Friday, 12 September 2014

196. The Saga of Hanuman's childhood.

         Jambavan marched towards that pensive vanara and told him "Oh, the most valiant among the valiant vanaras, being an erudite scholar among all the scriptural scholars, my dear Hanuman, why don't you mumble something? Why are you sitting here alone and pondering over something? By your brilliance and brawn, oh, Hanuman, you look like our king Sugreeva! Why? You do not seem to be different from Rama or Lakshmana! The son of Kashyapa Prajapati and Lady Vinata is the best bird among all the birds who is superbly mighty and who is universally renowned as Garuda. The strength of your arms is not less than the strength of the wings of that great bird Garuda. And even by the yardsticks of his dash and dare, yours too, are unreprovable. Oh, forthright vanara, you are the finest among all beings by dint of your force, faculty, flair, and fortitude. Why then are you not telling about your capability in the matter of this task of leaping this ocean?
    "Punjikasthala yclept Anjana is the nicest apsara among all apsaras and she is the wife of the vanara Kesari. She who is distinguished for her unparalleled mien in the three worlds, oh, dear boy Hanuman, had to take a birth on earth as a vanara due to a curse. However, she retained her power of changing her guise by her will. She took birth as the daughter of the great vanara chief Kunjara. On a certain day, assuming a human physique, putting on caparisons of amazing garlands, dressed in silken clothing, and shining forth with the rarity of her beauty and nubility, she ambled on the top of a mountain like a streak of lightning athwart a black-cloud of rainy season. Seeing her strolling on the mountaintop, Vayu (the Air-god) slowly lifted up the auspicious and ochry silk apparel with red rouches. Then he beheld her well-twinned, thickset, roundish thighs, and also the beautifully paired off plumpish breasts. Then lovingly lifted her beautiful face which was astoundingly tantalizing .
      "Seeing him doing what he was doing, Manmatha, who happened to pass through that way smiled and took his sugarcane bow and flower arrow of love and hit him hard. This made Vayu totally, completely, entirely, absolutely, perfectly and fully  ensorcelled by Love. All limbs, (like you I, too am not aware that air has any limbs), embraced that immaculate lady with both of his far-flung arms, as he lost his heart for her. As that lovely girl could not see anyone but feeling someone, was perplexed. She exclaimed 'who is trying to despoil my vow of one-man-one-wife.'
        "Pavan told her 'oh, my lovely love, I don't dishonour you, hence let there be no fear in your heart, for I am the all-permeating Vayu. 
        " 'I could not control myself when I saw you sauntering with your beautiful body wearing such lovely garments. 
         " 'An admirably brave, and a bravely dazzling, and a dazzlingly forceful, and a forcefully overpowering son will be born to you (through me). He will equal me in flying off and jumping up.' 
       "Oh, arcane vanara Hanuman, when Vayu said so to her, she felt gratified and begot you in a cave.
       "Thereafter, when you were a little boy, one morning you noticed the just risen sun in the vast of forest, and deeming it to be a just ripen reddish fruit, and thinking it to be very tasty, you hopped up and flew towards the sun on the sky. Sun's heat did not bother you and when the sun's radiation puffed and blew you down, you did not get into any anguish as you were indefatigable. Oh, mighty Hanuman, your audacity angered Indra and he hurtled his Thunderbolt at you. That caused your left cheekbone broken and you fell down on a very high mountaintop. From that time onwards you became known as Hanuman. (The word hanu also means 'wisdom...' and Hanuman is one having an absolute wisdom. He is also addressed as Hanumanta, Hanuman and at certain places Valmiki terms him as Hani... nectareous...)

       "Seeing you lying hurt on the mountain top, your dad Vayu became very angry and stopped circulating. When all the worlds  started roiling with breathlessness, all the administrative gods of universe were bewildered, and they started to supplicate your dad Vayu for his grace. Your papa did not relent. To pacify your papa, Brahma gave you a boon decreeing your 'indestructibility by any missile, whatsoever.'
         "Seeing that you are not seriously hurt even after the hit by the Thunderbolt, the Thousand-eyed Indra kind-heartedly gave you a boon by which your death occurs only by your own volition.
       "Such as you are, you are Kesari's son through his wife, and you are the lineal son of Pavan. You have acquired all the capabilities of your dad Vayu.
    "My lad Hanuman, at present we are as good as dead, and among us presently you are the only one rife with adequate competence and valiance, and you are the other Sugreeva, the king of vanaras, to us. During the period of Trivikrama incarnation I have circumambulated the earth inclusive of its mountains, forests and thickets for twenty-one times, moving rightward around it. But that is neither here nor there.
       "Such as I am, I am now aged and my valiance is completely dwindled. At present, you alone are endowed with all the required endowments. 
    "Arise, oh, lion-like vanara, leap over this vast ocean. Oh, Hanuman, all these vanaras are dispirited. Why this indolence of yours? You boldly triumph over the ocean as your speed is supersonic and your celerity is super. Like Vishnu who trod the triad of worlds in a trice, you too shall triumph over." 
      After hearing Jambavan, Hanuman was getting some strange sensation in his body as well as in his mind. A few moments later Hanuman felt that he was physically immensely strong.

Lot of parables are afloat about Hanuman. A few of them are narrated below.
   Apart from trying to snatch the Sun (thinking that it was a fruit)  Hanuman's childhood pranks were numerous and most of them were intolerable for some sages and hermits. Hanuman used to tease and tickle the sages by snatching away their personal belongings, spoiling well arranged worship articles etc. Knowing that Hanuman was indomitable because of the blessings of Brahma they could not do anything to stop him. All of them wanted to do something to curb that intolerably naughty child. They cursed him to forget his might. All the sages knew that he i.e. Hanuman is destined to become Rama's special emissary in the future. Therefore, they added a rider to that curse that Hanuman would not remember about his might on his own, but would recollect it when someone reminds him about it. An interesting musing -- If Hanuma were to be aware of his own might, the course of Ramayana would have been otherwise. He would have simply enlarged his body and brought the whole of Lanka island to Rama, as he had lifted sanjivini mountain, to enliven Lakshmana in the war with Ravana's son, Indrajit. So this seemed to be a necessary curse upon Hanuman. Hence Jambavan had to harangue Hanuman.
       Another story about Hanuman is regarding the manner he got all his wisdom from the great Sun. Hanuman to his great dismay found that no one on this earth  was prepared to teach him scriptures etc. on the ground that he was  a fickle monkey. Being given to understand that the great Sun was an all-knowing teacher and an eternal witness of all deeds, he approached the Sun. Hanuman raisesd his body to the solar orbit and requested the Sun to accept him as his student. Sun declined saying, "I am ever on my wheels. How and where can I be standstill to teach you leisurely? I have my unending duty to perform, etc." But Hanuman did not relent. He enhanced the size of his body, and placing one leg on the eastern mountain range and the other on the western, face always facing the travelling Sun he again requested the Sun in this posture saying, "my face will always be towards you, in whichever orbit you go. So please teach me...oh! God..." Pleased by the perseverance  of Hanuman, Sun accepted him as his disciple and taught him all the scriptures.

          You have read above that Indra gave that boon to Hanuman that he would die only when he so desires. However, the belief is that Hanuman is one of the few chiranjiivis (i.e. one who lives forever)! howzat? When Rama was crowned as emperor, after his exile and eliminating Ravana, Rama and Seetha gave gifts to all their friends. When Hanuman was asked to choose a gift, shunning the heavens or other higher planes, he sought the boon of living in this mortal world as long as the name Rama is audible. Then Seetha blessed Hanuman with that boon saying "Oh! Hanuman, wherever you are, there will be plenty of fruits and eatables, and further, in villages, public shelters, temples, houses, gardens, cowsheds, cities, and at riversides, crossroads, pilgrimages, water tanks, trunks of banyan trees, and on mountains, caves, peaks and wherever people stroll, your image will be installed, so that you can listen Rama's name, uttered by the people from all corners of the earth." Thus Hanuman is believed to be still living, as the name of Rama is still audible. He is also called an old monkey living from ages till now. There is an incidence in Maha-Bharata, wherein Bhima could not lift the tail of this old monkey, on his way in forests. Even today one can see huge images and statues of Hanuman installed ages ago, or recently at all these places, as ordained by Seetha.
         There is a story that Hanuman is the first one to script Ramayana on claytablets, recording each and every detail of what Rama did. Having finished his writing he brought those claytablets to Rama, to bless that work. Rama humbly told Hanuman, "I have not done anything great to be recorded like this. I have done my righteous duty, that's all." That made Hanuman very upset. He took those clay tablets to the seashore, recited each verse, and broke each tablet on his knee and threw them into the sea. This writing is called hanumad ramayana. This work is unavailable from that time. But one tablet came to shore afloat on the sea, which was retrieved during the period of Mahakavi Kalidasa, and hung at a public place to be deciphered by scholars. On that tablet only one foot of a stanza is available. That foot says "Oh! Ravana, those your ten heads, on which you lifted  Mt. Kailah, the abode of Shiva, are now bumped on battlefield by the claws of crows and eagles, know what has happened to your high-headed Decahedral pride, at the hands of virtue..." Kalidasa deciphers this stanza and informs that it is from hanumad ramayana, recorded by Hanuman, but an extinct script. And Kalidasa salutes that clayplate for he is fortunate enough to see at least one stanza of hanumad ramaayana.
        It is said that none can conclusively narrate about Hanuman, for he is many faceted. He is symbolic for unwavering dedication to righteousness, unstinting performance of entrusted duties, unfailing talents in service. So the tradition holds Hanuman dearly.

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