Hindus worship multiple deities and according to Hindu mythology, there are around 330 million Gods and Goddesses! Most of them are actually avatars of their primary deities - Brahma, Vishnu or Mahesh. Out of all of the deities, one of the most intriguing and also the most popular is Lord Hanuman.
There are innumerable stories about Lord Hanuman’s birth, his childhood pranks and most of all, his devotion to Lord Rama.
Here are five interesting facts about Lord Hanuman-
1. Why Hanuman is called ‘Pawan Putra’?
Hanuman’s mother, Anjana, was an apsara who was cursed to assume the form of a female monkey. The curse would only be lifted if she gave birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. She performed intense prayers to please Shiva to grant her the boon. Happy with her prayers, Lord Shiva sent an eagle to snatch a part of the ‘blessed kheer’ that King Dasharath (Lord Rama’s father) was distributing to his wives so that they may have children. Since the God of Wind, Pawan helped drop the kheer into Anjana’s hands, partaking of which, Hanuman was born, the child was named Pawan Putra (the son of the Wind God, Pawan). It is Pawan who blessed Hanuman and gave him powers to travel with the speed of the wind.
2. How does a Monkey Become a God?
The cursed Anjana in a monkey form fell in love with the monkey king, Kesari. By Lord Shiva’s and the Wind God’s blessing, she gave birth to a monkey-faced child. The Wind God blessed the child with intelligence, courage, tremendous strength, agility and the power to fly with the speed of the wind. With the release of the curse, Anjana returned to heaven in her apsara form. As Hanuman grew up, his Godliness was slowly acknowledged by all and even the gods bowed their heads to him.
3. If Hanuman was a God, why was he in just a ministerial post in Sugriv’s Kingdom?
Hanuman was very mischievous as a youngster and enjoyed troubling the sages and other ascetics while they performed religious rites. When his antics got too much to handle by the sages, their Guru, cursed Hanuman that he would forget his own power, until reminded of it by someone in need(It was Jambavan who reminded him, when he told Hanuman that he had the capacity to fly across the ocean to Lanka). One day Lord Surya was impressed by the young monkey’s intellect and rewarded him by sending him to Sugriv’s kingdom.
4. Why is the idol of Hanuman covered with vermilion?
One day, Hanuman saw Goddess Sita applying vermilion in her parting of the hair. He enquired about the same. Upon learning that vermilion application increased the life of her husband, Lord Rama, Hanuman decided to apply it all over his own body so that Lord Ram would attain immortality.
5. How is Hanuman common to both the epics-Ramayana and Mahabharata?
Both Hanuman and Bhim were brothers as both were born (to different mothers) after being blessed by the Wind God, Vayu. Hanuman appears twice in Mahabharata, once when he meets Bhima in the forest and once during the Great War with the Kaurav’s. Hanuman ‘resided’ in Arjuna’s flag on the chariot, all through the war in Kurukshetra.