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CHAPTER 6: BIRTH AND YOUTH OF HANUMAN
Hanuman is originally the son of Vayu, the air god. And he is also an expansion of Lord Siva. All the demigods were helping Lord Ramacandra in his battle. Lord Siva was thinking, "I must also help him." So long before Lord Ramacandra incarnated, Lord Siva had a pastime. Once Siva and Parvati were playing in Kailash, and they saw a monkey. Lord Siva, by looking at this monkey, he also took the form of a monkey. Parvati also took the form of a monkey, and they played. During that time, Lord Siva gave Parvati a conception. Then immediately she became Parvati again and said, "I'm not going to give birth to a monkey." So Siva said, "Well you have a conception so now you have to give birth to it." Parvati said, "No no, when you gave the conception you were a monkey, so my son will become a monkey. Already I have an elephant, that is enough. I can't have this." So Siva said, "All right then, I will make some arrangement." Siva then called Vayu, and Vayu came there. Once before Siva had given a conception and Agni had carried it, and Agni had said that he would never do it again. So Vayu came, and Siva said, "Vayu, you have not done anything to me up till now, so please do this for me. Take this conception and look after it." Vayu said, "But you are the most hot person, and I am going to be carrying this around when I am supposed to be cooling everything. The wind will be hot." Siva said, "You make some arrangement." So Vayu was carrying this conception wondering what to do, and then he saw the sapta-rishis going somewhere. He went before them and asked, "This is a conception from Lord Siva. This has to be preserved until the Supreme Lord incarnates as Ramacandra. That is a long time away, but it has to be kept. Please make some arrangement." The sapta-rishis said, "Oh we will make some arrangement." So they went to origin of the Mandakini river and they took a leaf which was made of metal, and put the conception there. In this way it was preserved, and Vayu was supposed to come and see that nothing happened to it. And then Brhaspati, the spiritual master of the devas, he had a maidservant in his house, and she was supposed to bring flowers for worshipping Salagram. One day when she went to get flowers, she saw some gandharvas having conjugal pastimes, and she was very attracted. So instead of collecting flowers, she came back early and Brhaspati was sitting on a deerskin in his ashrama. Suddenly this lady jumped on him and began covering him with kisses. Brhaspati had not expected this, because he was doing puja, and he said, "What is this? You are behaving like a monkey! Therefore become a monkey!" When she became a monkey she cried, "I'm very sorry. Some ignorance came in my mind, and I have insulted you. But you have made me a monkey, so when will I again become normal?" Brhaspati said, "Why have I cursed you like this? I did not lose my temper." Then he thought for a while, and said, "Oh, I know. There is some arrangement. So now you must go to Kishkinda, and you get married to a great monkey warrior king. His name is Ketari, and you become his wife. There is a big plan for you." She came down, and she met Ketari who was jumping for some fruits, and she appeared on top of the tree. Then they had some talk, and they got married. When she was in the body of a monkey she was known as Anjana. They were living for a long time, but they were having no children. Ketari went on performing austerities to please Lord Indra so that he could get a son. He wanted a very powerful son, so he was doing meditation. While he was doing meditation, Vayu came, and somehow or other, in his invisible form, he managed to give the conception to Anjana. Anjana felt someone holding her, and she said, "Who is this person? You must come before me otherwise I will curse you." So then Vayu came before her and said, "Your curse will be gone only when you deliver a strong person, and I am giving you that person. So close your eyes and take this conception. Then deliver your baby and you can return to the heavenly planets. You do not want this?" And then she remembered all her previous activities. She took that conception, and what was this conception? It was originally conceived by Lord Siva, carried by Vayu for so long, and Vayu gave it to her, so it was Vayu's son and it was Siva's angsha, or expansion. And then Anjaneya was born. As soon as he was born he grew into a sixteen year old boy. That was the potency of Lord Siva. So then Anjana immediately rose up to go to the heavens, and Anjaneya caught hold of her cloth and said, "Wait a minute, where are you going? You gave birth to me, and now you are leaving? What will I eat?" She was looking around, and it was sunset so she said, "Any fruit which is as red and as ripe as the sun planet, you can eat it." Then she left, and he was very hungry. He thought and then said, "Why as red as sun and as ripe as sun? Why not just eat sun?" So he jumped up, and straight away went to the sun planet and jumped on the chariot of Lord Suryadeva. He was extending his hands, and he took the whole sun planet and reduced it to a small ball and put it in his mouth. Just then he looked and saw Rahu coming. "I am going to eat the sun," Rahu said. Rahu always says this but he only ever half eats it. So then Anjaneya said, "Oh you are going to eat the sun? Well I have already eaten the sun and now I will eat you also." So then he swallowed Rahu. Indradeva had been sitting in his seat discussing politics, but suddenly everything had become dark. Agni was there, so due to his light he could see. He asked Agni, "Why is this? Why is there no light?" Agni replied, "Somebody has taken the sun away." "What? Somebody has taken the sun away?" Agni said, "Why are you wondering who has taken it? Just use your shabda-viddhi." Shabda-viddhi means that just by hearing the sound you shoot your weapon. So he threw his vadra. While throwing it he was already jumping on his white elephant, Airavata, and he was coming. Anjaneya looked this way and that and he saw that everything was dark, and then he saw this white elephant coming. "Oh, I will eat that also," and then he jumped on Airavata. While he was jumping on Airavata, the vadra came, and hit Anjaneya on his teeth. Anjaneya quickly caught hold of it. Indra turned around and saw Anjaneya holding the vadra, and he thought, "This must be some big Vishnu avatar. I'd better keep quiet. Out of living entities, only Indra can hold this thunderbolt, so he must be some incarnation with a tail." So Indra went back. Now Anjaneya had the sun, Rahu and this vadra weapon, and he went back to his place in Kishkinda to eat it.
He sat down looking at this vadra, and thought, "Should I bite it or chew it?" At that time everyone went to Brahma and asked him, "What is happening in this universe? Rahu is gone, sun is gone." Brahma said, "Don't worry. This is the potency of Lord Siva, and this person is a great devotee of Lord Rama." Brahma lives for a long time, and so many Ramayanas are happening. So he knows that it is almost the same every time, but the pastime is a little different in each kalpa. So he said, "This is Hanuman. All of us have to go there and touch his feet and beg him. If you do that you will get the sun, otherwise no sun." So all the demigods came, thirty three crores of them. They all came there with folded hands. "Please Anjaneya, open your mouth." He was upset because Indra's vadra had hit him on his teeth. "You have already broken my jaw. If I open my mouth you will just break my other jaw." So then Brahma said, "My dear boy, I will give you anything you like. You can live as long as I live." Anjaneya was not satisfied. Then Agni came forward and said, "Fire will not burn you." Still he was not satisfied, so Indra came forward. "You are already holding my Vadra, so what benediction can I give you? But I tell you this, you will become the most famous, as famous as me." Still not satisfied. Then Vayu came. "You will be as fast as me." He smiled a little bit. One by one they all came and offered benedictions, and after everyone came and offered benedictions, still Anjaneya was not satisfied. Brahma said, "Don't worry, I will use my mystic powers." And he read Anjaneya's mind. Anjaneya was thinking "Why is there no fruit in this world?" Brhaspati came to know of his desire and he came forward and said, "Anjaneya, I will give you all the fruits in this world, and I will give you the knowledge of Ayurveda by which you will know all the fruits, all the plants, and all the trees. Any plant in the creation, you will know it, and what is the use of it you will know, and what is the medicinal effect of it you will also know. This is my benediction to you." Then Dhanvantari spoke, "I will be at your command. You put any medicine on anyone and they will come alive." So Anjaneya opened his mouth, and the Sun-god was there, and the demigods were very much satisfied. So then Brahma called him "Hanuman." Hanuman means one who has got some kind of a defect in his teeth. That is the meaning of Hanuman. Hanuman is also known as Vajranga, which means the same thing. Vajra means teeth and anga means missing one part. One other name for him is Marut-suta, the son of the wind god. He is known as Anjaneya, the son of Anjana. And lastly he is known as Mahavira, or a great king. These are some different names of Hanuman. And then Brahma gave him a diamond necklace, and told him, "This is the highest benediction you can get. You will be the eternal servant of the eternal Lord, and only the eternal Lord will be able to recognize this necklace. That means you will be recognized by him, and he will be recognized by you as the one who recognized the necklace." When Ramacandra asked the beggar, "What kind of a beggar are you? You have a wonderful necklace on your neck." So Hanuman immediately recognized, that this is my worshippable Lord. And he immediately surrendered to Him. In this way he went to Sugriva, and Hanuman had so many other exploits too, when he was a small boy. After the sun-swallowing pastime there were so many other pastimes. He used to take elephants and tigers and play with them. One day he caught hold of a very wise elephant. He was holding it by the tusk, and he was also holding a tiger by the tail, and swinging them around. They were making some sound. This was Hanuman's fun. And then he saw an ashrama. The sage who lived here had never gotten angry in his life. He was known for his sense control. Hanuman thought to himself, "Now we will test his sense control." So he put the tiger and the elephant tied up together in front of his ashrama. This was early in the morning, during the brahma-muhurta time. So the rishi slowly opened the door and took his lota for taking bath. And then he looked out and saw this tiger, so he closed the door quickly. Up to that time he had constipation, but when he saw this tiger suddenly he felt nature calling. So he had to go out. But what could he do? There was a tiger outside his door. He looked out the door again, and this time he saw the elephant as well, so he quickly shut the door again. He had to pass. But how could he pass inside? He had to go out of the window, and there was a tree outside of the window, and he looked up and saw Hanuman at the top of the tree. "So you are the cause of this mischief. Come here!" Hanuman thought, "He's becoming angry. I must go." So he came down, and he became small and entered the window. The rishi gave Hanuman a curse that limited his strength. "Why did you curse me like this?" Hanuman asked. "This is only good for you. You are having your strength controlled so you can use it only for the Lord's service. And when the service is coming, the Lord will arrange for someone to remind you." So then Hanuman said, "I will never tie an elephant to a tiger any more. And I will certainly not put it in front of your ashrama. I'll put it somewhere else." So then he came back, and he did not play for a whole week. Ketari was asking, "Hanuman, how come there have been no complaints from anyone for a whole week? Have you become a good boy?" Hanuman said, "I don't want to give trouble to anyone." Then they heard a sound, a very nice sound. Ketari said, "What is this? It is Narada Muni coming!" Hanuman asked, "Who is this person?" Ketari replied, "He is a very great soul. He doesn't need any introduction. You just go to him and you will find out the greatness of this man." Immediately Hanuman jumped up and Narada was just on his way past their place, going to see some rishi, so Hanuman jumped in his way and paid pranams. "Narada Muni, I heard that you are a very great person, so you must bless me. Without blessing me, you are not allowed to go." Narada said, "What blessing do you want?" Hanuman said, "Already the demigods have given me so many blessings. I cannot think of anything else, so you think of a blessing, and you give it to me." Narada thought, "What blessing does Hanuman not have?" And so he said, "You will become expert in music." That was the only benediction left to give. So Hanuman got that benediction, and Narada Muni said, "So I have given you the benediction, and now I am going." Hanuman said, "One minute, one minute." "What do you want?" Narada asked. "How will I know that I am the most expert in music?" Hanuman inquired. "My father told me that you are the most expert in music, so you must do me a favour today. Give me the benediction that I will be more expert than you." So Narada said, "All right, I will sit somewhere and listen to you." "Shall I start singing?" Hanuman asked. "Yes." Narada Muni put his vina on a rock, and he sat down on the ground. So Hanuman selected that tune which would melt the rock, and he began to sing it. The rock melted, and the vina was in the liquid. He was singing and singing, and the vina was floating in the liquid rock. Narada was closing his eyes and enjoying, and he said, "All right Hanuman, you are the best musician. You can stop singing now." Hanuman said, "You open your eyes and tell me if I should I stop singing." Narada said, "How do you mean?" Hanuman replied, "You open your eyes." So Narada opened his eyes and looked around. He didn't notice the vina floating in the stone water. "Yes, you can stop singing." So then Hanuman stopped singing, and the liquid stone became rock, and the vina got stuck. Narada said, "I am going," and he took his vina, but it wouldn't move. "What did you do, Hanuman?" Hanuman said, "I only sung a song. You told me to sing a song, and you also gave me the ability. Now you are complaining. I have been a good boy for a whole week." Narada said, "One week of doing nothing means that before that week you did too much." And then Hanuman told him all about what he had done, swallowing the sun etc, and Narada became very pleased. Then he said, "Now whatever it was, you please sing the tune again, so I can get my vina." Hanuman said, "Well, I don't know...." Narada Muni said, "Please do it!" "No I won't," Hanuman said, and he jumped up and ran inside the palace. Narada Muni came in there and called out, "Hey Hanuman, come and get my vina out! I have to go." Just then Ketari came out, and when he saw Narada Muni he touched his feet. "What is my son doing, he is giving you some trouble?" Narada said, "Oh no, no trouble, just that he got my vina stuck in the rock." Ketari said, "Oh no, he has started his mischief again. Hanuman, get Narada's vina out of the rock!" And then Hanuman said, "I want Narada Muni's feet to touch every room in this palace, that is why I was doing this. Now he has touched all the rooms, and I will release his vina. The dust from his lotus feet is so rare that what is the use of just having it in one part of our kingdom? We should have it all over." Narada said, "You are already blessed, because you are Lord Rama's eternal servant." So Hanuman went and sung for Narada, who quickly took his vina and left. In this way, Hanuman had so many wonderful pastimes. Then he told Ketari, "I want to get education. I have so many benedictions, but I need some education too, I need vidya. I am very much hankering for vidya." Ketari said, "But who could give you vidya? You have so many benedictions, but you also have uncontrollable behaviour. I can't find a guru for you, because you are so strong, and so naughty also." Hanuman said, "This means that you are not going to perform the duty of the father. You're not giving me any education." Ketari said, "I have to give you education, but you do one thing. You go to the Sun-god. He is the most powerful. Some time ago he was suppressed by you, but I can't think of anyone else. So you go to him." Hanuman went to see the Sun-god, and when the Sun-god saw Hanuman coming, he said, "It's Hanuman again. What is he here for? He's grown up now, so he must have stopped playing his mischief." Hanuman came up and paid his obeisances. The Sun-god said, "What are you here for now? Whom are you going to swallow?" Hanuman objected, "No, no, all that was because I was in ignorance. I still have so much ignorance, but I want to get some knowledge. I've heard that you are a great pandit, so please teach me. I've come to join your gurukula." So then the Sun-god looked down. He has a big sitting place in the front of his chariot. There, there are six million rishis sitting, and they are constantly reciting Yajur-veda, Rg-veda, Sama-veda and Atharva-veda to the Sun-god. So he looked to see if there was any vacant seat, but the whole place was filled up, so he said, "Sorry, but no admission." Hanuman said, "If there is no seat then I will stand and learn from you." The Sun-god said, "But I have to keep moving. If you stand in front of me then I won't be able to move and the seasons won't be there. I will be in trouble." Hanuman said, "Then I will move and learn." The Sun-god said, "All right. But you have to face me and move backwards. In this way you have to listen to me, and whatever I say you have to learn. I won't repeat it." So Hanuman was there in front of the Sun-god, and he was walking backwards. He was so sense-controlled that he could join the orbit of the sun. In 60 orbits he learnt everything, Rg, Sama, Yajur and Atharva. The Sun-god spoke it, he heard it and immediately he knew it. And then he said, "Now I have finished. Everything you have said I have heard and I remember it." The Sun-god said, "Very good, but you have to give me some dakshina." Hanuman said, "Well what do you want? Do you want Indra's crown? You tell me anything and I will get it for you in a second." The Sun-god said, "No, I don't want any of that. Only one guru-dakshina I need from you. I have a monkey friend. You must become his minister. You must always protect his life." Hanuman said, "Oh? You have a monkey friend, and I should protect him? This is only glory for me. I will do it, I will protect him as my life." And then the Sun-god told him who was that monkey. It was Sugriva, and he is the son of the Sun-god. How Sugriva became the Sun-god's son is a wonderful story. There was one lady who was known as Narayani, and her husband was called ugra-tapas. That means "ferocious austerities," but he never did any austerities. He was only engaged in sense gratification. He became so diseased and paralysed that he had to be carried in a basket. Narayani would carry him in a basket so that he could go to different places and get sense gratification. Ugra-tapas told Narayani, "You must take me to such and such prostitute today." So she was carrying him. While Ugra-tapas was in the basket and Narayani was carrying him, there was one rishi whose name was Bishmanda Rishi, and he had been put on a trident by a king because of some misunderstanding, and was suffering in that condition. He had tri-kala-jnah, knowledge of past, present and future, and when he saw Ugra-tapas he knew he was going to a prostitute's place, and that he was crippled and being carried by his wife. So he got so upset, and forgot about his pain. He called out, "Hey Ugra-tapas, what are you doing? Your name is Ugra-tapas, and what is your life like? And now you are asking your wife to carry you to a prostitute's when you are paralysed. What kind of a person are you? You should die immediately. When the sun rises tomorrow you will die." When Narayani heard this she said, "When the sun rises tomorrow my husband will die? Then I curse that the sun will not rise." She cursed the sun. So the sun became motionless. The Sun-god's charioteer Aruna was getting ready, packing the horses etc, and then he looked back and saw the sun had become static. "Oh? It is a vacation for me. I never got any holiday, because there was never any chance. Let me have some fun." So he went and asked the sages that sit on the Sun-god's chariot, "How come the sun is not moving any more?" "This is the curse of a chaste lady," they replied. "How long will this curse last?" Aruna asked. "At least one day." "That's good," Aruna said. "One day is good. I can enjoy nicely." So Aruna got one day's holiday. He was thinking, "How can I enjoy this day? It never happened in the creation before, and it will probably never happen again. The sun never goes on holiday. I only have one day, so I must get the highest enjoyment." So he took a book, like a tourist guide for the heavenly planets, and he found out that Indra was having a special feast and dinner in respect of some great personality, and Menaka was dancing at that festival. "Oh I must go and see that," he said. But in this party, only the invited guests were allowed. You had to bring an invitation, and you had to be dressed in a special design. It was only Indra's close friends. So he was wondering, "How will I go? I know, I will also become a dancer." So he turned into a woman, Aruna became Aruni. And this Aruni was so beautiful, because he always sat with the sun and he was shining so brightly. He came in front of Indra's palace. The gateman said, "Hey, who are you?" "I am Menaka's make--up assistant," she said. She forgot to put one line on her face, so I have to do it. I am the only one who is expert enough." "All right, you may come." So then Aruni entered. Menaka was dancing on one side and Aruni was hiding. And then Indra was looking through the crowd, and suddenly he saw Aruni. "She is more beautiful that Menaka," he said. So he immediately cancelled the party, and started showing everyone out. Aruni was going to leave, but Indra caught hold of her and said, "Wait a minute! Who are you?" Aruni said, "I am Menaka's make-up assistant. Leave me alone! I am going." "No you are not going, you are staying," Indra said. "I'm staying where?" "With me," Indra said. "No, I am not staying with you. I know your history," Aruni said. Indra said, "No, no, I will keep you next to Indrani." Aruni objected, "Even if you keep me more than Indrani, I cannot be here because I am a man." Indra said, "Don't play these games with me, I know you are a woman." Aruni said, "No I am not a woman! I am a man! I just turned myself into this form." Indra said, "Even then, you are the most beautiful woman that I have seen." Aruni said, "If you were to give me a conception, who would bring up the child? I am the charioteer of the Sun-god." Indra said, "Whatever or whoever you are, and whatever will come out of it, I'm going to enjoy you." Aruni agreed, and immediately there was a conception, and a demigod was born. And then Aruni ran, because it was getting late already, and the Sun-god was slowly getting his movement back. At the last moment Aruna jumped on the chariot and grabbed the reins. The Sun-god said, "You're sure cutting it fine. Where did you go?" "Oh, nowhere," Aruna answered. "Tell me!" "Oh, I went to Indra's planet." "What did he do to you?" the Sun-god asked. "He gave me a conception." "How did he give you a conception?" Aruna said, "It's getting late now, we only have a few moments." The Sun-god said, "A few moments is alright. It needs only one moment. Let me see that beautiful form." Aruna objected, "No, no. This will only cause more trouble." "No, I must see," said the Sun-god. "You are my servant." "Alright," said Aruna, and he became Aruni. In the next moment there was another conception. So this is demigod life. Only a very few of them are thinking of Vishnu. The bulk of them think of Vishnu only when the demons come, and then when the demons leave they go back to their sense gratification. It is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana that one who hears this story loses the attraction for going to the heavenly planets. So now two babies were crying. This was not usually the way that birth happened in the heavenly planets, so all the demigods were disturbed in their sense gratification. They all went to Brahma and Brahma approached Indra, saying, "You are the cause of this problem. You settle this down." "I can't have babies in the heavenly planets," Indra said. "We'll have to give them to someone." Then he remembered the king of Varanasa, Riksharaja, who had no children. He was performing austerities to please Indra so he could get a son. A benediction from the demigods is usually something that demigods don't want in the heavenly planets, so they give it away. So Riksharaja was standing on one leg to get some children, and Indra came and said, "Why are you standing on one leg? Here are two babies you can have." So they had two sons, Bali and Sugriva. Bali was the son of Indra, and Sugriva was the son of the Sun-god. And the Sun-god got the benediction of guru-dakshina from Hanuman that he would always protect Sugriva. In this way, when Bali was anointed the king after Riksharaja, Sugriva became his minister, and Hanuman became the counsellor or minister of Sugriva.