Lord Hanuman is one of the most revered deities amongst the Hindu Gods. He is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and foremost devotee of Lord Shri Ram.
Shree Hanumanji's Birth
His birth is widely believed to have occurred on a Tuesday. His birthday is considered to be Chaitra Sud Poonam (full moon day of Month Chaitra according to Hindu calendar). Some also believe it to be Chaitra Sud Ekam (the first day of Chaitra Month) in Magha Nakshatra (constellation). Some also believe his birth to have occurred on a Saturday – hence both these days are considered auspicious and best for their worship of Lord Hanuman.
It believed that Lord Shiva’s element called ‘Eleventh Rudra,’ took a form of a monkey God to arrive on the holy earth as Mahaveer Hanuman. He chose to come through the sacred womb of holy mother Anjanidevi and Holy Father Lord Kapiraj Shri Kesari. Thus, Lord Hanuman is also known ‘Kesari Nandan.’
A steadfast devotee of Lord Shri Ram - Hanuman was destined to worship him and further assist him discharge his holy duties and commitments to the mankind. It is said that Lord Shri Ram too recognized Hanuman to be an incarnation (ansh)
Anjanidevi and Kapiraj Shri Kesariji adored their child Hanuman and bestowed all their love and affection on him since his birth. He spent his childhood doing pranks and loved various types of sports and merry making.
To quote from one of its widely known childhood incident, once it so happened that Shri Kesari left early for the forest and mother Anjanidevi also went out to pick flowers and fruits while baby Hanuman was yet fast asleep in his cradle. However, soon after his parents went, the baby suddenly woke up and felt hungry. Observing no one around, baby Hanuman immediately began crying. While crying he happened to get a glimpse of the rising son at the horizon and he mistook the Sun to be a bright red fruit.
In no time Hanuman flew and rapidly started to approach the ‘red fruit’ (rising Sun). Sight of Hanuman approaching the Sun astonished the Gods as well as demons. They began wondering at the child and were extremely amazed to think what this child could accomplish during his youthful years!
The God of Winds - The God of Winds (Pavandev) – who is believed to be the guardian of Lord Hanuman anxiously watched his son flying towards the Sun. He was afraid that his son would not be able to tolerate blazes of the Sun. Pavandev started blowing cool icy winds to protect the child Hanuman. However, Suryadev (Sun God) recognized Lord Hanuman as the son of Wind God (Pavanputra) who was then fast approaching towards him and also saw Pavandev following baby Hanuman.
The Sun God considered it to be its great fortune that Lord Shiva in the form of a child was approaching him and hurriedly went towards Hanuman to bless him. Suryadev welcomed Hanuman in a warm embrace even as the latter began playing around the Sun’s chariot.
However; coincidently, it was the last day of month and son of Sanhiksha - Rahu came in the way of Hanuman to protect Sun. Rahu observed that the child was playing around the Sun’s chariot and soon took position to eclipse the Sun. On facing Rahu, Hanuman caught hold of him as he saw him obstructing his way to reach the Sun. Rahu struggled hard to escape from Hanuman’s strong clutches but couldn’t manage to do so.
As and when Hanuman freed Rahu, he rushed to Lord Indra complaining about the child who was covering the Sun. At this point, Rahu’s eyes were in tears, and that caused anxiety to Lord Indra who was shaken to learn that it was an unknown child who made a great warrior like Rahu cry like a helpless baby.
Accompanied by Rahu, Lord Indra mounted on his divine elephant Aairawat and proceeded towards the Sun. When Hanuman saw them approaching, he again caught Rahu and rushed towards Lord Indra who riding his Aairawat. Hanuman felt attracted towards Aairawat, he took him as a toy and began playing with it. Unable to fathom the child’s divine strength, frightened Indra attacked Hanuman using his mightiest weapon ‘Vajra’ and did a severe blow.
Lord Hanuman’s chin was hurt during this attack (and thus he was named Hanuman as ‘Hanu’ in Sanskrit means chin). Due to the severe blow of Indra’s ‘Vajra’, baby Hanuman became unconscious. Hanuman’s guardian Pavandev rushed to protect Hanuman but saw him falling down. The conflict ended and a deafening silence prevailed as Pavandev slipped out in a fraction of a second carrying his son Hanuman back to their cave.
As Pavandev withdrew his powers in a reaction to Indra’s blow on baby Hanuman, winds stopped blowing abruptly in all the three worlds. This action left all living beings gasping for breath. It not only agonized Gods like Indra, but even Demons, Gandharvas (angels in the sky), snakes and others species; all rushed to Lord Brahma (Creator of the World) and prayed to him for their protection.
Urged by their prayers, Lord Brahma led the entire group and headed for the mountain cave to see Pavandev and seek a solution that could avert the great disaster staring at the very survival of the world. Seeing the child Hanuman in the arms of Pavandev, Bramha lovingly took him in his arms and blessed him. Soon, Hanuman became conscious and returned back to normal state playing around as a normal child. Pavandev immediately relented and restored the air flow around the three worlds gifting back life, which had by then, almost come to a standstill.
It was Lord Varun’s turn who blessed baby Hanuman with a boon that he would always be protected from water. Lord ‘Yam’ or the God of Hell blessed him healthy life and free from his curse (dand). Shri Kuber showered his blessings declaring that Hanuman would always remain happy and contented, be it in war with demons - a group that would never be able to defeat him.
Lord Shiva assured safety of Hanuman with a band (kavach) that would protect him for life. Shri Vishwakarma (The Lord of Creation) said that he (Hanuman) would be protected from all his creations in the form of objects or weapons. Rounding off, Lord Brahma once again blessed the child with boon that this great son of Lord Pavandev would be feared by all his enemies and would also protect his friends, forever. As a special boon, he bestowed Hanuman with the power to take any form or shape. He also blessed him to be able to reach wherever he desired to be, uninhibited. All the deities thus blessed Hanuman that he would remain undefeated and invincible during his lifetime.
Thus, Hanuman exhibited his rare virtues like courage during his childhood days and won the hearts and blessings of many. Even as a child he was so strong and powerful that he could uproot big trees and throw them around. There was not a single summit or a mountain which Shri Hanuman had left unconquered.
At times, he used to reach the ‘Ashram’ (where Gurus / Rishis / Sants / Saints lived) and play pranks or tricks on them. Such acts would often disturb them in their holy penance or concentration during their long hours of meditation. He would hang mats, pots and other personal belongings of the hermits on the branches of the trees. In this fashion, he used to create number of hurdles for them. As Hanuman grew up, his mischief simply went on increasing and his parents often felt extremely anxious for him.
His parents were often approached by the hermits who complained about Hanuman’s crazy acts. His father would express his regrets reminding them that Hanuman was a boon attained as a result of the power and glory of their penance. He prayed to them to excuse Hanuman and generously bless his beloved son in such a manner that he would turn sober and calm. The saints pondered over this request and concluded that this would be possible only if Hanuman forgot his power and strength for time-being.
The saints were actually aware that Hanuman was born to dedicatedly serve Shri Ram. After deep ponderings the saints of Bhrugu and Angira lineage ‘cursed’ Hanuman so that he would not be aware about his own brilliance and strength, and the same would only be restored and multiplied when someone reminded him about those powers. Due to such a curse, brilliance and strength of Hanuman got temporarily suppressed and he became gentle and sober in nature.
They performed several cultural rites/rituals in order to instill strong character in Hanuman. Lord Suryanarayan turned the preceptor (teacher) and he taught Hanuman the entire Vedic Sciences (Ved Shastra) and Sub Sciences (Upshastra). While undergoing this learning process, Hanuman continuously chanted the name ‘Shri Ram’; as if in a trance or meditation– immersed in Ram Bhakti – transforming himself to be called ‘Param Bhakta’ or ‘supreme devotee.’
Thus, Hanuman spent a very eventful and amazing childhood.