Hanuman was one of the most enigmatic personalities of Hindu mythology; he was powerful beyond estimate and his enormous powers and his innocence can be estimated from the fact that, as a child he mistook the Sun to be a mango and wanted to eat it; Rahu was nearby trying to create a solar eclipse.
Hanuman just brushed him aside with his might and swallowed the Sun whereupon Rahu complained to Indra, the lord of all deities, that Hanuman had prevented him from creating an eclipse; the enraged Indra threw a Vajra (thunderbolt) which disfigured his jaw and sent Hanuman into a coma and he fell down to Earth.
This is the reason for his disfigured visage and for his name.
Why was he invincible?
This did not go well with Vayu, the wind god who had a hand in the birth of Hanuman and is referred to as his father; Vayu sucked in all the wind from the atmosphere and created a massive vacuum whereupon there was pandemonium all around because there was no air to breathe.
What ensued was a veritable rain of boons and blessings apart from his immediate revival from the coma; they could not allow this situation since it was necessary to appease Vayudev while ensuring that such an eventuality does not arise again.
Some of these boons were as follows:
- Indra promised him immunity from his Vajra’s strike and granted him a physique that was stronger and more durable than the Vajra itself,
- Varuna, the god of water, the underground world and law blessed him immunity from water,
- Agni blessed him from burning by fire,
- Brahma granted him:
- Complete immunity from Brahma’s dreaded irrevocable curses,
- Complete immunity from death by any weapon or tool of war,
- The capability to strike terror in the hearts of his adversaries, and
- Dispelling the fears in the minds of his friends and followers,
- Changing appearance at will, and
- Being omnipresent.
- Shiva provided him with a lifelong protective band while granting him the following boons:
- Ability to cross oceans,
- Perpetual longevity, and
- Scriptural wisdom.
- Kamadev granted him immunity from the enchanting lure of sex,
- Kuber awarded him the contentment and happiness of a lifetime,
- Suryadev Hanuman’s Guru granted him the two Suddhis of Laghima and Garima, the ability to reduce/increase his form as much as he wanted,
- Vishwakarma, the god of tools and craftsmen granted him lifelong immunity from all weapons or tools,
- The god of death granted him immunity from death and
- Vayu granted him higher speed exceeding his own.
His mischievous and disruptive antics offended the sages who cast a curse on him that he will never be aware of his amazing powers till someone reminded him of them; that is why Jambavanta had to remind Hanuman of his awesome powers to exhort him to proceed to Lanka to save Seeta. References to his escapades are found in Kishikindha Kaand and Sundar Kaand.
Hanuman and Surya
Surya was his teacher not by choice but due to the forceful insistence of Hanuman who had learnt of his great knowledge and tutoring skills; it took Hanuman a lot of persuasion to make Surya agree to be his Guru.When it came to asking Surya what he wanted towards his Guru Dakshina, Surya just stated that his reward was that he had imparted part of his wisdom to a deserving ward; but, we all know of Hanuman’s pushy and insistent nature, he kept on cajoling Surya to name his dakshina.
Upon the repeated requests of Hanuman and to satisfy him, Surya asked him to protect Sugriva his son in spirit who was later to become the king of the monkey kingdom, Kishikindha with hanuman joining his kingdom as a minister.
Sugriva helped Rama in his quest to liberate Seeta from the Demon king Ravana who had abducted her.
Hanuman ji and Shanidev
During his interactions with Surya devta in the course of his studies, Hanuman learnt that Surya’s son, the all-powerful Shani maharaj was not on good terms with his father and kept creating trouble for many; Hanuman met Shani in Shani- lok and tried to persuade him to rectify his relationship with his father.
But Shani was a very offensive deity and he attacked Hanuman for his audacity; since Shani climbed his shoulders, Hanuman kept growing in size entrapping him against the roof. Due to unbearable pain Shani requested Hanuman to release him with a promise to spare all Hanuman devotees.
When lord Hanuman released him, he requested for some Til and oil to ease his pains; this is why devotees who want to appease Shanidev, offer Til and Oil on Saturdays to remove the ill-effects due to Shanidev. In a later development, Hanumanji also saved Shanidev from Ravana.
This story depicts the humility and magnanimity of Hanumanji and signifies that a humble, selfless person can emerge victorious on evil through paying obeisance to Hanuman ji; no wonder he is known as Sankat Mochan, the reliever from all crisis situations.