Lord Hanuman or Anjanyea Swami is one of the most revered gods worshiped in India. His devotees joyfully celebrate Hanuman Jayanti– the birthday of Shri Hanuman- on the day of Chaitra Purnima (Full moon day of Chaitra month falling in March-April). Some of his ardent followers recite Hanuman Chalisa everyday. Here we narrate the mythological story of birth of Anjaneya Swami- the great Lord Hanuman!
Legend of Anjaneya Swami’s Birth
Hanuman is the son of Anjana who was cursed to born on earth. In her previous life, Anjana was an Apsara named Punjikasthala- an attendant of God Brihaspati. She was reborn as Anjana and married Kesari, the chief of Vanaras or monkeys. In her present life, she could nullify the curse only if Lord Shiva took birth from her womb as one of his incarnations. Therefore, Anjana followed intense rituals and undertook penance to please Lord Shiva. As a result of this, Shiva granted her the boon and took birth as her son. Thus, Hanuman is one of the greatest incarnations of Lord Shiva. He is known as Anjaneya (son of Anjana) as well as Kesriputra (son of Kesari).
There is a separate story about how Anjana conceived so that she could give birth to Hanuman. King Dasrath of Ayodhya did not have any child. He performed the ‘Puthra Kamesti Yagna’ on the advice of sage Vashishtha. During the Yagya, Agni (the God of Fire) gave him a bowl of ‘Kheer’- the divine dessert made of rice and milk to be shared among his three wives. During this process of giving and receiving the sacred sweet dish, an eagle snatched away some of the ‘kheer’ and dropped it where Anjana was meditating. Pavana (the God of Wind) made the kheer drop into her outstretched hands. When Anjana ate the kheer, she conceived and later gave birth to Hanuman. However, there is a variation in this story about the birth of Hanuman which describes him to be the son of Pawan- the god of wind.
Hanuman- the Son of Pawan (God of Wind)
One day, when Anjana was strolling in the gardens of Kishkindha, the wind swept her garland away. Anjana was about to get angry with the god wind but at the same time, the mighty Pawan- the god of wind realized his mistake and returned to Anjana in order to apologize.
When the God saw the beautiful Anjana, he was struck by Manmatha- the god of love. Anjana too was impressed by the handsome god. He apologized to her and they married. They both had a son who was the great Pawanputra (son of Pawan) Hanuman.
There is however yet another variation to the mythological story of the Birth of Hanuman. Lord Vishnu was born as Rama- one of his ten avatars or incarnations. Rama came on earth to destroy the evil king of Lanka Ravana. Lord Brahma ordered some gods and goddesses to take avatars of ‘Vanaras’ or monkeys to help Rama in his fight against Ravana. Thus, Indra- the god of war and weather- got reincarnated as Bali. Surya or the sun god was sent as Sugriva. Vrihaspati- the preceptor of gods took birth as Tara, and Pavana- the god of wind, was reincarnated as Hanuman.