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Hindu God: Hanuman

Background and History

  • Hinduism is an ancient religion from India. Hinduism believes in a variety of gods, many of which are often in contention with one another for power over regions of the universe. Each 'God' has different physical features and different powers and tasks to perform which are explained in the mythologies of India. Many of the Hindu gods date back several thousand years while others, which are said to be manifestations of other gods or newly created gods entirely, are more modern. Hanuman is one of these Hindu 'Gods'.
  • Hanuman the monkey god is one of the most popular and recognizable deities within Hinduism. He is immensely important to Indian mythology as well as cultures outside of India, such as Bali, where he is one of the primary Hindu deities. His story originates in the epic poem called the Ramayana where he assists King Rama in locating and recovering his kidnapped wife Sita. Hanuman is a minister to the monkey king Sugriva but negotiates a treaty between Rama and Sugriva whereby the monkeys form an army to help Rama. Hanuman himself is notoriously a fun god because he sometimes inadvertently assists in tasks because of his quixotic nature. For example, after Hanuman flies to Lanka to locate Sita in the captivity of the demon lord Ravana, Hanuman’s tail is lit on fire. Hanuman bounces around the city and uses the oil-soaked cloth that was wrapped around his tail to burn large portions of Lanka. Additionally, Hanuman is important because he is able to find Sita in captivity and console her, telling her that Rama will come to save her. He proves his relationship to Rama by offering Sita a signet ring that can only be Rama’s since he is King.
  • Many other stories have developed around the monkey god, many of which have to do with his divine birth. Nevertheless, nearly all of the local folk legends pertaining to Hanuman go back to his relationship with Rama, who is considered to be an incarnation of the great god Vishnu. More broadly, Hanuman is a warrior god who fights and conquers evil.



Hanuman Depicted In Balinese Style In Hindu Bali


Role in Hindu Society

  • Hanuman serves many roles in Hindu society. He is a god of strength, friendship, devotion, and innocent animal mischief. He also has many powers, such as shapeshifting. During the story of the Ramayana, Hanuman is able to shrink himself to a very small size as to continue his pursuit of Sita undetected in enemy-infested Lanka. Hanuman can also fly and lift mountains. When Lakshmana, the brother of King Rama, is wounded in a fight against Ravana, Lakshmana flies to the Himalayan mountains and lifts an entire mountain because he is unable to identify the correct healing herb. To solve the problem, he just lifts the whole mountain by shapeshifting himself into a giant and carrying it all the way to the Lankan battlefield.
  • Although Hindu society identifies Hanuman as closely linked to Rama, and thus Vishnu, all Hindus regardless of their caste, region, or primary deity of worship enjoy a devotional relationship with Hanuman as he is the supreme helper. One legend says that it was Hanuman, in fact, who originally wrote the Ramayana depicting the epic events in which King Rama was able to successfully recover his kidnapped queen.


Worshipers

  • For devotees of Vishnu and Rama, Hanuman is considered to be the ideal worshiper and model of devotion. Despite his intimate connection to the Vaishnava sect (who are devotees of Vishnu), Hanuman plays a paramount role in modern India. People whose passion or profession is training their body, like wrestlers, athletes, bodybuilders, etc. Hanuman is the god they pray to because Hanuman is considered to be one of the most physical of the gods, enjoying supernatural strength and putting on display. Like  Ganesha, Hanuman is a pan-Indian Hindu god and one does not have to be a devotee specifically of only Vishnu to worship him. Hanuman is popular in his own right.


Being a Hindu consumed about Hanuman today
  • We can look at Hinduism and Hanuman in a historical and mythological context, an objective look from an outsider's point of view. But how do Hindus consumed in Hinduism and Hanuman beliefs perceive Hanuman as a God and what are their beliefs and consumption of what is taught. This is best understood by reading their statements. Here are some examples as printed in the Facebook page, ''The Shiva Tribe''. The key issues are, the powers of Hanuman and his role and the symbols of Hanuman. Note also the modern day acceptance of the ancient texts and the events described therein. 

  • 1. ''  Lord Hanuman is an avatar of the Lord Shiva. Hanuman Ji is mentioned as an avatar of Shiva or Rudra in the Sanskrit texts like the Mahabhagvata Purana, the Skanda Purana, the Brhaddharma Purana and the Mahanataka among others. The 17th century Odia work Rasavinoda by Dinakrishnadasa goes on to mention that the three gods ~ Shri Brahma, Shri Vishnu and Lord Shiva combined to take to the form of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman Ji became more important and came to be portrayed as the idea l devotee of Lord Rama. He is characterised as a lifelong Bramhachari (celibate). Hanuman jis celibacy is the source of his strength, became popular among the wrestlers in India. It's also written that Lord Hanuman worshipped Surya Dev as his Guru and studied the Vedas and mastered the Nine Vyakarnas. Being an Aajanma Brahmachari, Lord Hanuman was not eligible to study the Nava Vyakarnas (nine grammers) for which the status of being a Gruhasth was essential. In order to facilitate the completion of his education, the Trimurthis approached SuryaDev. Surya Dev grants him a boon that he will still be a bachelor even after marriage as a Prajapatya Brahmachari and will maintain his celibacy. A beautiful Kanya, Suvarchala Devi, an Aajanma Brahmacharini, was created from Sun's rays and a marriage arranged with Hanuman Ji to make him a Gruhasth, without Brahmacharya being affected. Hanuman Ji obeyed his preceptor’s advice. Surya Dev presented Suvarchala to Hanuman Ji. It is stated in Parasara Samhita that Surya offered his daughter Suvarchala in marriage on Jyeshta Shudha Dasami. Whereby he learnt and became a genius in the Nine Vyakarnas. But after marriage, he spent all his life serving Lord Rama!  ''