Hanuman


     Hanuman means 'heavy-jawed'. He was the son of Paavana (the wind) by Anjana. He is the most popular, celebrated monkey chief and the mythical leader of a large troop of ape-like creatures. He is described as having short thick neck, sharp white fangs, and a tail like Indra's banner, and able to expand to the size of a mountain. His color is yellow but glows like molten gold. His face is red like the brightest ruby. His heroics and exploits are described in great detail in Ramayana. He is not only a trusted ally but also faithful servant of Rama. He and other monkeys, who assisted Rama to rescue Sita in the war against Raavana, were of divine origin and were endowed with superhuman powers. In his efforts to rescue Sita, he jumped from India to Ceylon in one jump, seized the clouds, tore up trees, carried away the Himalayas, and performed many exploits. He is a paragon of strength. He has the unique ability to overcome physical odds. He was able to fly at will among the clouds with a rushing noise. His tail spreads out to any length of his desire. In one of his fights with Raavana, his soldiers greased his tail and set fire; but to their surprise he set fire to their capital, Lanka. He killed the monster Kaalanemi, restored life to Rama and Lakshman by bringing medicinal herbs from Himalayas, uprooted the Himalaya. As a reward for restoring Rama's life and rescuing Sita, Hanuman was given the gift of perpetual life and youth. He is also called Lankaadahi, Marutputra, Pavana, Yogachara. Among his other accomplishments, he was a grammarian. Ramayana says: "The chief of monkeys is perfect; no one equals him in sastras, in learning, and in ascertaining the sense of scriptures...In all sciences, in the rules of austerity, he rivals the preceptor of the gods."