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HomeOPINIONLesser known facts about Lord Hanuman #1

Lesser known facts about Lord Hanuman #1

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Lord Hanuman is one of the most worshipped deities in the Hindu religion. He is believed to be an ideal combination of “strength” and “devotion” — Shakti and Bhakti. There are numerous temples of Hanuman in India and different parts of the world. But still, there are several lesser-known facts related to Lord Hanuman. 

Childhood name & disfigured jaw

As a child Hanuman’s real name was Maruti. He was very naughty. One day he swallowed the Sun whom he mistook to be a ripe mango. As a result, the whole world was engulfed in darkness. To retrieve the Sun inside his mouth, Indra- the king of Gods hit him hard with a lightning bolt.

The impact was so much that Hanuman fell down to earth. His tattered remains were scattered all over the earth and oceans, from where the Gods collected his ashes and bones and re-assembled them. Surya returned him back to life, but Hanuman was left with a disfigured jaw. Hence the name — Hanuman derived from the Sanskrit word Hanumat — meaning one with a disfigured jaw. 

The Gods watching the drama from their abodes were of the opinion that the punishment was too harsh as compared to the mischief. So Indra tried to pacify the situation by blessing him that his body would be so strong that in future even Inder’s Vajra could not harm him. Agni blessed Hanuman that fire won’t burn him; Varun Dev blessed him that water won’t drown him; Vayu Dev blessed that he would be so fast that the wind won’t harm him. Lord Brahma blessed Hanuman that he could go anywhere without being stopped; Lord Vishnu presented him with a weapon called “Gada”. All these blessings not only made Hanuman immortal, but also gave him unique powers and strength.

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After being blessed with the super-human powers Hanuman who spent his childhood in Kishkindha started playing pranks with innocent people until one day a sage cursed him that he would forget all his powers until someone reminded him of them in his adulthood.

Incarnation of Lord Shiva

Hanuman is often worshipped along with Rama and Sita and sometimes independently. The Vaishnavites or followers of Vishnu, believe that the Hanuman underwent three incarnations to help Lord Vishnu. The Shaivites consider Hanuman to be the 11th incarnation of Lord Shiva. In Shaiva traditions, Hanuman is either Shiva’s avatar or his son. Other mythologies, present Hanuman as a being who is the union of Shiva and Vishnu or associated with the origin of Lord Ayyappa. The 17th century Odia work Rasavinoda by Dinakrishnadasa mentions that the three gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – combined to take to the form of Hanuman. In a South Indian version of Shiva Purana, Hanuman is described as the son of Shiva and Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu). 

Barack Obama – used to carry a statuette of Lord Hanuman in his pocket

Former U.S. President Barack Obama always used to carry a statuette of Lord Hanuman in his pocket where ever he went to seek inspiration — whenever he felt tired or discouraged. Obama, whose father was a Kenyan and his mother a white woman from Kansas, spent the initial days of his life in Indonesia where Hinduism is a popular religion.

What makes Lord Hanuman a role-model even today?

International cult-following

Hanuman is one God with a truly vast fan following all over the world. In the Cambodian version of Ramayana or Reamker the protagonist, Preah Ream or Rama, is sent to exile by one of his queen mothers who wanted her son to inherit the throne. Preah Ream’s beautiful wife Neang Seda (Sita), and Preah Leak (Lakshmana) joined him in the exile. There are many similarities in the story, for instance:

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  • Preah Ream – the main protagonist is an reincarnation of Hindu deity Vishnu and the husband of Neang Seda.
  • Neang Seda — the wife of Preah Ream gives birth to his two children but at the end of the story has to face a trial by fire.
  • Preah Leak is the brother of Preah Ream and joins the fight to rescue Neang Seda after defeating Krong Reap the brother of Sopphanakha (Shroopnakha). 
  • Sugriva is the Monkey King who sent Hanuman to assist Preah Ream.
  • Surpanakhar is the sister of Krong Reap. She failed to seduce Preah Leak and loses her ear and nose as a consequence.

However there are some incidents in the Cambodian version of Ramayana that differ from Valmiki’s Ramayana – for instance, Reamker mentions an encounter between Hanuman, the monkey general, and Suvannamaccha – a mermaid princess who tries to spoil Hanuman’s plans to build a bridge to Lanka but falls in love with him instead.

Hanuman is a popular character in Java and other islands of Indonesia. Hanuman, along with other characters of the Ramayana, play a vital role in the dance, and theatre repertoire in Bali. Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, and Sugriva figures prominently in many Hindu temples, archaeological sites, and manuscripts in Indonesian and Malay islands. Hanuman is known as a promiscuous and flirtatious character in Thailand. In the local folk tales, Hanuman takes on the form of Ravana and sleeps with Mandodari, Ravana’s consort, thus destroying her chastity, which was the last protection for Ravana’s life.

Lord Hanuman & the Chinese Monkey King – Sun Wukong

Chinese mythology mentions a popular Monkey King called Sun Wukong in the Journey to the West who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Hanuman. Sun Wukong is also known as Suen Ng-hung in Cantonese, Son Goku in Japanese, Son Oh Gong in Korean, Sung Khokong in Javanese, Sun Ngokong in Thai and Sun Gokong in Malay and Indonesian literature. It is said after Lord Ram departed from earth, Lord Hanuman went to the Himalayas to meditate and might have travelled north-east where he met the Chinese Gods. The Chinese people say he was so mischievous by nature that he could not be controlled by anyone other than Lord Ram or Lord Buddha also believed to be an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There are several similarities both the characters. 

  • Both Sun Wukong and Hanuman can change their shape whenever they want. They can become smaller than the smallest or even become invisible to the naked eye, and also expand to be larger than the largest enemy.  
  • Sun Wukong is also said to have carried two celestial mountains on his shoulders. 
  • Sun Wukong gained immortality and crossed out his name in the register of life and death in the World of Darkness, which made him untouchable by the fetchers of death. There is another story about how Sun Wukong who was assigned to Guard the Heavenly Garden consumed the three types of peaches, which grant immortality to anyone and allow them to live 3000 years. 

Hence even if not the same, Hanuman’s life influenced Sun Wukong’s story.

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Lord Rama tried to kill Lord Hanuman 

Once upon a time after returning from Lanka and the coronation of Lord Ram, the court was in progress. Out of the blue sage Narada – decided to play a mischief so he asked Hanuman to greet all the sages but ignore sage Vishwamitra. Hanuman did so. But Vishwamitra was unruffled. So Narada went up to Vishwamitra and provoked him so much that he walked up to Lord Rama and asked him to sentence Hanuman to death. Rama was taken aback but couldn’t disobey his Guru’s direct command. So with a heavy heart he announced that Hanuman would have to face death by arrows. The next day, several arrows were shot but failed to harm Hanuman who kept chanting Ram’s name! Finally, Lord Rama decided to use the Brahmastra, but even that returned back to Ram without harming Hanuman who all along kept chanting Lord Rama’s name. Finally, Narada went to Vishwamitra and accepted his mistake. Thus the whole nightmare came to an end and Hanuman was unscathed.

(To be continued)

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Ankit Mahajan
Ankit Mahajan
Ankit Mahajan the dynamic Chief of Bureau of Taazakhabar News is like a fire and forget missile that is sure to hit the target. A meticulous planner with an eye for detail, he never gives up and makes his presence felt in everything he does.


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