Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hanuman in Mahabharata

We are all familiar with Hanuman's extremely important role in Ramayana. But only a few of us know that Lord Hanuman also appears in the epic Mahabharata, twice.

It is a well-known fact that Lord Hanuman is one of the 'Chiranjeevis'. Chiranjeevis are the people who are supposed to be immortals. Hanuman, being one of the Chiranjeevis has been granted with the boon to live forever. So, we find Lord Hanuman being mentioned in Mahabharata.

Lord Hanuman is also considered the brother of Bhima as they have the same father, Vayu. Therefore the first mention of Lord Hanuman in Mahabharata comes when He meets Bhima during the Pandavas exile and the second time when Lord Hanuman protected the chariot of Arjuna throughout the battle of Kurukshetra by residing in Arjuna's flag.

Bhima's Encounter With Hanuman

When the Pandavas were in exile, once Draupadi asked Bhima to get the Saugandhika flowers for her. Bhima set out in search for the flowers. On his way, Bhima came across a huge monkey lying on the way, taking rest. Irritated by this, Bhima asked the monkey to clear the path and let him pass. But the monkey requested him that he is very old and cannot move on his own. So, if Bhima wishes to pass, then he must push the tail aside and move ahead.

Bhima was filled with contempt for the monkey and tried to push the tail with his mace. But the tail would not even move an inch. After trying hard for long, Bhima realised this was no ordinary monkey. So, Bhima gave up and asked for pardon. Thus, Lord Hanuman came in His original form and blessed Bhima.

Arjuna's Chariot

In another incident in the Mahabharata, Hanuman met Arjuna in the form of a normal monkey in Rameshwaram. On seeing the bridge built to Lanka by Lord Ram, Arjuna expressed his wonder as to why Lord Ram needed the help of monkeys to build the bridge. If it were him, he would have built the bridge himself with arrows. Hanuman, in the form of monkey criticised Arjuna that the bridge built with arrows would not suffice and will not bear the weight of even one person. Arjuna took it as a challenge. Arjuna vowed that if the bridge built by him did not suffice, then he will jump into fire. So, Arjuna built a bridge with his arrows. As Hanuman stepped on it, the bridge collapsed. Arjuna was dumbfounded and decided to end his life.

Just then Lord Krishna appeared in front of them and with His divine touch, re-built the bridge. The He asked Hanuman to step on it. This time the bridge did not break. Thus, Hanuman came in His original form and promised to help Arjuna in the war. Therefore, when the war of Kurukshetra commenced, Lord Hanuman perched on the flag of the chariot of Arjuna and stayed till the end of the war.

On the last day of the Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to step out of the chariot first. After Arjuna stepped out, Lord Krishna thanked Hanuman for being there till the end. So, Lord Hanuman bowed and left the chariot. As soon as Hanuman left, the chariot caught fire. Arjuna was amazed to see this. Then Lord Krishna explained to Arjuna that the chariot would have been burnt long ago if Lord Hanuman was not protecting it against the celestial weapons.

Jai Sri Ram

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hanuman's Education

Hanuman selected Surya, the sun god as his preceptor, and approached him with the request to teach the scriptures.

Surya agreed and Hanuman became his disciple, but had to face his constantly moving guru by traversing the sky backwards at equal pace, while taking his lessons.

Hanuman's phenomenal concentration took him only 60 hours to master the scriptures.
Surya considered the manner in which Hanuman accomplished his studies as his tuition fees, but when Hanuman requested him to accept something more than that, the sun god asked Hanuman to assist his son Sugriva, by being his minister and compatriot.

 Jai Sri Ram