Thursday, 26 December 2013

Childhood, education, boons and curse


As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. In the nature of Rahu, the Tamas Guṇa predominated. To convey a message to the universe that Satva Guṇa always prevails, Hanuman thrashed Rahu and goes to take sun in his abode. Indra, king of devas, was approached by defeated Rahu with disappointment, complaining that a monkey child stopped him from taking on Sun, as is permitted by you so that Solar eclipse could not take place. This enraged Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset, Vayu went into seclusion, taking the atmosphere with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt, and the devas revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons. Brahma then gave Hanuman a boon that would protect him from the proverbial irrevocable curse called Brahma’s curse - Brahmashap. Brahmadev also said: "Nobody will be able to kill you with any weapon in war." From Brahma he obtained the power of inducing fear in enemies, of destroying fear in friends, to be able to change his form at will and to be able to easily travel wherever he wished. From Mahadevji he obtained the boons of longevity, scriptural wisdom and ability to cross the ocean. Lord Shiva assured safety of Hanuman with a band (kavach) that would protect him for life Indra blessed him that his weapon Vajra, will no longer be effective on him and his body would become stronger than Vajra. Varuna blessed baby Hanuman with a boon that he would always be protected from water. Agni blessed him, Saying, "Fire will never burn you." Surya gave him two siddhis of yoga namely "laghima" and "garima". With "laghima" he could attain the smallest form and with "garima" he could attain the biggest form of life. Vayu blessed him with more speed than he himself had. Yama, the God of Death blessed him healthy life and free from his weapon Yama Danda, thus death would not come to him. Kubera showered his blessings declaring that Hanuman would always remain happy and contented. Vishwakarma blessed him that Hanuman would be protected from all his creations in the form of objects or weapons A permanent mark was left on his chin (हनुः hanuḥ "jaw" in Sanskrit), due to impact of Vajra, explaining his name.

Hanuman as Hulikunteraya in Karnataka

On ascertaining Surya, the Hindu deity of the sun, to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested that Surya accept him as a student. Surya refused, claiming that as he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn effectively. Undeterred by Surya's refusal, Hanuman enlarged his body, placed one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges, and with his face turned toward the sun made his request again. Pleased by his persistence, Surya accepted. Hanuman then moved (backwards, to remain facing Surya) continuously with his teacher, and learned all of the latter's knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his "guru-dakshina" (teacher's fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. Hanuman insisted, whereupon Surya asked him to help his (Surya's) spiritual son Sugriva.Hanuman's choice of Surya as his teacher is said to signify Surya as a Karma Saakshi, an eternal witness of all deeds. Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realizing that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person. It is hypothesised that without this curse, the entire course of the Ramayana war might have been different, for he demonstrated phenomenal abilities during the war. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kanda and Sundara Kanda when Jambavantha reminds (the quietly wondering) Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita. The specific verse that is recited by Jambavantha is:

पवन तनय ब्ल पवन समाना
बुद्धि विवेक विज्ञान निधाना |

कवन् सो काज कठिन जग माही
जो नहि होय तात तुम्ह पाहीं ||


You are as powerful as the wind (Hanumanji was the son of Pawan, God of wind);
You are intelligent, illustrious & an inventor.
There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you;
Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.

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