Hanuman - the Musician

 

Narada, the sage bard, used to delight Lord Vishnu in Vaikunta every day with his music. In course of time Narada got to be sure of his expertise and ability to please the Lord, and a touch of pride and over confidence began to manifest itself. The Lord noticed this and wished to teach Narada a lesson. 

      One day when Narada was playing his veena before the Lord, he noticed that the Lord was not showing any interest; on the contrary there were frequent frowns on the Lord's face indicating displeasure.  Narada at once knew that something was wrong. And, falling at the Lord’s feet, asked to be enlightened as to the cause of the displeasure.  The Lord smiled and said, “If you desire to know what real music is, go to Hanuman who is performing tapas in Kandamadana hill and learn it from Him”.

      Narada set forth to meet Hanuman.  On the way when he was passing near a grove, he heard the wailing’s of a number of women and went into the grove to ascertain the cause.  He was shocked at what he saw.  He saw a group of otherwise beautiful damsels. Disfigured in various ways; some with their noses cut, some with other limbs dismembered a ghastly and pitiable sight. Moved at the heart Narada made enquiries as to the cause of their plight. They said, ” We are the raga devatas; a rishi named Narada played such bad music today in vaikunta that we have been reduced to this plight. It is only a really good musician who knows our true forms that can bring us back to our original shapes.” Narada was humbled. He confessed to them who he was. He said that he was going to Hanuman to learn true music and he promised to restore their original forms as an act of expiation for the sin he had in his ignorance and pride committed against the devatas.

  Narada went to meet Hanuman in his hilly home and explained his mission to him; the latter took the veena from Narada and began to play on it. Narada was simply astonished at the mastery and finish of Hanuman’s music and forgot himself in the enjoyment of that soulful music. He sang with such devotion, although he couldn't play veena, that his devotion melted the floor under the veena. After a while Hanuman stopped singing and put the veena down on the floor. When he put it down, it was on this molten granite. When the rock cooled and solidified the veena got struck up in it, Narada did not know what to do. Prompted by Hanuman, Narada tried singing to melt the rock but in vain. Hanuman sang again, melted the rock and then took out the veena. Narada was cured of his pride.

 

Anjaneya becomes Hanuman

Anjaneya (as he was called while a child)  extraordinary from the very moment of his birth. There are very interesting stories about him.

Soon after he was born, Anjaneya felt very hungry. Looking up he saw in the east something red. Anjaneya thought that the red sun was a fruit and flew up to snatch it. What was a child's whim became something serious. Though the sun's heat burnt his face, Anjaneya was obstinate and continued to fly towards, the sun. Indra, the Lord of Heaven, feared that the sun might be caught. So he hit at Anjaneya with his terrible weapon Vajrayudha. Anjaneya fell down and was hurt. His left cheek became swollen.

This is why he came to be called Hanuman. 'Hanu' in Sanskrit means the cheek.

Now, Hanuman's foster father, the Wind God became very angry. So he would not move at all. In all the three worlds there was no air to breathe. Then all the gods came and consoled the Wind God. Each god conferred a boon upon the Hanuman. Brahma and Creator said, "No weapon will be able to kill this boy". Indra said to the boy, "You will be a 'Chiranjeevi' (immortal)." Blessed thus by the gods, Hanuman grew up to be as strong as his father.

Hanuman cursed

He flew about as freely and was quite mischievous. In fun, he leapt over trees  and peaks of mountains, uprooted trees, hurled them on wild elephants and lions, entered heritages of sages, broke away their utensils, uprooted and snatched their beards, disturbed their mediation and commited sportive exploits which troubled sages very deeply. Even his parents were at a fix and could not realise what to do with him. Finally the sages anathematised (pronounced a curse) Hanuman in these words "O Hanuman! you will forget all those powers and boons that have been bestowed upon you. You will regain your vigour and vitality only when some one eulogises your greatness and glory." The anathema made Hanuman staid and tranquil.Hence, Hanuman would never know how powerful and strong he was. Others would have to explain to him his strength. Only then would he be realizing it.

Hanuman a brilliant student

In due course of time the investiture ceremony was performed and Hanuman wore the sacred threads. His parents resolved to send him for higher studies to the Sun-god who was well versed in all Vedas, Shastras and mystery of philosophical knowledge. Hanuman, clad in bark garment like a celibate, wearing holy threads of munja (a holy grass), holding a shank of  Palas and deer-skin in his hands, stood helplessly and stared at the radiant Sun in dismay. His mother Anjana knew the anathema and its evil effect. She said "O son! why do you stand here and stare desparately? The sun-god is not far away from you. Even in your infancy you had sprung to his chariot. You possess immeasurable and matchless strength. Nothing in the wold is impossible for you. You leap up to him and receive your education." Thereupon Hanuman bowed down his head before his parents in reverential salutation and sprung up and in twinkling of an eye, he arrived before the chariot of the sun-god. After introducing himself along with his father's name, Hanuman stood before the sun-god with his hands folded and prayed with reverence "O God ! after the holy thread-wearing ceremony, my parents have sent me to you for receiving education. Kindly accept me as your humble pupil". His humble but intelligent submission charmed the sun-god, but in order to test the ability and prudence of the boy, he said "O my dear child ! You are fully aware of my chariot, incessantly rolling on without tarrying, brushing aside my hunger, thirst and all kinds of exertions. How can the process of teaching and learning take place unless the preceptor and the receptor sit face to face with tranquil minds." Hanuman replied with reverence "O revered Sir, I shall pace back with my face towards you with the same speed as your chariot rolls ahead. This therefore, will cause no inconvenience or hardship ill teaching and learning." This astute solution propitiated the sun god who readily agreed and within a very short period he taught Vedas, Shastras, Grammar Philosophical Ideologies and mysteries of spiritual perfection. Hanuman became a Savant and Supreme among all erudites. After being well-versed in all abilities and skills. Hanuman humbly offered to pay the fees to his spiritual preceptor, the sun-god, who affectionately said with a happy heart "O my boy ! I need nothing. I only ask you to protect Sugreeve, (the king of monkeys) as he is born of my own part and parcel with my limited power." Hanuman assured his preceptor that no harm would touch Sugreeva till his (Hanuman's) last breath.
    
In this way he completed his education and returned home.

 

Hanuman and Sugreeva

When Hanuman completed his studies with teacher Sun God, Sun asked him to protect Sugreeve, (the king of monkeys) as he is born of Sun's own part. Hanuman assured his preceptor that no harm would touch Sugreeva till his (Hanuman's) last breath. He joined Sugreeva and became his Minister. Sugreeva was in exile from his country by his brother Vali.

Once Vali, who was fighting with a rakshasa, entered a cave with his opponent; he did not come out for a long time. Blood began to 'flow from the cave, so Sugreeva thought that Vali was dead. He returned to Kishkindha and became its king. But a little later, Vali returned and drove out Sugreeva. Sugreeva and his ministers hid themselves in the Malaya mountains; where Vali could not enter due to a curse.

After Ravana took away Sita by force, Rama was in great grief. He was wandering in the forests along with his brother Lakshman and came to Kishkindha (Sugreeva/Vali's kingdom). Sugreeva saw him when he came with Lakshmana to the Malaya mountains. Sugreeva and his companions were full of fear that Vali had sent Sri Rama and Lakshmana to kill them. But Hanuman asked them not to be so afraid. Sugreeva was also very anxious to know who those handsome young men were. Whom should he send to talk to them? Finally he choose Hanuman.

Hanuman was an excellent ambassador. He could easily understand the nature of other people. As soon as he saw Rama and Lakshmana, he realized that they were not deceivers, but noble persons. In soft and pleasing words he asked them who they were, and told them about himself.

Rama was very happy when he heard the words of Hanuman. He said to Lakshmana, "Did you hear his words? Even an enemy with his sword drawn would be pacified by such words. If a ruler has such a messenger, his efforts will always be successful." Hanuman took Rama and Lakshmana to Sugreeva. He had hopes that these brave young men would make Sugreeva king again. When Sugreeva challenged Vali to a fight, Rama helped his friend by killing Vali with an arrow.

Vali's wife, Thara was full of grief and weeping. Hanuman prostrated before her and said, "Revered lady, Vali came to this condition because of his evil
deeds, his own actions. Sugreeva was only the means. Please do not think that Sugreeva killed Vali. No one can live for all times in this world. Look at your son Angada and console yourself."

Sugreeva then became king. All his troubles were over. The kingdom was his. He forgot his promise to Rama - that he would immediately send servants to search for Sita and find her. He left the responsibilities of the state to his ministers ; he forgot everything in his pleasures.

Hanuman warned him. He did his duty as a minister, saying the right thing at the right time. He said to Sugreeva, "O King, the kingdom and the fame which you desired are now yours. If you do not help your friends at the right time, even the greatest help you offer later will be totally useless. Though Rama is very anxious to find Sitadevi, he is waiting for you. It Is already late, but he is a patient man.Please send your army at once to search for Sita." Sugreeva sent Neela, one of his commanders, to find out where Sita was. And he returned to his pleasures.

The rainy season was over. It was now autumn. Rama's mind was always filled with thoughts of Sita's sufferings and sorrows, and he was miserable. He revealed his misery to Lakshmana. Hot blooded Lakshmana was very angry with Sugreeva. He went to see Sugreeva. His anger made Sugreeva's subjects shiver with fear. Sugreeva himself was so terrified he did not know what to do.

Again it was Hanuman who gave wise counsel. He said to Sugreeva, "Sri Rama may not really be angry with you. Perhaps he was sent Lakshmana to you as his work has been delayed. When those who are more powerful than we are enraged, it is not wise for us to become angry. Our anger will only heighten their rage. At such times we should seek to pacify the mighty. Besides, Sri Rama has helped you and therefore you should behave respectfully towards him."

This time advice was effective. Sugreeva pacified Lakshmana, and with his entire army went to Rama. He sent the army in all the four directions to find out where Sita was. Vast as the ocean, the army set off with shouts of enthusiasm. The deafening noise seemed to make the earth shiver. Sri Rama removed a ring from his finger and giving it to Hanuman , said: "When Sita sees you, she may be afraid of you, or may not believe your words. If that happens, show her this ring. We depend entirely on your strength." Hanuman prostrated before Rama and set off.

Hanuman on to Lanka

Hanuman, Angada, Jambavan and others went towards the South in search of Sita. Sugreeva had given them only a month's time to find her. They wandered far and wide and grew utterly weary. At last
they came to the sea. They stood before the vast, roaring sea.

The period granted by Sugreeva was over. So that were they to do? The brave soldiers of Sugreeva sat bewildered. If they returned to Kishkindha, Sugreeva would certainly punish them. So, Angada suggested that they should fast to death on the seashore. But Hanuman replied, "Angada, that would not be right. Surely Sugreeva will not punish us if we return." He tried to persuade them in many ways. But the other's in their pessimism would not listen to him. All of them spread some darbha grass and lay down on it, determined to die.

Just then a person by name Sampathi came there. From him they learnt that Sita was Ravana's prisoner in Lanka. Their joy knew no bounds. They danced about shouting, "Oh! Now we know about Sita!" With great enthusiasm, they turned to the sea. But who could cross the ocean?.

One of them said, "I can jump across ten yojanas." (The 'yojana' was the old unit of measurement of distance.) Another said, "I can jump twenty yojanas." Jambavantha was a mighty warrior, but now old. He said, 'When I was young, I could leap over any distance.Now I am old, and can leap ninety yojanas. But this is a hundred". Angada went further - I can cross a hundred yojanas, and reach Lanka. But I do not know if I will have strength left to come back."

The old Jambavan consoled them all and said, "Hanuman is the only great hero who can leap over the sea to Lanka and come back. Let me go and cheer him up and encourage him." Hanuman was sitting apart from the. Others and silently gazing on the sea.

You remember that some sages had pronounced a curse upon Hanuman, when he was a young boy - which he would not be aware of his own strength unless others told him of it. Jambavantha now praised Hanuman's strength and ability He said, "No other living creature has your strength, wisdom and radiance. -Why are you sitting quiet, not knowing yourself? You can certainly jump over the ocean."

As Hanuman became aware of his own powers, great enthusiasm welled up in him. He stood up and after glancing at them and began to grow. His companions were astonished. As they went on praising him, his stature grew. He grew so tall that he could jump across the sea. Still he was very modest. He bowed to the elders and said, "I am the son of the Wind God who can move in the skies without touching the earth. If need be,I can throw skyward all the water of this ocean and make the three worlds float on water. I will go like lightning and surely find Sitadevi."

He stood on Mount Mahendra and grew even bigger and then leapt. Even the gods in Heaven were amazed at Hanuman's flight over the ocean. They wanted to test his strength; they sent an unearthly spirit by name Surase, from the serpent world, to obstruct him. She appeared before Hanu- mantha in the form of a rakshasi and roared: "The gods have given you for my food. I will swallow you," "You cannot go further without entering my mouth," she added.

She opened her mouth, and it was big enough to swallow the huge Hanuman. Hanuman increased his size further and said, "Eat me if you want but your mouth will have to be much bigger."  Surase's mouth grew wider as Hanu- mantha's body grew bigger. Hanuman's form grew bigger and bigger. Even so, Surase's mouth grew wider and wider. Hanuman was clever. He thought there would be no end to this process. Suddenly he shrank to the size of a thumb, entered her mouth and came out through the ear. He now stood before her and entreated her with these words - "Now that I have entered your mouth and come out of it also, I am like your son, please allow me to continue my journey."   Surase was pleased with his cleverness and allowed him to go, wishing him success.

Hanuman moved on. There was another obstacle. There was another rakshasi in the way and she had a strange power. She would drag down those who were flying above the sea by catching hold of their shadows from below and would eat them up later. She was now overjoyed that she could get food and dragged down Hanuman's shadow. Hanuman entered her mouth. But once inside, he grew bigger; he then burst open her body and came out.

Hanuman could see Lanka at a distance . His joy knew no bounds. But he feared that if he entered Lanka as he was, every one would see him. So assuming his normal size, he alighted on a mountain near the seashore.

As Hanuman stood there before Lanka, many stories were going through his mind, how Ravana got cursed in many places, and how he is so foolish. Hanuman actually felt very compassionate, and he was thinking, "If I see Ravana, by any method, I will give him good advice. I will tell him that he is very intelligent, and that maybe he could use his intelligence. Just give back Sita, and everything will be alright."


It was night. Hanuman was about to enter the city. But a goddess stopped him at the city gates. She was the goddess who protected Lanka. She thundered at him: "Who are you? If you wish to enter, you must first defeat me." Hanuman was enraged. His left fist came down on her face with crushing force. The blow made her totter. She begged him for life and said, "The Creator Brahma had said that when a monkey defeated me the end of Lanka would be near. Perhaps the time has now come. Go in and look for Sita."

Meets Sita Devi

Hanuman went into the city of Lanka, and it was just before midnight. The moon was present, and he could smell wine all over the city. Practically all of the population was drunk. Everyone was in the enjoying mode, and in Lanka there was plenty of enjoyment to be had. These demons went all over the world, and brought women from all over the world. Ravana had more than 12,000 wives. All of them liked him, although he was a demon. He had a brownish colour, but the form of his body was next to the beauty of Upendra (the brother of Indra). He had a very broad chest and a beautiful face. When he got angry or lusty, he could produce such ugly forms, but Ravana's true form looks very handsome. Vishnu Purana, Valmiki and all the narrators describe as a person of great granduer. Amongst his queens were nagas, and there were princesses from Satyaloka, Siddhaloka, Caranaloka, Gandharvikas, every species of life was present in his palace as queens. They all liked him and respected him. Ravana's country was so good. There was plenty of fruit and food, and they had dharma which was followed. Ravana was ruling wonderfully, and no-one had any fear in Lanka. They had no fear even from Indra, Candra or Agni, because Ravana was so respected.

Hanuman was going from room to room. "Is Sita here? Is Sita there?" In every room he found about ten beds and so many queens sleeping. Hanuman was a naisthika brahmacari, and he was thinking, "Oh God, I have to do this. All these queens of Ravana are sleeping here, and most of them are drunk." It is not good for a brahmacari to see a woman while she is sleeping, and Hanuman had to do this. At first he thought, "Should I do this?" And then he concluded, "I am serving Rama, and if I don't look at all of them, Sita may be somewhere in between, and I will miss her." So he made up his mind, "I'm not going to be attracted. How will I not be attracted? I won't stop chanting Rama's name." So he was chanting, "Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama," and he was looking everywhere. When Hanuman saw so many queens, their make-up and dress, their beds and their silk, he was completely shocked. "What kind of place is this? It is like a heavenly planet." They had false eyelashes, they had shaven their eyebrows, and they had coloured in 12 tones from the eyelash up to the eyebrows. Hanuman actually saw this. He got scared by looking at them. He said, "If they are so beautiful, why do they have to put false eyelashes on?" Hanuman saw all this, and he was very happy. "This man, whatever he has done, is enjoying his senses very nicely. At least he is good at that." And then he came and saw in the middle of a room a wonderful bed made of coral and diamonds, and on top of it was white silk covering the bed. There was a brown figure lying there with big shoulders and wonderful bodily beauty, and he was snoring. Hanuman said, "So beautiful, but he is snoring and his mouth is wide open. He must be very ignorant person." Although Ravana has so much knowledge, still there is ignorance." Then Hanuman looked around and saw that there was a white umbrella on the side of the bed. That means he is the king. So Hanuman looked at him, and then he walked backwards to get a better look. And then closer and closer. He looked from all angles. "Oh! What a great fighter." Then he saw the hole, and he said, "I have heard about this hole. This man would have fought with Airavata." Hanuman was getting fired up, and he thought, "I would like to fight with him. But if I wake him up everything will be spoiled." And then he looked around on the other side, and he saw a very beautiful woman laying down on the bed. The smell of wine was coming from her mouth. Hanuman had never seen Sita. He inspected the woman and said, "Oh! A heavenly body. This person must be Sita. No, how can it be Sita? She is the chaste wife of Ramachandra. Here she is brought by the demon, and she is dressing herself nicely with silk and ornaments, and she's laying there with wine on her breath. I am a monkey, but I do have some discrimination. How can this be Sita? Sita would be lean and skinny and crying with demonesses around her. That is Sita, not this. This is not Sita." Then he looked everywhere but he couldn't find Sita. So he came out of the palace, and he was thinking, "What should I do? I was preaching to Angada, `Don't give up your body. And don't try for some security.' But now it looks like I will have to do that, jump in the ocean and die. How can I go back and tell them, `Yes, I went across the ocean, I saw Ravana, but no Sita'. What will they do to me? If I go to Sugriva he will kill me. Even Angada himself may kill me. And If I see Ramachandra's dissatisfied face I will die myself. What is the use of my existence? Let me die." And then he was walking and crossing the gardens and coming to the ocean. He thought, "Let me check once more."

 

Just then he saw the garden Ashokavana at a distance. 'Oh, I have not looked there', thought Hanuman and flew to the garden. He combed the entire garden and finally found Sitadevi. Sita was sitting under a tree, in a soiled saree. Her plight made Hanuman both sad and angry.He perched on the tree beneath which Sita was seated. Day dawned. The rakshasa king Ravana came to see Sita. Sita did not wish to speak to him directly. She held a twig in her hand and replied to Ravana's words, as if she was speaking to the twig. Ravana was very angry and went back. 

From his perch upon the tree, Hanuman could see and hear everything. He now resolved to address her. But it struck him that if he talked to her all at once,she might be frightened. So he thought of a plan. From   where he sat, he narrated the story of Rama. And he said, as if in wonder, "It seems as if Sitadevi is here! "

Hearing a voice from above Sita was at first afraid, Ravana had just then left. She feared It might be a trick of the rakshasas. But she heard the names of Rama and Lakshmana and their story. She looked up in surprise. Hanuman softly got down from the tree and prostrated before her. He again said that he was  Rama's messenger and praised him. Sita was overjoyed. Hanuman showed her the ring which Rama had given him. The sight of the ring brought back all her sorrow. Hanuman comforted her with these words: "Sri Rama will surely take you from here. Please do not worry. You need not even wait till Rama comes.If you agree straightaway I can carry you to Rama on my back. Before I fly from here, I will kill Ravana".

Sita said, "No! What are you doing? You already told me that Ramachandra promised He will kill Ravana and take me back. If you do this, my husband's promise will go in vain. Ramachandra has one word, one wife and one arrow. He uses only one arrow, he has only one wife, and if he says a word, he keeps it. So go back and tell my Lord that I am waiting. And if he doesn't come in this many days, then I will leave my body."  She gave him the choodamani, a jewel she wore in her hair, so that he could show it to Sri Rama.

After returning back to the mainland where Rama and others were waiting, Hanuman narrated all his doings to  Rama in detail and also gave him the ornament sent by Sita. Rama was overjoyed. He said: "Hanuman has done what no one else in the world could do. I had not seen a hero who could leap across the sea. He is a very intelligent messenger who has done not only what he was asked to, but also what he thought was appropriate. He is a good messenger who performs the task assigned to him and also what pleases his master. Surely, Hanuman is an excellent messenger."

Adventures in Lanka

Hanuman met Sita in the Ashoka Vana, identified as Rama's messenger and collected the Choodamani (jewel from her hair) and had now completed his mission. But he thought it would be a good thing if he could manage to get an estimate of the enemy's strength, kill some of the prominent rakshasas and also give a warning to Ravana. It also occurred to him that Ravana will be put in a rage, if he destroyed the Ashoka vana so dear to him.

He set about it and uprooted trees. He pulled from the ground all the creepers bearing beautiful flowers. He trampled upon other plants. Seeing all this, the rakshasas on duty there ran to Ravana in fear. Ravana was furious when he heard the news. But Hanuman destroyed all the rakshasas he sent in the twinkling of an eye.

Fight with Jambumali

Ravana then sent Prahasta's son Jambumali. Jambumali is in a big lake of wine since he can't wait to go fill up the cup and drink, it takes too much time. We came with  80,000 soldiers. Hanuman was still sitting on top of an arch, and he was saying, "I am the servant of Rama. Who is there to fight with me? I can swallow Ravana. Come on, challenge! Challenge!" Jambumali said, "Hey monkey, you are talking too much! Do you understand that Ravana's son has tied Indra to a flagpost here? Do you know that the nine planets are serving in the kitchen? You don't know the power of Ravana. You don't know the power of my father Prahasta. He has eaten mountains and digested them."

Hanuman began to pick up rocks and throw them at him. The rocks were coming so fast and furious, and he couldn't fight them. Then he got on the chariot and started shooting arrows. Hanuman said, "Oh, these demons are very cultured. He is sitting on the chariot doing acaman, chanting mantras and firing astras (arrows)." Hanuman held all the astras by hand, broke them and threw them back. No astra can affect Hanuman, that is a benediction. Jambumali saw this and said, "Now I will have to do some magic," and he started growing, and he became so big. Hanuman was only up to his ankle. That is what Jambumali was thinking. He was thinking, "That big? All right, I will grow more." He closed his eyes and grew more. Then he thought, "Now I have grown so much, Hanuman will be this big." And then he opened his eyes. He saw some big round thing in front of him. He looked at it, and he thought, "What is this? It is not Hanuman's face. There is no mouth and no teeth. It's just a big round thing." He looked to the other side, and it was just another round thing. "What is this one?" he thought. He was looking, and he was so confused. Then he heard a sound from way way above, "They're my knees Jambumali!" He looked up, and Hanuman was way up there. Jambumali thought, "My God, what a growth! This is the topmost I can do, and I am only up to his knees." So then Jambumali looked back, because he didn't want to discourage the soldiers. Hanuman said, "What are you looking at? I finished them all." He had finished the 80,000 soldiers already. Hanuman had taken one of the huge marble and diamond pillars from the nearby parliament building of Ravana, and just put it on top of the army. They were nicely organized so that simply by a little work Hanuman could finish them all. This happened while Jambumali was growing.

Jambumali was standing there alone. His chariot had been smashed and his horses killed. Hanuman said, "What are you going to do? If you want to take shelter of my feet, they are way down there. You will have to look for them." So Jambumali was very insulted, and he said, "No! This is maya! You come before me in your original form!" Hanuman said, "What are you doing then? That is also maya. You come in your original form." So he came down, and then Hanuman came down also. Hanuman said, "All right Jambumali, there are three minutes for you. There is one nice mantra I will teach you. If you chant this mantra while dying you will attain the Supreme Lord. There is only two syllables in it. Rama. Chant." Jambumali said, "What? I didn't come here to learn mantras. I am here to fight with you. I want to finish you." Hanuman said, "You cannot do that, so you might as well do this. You cannot finish me, so why don't you do something within your means. Just chant Rama, and then go back home." Jambumali screamed and jumped on Hanuman. Hanuman put his index finger in his navel, lifted him up, and then he circled and threw him. Everything came out of his mouth, and then he died.

Encounter with Indrajit

Ravana then sent his son Indrajithu himself to capture Hanuman. Indrajithu was a great hero. He fought with Hanuman for a while and then shot the Brahmasthra. Hanuman wanted to show respect to the weapon carrying the power of Lord Brahma and allowed himself to be tied up by it for a while.The rakshasas were excited and in great glee. Indrajithu took Hanuman to Ravana's court. The sight of Hanuman threw Ravana into a towering rage. The radiance of Ravana's face astonished Hanuman. As they entered the court, Ravana said, "Hey, you mischievous monkey! Who are you?" Hanuman said, "I am a servant of Rama, and a messenger. You please give me a seat." Ravana scoffed, "A seat for a monkey? You can climb up in the tree if you want." Hanuman said, "No, that is not proper. I have come here to talk politics, and I have come here to give you a message. You must give me a seat." Ravana said, "In my assembly, I don't give a seat to animals." Hanuman said, "You mean that to get a seat in your assembly I have to be less than an animal?" Ravana said, "Hey, you are talking too much." By that time Hanuman had extended his tail and made a high seat. It was above Ravana's head, and he jumped up and sat on that. Then he said, "So Ravana, I think this is a good seat for me." So then Ravana was looking up. Hanuman was fearless. He told Ravana why he had come there. He said, "Look, Ravana, it is not proper for you to kidnap Sitadevi and make her suffer like this. You have performed tapas (long prayer and meditation). Just think, can you face Rama? You will be destroyed, and your friends, relatives and this city, too, will be destroyed. Give up this evil way and restore Sita to Rama."

His words were like adding fuel to the fire. Ravana's anger blazed. He ordered the rakshasas to kill Hanuman. But his brother Vibheeshana intervened; he said that it was not right according to the principles of diplomacy to kill the enemy's messenger.

Ravana agreed with him; he said to his servants, "Tails are ornamental to monkeys. So set fire to Hanuman's tail."

At once the rakshasas wrapped some cloth around Hanuman's tail, poured oil over it and set fire to it. They paraded Hanuman all over the city.
Now Hanuman was in a high rage. Still he was glad that the rakshasas were showing the whole city to him. He carefully noted the hidden fortresses, the topography and other useful details. Hanuman was shortening his tail so that the fire did not affect him.Then all at once he leapt high. He freed himself from the ropes. He beat up all the rakshasas following him and stood on a high place. He set fire to all the buildings nearby. The houses of Ravana's ministers and commanders began to burn. Very soon the whole city of Lanka was in flames.

But suddenly Hanuman realized his mistake. In his enthusiasm to burn Lanka, he had forgotten that Sita  was there. His heart was about to burst. Quickly he flew to Ashokavana. He saw Sita sitting under a tree. His anxiety was at an end. He touched her feet and received her blessings; then he flew back across the ocean to meet the waiting Jambavan, Angada and others.

The Rama Ravana War

After Hanuman left Lanka, Vibheeshana tried to advise his elder brother Ravana. But Ravana called him a cheat and explled from Lanka. Vibheeshana left Lanka and surrendered to Rama. There were heated arguments whether Vibheeshana should be accepted or not. Sri Rama turned to Hanuman for his opinion. The latter said, "My Lord, allow me to say one thing. I have carefully watched Vibheeshana's face and listened to his voice when he was speaking. He has no deceit or evil intention. I think YOU can accept him. But with your matchless intelligence, only you can finally decide what you should do with Vibheeshana." Sri Rama gave shelter to Vibheeshana and his followers.

Preparations were afoot for the war with Ravana. The Vanara army built a bridge across the sea. Lanka was to be seiged. The monkey army marched towards Lanka with great enthusiasm. Hanuman and Angada carried Rama and Lakshmana respectively on their shoulders. The war between Rama and Ravana began.

Hanuman's valor rose sky-high in this war. He dashed rakshasas to the ground or whirled them and threw them up. He crushed to death many a rakshasa hero like Dhoomraksha and Akampana. The enemies trembled at his very sight. Anjaneya fought so valiantly that Ravana himself praised him as a real hero. Hanuman carried Rama on his shoulders when Rama had to fight with Ravana.

Hanuman and the Herbs

Ravana's son Indrajith was a great hero of the rakshasa army. He once shot the Brahmasthra, the terrible missile with the power of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation. The whole Vanara army fell down unconscious. Even Rama and Lakshmana fainted. Hanuman who had also fainted for a moment, got up and going round the battlefield with Vibheeshana, put courage into his soldiers with his words. While walking along, Vibheeshana saw the old Jambavan and spoke to him. The latter opened his eyes slowly and asked, "Vibheeshana, is Hanuman alive?"

Vibheeshana was amazed and said, "Revered Jambavan, you do not ask about Rama and Lakshmana or about Sugreeva, Angada or Neela. But you ask about Hanuman only; why?"

"Vibheeshana, if that one great hero is alive, even if the entire Vanara army is dead, it makes no difference. But if that one person is dead, our army is as good as dead. We can hope to live only as long as he is alive." So replied Jambavan.

Hanuman, who was standing quite near and heard these words, held his feet with respect and devotion, and mentioning his own name, said he was alive. Then Jambavantha said to him, "You have now to do a mighty task to bring our army to life. You have also to save Rama and Lakshmana who have fainted because of the Brahmasthra. Fly across the ocean and over a great distance till you reach the Himalayas. You will there see a mountain containing all herbs. There grow the herbs Mritha Sanjeevini, Vishalyakarani, Savarnakarani and Sandhanakarani. Fetch them at once and save these soldiers.

Immediately Hanuman flew towards the Himalayas with the speed of thought. He could also see the mountain. But could not identify the Herbs. He took the mountain itsef and flew back with it to Lanka. As he streaked across the sky with the mountain it appeared as if the very sun was flying towards Lanka. The very smell of those herbs was enough to make Rama, Lakshmana and the whole army recover and sit up. The rakshasas did not want the enemy to know how many on their side had died; so, obeying Ravana's orders, they had thrown their dead into the sea. So no rakshasa could come back to life. Having achieved his purpose, Hanuman flew back with the mountain to its place, put it there, and hurried again to the battlefield.

After the war was over, Hanuman entered Lanka and stood before Sita and told her of the victory. Sita was speechless for a moment with joy. Then she said that there was no fitting reward she could give to Hanuman who had brought such happy news.

Return to Ayodhya

Rama had now to return to Ayodhya. But he had some doubts. Bharatha had ruled over the kingdom for fourteen years. So he might wish to be the king. How could he find out? Even if Bharatha had that desire, he would not say so. And nobody could ask him. Some intelligent person should make it out from Bharatha's face and the way he spoke, and should then inform Rama. It was a difficult mission, which would need much shrewdness and a capacity to understand persons.

Who was to go? There was only one person whom every one remembered when there was a difficulty to be overcome, when courage and intelligence was needed. And that was Anjaneya! Sri Rama, of course, sent for Hanuman. He told him, "If Bharatha has the slightest wish to be king and does not want me to return, come and tell me. I will stay on here. You must carefully observe his expression and study his words and find out."

Hanuman assumed the shape of a man and went to Ayodhya and informed Bharatha of Rama's arrival. Bharatha fainted with joy. When he recovered he said, "0 greatest of men, I do not know whether you are a man or a god. I must reward you for bringing this glad news."

Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya. His coronation took place with great splendour. Rama gave priceless gifts to all hisfriends. He also gave an invaluable necklace and ornaments to Sitadevi. She remembered the great help of Hanuman and at once, gave necklace to Hanuman.

Bheema & Hanuman

When the Pandavas were in the forest, Draupadi requested Bheema for a Saugandhika flower of heavenly fragrance. Bheema went forth into the forest to bring it. As Bheema was walking fast with long strides, he saw a monkey's tail across his path. He angrily shouted, "You ape,remove your tail and clear my way." The monkey slowly looked at Bheema and said, "My dear man, I am very old and can't even move. Push my tail away and walk on." Bheema was angry, amused and full of contempt. Was it what an unequalled hero like him should do? He tried to push the tail with his mace. But  nothing happened. Try as he would, he could not even move that old tail. Then his mind grew clear and it dawned on him that this was not any ordinary monkey but could be Hanuman. With folded hands he begged his pardon.

Arjuna & Hanuman

Once on his pilgrimage to visit sacred places Arjuna met Hanuman at Rameswaram. Arjuna over-confident about himself said, "Rama need not have asked the monkeys to build a bridge. If I were here, I would have built a bridge with arrows." "A bridge of your arrows! Leave alone the Vanara army, it will crumble under my feet" replied Hanuman. Well, it developed into a challenge. It was decided that Arjuna should erect a bridge with his arrows and Hanuman should walk on it. If the bridge collapsed, Arjuna should jump into fire; otherwise, Hanuman must adorn Arjuna's banner.

Arjuna built a bridge with his arrows. No sooner did Hanuman set one foot on it than it broke into pieces. Arjuna got ready to jump into the fire.
Just then, Shri Krishna reached the place. He asked them to repeat their performances. When Arjuna erected the arrow-bridge, Krishna touched the bridge with his divine hands as if to test it. Then when Hanuman danced on it heavily, it did not even shake. Hanuman was shocked and then realised that Krisha is none other than Rama. Hanuman kept his word and entered Arjuna's banner.

Hanuman is a Chiranjeevi, he is immortal. Even today many people believe that if the Ramayana is being read or  recited anywhere Hanumantha stands there unseen and sheds tears of joy.