Tag Archives: Hanuman

Arjuna and Hanuman

Arjuna, one of the five Pandavas was on a pilgrimage. He reached Rameswaram. After the darshan of Sri Ramanatheswara, he was curious to see the Rama Setu, the bridge that was built with rocks and trees by the vanaras. Looking at the bridge, he exclaimed loudly, “all the monkeys wasted their time and energy creating a bridge with rocks and trees. If I were there, I would have created a bridge of arrows within minutes”.

A small old monkey sitting over there heard him, and said that a bridge made of arrows would never have been able to withstand the strength of Sugreeva, Angada, and the whole army of mighty monkeys. Why all of them, it wouldn’t even withstand its own weight said the monkey. Arjuna took it as a challenge and said that he would create a bridge with arrows and the monkey can safely move and jump about on the bridge and it would not collapse. If the bridge collapsed, Arjuna vowed to burn himself alive. The monkey accepted the challenge.

Arjuna created a sturdy bridge with his arrrows. No sooner the monkey touched it with its tail, it collapsed. Arjuna was stunned, but made another attempt and created a more stronger bridge with arrows. Again it collapsed under the weight of the monkey. Defeated, Arjuna decided to enter into fire. Just then a young brahmana came along and seeing Arjuna making arrangements to enter into fire asked for the reason. They told him what had happened. The brahamana said that when anyone takes on a vow, there should be a witness. Now he will be the witness and the challenge should be taken up again in his presence. Arjuna agreed and made a very strong bridge with his arrrows. The monkey jumped on to the bridge. This time the bridge did not collapse!

Arjuna was surprised! The monkey too was surprised, and tried with all its might and strength again and again, but the bridge did not collapse. Finally the monkey assumed its own huge, full form: he was none other than Hanuman. Arjuna was surprised and felt guilty for having entered into a challenge with Sri Hanuman. The bridge did not break down even under the strength of Hanuman. Hanuman was surprised and when he looked under the bridge he found the brahmana who was none other than Lord Vishnu supporting the bridge on His shoulders. Both Arjuna and Hanuman prostrated to the Lord.

The Lord then told them that He alone was Rama and Krishna. Both Hanuman and Arjuna are dear to Him and this challenge was uncalled for. The Lord had come to stop Arjuna from entering into fire. Hanuman was very sad and upset that the Lord had shouldered the entire burden of the bridge along with his own weight. How could he make the Lord, who was his Master shoulder his weight. The Lord then consoled Hanuman saying that in Rama Avatar, he had carried Him (Rama) and Lakshmana on his shoulders and He was ever indebted to him. Carrying the weight of His devotee was the only way He could reciprocate His love for His devotee! Hanuman then promised Arjuna that during the kurukshetra war, when the Lord Himself will be driving his chariot, he would adorn his chariot flag-post and protect him from all danger and lead him to victory. 

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Krishna visits Ayodhya on Sri Ramanavami to meet Hanuman!

When the purpose of His avatar in Treta Yuga was over, Lord Rama returned back to his abode – Vaikunta. Before folding back His manifestation, the Lord consoled and promised Hanuman that He would Himself come and give him darshan in Dwapara-Yuga.

To remove the burden of Mother Earth, to protect the virtuous, to annihilate the wicked and to re-establish dharma once again on the surface of the earth, the Lord once again manifested in Dwapara-Yuga as Vasudeva Krishna. The Sage Narada once paid a visit to Dwaraka to meet the Lord and His consort Sri Rukmini. He told Sri Krishna that Hanuman spent all his time meditating on a mountain and was waiting for the Lord to give him darshan. Narada even mentioned that he met Hanuman and told him to go Dwaraka and have darshan of Lord Krishna. Hanuman very well knew that the Lord who was Rama in Treta-Yuga had now manifested as Sri Krishna. Hanuman told Narada that he was only a humble servant of the Lord and it would be inappropriate to meet the Lord without the Lord Himself calling him, and he would wait till he gets a call from his Lord.

When Krishna heard these words from Narada, He decided to fulfill the wish of His dear devotee Hanuman. Sri Ramanavami was approaching. On this auspicious day every year, Hanuman would visit Ayodhya in disguise as a brahmana, offer puja to the Lord and would himself serve prasad (food) to all. Lord Krishna decided to visit Ayodhya to meet His dear devotee Hanuman. Narada had a doubt if Hanuman would recognize the Lord as He was Krishna in this birth. The Lord smiled and asked Narada to accompany Him and check for himself.

On the auspicious day of Sri Ramanavami, Krishna and Narada disguised as ordinary citizens went to Ayodhya to witness the grandeur of Ramanavami celebrations. They saw Hanuman disguised as a brahmana offering his puja and prayers to Lord Rama. He completed his puja, and it was time to distribute prasad (food). Hanuman asked all the devotees to sit in a line, and started serving food to all. In the midst of the devotees was Lord Krishna and Narada disguised as ordinary citizens. When Hanuman bent down to serve food to Lord Krishna, he saw the Lord’s feet and for a moment forgot everything and became motionless. Even though the Lord was in disguise, there was no mistaking – he for sure recognized his Beloved Lord’s feet! With tears rolling down his eyes he fell at the Lord’s feet.

He asked the Lord what mistake he had done that the Lord Himself had taken the trouble to come to Ayodhya. The Lord now gave darshan to Hanuman as Lord Rama. Rama said that it was Hanuman’s bhakti which drew him to Ayodhya. Indeed, the Lord had kept up the promise He had given to His devotee!

A true devotee in his Supreme Love recognises everything as the play of the "Lord-of-his-heart".... everything is to him sacred and divine. - Swami Chinmayananda

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Squirrel’s Seva in building Rama Setu!

Lord Rama, Lakshmana and the Vanara army reached the shores of the ocean. They had to cross the ocean to reach Lanka and vanquish Ravana. Rama prayed to the lord of the ocean who in turn suggested that they build a bridge across the ocean, and he would help hold the rocks together.

Building a bridge with rocks! The rocks will sink in water! Jambavan, the chief of the bears suggested that if Hanuman can cross the ocean with the strength of the name of the Lord – RAMA, surely rocks with Rama Nama written on them would float!

All the mighty and strong vanaras engaged themselves in building the long bridge with the help of rocks and trees. They would bring huge rocks and Hanuman would write RAMA on them, and then they would toss it into the waters. Sure the rocks floated!

A little squirrel was observing all this. Everyone was engaged in the service of Lord Rama. It also wanted to serve the Lord. But how could a tiny little creature like the squirrel help in carrying huge rocks. It did not know what to do. The bushy-tailed squirrel sat down thinking very seriously in what way it can help. 

Suddenly its little eyes were filled with tears. It stood up on its hind legs and held its fore limbs across its chest and exclaimed, “the hard rocks with pointed edges will sure hurt my beloved Lord’s delicate and soft feet. And inbetween the rocks, there are gaping holes which are not at all comfortable to walk on. And the rough bark of the trees will surely hurt the Lord’s feet”.

After a few minutes of thought, the squirrel suddenly knew what to do! It scurried along quickly across the shore, dipped itself in water, came back and rolled itself over in the sand. Then it ran quickly on to the bridge and shook its body so vigorously that all the sand fell on the rocks. Again and again it repeated this process.

As it was darting to and fro, running here and there, it almost got crushed when it came under feet of a Vanara. Angrily, the Vanara shouted at the squirrel to stay away from them all, otherwise it would lose its life. The squirrel looked up and told them that it also wanted to serve Lord Rama in building the bridge. “Please do not deprive me of this sacred seva to the Lord, brother vanara,” implored the squirrel. Hearing this, the Vanaras laughed. How could a little squirrel help in building the huge bridge across the ocean? One of the Vanaras picked it up and tossed it a few yards away so that it would again not cross their path. The squirrel cried, “Rama!” The Lord heard its cry, got up and stretched His hand out. The squirrel came and softly landed on the Lord’s palm. It was safe in His hands! 

The Lord realized what had happened. He advised the Vanaras never to underestimate the service of anyone – big or small. It is the attitude or bhava which ultimately decides the nobility and beauty of the work executed. It was infact the grains of sand that cemented the rocks and held them together, and rendered the surface more comfortable to walk on.

In recognition of its seva, and acknowledging the same, the Lord held the squirrel in His palm and softly ran His three fingers on the furry back of the squirrel. Lo! there were three white stripes on the back of the squirrel! To this day the three white stripes seen on the back of squirrels is attributed to Lord Sri Rama as a reminder that no seva is insignificant!

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Rameswaram – Dakshina Kashi

Sri Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana were almost nearing the end of the fourteen years of exile in the forest. There was just one more year remaining. At that juncture, Ravana came and abducted Seeta and took her away with him to Lanka, his kingdom. Rama and Lakshmana came down South searching for her and met the Vanaras in Kishkindha. Hanuman, the son of the wind-God crossed the ocean, found Seeta in Asokavana and consoled and assured her of coming back with Rama and the Vanara army. He came back, reported everything to Lord Rama, and then they all proceeded to the tip of Bharat. A bridge had to be built across the ocean for them to move ahead.

At this point of time, Sage Agasthya came and suggested that Rama should worship and invoke the blessings of Lord Sankara before the construction of the bridge across the ocean. Agasthya Muni remembered that Lord Sankara had promised that He would come to the South when Sri Rama invokes Him. The auspicious muhurtha (time) was fixed for the pooja. Rama summoned Hanuman to his side and asked him to go to the Himalayas and bring the Shiva linga from none other than Lord Sankara Himself. Hanuman immediately started off. However he got delayed enroute. The auspicious time was almost approaching. To prevent further delay, Rama made a Shivalinga with his own hands from the sand available near the ocean. The Shivalinga was duly consecrated there.

Sage Agasthya officiated as the priest and the pooja was conducted precisely in the time chosen. By then Hanuman came back with the Shivalinga from Kailash. The pooja was already over. Hanuman was very disappointed that the Linga he had brought was not consecrated and wanted the same to be installed instead of the one made of sand. Rama agreed to this provided Hanuman can remove the Shivalinga which he had made. Hanuman immediately came forward, coiled his tail around the sand Shivalinga and tried to remove it, but it would not move. He tried again and again and finally fell down on the ground.

Hanuman then realized that it was His Lord, Sri Rama Himself who had with His own hands very lovingly made the sand Shivalinga. How can any might and strength disrupt it? Completely and totally humbled, Hanuman prostrated at the Lord’s feet and begged for His forgiveness for trying to move the Shivalinga which had been worshipped by the Lord Himself. 

Lord Rama consoled Hanuman and told him that his efforts would be rewarded. He said that alongside the sand Shivalinga that He had made, the Linga that Hanuman had brought would also be consecrated. The Linga that Rama had made would be called as Ramanatha, and the Linga that Hanuman had brought would be known as Vishwa Linga or Vishwanatha. This holy place would be known as Ramanathapuram – the Kashi of South – “Dakshina Kashi”. And for the full benefit of the worship and pilgrimage undertaken, the devotees and pilgrims must FIRST have darshan of Vishwa Linga brought by Hanuman and only then offer worship at the altar of Ramanatha. And also a pilgrimage to Kashi is incomplete without Ramanathaswamy darshan!

Lord Rama says: “No one else is so dear to Me as Shiva. They who behold Lord Rameswara will, on quitting the body go directly to My abode. And anyone who performs abhishekam to Lord Ramanatha with the sacred waters of Ganga will attain liberation and merge totally with Me. Whoever adores Lord Ramanatha with intense faith and total devotion will be blessed by Sankara Himself with Rama-bhakti. And he who has a glimpse of the bridge (Setu) built by Me across the ocean will surely cross the ocean of worldly existence without any difficulty” ~ Sri Ramacharitmanas by Goswami Tulasidasji

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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