Further Reading on: Lord Hanuman
In the Assembly of Lord Indra, the Lord of Gods, amongst a number of beautiful nymphs, one was named Punjiksthala. She was very restive and intemperate by nature. Once she disturbed a sage in his meditation. The sage got annoyed and cursed her, "You have done an evil deed and because of this act, you shall be born in the form of a she-monkey in your next birth." Punjaksthala was shocked. She fell at the feet of the sage and cried, "0 sage! I beg your pardon. I have not offended you knowingly. I did not mean to disturb your meditation, or to insult you. Please show pity on me and take back the curse."
The sage cooled down at the entreaties of Punjiksthala and taking pity on her, he said, "Alright ! The curse cannot be undone. I can only reduce it to the extent that you shall be able to change your form to a human being at your will." In due course of time, Punjiksthala was born to Kunjar who was one of the chiefs of monkeys. She was named Anjana.
Anjana was very beautiful as she had been in her earlier birth. When she grew up, she was married to another monkey-chief called Kesari. He was very strong and brave. When many years had passed, Kesari and Anjana got worried because no child had been born to them.
At last they prayed to Shiva. They performed very hard penance. Shiva was pleased. He said, "You shall get a son who will he invincible. But for this, you have to seek the blessings of God Vayu, the Lord of Air.
Then Anjana started worshipping God Vayu. When the god was pleased, he appeared before her and said, "I am happy with your faith in me. Your wish will be granted. I, myself, shall be born to you. Thus your desire will be fulfilled." Kesari and Anjana were delighted that their wish was to be fulfilled and were going to get a son.
It is mentioned in many religious books that when he was born, he was wearing golden ear-rings. He had a cap on his head, which was decorated with rare jewels. Holy thread, Yagyopawit, was around his neck. The colour of his body, eyes and hair was golden yellow and a mace in one of his hands. He is also called the eleventh incarnation of Lord Shiva. Now, here is given the legend which relates how he came to be named 'Lord Hanuman':
Once, while the son of Anjana was an infant, he was put in a cradle. She went out of the house on some errand. The child probably felt hungry or saw the sun in the sky and considered that to be a toy. He began to jump and leap up to get the sun. He, being the son of god Vayu, had immense energy. He leapt up and started flying into the sky. The god Vayu saw it and accompanied his son to protect him from the heat of the sun. He turned the hot air into a cool breeze.
Rahu, a demigod, was also heading towards the sun to eclipse him as that was a day of Amavasya. He saw the child going in the direction of the sun but did not think of him. When the son of the Vayu found Rahu within his reach, he pounced upon Rahu and grasped him in one of his hands.
Rahu was non-plussed. He did not know what to do. He was merely dumbfounded. Having caught Rahu by the hair and head, Lord Hanuman stood there fearlessly for some time. He stood cross-legged with the tip of his mace resting on the earth. Rahu exerted his full might to free himself from Lord Hanuman's clutches.
The grip was very strong. Wit great difficulty, he freed himself and ran to Lord Indra. the king of gods, for rescue. He said, "0 Lord of gods As commanded by you, whe today I was going to eclipse the sun, another Rahu rushed to eat me up. It cannot be without you permission or order. Why have you put me in such a distress ?"
Lord Indra was non-plussed at what Rahu had said, "Who has the courage to eclipse the sun or eat Rahu ?" He rode his divine elephant Airavat and rushed towards that child. Lord Indra was frightened and shaken to find the child ready to attack him. He threw Vajra, Lord Indra's heavenly weapon, bolt. The bolt did not do the child much harm. He was injured and a bone of his chin was broken. This is how he came to be called "Lord Hanuman".
Due to injury to his chin, Lord Hanuman fell unconscious on the ground. His father, the god Vayu, took him to a cave and was greatly grieved. This resulted in the stoppage of air in the atmosphere. No living being could breathe. All the gods, including India, led by Brahma, the creator, approached god Vayu in the cave.
No one can live without air even for a moment. But as long as the airs blows, nobody understands the importance of air. The moment it stops blowing, every creature feels suffocated.
Vayu lamented and explained to them what had happened. Brahma caressed Lord Hanuman's body gently. He regained consciousness. His father's grief and anger subsided. Air began to blow again. Brahma granted Lord Hanuman a boon that he would never be injured by any weapon. He asked other gods also to bless Lord Hanuman with divine powers. He said, "Bless him and he will always help you when none would stand by you." All the gods granted him boons one by one.
Lord Indra put a garland of heavenly flowers around Lord Hanuman's neck and promised that in future Vajra would not affect him. The Sun god offered to educate him and granted him a portion of his brilliance. Kuber, the Lord of Yakshas, presented him with his mace. Shiva also granted him protection from his divine weapons. Brahma made him invincible and gave the power to change his form and size. He could go anywhere without any hLord Indrance. Power to perform miracles too was bestowed upon him.
Thus Lord Hanuman's adversity in his childhood became a blessing in disguise for him. He was armed with all the subtle and divine powers, which made him unique and peerless.
Lord Hanuman was a very restless and naughty boy. Great affection and protection given to him by the gods, spoilt him. He did not know what fear is. He playec and fought with lions and elephants. He would never let the strong to bully the weak. He roamed about the hermitages of the sages and disturbed them in thei) meditation. He threw away their utensils and hung their seating mattresses or the high branches of trees. They complained to his parents who could not keep him under control.
At last a sage, in a fit of anger, cursed Lord Hanuman, "0 brave one! You are misusing your strength. As no other way is left, you shall not know the limit of your vigour and strength. Whenever needed you shall have to be invoked to do so. This is in the interest of yourself as well as others." Only God knows whether it was a curse or a boon. Lord Hanuman was now very sober. Instead of teasing others, he began to help the sages in their daily chores. His parents and the hermits were very happy with him.
He had grown enough to begin his education. So his parents asked him to go to the sun god to get his education.
His mother Anjana reminded him that he had as a child leapt into the sky to catch the sun. As soon as he was made to recall, he jumped high in the sky and flew away towards the sun. There he presented his salutations and said, "0 Master ! my name is Lord Hanuman. I am Anjana's son. As directed by her, I submit myself to you to grant me all the knowledge I should possess."
The sun god taught him Vedas, Holy Scriptures and other disciplines. Having learnt and absorbed all the teachings of his teacher, Lord Hanuman prostrated before him and said, "My venerable teacher! By the grace of your blessings, I know' the path of righteousness and duties meant for me. Now, what should I offer you in return what you deserve and desire?"
The Sun god replied, "Do one thing. Always take care of and protect Sugriva the younger brother of Bali, the monkey-king. He is born out of a portion of myself.
I foresee that very soon he is going to fall on very bad days and would need your help." Lord Hanuman promised never to forget it and returned to his parents. His father advised him to go to Pampapur. This place was known as a centre of learning and training in politics. There he came in contact with Sugriva. They became very intimate friends.
After the death of Bali, Sugriva became the king of Kishkindha. Bali and Sugriva were brothers. They loved each other very much. In the course of time, it so happened that they became archenemies. Here is the story:
Bali was very strong and brave. His younger brother Sugriva treated him as his father. Bali was so powerful and valiant that demons, living near kishkindha, never dared to enter his kingdom. Once a demon thought himself stronger than anyone. He came near Bali's palace and shouted, "0 monkey-king! Why are you hiding yourself? If you have the courage to face me, come out and fight with me. I shall teach you what bravery is." Bali was annoyed at the way he was challenged by a demon. He came out of his palace to punish him for his insolence. Sugriva followed his brother.
He wished to help his elder brother Bali. It was the dead of night. Sugriva knew that the power of a demon increased at night. So he might come to the rescue of his elder brother in the hour of dire deed.
As soon as the demon saw Bali, he came to his senses. He fled in fear. But Bali had made up his mind to kill him. To save himself from Bali's wrath, the demon entered into an aperture he found in the grounds. Bali saw him doing so. He said to Sugriva, "I am going into this hole to chase the demon. Wait for me here. I shall be back after killing him. It may take some time. So, do not worry."
Saying this, Bali went inside the hole. As asked by his brother, Sugriva kept waiting for him for many days. When many weeks passed but Bali did not turn up, Sugriva was worried. He thought Bali had been killed by the demon. He put a rock at the mouth of the aperture so that the demon could not come out. He returned to Kishkindha dejected. When the ministers of Kishkindha saw Sugriva badly shaken and crest-fallen, they understood what had happened. They made Sugriva the king because Bali's son Angad was too young to rule the state. After sometime, Bali reappeared at Kishkindha after slaying the demon. When he found Sugriva was the king, shocked and agitated he came to the conclusion that his brother had deliberately put the rock to close the way out of the tunnel under the ground to cause his death.
Bali was in great rage. He said, "Sugriva, you are not my brother, rather an enemy. You rascal! You wished me to be dead to become the king yourself. I shall punish you and not let you live anymore."
Sugriva tried his best to explain and request his brother to calm down, as never had such an idea. Bali did not listen to him. Sugriva was pained at Bali's behaviour that he loved and respected very much. Bali turned him out of his kingdom and detained his wife as a punishment to Sugriva. He even rushed towards him to kill him. Sugriva knew well how strong Bali was. He ran away. Lord Hanuman accompanied him. After having run for long, Sugriva and Lord Hanuman entered the hermitage of sage Matanga. Bali had to stop there, as he could not enter that place. Bali had been cursed once by the sage for some disrespect, shown by Bali to him, that he would die the moment he touched the inside of his hermitage. Sage Matanga lived at the Rishyamuk mountain. In this abode of that sage, Sugriva was safe. Though he was passing through very bad period, yet he had the good luck of Lord Hanuman's friendship. Lord Hanuman was a great help to him in organising a small group of well-wishers.
Lord Rama was in exile. Ravana, the demon king, had kidnapped Goddess Sita to Lanka. He, with his brother Lakshman, was roaming in the forests in her search. When they reached Rishyamuk, Sugriva spotted them. He saw them armed with bows and arrows but wearing clothes of ascetics. The glow on their faces was heavenly and they looked very handsome. Sugriva could not make out whether they were warriors or sages, friends or foes. He thought, "May be they are agents or soldiers of Bali. He must have sent his demons in disguise to kill me." He was alarmed.
Sugriva expressed his fears to Lord Hanuman. He himself went to see whom those people were. He was very much impressed by the very appearance of Lord Rama and Lakshman.
He was convinced that they could not be demons. He considered it better to have a talk with them. Then he approached them in the guise of a Brahman and spoke to them politely, "Who are you and where have you come from? What is the- reason of your being here in the forest? You are wearing dress of ascetics but from appearance you are Kshatriyas. You are carrying weapons too. If I am not mistaken, you belong to some royal family. What makes you wander in such a dense and inhospitable forest? If I and my friends can be of any help to you, please do tell me."
Having listened to what Lord Hanuman had said, Lord Rama said to Lakshman, this pious and handsome man, who stands before you, is certainly well learned and intelligent. It is better for you to have a talk with him. This meeting may prove useful." Then Lakshman addressed Lord Hanuman who was in the guise of a Brahman, "We both are sons of Dasharath, the King of Ayodhya. We are living in exile as ordered by him. He is my elder brother Lord Rama. Ravana, the demon king, has kidnapped his wife Goddess Sita like a thief does. We are searching for her from place to place. This is the reason of our being here. Now, shall you please tell us who you are?"
Lord Hanuman was overwhelmed with emotions as soon as he learnt that he was face to face with Lord Rama. He had been hearing about him since his childhood. He prostrated before Lord Rama and said, "0 my lord! I had forgotten that one day I must meet you as I am destined to serve you. I am at your disposal."
Lord Hanuman forgot he was in disguise. He had come out in his own self. Lord Rama had recognised him. He picked him up and embraced him. After a few moments, Lord Hanuman was normal. He said, "I am favoured. I am living here with my friend Sugriva. Because of some misunderstanding, his elder brother Bali is annoyed with him and bent upon killing him. He is very strong and brave but his mind has gone vile. He has kept Sugriva's wife in his possession causing great pain to him. Kindly help him. As soon as he gets back his wife and freedom from fear of Bali, he will give you all help he can. With your blessings, he will achieve both these. There is no doubt in it."
Lord Rama promised to grant him freedom from fear. In the end, Bali was killed and Sugriva was made king of Kishkindha. Bali's widow Tara was too distressed to be consoled. On this occasion, Lord Hanuman advised her not to wail over the death of her valiant husband. What Lord Hanuman spoke ought to be read:
"Everyone, who is born, meets his fate according to his own deeds. These deeds result in pain and pleasure for all. Hence, one should keep one's mind under control so that the mind does not go astray. Nobody knows when the end would come. We must avoid committing sinful acts. He, who follows the path of right thinking, does not lament or cry over the death of dear ones. One must look towards the future, as the past is gone. One can better one's future only."
After Sugriva became king of Kishkindha, Bali's son Angad was made the Crown Prince. Lord Hanuman was there to help Sugriva in administering the state. Sugriva was very happy. Lord Rama was living in the forest. Lakshman desired that Sugriva should fulfill his promise of helping Lord Rama in search for Goddess Sita. But he simply forgot that he owed to Lord Rama what he had done for him. Lord Rama was naturally worried.
Lord Hanuman waited for some time to let Sugriva get settled. One day, when he could not wait anymore, he said to Sugriva, "You are now king of Kishkindha. The timely help of your friends and well wishers has brought you this kingdom. You must be remembering what Lord Rama has done for you. Therefore, it is the right time to help him m the fulfillment of his wish. He is expecting you to come forward and assist him in the search of his wife. You had promised to do so. Breach of trust does not behoove you."
On the other hand, Lord Rama was perturbed and waited for Sugriva's help. Lakshman was rather dejected at the plight of his elder brother. He was very furious. As he could bear no more, he sought Lord Rama's permission to meet Sugriva. When he came to Kishkandha, everyone was alerted. Sugriva who had no time free from luxuries and enjoyments of life, was upset at the news of Lakshman's arrival. He said to Lord Hanuman, "0 son of Vayu! It is a very critical moment. Please pacify him, as he is very angry. Also suggest to me what I can do in this matter. Lord Rama is himself all-powerful. How can I be of any use to him?"
Lord Hanuman immediately arranged a meeting with Lakshman and said, "Kindly give up anger. King Sugriva can never think of breaking his promise. He is very much worried about Goddess Sita whom we consider as our mother. But he finds no way out. Please command us and we shall obey whatever you say. We shall leave no stone unturned to mitigate Lord Ram's agony."
After that, Sugriva, prince Angad and Lord Hanuman accompanied by others, presented themselves before Lord Rama. Sugriva bowed before him and begged his pardon for his default. Lord Rama did not show any anger or malice towards Sugriva. He asked about his well being. Sugriva said, "My Lord! Be kind and excuse me. Friends, my soldiers and I are ready to follow your orders as you please. Other monkey chiefs too are present. In addition to this, anything else you wish will be available. We shall feel ourselves fortunate to be of any help to you."
Lord Rama said, "0 king of Kishkindha! I think you know that my main worry at this time is to find where and how Goddess Sita is. How it can be done may be decided by you and your friends." Sugriva there and then assigned the task of finding out the whereabouts of Goddess Sita to the monkeys and the bears. Then he said. To Lord Hanuman, "You can approach all the worlds, the seas, the earth and the sky without any hLord Indrance. Therefore, I request you to find out where Goddess Sita is. It is not difficult for you."
Taking leave of Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman said, "My Lord! By your grace, I shall come back with the desired information. Give me your ring as a token of identity.
Lord Hanuman, the embodiment of strength and greatness, along with his companions, was passing through the forests and mountains, when the monkeys and the bears reached a place where they found no water or food for many days. They began to fall sick and were tired. Then suddenly, they saw a cave. They entered it and at its other end, they found trees bearing fruits and springs of fresh water. They could not resist themselves. In that beautiful garden, a very beautiful woman was meditating under a tree. Her concentration was disturbed. When she opened her eyes, she found her garden being destroyed. She was very much annoyed. She asked them to stop, "What are you doing? You are damaging this heaven-like place." Lord Hanuman replied with great humility, "0 honorable maiden! Please forgive us. Afflicted by hunger and thirst, these friends of mine could not control themselves. We are searching for Goddess Sita, my Lord's wife who has been kidnapped by a demon. But what are you doing here where we see not a single soul?"
That beautiful young lady was Swyamprabha, daughter of a Gandharva. She said, "Oh! You are a devotee of Lord Lord Rama who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver! It is my good fortune that you happen to come here. My austere worship is over. I was waiting for his arrival in these forests, as the piety of his feet would grant me salvation and a place in the heaven.
You shall succeed in your mission; there can be no doubt about it. How can devotees of Lord Rama face failure?"
Under the leadership of Lord Hanuman, the armies of monkeys and bears reached the sea from the forests. From there they could not proceed further. All of them were in a fix as to what to do. They could not go back without any news about Goddess Sita. They were pained and demoralised. Sugriva would not even hear the word 'failure'. They would surely be condemned to death. And, what would Lord Rama think of them ? They decided to die themselves by not taking any food and water. They did not have the courage to face Lord Rama or Sugriva. They wished they were of any use to their Lord as the vulture-king Jatayu had done. They were not as fortunate as he was to give up their lives in the cause of Lord Lord Rama.
On the beach of the sea, in the Vindhya mountain nearby, a brother of great Jatayu lived in a cave. His name was Sampati. Disturbed by the great noise, created by the wailing of the monkeys and the bears, Sampati was disturbed. He came out of the cave. At the sight of a large army of monkeys and bears crying for death, he was very pleased. He thought he would get food for a long period. But when he heard the name of his brother being mentioned by them, he was alarmed. He came near the monkeys and said to them, "Brave monkeys ! Just now you were talking of Jatayu. He is my brother. I have not seen him for many years. What were you saying about him ? Kindly tell me what that was." The monkeys were scared to see an unbelievably large vulture. They were however encouraged to talk to him when they found that he had no feathers and was thus harmless.
The monkeys told Sampati that Jatayu died while fighting against Ravana when he was kidnapping Goddess Sita.
Sampati was shocked at the sad news of his brother's death. He prayed to the monkeys to take him to the beach so that he might offer water to his departed brother. Lord Hanuman lifted Sampati and put him on the head of the sea. After having offered water to his brother Jatayu's soul, he prayed to God for his salvation. When he was composed, he said, "I can see that on the other side of the sea, there is a city. Yes, that is the city of Lanka. Name of this city's king is Ravan. He is very powerful and a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
He is so strong and valiant that even gods tremble before him. In one of his garden, a goddess-like woman is sitting under a tree in a very pensive mood and miserable state. She must be Goddess Sita. Friends, I am unable to offer you any physical help. This is what I could do for you."
All the monkeys and the bears discussed what should be done. Crossing of the sea was not possible. Having known the place where Goddess Sita was put was of no use to them. They were helpless. Being the most experienced and senior person, Jambavant was expected to guide them. He looked towards Lord Hanuman and said, "Why are you silent ? Can one believe that Lord Rama's desire may remain unfulfilled? True, none of us can cross the sea. But 0 greatest of all! You are the Son of God Vayu. Crossing the sea by flying should not be a difficult job for you. Recall that you caught and grasped Rahu in one jump only. Raise your power. This is the time to put an end to Lord Rama's anxiety by coming to your own."
Jambavan invoked Lord Hanuman's latent powers. His face was full of divine glow. He enlarged his body and said, "I, the son of Vayu, am willing and ready to go to do any duty as desired by my Lord Lord Rama. Tell me what I should do. May I burn Lanka of Ravan and bring Goddess Sita back on my shoulders or may I present the demon as a captive at his feet? Or, should I bring the news and welfare of Goddess Sita only? The sea cannot be an obstruction in my way. Say and I shall empty it of its waters or drive it deep into the earth. Just tell me what is expected of me."
Jambavan was now satisfied with his form and confidence. He said, "0 the son of Anjana! You are great and you are invincible. You are all mighty. No doubt, you can tear apart the earth and find the place where Goddess Sita is and how she is. With the name of Lord Rama on his lips, Lord Hanuman jumped up to fly away. When he jumped to the sky both the earth and the sky were shaken. The gods in the heaven were alarmed at his roar. With the blessings of his father, the speed of his flight appeared to be piercing the sky.
The gods were apprehensive of the extent of Lord Hanuman's strength. To test his intelligence and valour, they asked Surasa, the mother of cobras, to do so. She agreed and took a very huge and dreadful form. She would not let Lord Hanuman cross her way and said, "Beware! You cannot go any further. I am hungry and shall satisfy my hunger by devouring you." Hearing what Surasa demanded, Lord Hanuman replied, "0 mother! Kindly accept my greetings and respectful salutations. I am in a hurry as I am on a mission from my master Lord Rama. I shall be back soon here after fulfilling the mission. I promise that I shall offer myself to you once I am free. Then, you may eat me with pleasure. So, please let me go now."
Surasa did not listen to Lord Hanuman's pleas. She wanted to test the wit and grit of Lord Hanuman. When she did not permit him to go ahead, he said, "If you so desire, you may eat me up." All of a sudden Lord Hanuman became too small to be devoured by her and came out of her mouth. Surasa blessed Lord Hanuman and went away.
Having crossed the sea, Lord Hanuman reached Trikut mountain where Ravana's Lanka was situated. He found that Lanka was a very beautiful city. Protected from all sides by high walls, it was very difficult to enter the city. The ocean surrounded it. Below, in the city, he saw great hustle and bustle everywhere. It was so well decorated and full of grand mansions and houses that even palaces in the heaven were no match to them. Well-armed soldiers were protecting the streets. Lord Hanuman thought that during night he might be able to get entry into Lanka. War with Ravana seemed to be definite. Therefore, every aspect should be looked into. Any lapse or flaw in preparation would prove disastrous.
Nothing could be left to chance or risk. Hence, in the darkness of night, he entered Lanka by slipping into it having diminished his size.
During his search for Goddess Sita's place of captivity, he noted with care the quality of the weapons of Ravana's soldiers, the stables of horses and elephants and his armoury. He also noticed that there were many demons that were good at heart and God-fearing. But there was no trace of Goddess Sita anywhere. He was worried and surprised as to where he had kept her. At last, he jumped into Ravana's palace. In the open space, around the palace within the four walls he saw even flying machines. In the nearby houses and quarters many young and beautiful women were visible but Goddess Sita was not among them.
Lord Hanuman came out of Ravana's palace with great disappointment. While walking around, he suddenly saw a temple. He was amazed to find it in the city of demons. He went inside the temple. The day was about to break. There in the temple a saintly person was worshipping Lord Lord Rama. He was reciting Lord Lord Rama's name. Lord Hanuman presented himself in the guise of a Brahman before that person when he had performed all his religious rituals. Lord Hanuman wished him with "Lord Rama-Lord Rama". He was very much astonished. He was as well pleased to meet a devotee of Lord Rama. That man was none else but Vibhishan, younger brother of Ravana. Vibhishan, a devotee of Lord Rama, was immensely pleased to meet Lord Hanuman, another devotee of Lord Rama.
Vibhishan inquired who Lord Hanuman was and how a God-worshipper could be found in Lanka. Lord Hanuman told him everything and the aim of his being there.
Vibhishan told Lord Hanuman that he would find Goddess Sita sitting under the Ashoka tree near Ravana's palace.
Leaving Vibhishan in the temple, Lord Hanuman returned to Ravana's palace. It took him no time to locate the Ashoka tree. He saw Goddess Sita in very low spirits and a miserable state as described by Vibhishan. All of a sudden, the she-demons became alert, as there was a great noise of drum beating and running of horses. Lord Hanuman concealed himself in the branches and leaves of the tree he was sitting in.
That was the signal of Ravana's arrival in the garden. He came straight to Goddess Sita and said, "I have come again to make you understand that you should agree to my proposal. This is the only way left for you."
When Ravana had finished, Goddess Sita said, "You are a demon and shall always remain a demon. You are not aware of what is going to happen. You are doomed to die at Lord Lord Rama's hand soon. Ravana was furious at Goddess Sita's bitter rebukes to him. He once again ordered the demon guards to bring her round by hook or by crook. Then he left the place.
When Goddess Sita was left alone, she began to cry bitterly. Lord Hanuman could not wait anymore. He spoke from within the hiding place up in the tree, "Mother! I an Lord Hanuman and nave come to you as a messenger of Lord Lord Rama." As soon as Goddess Sita heard Lord Rama's name, her face bloomed like a flower of morning Lord Hanuman jumped down. When Goddess Sita saw him, she was perplexed. Lord Hanuman at once understood what in Goddess Sita's mind was. He was sure that Goddess Sita did not believe him.
Then he increased his body. Goddess Sita had no doubt anymore that Lord Hanuman was no a demon and had been sent by Lord Rama. She was happy. Lord Hanuman said to her "This is the ring my Lord has given me to show to you so that you are consoled. Lord Hanuman assured Goddess Sita that Lord Lord Rama would soon kill Ravana. Goddess Sita's joy knew no bounds at what Lord Hanuman had said. She said to Lord Hanuman, "You are a true devotee of Lord Rama. Tell him that he should come and save me from the demon. So far as these trees are concerned, they belong to Ravan. Very strong am armed demons are there to guard these trees. Take care of yourself. Lord Rama will protect you from all evils. Now, enjoy these fruits to your heart's content."
Taking Goddess Sita's permission, Lord Hanuman climbed up a tree and began to eat fruits of many trees. He ate the ripe and sweet fruits but threw away the raw ones. When his hunger was satisfied, an idea came to his mind, "Should I not let these guards around the Ashoka tree and the rest of the demons know that it can be trespassed. This will also show how brave and alert these soldiers are." Thus, he started destroying the trees and plants, which were carefully looked after. When the garden was ravaged, there was great confusion amongst the demon guards. Lord Hanuman jumped up the rampart of Ravana's palace.
Lord Hanuman raised such a storm that the guards and soldiers could do nothing and were helpless before an ordinary monkey. They together rushed towards him. They could not even touch him. Then, they took their swords out of their sheaths and threw their spears towards him. Lord Hanuman's hands and tail were so fast that he not only saved himself from the attack but gave them a good thrashing too. The she-demons came running to Goddess Sita lest she should be banned or taken away by the monkey. The demons came running to Ravana and told him what had happened.
Ravana could not believe them, and shouted. "What are you saying? A monkey has destroyed the Ashoka garden, which even gods dare not enter! How can anyone have the courage and the guts to sneak into my palace?" The demons said, "Our Lord! This is not the case. We tried our best to catch him but he jumps and bounces like a ball from one tree to another. Our weapons have proved useless. Have a look at us. He is responsible for this plight of ours."
Ravana ordered one of his army commanders to present Lord Hanuman before him at once. The army commander took his soldiers with him to the high wall of the palace where Lord Hanuman was destroying whatever he found. The demon soldiers shot arrows at Lord Hanuman. At that stage, Lord Hanuman was enjoying the action. He could not even be injured. On the other hand, the army commander was killed with a single assault of Lord Hanuman's mace. The soldiers took to their heels. Then many more demon warriors were sent to arrest him. They all lost their lives. When Lord Hanuman could not be apprehended, Ravana asked his younger son Akshaya to do the needful. Akshaya climbed his chariot and reached the scene of fight between Lord Hanuman and the demons. He was fully armed and protected by his army. Lord Hanuman wanted to make clear to Ravana what Lord Rama's devotee could do and what strength or power he possessed. When Akshaya attacked, Lord Hanuman retaliated. Akshaya's chariot was destroyed and his charioteer was killed. Akshaya drew his sword and made an assault on Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman jumped up in the sky. Akshaya tried to jump and tried to brandish his sword. In turn, Lord Hanuman caught hold of his leg and revolved him in the air. Akshaya fell dead on the ground.
Ravana was greatly shocked at the news of his son's death. He was so enraged that he decided to punish Lord Hanuman himself. Then his elder son Meghanad said, "0 father! I shall punish the killer of Akshaya. You need not take this trouble. There is no question of your going to catch a monkey while I am here."
Saying so, he rode his chariot and rushed to capture Lord Hanuman. Meghanad attacked fiercely by showering arrows. Lord Hanuman was injured and blood began to flow out. This annoyed him. He pulled up a very huge iron pillar from the ground and threw towards Meghanad. Meghanad saved his life by jumping out of his chariot. But his chariot and a number of accompanying soldiers were smashed.
When Meghanad's weapons could not harm Lord Hanuman, he threw lariat, which had been given to him by Brahma. Lord Hanuman had the power to free himself 'yet he did not do so. It would have been an insult to Brahma, the Creator. Moreover, he wanted to return to Lord Rama soon. He let Meghanad arrest him. He was tied with a very thick and strong rope so that he could not escape. As soon as he was tied with the rope, the divine lariat freed him. He did nothing. That was the right time to have a look at Ravana and warn him. Meghanad took Lord Hanuman to Ravana's court.
Lord Hanuman was absolutely fearless. He was not at all afraid of Ravana or his great courtiers. The glamour of Ravana's court did not have any adverse impact on him.
The minister and army commanders, at Ravana's court, were stunned when they saw Lord Hanuman. They failed to understand who that monkey could be and how he had routed an army of demons. One of the ministers asked Lord Hanuman, 0 monkey! Who are you and where have you come from? Why have you entered Lanka or have you been asked by someone else? If you speak the truth, you may be pardoned."
Lord Hanuman looked around and spoke to Ravana, "0 king of Lanka! I am called Hanuman and am a companion of Sugriva, the king of Kishkindha. I am a humble servant of Lord Rama. I am here as his messenger. You have kidnapped his wife Goddess Sita."
Ravana could listen no more. He was agitated and ordered angrily, that Lord Hanuman should be killed. Lord Hanuman did not react.
All the soldiers, present in the court of Ravana, rushed towards Lord Hanuman. Ravana's younger brother Vibhishan intervened and said, "Wait, this monkey has come here in the capacity of an emissary. He had brought a message from Lord Rama. You are well aware of the fact that slaying of an emissary is prohibited. If he deserves a punishment, do punish him but you must not kill him." Ravana accepted Vibhishan's plea and ordered Lord Hanuman's tail to be set on fire because a monkey loves his tail most of all. It was the maximum Ravana could do.
The demons wrapped Lord Hanuman's tail with rags and doused in oil before lighting that. Lord Hanuman jumped high and began to burn Ravana's palace. The palace was soon in flames like a house of wax. The adjacent buildings too caught fire. Everyone was in panic. Nobody had the time even to look towards the royal palace. The stalls and the arm stores were reduced to ashes. People began to assemble in open spaces. There was a great turmoil. When Lord Hanuman was satisfied at the punishment he had given Ravana, he went to Goddess Sita and took her leave. He put out the fire on his tail in the sea and flew back to where the army of monkeys and bears was waiting; anxiously for him.
It must be noted carefully that the entire Lanka was reduced to ashes by Lord Hanuman, but Vibhishan's house was untouched. How could a devotee of Lord Lord Rama be hurt ! Lord Hanuman himself was not burnt by the fire because he happened to be the ambassador of the Lord who created fire itself.
So Lord Hanuman himself along with Vibhishan and his family were untouched by fire They alone were safe and sound !
The good news of Lord Hanuman's success in locating Goddess Sita was welcomed with great applause and pleasure. Jambavan blessed Lord Hanuman. From there, all of them marched to Lord Rama's place. When Sugriva saw them jumping and dancing, he knew that Lord Hanuman had the good news about Goddess Sita. Lord Hanuman told Lord Rama all that had happened. Lord Rama said, "Dear Sugriva! Now, we should set out to Lanka. You may order your friends and soldiers to get ready." Sugriva, Jambavan and other chieftains led their armies to the seashore. Nala and Neel, the great architects built bridge over the sea with the help of brave monkeys and bears. Ultimately they crossed the sea and camped in the vicinity of Lanka.
You may have read Lord Rama-Ravana war in the "Lord Ramayana" in detail.
Lord Hanuman had the power to perform miracles as has been told. Here is another example of his power. Lakshman fell into a swoon when he was struck with a 'Shakti' by Meghnath.
Everyone was depressed. Jambavan again invoked Lord Hanuman to fly to the Himalayas. He reminded Lord Hanuman that none but he had the power and strength to bring the Sanjivani herb in time! Lord Hanuman flew to the Himalayas clearing all hurdles on the way. There he saw different kinds of herbs. He could not recognize the Sanjivani herb. So Lord Hanuman lifted up the entire hill. He brought the life-giving herb well in time. The herb was immediately applied on Lakshman's wounds. His swoon was soon over. Thus Lord Hanuman proved to be the saviour of Lakshman. Everybody was grateful to him.
There was wailing and weeping in every house in Lanka as countless demons had been killed. After Meghnath and Khumbhkaran had been killed Ravana himself came to the battle-field to fight against Lord Rama.
Ravana mounted on his golden chariot shot a spate of arrows at Lord Rama. The two supreme bowmen were bent upon slaying each other. They shot potent misses of secret power. The gods in heaven looked on with wonder and admiration. Lord Rama pierced with his arrows every limb of Ravana, yet he did not fall. Matali, Lord Rama's Charioteer, reminded him to use Brahma-astra. Having uttered the spell, Lord Rama shot the Brahma astra which pierced Ravana's chest where was enshrined the secret of his invincibility. The nectar in his naval was dried up. Ravana fell down dead from his chariot to the battle-field.
The gods in heaven blew their trumpets and showered flowers!
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