Jai Hanuman!

Hanuman was a great Vanara hero. The greatest! My absolute favorite! He was the greatest devotee of Sri Rama.

Hanuman – Purity Personified.

Hanuman : Photo Credit : Pradeep Sanyal : All Rights Reserved

Hanuman is purity personified. In his *Bhakthi Sutras, Narada mentions Hanuman as the expert on devotion. Hanuman is completely flawless, selfless and egoless. He can accomplish anything but does only what Sri Rama asks him to do.

He is an expert musician, his music has bhakthi, as Thyagaraja tells us that music must.

Leaping across oceans, moving mountains – nothing is put of his reach, for this son of Pavana, (the wind). Powerful Pandava Bhima, (another son of Pavana), couldn’t even move Hanuman’s tail. In the Yuddhakanda of the Valmiki Ramayanam, Jambavantha tells Vibhishana that as long as Hanuman is fine, victory is guaranteed, because he can revive everyone, but if Hanuman is gone, the war is as good as lost.

He is the favored deity of  strong wrestlers, small children, devout musicians, and spiritual gurus one and all. He once protected Yayati from Sri Rama’s anger and used the magic of Sri Rama’s name against the might of Sri Rama’s bow!

He brought courage, confidence and cheer to Sita Devi, who was waiting sorrowfully under the Asoka tree, where she was kept captive by Ravana.

Rama’s children Lava Kusa, knew that Hanuman could not be won in a battle (for the Aswamedha horse of Sri Rama), so they led him away chanting Sri Rama’s name and tied him up with blades of grass.

The best part is that you only have to mention Sri Rama’s name and Hanuman is there right with you, to look after and protect you and to enjoy the stories and bhajans of Sri Rama along with you. You can count on this!

* While bhakthi is generally translated into english as devotion, Narada has defined exactly what it is and what it is not in his bhakthi sutras. Sri Krishna has also explained Bhakthi Yoga clearly in his Bhagavad Gita.

Hanuman’s ancestry:

Hanuman’s mother was Anjana and Anjana’s father was Gauthama Maharshi. We know this from the Siva Purana.

Since Gauthama had only one wife, Ahalya, we can safely assume that she was Anjana’s mother.  Ahalya’s father was Brahma. So Brahma was the maternal grandfather of Anjana and Hanuman’s great grand father. This makes Hanuman a Brahmana on his mother’s side.

Hanuman had two fathers. His mother’s husband, Kesari was a Vanara hero. Kesari’s father was Brihaspati. Brihaspathi was the teacher or guru of the Devas. He is a Deva-Guru, just like Narada is a Deva-Rishi. So if Kesari was a Vanara, he must have been so on his mother’s side. Hanuman always mentioned Kesari first when he talked of his father. He had love and respect for him. Only then did he mention his genetic father.

Hanuman is also called Maruti or Vayuputra. That means that he is the son of Vayu Deva. Vayu Deva is either the wind personified or the Deva who has been identified with the wind. The Maruts are the sons of Siva. Therefore, Siva is Hanuman’s paternal grandfather. In some stories, it is said that Hanuman is Siva in Vanara form. In Sanskrit, it is said that “the son is verily the father”. Maybe this is one sense. In another story it is said that Vayu (the wind) carried the seed (genes) of Siva and gave it to Anjana to bear. No one can speak of a jathi (race) for Siva. It is beyond such knowledge as we have. But Vayu was(is) a Deva.

So Hanuman was a Brahmana on his mother’s side and a Deva on his father’s side, genetically. However, his legal father, Kesari, was a Vanara on his mother’s side and was counted as a Vanara. That is why Hanuman counts as a Vanara Hero!

I took this photograph outside a Kodigehalli temple and touched it up.

I took this photograph outside a Kodigehalli temple and touched it up.

Brahma was the paternal great grandfather of Ravana and the maternal great grand father of Hanuman. Both of them were brilliant musicians. There is a legend that when Hanuman went to Ayodhya after the war, he took with him a *Veena that was designed by Ravana. It is said to be popular in Rajasthan even today.

Hanuman’s Expertise in all Ancient Indian Languages :

Hanuman was a master of all the languages of Ancient India. When he saw Sita in Asoka Vana, he spent some time wondering which language to address her in! He knew that she did not know the Kishkinda language (kannada-telugu). And that if he spoke Sanskrit, Sita would think that he was Ravana in disguise. So he spoke to her in the language of Ayodhya (prakrit).

Hanuman meets Sri Rama :

Valmiki Ramayanam : kishkinda kAnDa : trtIyah sargah. Page 753, Gita Press 5th edition.

At Sugriva’s bidding, Hanuman approached Sri Rama and Lakshmana in a bhikshurUpam, (in the guise of a mendicant who lives on alms). He spoke in a soft and pleasing language. He praised the virtues of Sri Rama and Lakshman – their handsome forms, theri noble gait, their powerful bodies and their divine appearance and their divine weapons.

He then introduced himself as Hanuman the minister of Sugriva and sought their friendship on his king’s behalf.

Sri Rama then addressed Lakshmana and said, “Only a person who knows the meaning of the Rg Veda, knows the Yajur Veda by heart and knows the sAma vEda also can speak so beautifully like this. He has mastered grammar perfectly. Though he has spoken such a lot, he hasn’t made a single error, with his face, eyes, forehead, eyebrows or any other part of his body. His speech is clear, sweet and emanates correctly from the chest, throat and head.” (see Siksha Vedanga).

“Any person with such a minister is bound to succeed. Please speak well to him!”

Then Lakshmana said, “Oh Vanara! Oh Wonderful Hanuman!! We have heard of your king Sugriva and are here to meet him”


There is another thought. The Brahma of the puranas is sometimes identified with the Barahamanspati of the Vedas and with Brihapsati. If this is correct: then, Kesari and Ahalya are brother and sister, and Anjana was married to her maternal uncle, which is a popular tradition followed by Kannada and Telugu people even today. (This tradition is called manarikam, a girl may also marry her paternal aunt’s son. In ancient times the Yadus also followed this tradition. eg Subhadra, Vasudeva’s daughter, married Arjuna, Kunthi’s son. Kunthi was Vasudeva’s own sister).

Hanuman crosses the ocean and reaches Sri Lanka : Sampurna Ramayanam :

Hanuman was  so powerful that his great grandfather Brahma ruled that he would not know his own strength unless someone reminded him of it. So it fell to Jambavantha, Angada and others to tell him that he could do it. And he grew in size enormously  and made it across in one giant leap! You can see this version in the lovely movie clip.

My thoughts and investigations :

A) Hanuman’s Speed :

Vanaras : Taruhumara (Running People) tribe is somewhat like the Vanaras

Now, if you think Vanaras means long tails, please don’t read this article. It may upset you.

To me the Vanaras represent speed, strength and purity. I see them as forest dwelling civilization, based in ancient Bellary, Hampi, Vijaynagar, Kishkinda. (See ; Vanaras and Kishkinda)

So when I heard about the fast Taruhumaras of Mexico, who are psychologically unable to tell a lie… I was so impressed by their similarity to the Vanaras in that aspect, that I fell in love with them.

The Vanaras were strong warriors who had many conflicts with Rakshasas and always won, whereas, the Tarahumara are peace loving and conflict avoiding. In this aspect they are different. (Vanara Rakshasa Conflicts)

The term tarahumaras itself reminds me of the telugu word taarumaaru (which means topsy-turvy!).

They run barefoot or wear such sandals : Source : http://gearist.com/2011/05/20/review-golite-tara-lite/tarahumara-sandal/

Source : “There are currently about 50,000 Tarahumara living in the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico. They live in small isolated clusters with most the population concentrated in the Barranca del Cobre, or the Copper Canyon. The Tarahumara indians are part of the Uto-Aztecan indian lineage and are closely related to the Apaches of the Southwestern United States. The area of Northwest Mexico that the Tarahumara lives in is very rugged and unforgiving. The Barranca del Cobre is a chain of five very deep canyons surrounded by very tall mountains that reach almost a mile and a half above sea level. Three of the five canyons are deeper than the Grand Canyon of the United States. The area is different though because it receives much more rainfall and is covered with more vegetation. The terrain is very rugged, so much as to lead to the fact that the area has never been thoroughly mapped or explored (Lutz 66). The area is one of th e coldest in Mexico and soil conditions are very poor. It is because of this that the Tarahumara are semi-nomadic and are cave dwellers for part of the year.”

How fast and how far do they run?

Source :  ”While on foot, the Tarahumara do not stroll from one place to their destination, running is used to perform everyday tasks. It is not uncommon for a Tarahumara to travel between fifty and eighty miles everyday at a “race” like pace…It is also said that a Tarahumara once ran six hundred miles in five daysto deliver a very important message. The Tarahumara call themselves “raramuri” which means fleet foot or foot runner. ”

They eat? 

Source :  ”The mainstay of the Tarahumara is corn but they also eat squash, beans and chili. They also utilize all plants of the Barranca del Cobre and have even been known to domesticate some wild plants as to make them more accessible for consumption. Pinole, a fine powder of toasted corn is the most common food. ” They drink a corn beer before running which is mildly intoxicating

Culture :

Source : ”The Tarahumara still want nothing to do with money and material things that are not important to them. Sharing is considered very noble and land sharing is common because lands rights are hereditary. The Tarahumara are a very shy, sensitive, bashful and isolated people, even within their own household. Family members only speak to each other when absolutely necessary and women are not allowed to be seen unclothed unless they are engaged in the act of lovemaking. These traits can be seen in the way that they handle major conflicts as well. When trouble arises, the Tarahumara practices passive resistance, withdrawal, and avoidance. These practices are believed to be one of the reasons that they have survived so long. One reason for their survival is their traditional cold-shouldering of other races”.

In this article Distances coverable on foot, I have explored how long it would have taken the Pandavas, and also RamaLakshmanaSita Devi and Hanuman, to cover great distances on foot. I concluded thinking that covering 40 to 50 km a day for strong people like them, was not too much to think of. But after learning about these Raramuri, I know that even that is an underestimate. Where the geography and culture demand it, people walk/run for far greater distances and far greater speeds than us sedentary urban dwellers.

Here I reproduce my previous article.

Distances coverable on foot

A ‘normal’ person can walk about 20 or 25 km a day.

  • I could walk maybe 28km a day @ 4 km per hour, with a 1 hour lunch break and no walking in the evening.
  • This person could walk 30 – 40 km a day retracing the Dandi March of Gandhiji – ttp://journals.worldnomads.com/cam2yogi/post/12137.aspx
  • In 1989 a group of gas affected Bhopali women and children walked from Bhopal to Delhi about 744 km in 33 days that is about 22km a day. see : http://www.bhopal.wordpress.com/oldsite/longwalktodelhi.html
  • It is very easy to imagine that the likes of Bhima and Arjuna or Rama and Lakshmana could do 40 km day at least.

The distance from Bangalore to Delhi is about 2000 km.

  • So if I could do it in 2000/20 = 100 days or 3 months approx.,
  • Then they could do it in half the time at least., may be a month or a month and a half.
  • Krishna however went everywhere by chariot.
  • Mathura to Dwaraka is 1100 km, a month by walk and possibly the same by a modern horse., surprisingly.
  • It may help if you have a lot of horses pulling your chariot.

If Mithila is jankapur, then the distance from Ayodhya to Mithila is about 432 km, which is a 11 day walk for the likes of Sri Rama (though about 22 days for the rest of us). The Vanaras or Tarahumara could do this in 48 hours!

  • This matches with the Ramayanam, because Viswamitra, Rama and Laksmana had several stops on the way to do different things.

How many km could Gandhiji could cover in a day? He was very fast.

  • On March 12, 1930, Gandhi and approximately 78 male satyagrahis set out, on foot, for the coastal village of Dandi some 240 miles from their starting point in Sabarmati, a journey which was to last 23 days (Jack 237). Virtually every resident of each city along this journey watched the great procession, which was at least two miles in length (Jack 237). On April 6th he picked up a lump of mud and salt (some say just a pinch, some say just a grain) and boiled it in seawater to make the commodity which no Indian could legally produce–salt (Jack 240). from : http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Dandi.html
  • That is Gandhiji’s team covered 384km in 23 days – that is 16 km a day. May be he stopped for speeches and meetings along the way.

Hanuman was even faster than Rama. He was the “son of the wind”.
He was sent to look for Sita, and also sent ahead to tell Bharata that Rama was coming back.

  • The meditating snow monkeys of the Himalayas (that I saw on Discovery channel) do look like how I imagined Hanuman. 
  • The current scientific opinion is that “The Homo Sapiens have been in existence from 250,000 years ago till today and they lived overlapped with H.Neanderthalensis, Erectus and Floresiensis. But from about 20,000 years ago only Homo sapiens on the planet.” – Scientific American From this I concluded that other human species co-existed with the human species at least till 20,000 years ago.

Source : “June 30, 2009 — A new Myanmar fossil primate,Ganlea megacanina, suggests the common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes evolved from large-toothed primates in Asia and not Africa, according to new research published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

If Myanmar, formerly called Burma, is confirmed as being the ancestral homeland of higher primates, or close to it, the discovery points to a circuitous migration route for some early primates, which must have gone to Africa and then come back to Asia.”

I realised that I was looking for a superintelligent human like being, with excellent speech with a long tail and with superlative strength and that was why I was looking among monkeys.

  • Then I worked on Hanuman’s ancestry and found that genetically he was the son of Anjana, the daughter of Gautama Maharshi and of Vayu Deva. Hanuman had no Vanara genes at all. His legal father Kesari, the king of Sumeru was the Vanara. See Hanuman for more details.
  • I read that the The Vanara Tribes that exist today are all humans.
  • I read in the Valmiki Ramayanam, that the Vanaras had no tails when they went to Ayodhya and that they had long tails when they went to battle. Valmiki Ramayanam. See Vanaras in human form at Rama’s coronation.
  • Then I started wondering whether the Vanaras were in fact humans who attached long tails at battle time and who commanded armies of monkeys!
  • I started thinking of Rama Bantu Hanuman as a powerful, super – brilliant, highly educated, half Brahmin – half Deva, who was faster than everyone, possessing amazing atheletic abilities, and was totally pure and devout.
  • ramasethu
  • When I looked at this close up image of the Rama Sethu, that connects India and Sr Lanka, I noticed that it had a series of tiny hoppable islets.
  • I found that in the Valmiki Ramayanam, Hanuman did for a fact make a few stops on the way. It was not one continuous leap. eg Mainaka, Simhika etc.
  • Then in I have seen animations on the site historicalrama.org, which showed how the setu could have been built.. filling in the gaps. This story explains that very well : Hara Hara Mahadeva : The Ramayana War through the eyes of a small Vanara. (For other information that I have collected on Rama Setu, please see : Rama Sethu – A Vanara Achievement).

Conclusion : I don’t think Hanuman swam across the sky as shown in the movie clip, I think he leaped at a very high speed across the little islets.

Hanuman’s cousin Ravana was a great musician:

*”In India, the origin of Violin is traced into the Ravanastrom.This instrument is said to have belonged to a sovereign of India 5000 BC. Again, it also replicates the ancient instrument called Ravan Hatta which is found even today in Rajasthan. This was created by the Rakshasa king Ravana from Ramayana. The Ravan Hatta was played on one string which was 22 inches long encompassing the 3 Octaves. Whereas the Violin encompasses the 3 octaves on 4 strings with a finger board which is 5 1/4th inches long. This 5 1/4th when multiplied by 4 is 22 inches which was the size of the Ravan Hatta. Both are played with a bow.” (Source)

Thatha and the Magic Grain : Hanuman’s Tail Throne

Travel : Halekote Hanuman, Kodigehalli Bangalore

Kishkinda : Vanaras and Kishkinda

Watch “Hanuman Chalisa (New) by Udit Narayan” on YouTube

Ramayanam : Bhaaradwaaja Ramayanam and Hanumat Ramayanam

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved: Satya Sarada Kandula