of a learned scholar.
“I am an emissary for Sugriva of Kishkinda,” he told the men.
“I am Rama and this is Lakshmana, my brother. We are happy to meet such an emissary,” one of the men responded.
Hearing this, Hanuman cried in joy and fell to Rama’s feet. He had met the man he was born to serve: Rama. He had met an incarnation of god. From this day on, Hanuman started showing utter devotion to Rama. Hanuman introduced his true self and then led Rama and Lakshmana to Sugriva and Jambuvana. Sugriva met Rama and Lakshmana, who told Sugriva about their exile from Ayodhya and Sita being missing. Sugriva told them about his exile from Kishkinda. Rama decided to help Sugriva kill Vali, if Sugriva and his army helped him find Sita. Sugriva agreed.
Killing of Vali
Hanuman, Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana went to Bali’s palace. Their plan was that Sugriva and Bali would start wrestling and Rama would shoot an arrow at Bali from a tree. Sugriva challenged Bali and they started wrestling. Rama couldn’t shoot Bali because Sugriva and Bali were twins and looked the same. Sugriva had to retreat.
At Mt. Rishyamukha, Hanuman had the idea that Sugriva should challenge Bali again but this time wear a garland. So they went back to Kishkinda and Sugriva once again challenged Bali. But this time, Rama shot Bali down and he died. Bali’s son, Angada, joined them.
Sugriva then became the king of Kishkinda. His monkey army, his minsters, Rama and Lakskmana also moved to Kishkinda. Sugriva soon became so indulged in palace comforts that he forgot about his promise to Rama. Bali’s wife Tara and Hanuman had to remind him when Lakshamana got mad at Sugriva’s behavior. Sugriva soon sent four groups of monkeys in different directions to find Sita. Hanuman and Jambuvan were sent to the south with other monkeys. Rama had given Hanuman Sita’s ring. Rama told Hanuman to show it to Sita if he found her. After months, Hanuman and his group reached Mahendragiri, which was near the sea.
“Now what will we do,” Hanuman said. “This sea is stopping us from going any further to find Sita. We have to cross it somehow.”
“Hanuman, recall your powers. When you were a child, rishis had cursed you that you wuld forget your powers unless reminded by someone. Well, I am now reminding you,” Jambuvan said. “You can shape-shift. You can fly. You can become smaller and larger. You can blow out strong winds from your mouth. You are immune to most divine astras.”
Suddenly, Hanuman remembered all his powers given to him by Vayu, Brahma, and Indra. Hanuman picked up his mace and made himself really large. He took off and started flying over the sea. While he was flying over the sea, he met Surasa, the mother of the Nagas.
“You will have to go in my mouth if you want to pass me,” Surasa said.
Hanuman tried to make himself even larger, but Surasa opened her mouth really wide. So Hanuman decided to fulfill her conditions. He became as small as a human’s thumb and went inside Surasa’s mouth. He then came out and Surasa let him pass.
Hanuman kept flying over the sea. Soon, he came across the asuri Sinhika. Sinhika grabbed his shadow and didn’t let Hanuman go. Sinhika sprang forward to eat Hanuman, but he entered her mouth and hit her with his gada till she was dead. He then came out of Sinhika’s mouth and continued.
At night, he reached Mt. Suvel on the island of Lanka. Hanuman turned into a cat and reached Lankapuri, the capital of Ravana. Lankini, the asuri that guarded Lanka, spotted him.
“Why have you come to Lanka,” Lankini questioned.
“I am a traveler. I have heard Lanka is very beautiful. I have come to see its riches,” Hanuman replied, not wanting to reveal his actual reason.
Lankini realized Hanuman was lying and attacked him. Knowing she was a woman, Hanuman softly striked back. Lankini fell down. She realized Hanuman was no ordinary monkey, but the monkey that would free her of her curse. She apologized, realizing her mistake, and flew away to Satyaloka (the abode of Brahma).
Hanuman entered the gates of Lankapuri. Soon, he sneaked inside the royal palace and crept around, still in the form of a cat, till he reached Ashoka Vatika, Ravana’s garden. There he saw Sita, sitting under a tree, guarded by asuris. He hid on the tree below Sita till the morning arrived. At dawn, Ravana approached Sita, trying to convince Sita to marry him. Sita refused, so Ravana left Ashoka Vatika. Hanuman assumed his normal form and leaped down the tree, making the asuris unconscious.
“I am Hanuman, a messenger for Rama, who is trying to find you right now with a Vanara army,” Hanuman told Sita, showing Sita the ring as proof.
“Rama, my husband. He is trying to save me. Ravana will kill me in two months. Here, take this jewel to Rama to show to him that you met me,” Sita said.
Hanuman left Sita and started uprooting trees in Ashoka Vatika. Many of Ravana’s warriors charged against him, but they all died. Ravana got to known about this and sent his 16 year-old son Akshayakumara to capture Hanuman. Akshayakumara fought Hanuman valiantly, but in the end, Hanuman killed him. In anger, Ravana sent his strongest son Indrajit, to capture Hanuman. Indrajit released the Nagapasha on Hanuman. Hanuman was tied up and Indrajit brought him to Ravana’s court. Ravana ordered his men to set his tail on fire.
When they did this, Hanuman flew all over Lankapuri and burned it. Hen then went to the sea and washed his tail. Seeing guards after him, Hanuman immediately set off and flew back to Mahendragiri.
The Ramayana War
At Mahendragiri, Hanuman sent a messenger to inform Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana that they had found Sita in the south. The entire Vanara army arrived there, led by Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana. Also, Vibhishana, the righteous brother of Ravana, came to help Rama.
But they couldn’t cross the sea. Rama tried to invoke Varuna deva, so they could cross the sea, but he didn’t appear. This angered Rama. He started throwing celestial weapons at the sea. He was about to throw a dart that would dry the sea, when Varuna deva appeared.
“Rama, I can’t break the ancient laws. I can’t let you and your army walk over this sea. But ask Nala, the son of Vishwakarma, to build a bridge over this sea. Write the name Rama on every rock so they float,” Varuna replied, and then vanished.
The bridge was started. Hanuman and other monkeys lifted up huge rocks and gave then to Nala, so wrote the name Rama and placed it in the water. After a few weeks, the bridge was finished. The Vanaras, Rama and Lakshmana crossed it and set up camp near Lankapuri.
Soon, the war started. Ravana wasn’t on the battlefield. His sons were leading a huge army of asuras. The Vanara army, led by Rama and Lakshmana, Sugriva, Nila, Angada, and Hanuman. The army of Rakshasas started to get smaller. All the potent sons of Ravana were killed. Hanuman killed Devantaka, one of the sons of Ravana.
Ravana got really mad. Most of his sons were dead and a big part of his army was defeated. Ravana summoned his brother Kumbhakarna, a gigantic rakshasa. Kumbhakarna tried to convince Ravana that he was doing the wrong thing by trying to fight Rama, but Ravana didn’t listen. Out of loyalty or his brother, Kumbhakarna and his two sons Kumbha and Nikumbha entered the war.
Kumbhakarna was giant and stomped on the Vanaras. He imprisoned Sugriva. After a fierce battle, he defeated Hanuman, knocking him unconscious. Rama killed Kumbha and Nikumbha. Rama cut off Kumbhakarna’s legs and then arms. In the end, Kumbhakarna bowed down to Rama and let Rama kill him.
When Ravana heard of this, he fell unconscious in grief. He realized that he might lose the war, but he knew he had to keep trying. Ravana sent Indrajit into battle. Indrajita started wrecking havoc among Sugriva’s army, killing thousands of Vanaras. In fury, Indrajita challenged Rama and Lakshmana. They appeared in front of Indrajita. Indrajita arrested both the brothers in his Nagapasha, binding them in coils of snake. Hanuman immediately called Garuda, who freed Rama and Lakshmana.
On the next day, Indrajita learned that Rama and Lakshmana had been freed and vowed to kill at least on of the brothers. Using his full force, Indrajita reduced the size of Sugriva’s army by a lot. He then again challenged Rama and Lakshmana. This time, using his mystical powers, celestial weapons and strength, shot the Vasavi Shakti arrow on the entire army. All the Vanars, Rama and Lakshmana collapsed. Woebegone, Hanuman started mourning the death of Rama and Lakshmana. Vibhishana came to Hanuman and decided to call a physicist from Ravana’s palace.
“They aren’t dead, but they are on the brink of death,” Sushen, the physicist said. “The only herb that can heal them is the Sanjivani, which only grows on the Dronagiri Mountain in the Himalayas.”
“I will go get the herb, Hanuman said.
“But beware, if you don’t get the herb by sunrise, all of them will die and you will perish instantly,” Sushen added.
Hanuman immediately set off, flying north. At Lankapuri, Ravana and Indrajita heard of this. Ravana summoned Kalanemi, the minister of Maricha.
“Kalanemi, Hanuman is flying to Drongiri Mountain for the Sanjivani medicinal herb. If you stop and kill him, I will give you half of my kingdom,” Ravana said.
Kalanemi, wanting to earn half of Ravana’s kingdom, appeared near the base of the Himalayas. He created a magical hermitage and lake and took the form of a rishi. When Hanuman passed the place, Kalanemi went to Hanuman and asked if he wanted to take a bath in the lake. Hanuman wanted to take a bath, so he jumped into the river. Kalanemi sent a crocodile into the lake to kill Hanuman. Hanuman killed the crocodile, which turned into an apsara.
“I am an apsara. I was cursed by Daksha to become a crocodile. You have freed me from that curse. This rishi is actually the demon Kalanemi. He was sent by Ravana to kill you so that you don’t relive Rama and Lakshmana,” the apsara said.
Hanuman tied Kalanemi up and continued on his journey. When Ravana heard that Kalanemi had failed, he invoked Surya, commanding him to make it sunrise. Surya, unable to challenge the mighty Ravana, obeyed. When Hanuman realized that the sun was starting to rise, he turned huge and blocked the Sun. Soon, he reached Drongiri Mountain, but didn’t know which herb to get. Hanuman turned even bigger and carried the whole mountain in one hand.
Just in time, Hanuman reached Lankapuri and gave the whole mountain to Sushen. Sushen picked a few Sanjivani herbs and put them on the bodies of the dead Vanaras, Rama, and Lakshmana. Slowly, the Vanaras started to rise. Hanuman ran and embraced Rama and Lakshmana.
When Indrajita got to know that Lakshman and Rama were still alive, he went to a cave temple and sat to do a yagna. If he completed this yagna, he would be immortal. Vibhishana and Lakshmana went to the cave temple to disrupt Indrajita’s yagna. Being unable to use weapons during a yagna, Indrajita fought Lakshana with yagna tools. Indrajita overpowered them and Vibhishana and Lakshmana retreated. Indrajita continued with his yagna. Rama sent Hanuman to finish Indrajita off. As Indrajita had to fight with yagna utensils, Hanuman killed Indrajita.
Ravana started crying for his son, but he knew he couldn’t give up hope. He summoned his brothers Mahiravan and Ahiravan, the rulers of Patala. He told them to kill Rama and Lakshmana. That night, Agastya rishi came to the Vanara camp and told Hanuman that something bad might happen to Rama and Lakshmana this night. Hanuman told Rama and Lakshama to stay in a tent and Hanuman personally guarded them. Mahiravan tried many times to get in, but Hanuman prevented him from getting in. Mahiravan then took the disguise of Vibhishana and Hanuman let him in. He captured Rama and Lakshmana and disappeared back to Patala. After a while, at midnight, Hanuman went to check on Rama and Lakshmana, but they weren’t there. Hanuman immediately went to Vibhishana.
“Alas, Rama and Lakshmana have been taken away by Mahiravan and Ahiravan, the kings of Patala and brothers of Ravana. They will sacrifice them to the goddess Chandi,” Vibhishana said.
Hanuman went to Patala. Guarding the gate was a half- Vanara and half-reptile creature.
“I am Makardhwaja, your son. When you were flying back to Mahendragiri from Lankapuri, a drop of your sweat fell into a crocodile’s mouth. Thus, I was born,” the creature said.
Makardhwaja let Hanuman enter Patala. Hanuman found out that the only way to kill Mahiravan and Ahiravana is to blow out 5 different candles in different directions simultaneously. Hanuman assumed his five-headed Panchmukhi Hanuman form and blew all 5 candles at the same time. Mahiravan and Ahiravan died and Hanuman brought Rama and Lakshmana back to Lanka.
After the Ramayana War
Rama, Lakshmana and Sita returned to Ayodhya after the war with Hanuman. Rama became king and decided to give gifts to all his allies. When it was Hanuman’s turn, Rama hugged him and said he couldn’t repay him. Sita insisted that Hanuman gets a gift, so she gave him a necklace. Hanuman broke the necklace and looked through the beads. He dropped the necklace onto the floor. Some people were astonished why Hanuman did this. Hanuman said that the necklace had no value as Rama and Sita weren’t in it. Some people thought Hanuman couldn’t have so much devotion to Rama. Hanuman ripped his chest open and Rama and Sita were in it. The onlookers were mesmerized.
Soon, Hanuman went to the Himalayas. He wrote the Ramayana with his own hands. Once, Valmiki came to visit Hanuman. When they compared their versions of the Ramayana, Valmiki realized Hanuman’s version was better so he became greatly disappointed. Hanuman got to know about this and ripped his version. Maharishi Valmiki was astonished.
In the Mahabharata
Once, while the Pandavas were in their exile, Draupadi spotted a beautiful flower.Bhima decided to go fetch more of them for her. While looking around, an old monkey who was actually Hanuman came in his way.
Bhima said, “Move out my way, you silly old monkey.”
The monkey said, “Are you talking to me.”
“Get you tail out of my path!” Bhima screamed at the top of his voice.
The monkey said, “I am not in you way.” He also added that this place was dangerous for humans.
Bhima said, “Do you even know you I am. I am son of Vayu, brother of the great Hanuman. I am really strong compared to you.”
The monkey responded, “You said you are strong. Well then why don’t you lift up my tail.”
Bhima took his mace and slipped it under the monkey’s tail. He tried to lift his mace but failed.
Bhima looked unhappilly at the monkey and said, “I am sorry for everything I said. Will you tell me who you are?”
The monkey said that he was someone like Bhima. At that moment it dawned upon Bhima that it was Hanuman. He fell at Hanuman’s feet. He apologized over and over. The two brothers then embraced each other.
Hanuman said, “I came here to warn you. I know you are looking for the Saugandhika flower. It is in the garden over there, but be careful, there are powerful beings over there.”
Hanuman also informed Bhima that he would always be with Bhima in battle and promised and promised to be present in Arjuna’s chariot’s flag in any war. Bhima then requested Hanuman to grow into his full size. He grew and grew until Bhima could nor even see him anymore. Then Hanuman shrinked back to normal. He blessed Hanuman and disappeared.
During the entire Kurukshetra War, Hanuman was in Arjuna’s flag. When the war got over, the minute Krishna and Arjuna stepped off the chariot, Hanuman flew out and the chariot burned to ashes.