In celebration of Hanuman Jayanti, I thought I’d go in search of a Hanuman story I don’t know. I’ll rouse my ego up a little and say there aren’t too many of those at this point. I think I’ve come across most.
But there’s always more. And this tale of Hanuman’s birth adds some background to his mother’s story I haven’t heard before, and which also deepens the current of devotion that is the core of Hanuman:
At first light Anjana awoke, and the tragic memories of yesterday flooded back to her. She sat up, rubbed her eyes, and looked around. To her surprise Anjana found that beneath this banyan tree there was also a makeshift altar with a small statue of myself, Lord Shiva. She remembered the curse the monkey sage had place upon her, and decided that she would devote herself to the worship of me. She hoped that if she demonstrated true devotion I would grant her the boon of giving birth to my avatar.
Without stopping for food, drink, or sleep, Anjana prayed for three years. Her fur grew matted, and her body withered away from starvation. In the heavens I, Lord Shiva, had been observing these penances. I realized that Anjana had finally attained holiness, and she deserved a boon for her troubles. I spoke to Anjana, “Dear girl, you have proven yourself.” Anjana neither moved nor opened her eyes, but a small smile came upon her lips.
Then I set to work. I knew that in far-away Ayodha King Dasaratha was giving his wife Kausalya magic pudding that would help her beget a son, so I ordered Vayu, the wind, to bring a portion to Anjana. Vayu, a faithful servant, gladly complied. He instructed a hawk to grab a small portion of pudding and bring it to Anjana. The hawk carried out Vayu’s wishes, and as it dropped the pudding into Anjana’s lap, Vayu softly spoke, “Eat.”
The site from which I’ve taken this tale has a nice conceit: Different gods — Siva, Brahma and Vayu — all tell a part of his story.
And then some video from Jodhpur:
Posted by Steve