Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.


From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By A P N Pankaj

Gāmbhīrya-cāturya-suvīrya-dhairyair-hanūmatah ko’bhyadhiko’sti loke.

Who, in the world, is superior to Hanuman in valour, energy, intelligence, prowess, character, charm, discernment, composure, dexterity, vigour, and fortitude?[1]

Blessing Valmiki, the ādikavi[2], Brahma[3] had prophesied that ‘as long as mountains stand on earth and rivers flow, the story of Ramayana (narrated by Valmiki) would remain current in all the worlds’: Yāvat-sthāsyanti girayah saritaśca mahītale; Tāvad-rāmāyanakathā lokesu pracarisyati[4].

Today, ages later, this story abides; and as its integral part lives Hanuman and his legend, actualizing the boon that he had sought from Sri Rama: ‘I am never satisfied with repeating thy name. Therefore, I wish to remain always on this earth repeating thy name. May this body of mine remain as long as thy name is remembered in this world.’[5] So, Hanuman lives incognito among us as one of the eight cirañjīvins[6], immortals, listening to rāmakathā, the story of Rama, wherever it is sung.

Down the millennia, the story of Ramayana and of Hanuman has continued to flow and flower in a myriad forms—through epics and Upanishads, Itihasas and Puranas, legend and folklore, history and hearsay; through paintings, dance forms, and folk art; through feature flms and animations; in small villages as well as busy metros; in artless rural rāmlīlās and sophisticated urban stage plays; in temples, auditoria, and improvised pandāls; through the narrations of simple storytellers, professional kathāvāchakas, erudite pandits, spiritual leaders, and even child prodigies; in India, Cambodia, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Bali, Myanmar, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Siberia, Mongolia, Malaysia, and lately, the West—and people listen: men, women, and children; the illiterate and the learned, skeptics as well as sentimental devotees. Brahma’s blessings could not have been truer.

Somewhere in this crowd—perhaps among the simplest folks, listening reverentially to the Ramayana—sits Hanuman: his head bent, folded hands raised to the forehead in salutation, and eyes moist with tears of love for Rama.

Origin and Epithets[edit]

According to some versions of the Ramayana, Hanuman was born with bejeweled earrings.[7]. He is also described as being born with mauñjī-mekhalā, a three-string girdle of muñja grass. In Tulsidas’s Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is ‘adorned with earrings, holy thread, and muñja’.

'Hanu' means ‘chin’ and the suffix 'mat' denotes ‘possession’, and implicitly ‘excellence’ or ‘superiority’, atiśāyana. ‘Hanuman’ would thus mean ‘the one with excellent chin’. According to Sanskrit lexicographers, letters in this name denote the following:

Brahma, Shiva, bliss, sky, water
worship, praise
Lakshmi, Vishnu
heroic strength.

The name would thus suggest the presence of the attributes and distinctive characteristics of these deities and elements—all in one person.

Hanuman has several other appellations. He is Anjaneya, the son of Anjana; as the aurasa[8] child of the wind god, he is Maruti or Pavanasuta, and as the ksetraja[9] son of Kesari—one of the senior leaders of the monkey army—he is Kesari-nandana.[10] Punjikasthala, an apsara, was born as a monkey due to Brihaspati’s curse. Vayu, the wind god told her: ‘You would have a strong and intelligent son because I have touched you with my mind (manasāsmi gata). He would be full of courage, energy, strength, and valour (mahā-sattvo mahā-tejā mahā-bala-parākrama), and my equal in flying and leaping.’ [11]

Bhavabhuti, in his Mahaviracharita, and Bhatti, in his Bhattikavya, give ‘Vrishakapi’ as one of Hanuman’s names. In Nilakantha’s Mantra Ramayana—a treatise interpreting several Vedic mantras as alluding to the Ramayana story—Hanuman finds mention. Nilakantha believes that Vrishakapi, the ‘man-ape’ associated with Indra and Indrani in the Rig Veda, is none other than Hanuman.[12] In Hanuman’s figure, says A A MacDonnell, ‘perhaps survives a reminiscence of Indra’s alliance with the Maruts in his confict with Vrtra and of the god Saramā who, as Indra’s messenger, crosses the waters of the Rasā and tracks the cows. Saramā recurs as the name of a demoness [in Rāmāyana] who consoles Sītā in her captivity. The name of Hanumat being Sanskrit, the character is probably not borrowed from the aborigines.’ [13]

Camille Bulcke, the Belgian missionary and author of Ramkatha, disagrees: ‘In the Vedic literature, Hanuman is not mentioned anywhere. The word Hanuman is probably the Sanskrit version of a Dravidian word and it means “man- monkey”. ’ [14]Bulcke also mentions the names of various family lines and castes of aborigines in the Chota Nagpur and Singhbhum regions of Central India who trace their lineage to Hanuman. According to him, the name ‘Hanuman’ is a Sanskrit synonym of āna-mandi or āna-manti, ana meaning man and manda, monkey [15]. Swami Vivekananda says, ‘By the “monkeys” and “demons” are meant the aborigines of South India.’[16]In the Buddhist Jatakas, though Hanuman is not mentioned by name, allusions to him as a monkey are aplenty, and reference to the bodhisattva’s incarnation as a colossal monkey in the ‘Mahakapi Jataka’ clearly reminds us of Hanuman.[17] The Shunya Purana, an eleventh-century Buddhist text by Ramai Pandit, records that ‘when Madana, wife of Harisha Chandra, entered the Buddhist fold, she saw Hanuman protecting the southern gate of the shrine.’ ‘Eventually, the popularity of Hanuman which he gained for his performance in Ramayana made the Buddhists patronize him’[18].

In the Jain scriptures, Hanuman is the biological son of Anjan, who is the daughter of Mahendra, the king of Mahendrapur. She is married to Pavananjaya. Hanuman is the lord of Vajrakuta, a part of Manushottara Mountain. ‘He fell from an aerial chariot on a hill which was smashed into smithereens. He thus earned the sobriquet “Srishaila”. He rendered yeoman’s service to Rama in the latter’s war with Ravana.’[19]

In the Adhyatma Ramayana, Hanuman tells Angada: ‘We are all celestial attendants of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha [[[Vishnu]]’s celestial abode]. When he incarnated himself as a man, we too descended as vānaras (monkeys).’ [20]In the Oriya Rasavinoda of Dinakrishnadasa, the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva together appears in the form of Hanuman. Goswami Tulsidas—‘the greatest of all poets who wrote in the language of the people’[21]—pays obeisance to Hanuman as ‘Mahadeva’, ‘Kapali’, ‘Rudravatara’, ‘Vanarakara-vigraha Purari’, which are also appellations of Shiva or Rudra.[22]In a number of Puranas—the Skanda, Bhagavata, Narada, and Brihaddharma Puranas, for instance—Hanuman has been depicted as Shiva, or his partial incarnation, or as Kapalin, the eleventh Rudra. In the Bengali Krittivasa Ramayana, Sita realizes that Hanuman is Shiva’s incarnation while serving him food.[23]

In Kamba Ramayana too, Hanuman has been described as an incarnation of Rudra.[24]The Ananda Ramayana, the Tattvasangraha Ramayana, and Tulsidas’s Hanuman Bahuka and Dohavali also say so. In some versions of the Ramayana Hanuman has been mentioned as Vishnu’s son. Elsewhere—in the Ramakatha from Indonesia, for instance—he is Rama’s son.

These different views notwithstanding; it is undeniable that both Sita and Rama had great love for Hanuman and openly expressed their gratitude for his services. In the Ramcharitmanas, Sita says:

Ajara amara gunanidhi suta hohu;  
Karahun bahuta raghunayaka chhohu.

May you never grow old or die, my son; be a storehouse of virtue, and may Raghunatha be most gracious unto you.

And Rama affirms:

Sunu suta tohi urina main nahin; 
Dekheun kari bichara mana mahin.

On refection, my son, I have come to the conclusion that I can never repay the debt I owe you.[25]

It was mentioned earlier that Hanuman is the son of Vayu from Anjana, hence he is called ‘Vayuputra’. Valmiki and the succeeding narrators also call him by other names with identical meanings: Pavana-suta, Marutatmaja, Gandhavahatmaja, and so on. In South India, people especially love to address Hanuman as Anjaneya. In his Hanuman Chalisa, Tulsidas addresses him as Shankara Suvana, son of Shiva; Kesarinandana, the joy of Kesari; Anjaniputra, Anjani’s son; and Pavanasuta, son of the Wind.

As a child, Hanuman was quite a prankster. According to a Jain scripture, when he fell on a rock, it was the rock that was damaged. Valmiki tells the story differently, twice in fact, and each with some variation. The first is a narration by Jambavan to Hanuman and the second by Agastya to Rama: ‘As a baby, crying out of hunger when his mother was away, he happened to see the rising sun, like a mass of red hibiscus. Taking it to be fruit, the baby—as brilliant as the rising sun—leapt into space to catch the sun and went up hundreds of miles without bothering about the unbearable heat of the fireball above. The Sun too, knowing him to be but a baby, was mild on him. … Indra was angry with Hanuman for his audacity, and striding on his elephant, Airavata, struck him with vajra, his thunderbolt. He fell down (on the Udaya Mountain) and broke his left chin.’ In Agastya’s version of the story, the damage was greater. Hanuman was almost dead. Vayu got very angry and stopped blowing. There was commotion in the three worlds. Led by Brahma, gods, humans, and demons approached Vayu with a request to resume his function. Brahma revived Hanuman by his touch. The wind god, now appeased, started blowing again. However, after he recovered from this injury, he got the name ‘Hanuman’. Meanwhile, at Brahma’s behest, the gods gave him a number of blessings. These included the boons of immortality, immunity against diseases as well as various powerful celestial weapons, matchless strength, and wisdom. Surya, the sun god, offered to teach him on his attaining the age for studentship.[26]

There is another episode about his unchallenged energies as a child. He was always up to some mischief. This greatly disturbed the rishis engaged in austerities. They cursed him that he would forget about his strength and would remember it only when reminded by someone [27]. Hence on the eve of his leaping across the sea to find Sita’s whereabouts, Jambavan had to remind him of his strength.

In another story from his childhood, Shiva comes to Ayodhya in the guise of a juggler along with Hanuman to see the child, Rama. Rama takes a fancy to the monkey and befriends him. So Shiva leaves him with Rama. After spending some years there, Hanuman goes to Kishkindha, as advised by Rama.[28]

The sun god, Surya, had offered to become Hanuman’s tutor. When the latter approached him, Surya put a condition. Since Surya had to keep moving, Hanuman would have to keep walking with his face towards the Sun. Hanuman accepted the condition. With his book open in his hands, his eyes fxed on the Sun, Hanuman kept walking backwards in the sky, synchronizing his steps with the Sun’s movement. In this way, he mastered grammar and other academic disciplines.[29]

A Versatile Genius[edit]

In Sri Sri Rama Rasayana, a Bengali version of the Ramayana, we find that Hanuman learned the Shastras from Rama himself. In the Muktika Upanishad, we see Rama teaching him Vedanta and explaining him the different types of mukti. In Rama-rahasya Upanishad, we have him in a teacher’s role. In the Mahabharata, Hanuman discourses Bhima on the characteristics of the four varnas, and the duties of the king and the people.[30]In his Vinay Patrika, Tulsidas salutes him as ‘Vedantavid, vividha-vidya-vishada, veda-vedangavid, brahmavadi; knower of Vedanta, proficient in various sciences, authority on the Vedas and their auxiliaries, and an expounder of the lore of Brahman.’ [31]He is also ‘a kalādhara [master of arts] par excellence’—a renowned dancer and singer, and a master musician, sangītācārya. According to Kalindaji, a critic of Sangita Parijata, a work based on Hanuman’s theory of music, there are three principal exponents of music: Hanuman, Shardula, and Kahala, Shiva being the lord of music.[32] Bulcke enumerates seventeen adjectives used by Valmiki and others to eulogize Hanuman’s intellectual genius.[33]

On completing his education with Surya, Hanuman insisted on offering his guru-dakshinā, the preceptor’s fee. Surya asked him to serve Sugriva, his son, who was not as strong and powerful as Bali, the chief of the vanaras. This brought Hanuman into Sugriva’s service.

Meeting Rama proved to be the high point of Hanuman’s career. This was also a turning point in both their lives. According to the Kamba Ramayana, Hanuman displayed his power to Rama by expanding his body into a colossal form; and according to the evidence of the Adbhuta Ramayana, Rama showed him his Vishnu form in turn. In the Valmiki Ramayana, however, Hanuman meets Rama in the foothills of Mount Rishyamuka, disguised as a mendicant at the behest of Sugriva. He had been sent to find out what brought the brothers there and, if they were not Bali’s allies, to offer them Sugriva’s hand of friendship. During this meeting, Rama observes Hanuman’s unusual abilities and tells Lakshmana:

'He is the counselor of the vanara king Sugriva, and has approached me at his behest. He has mastery over language. It is impossible for anyone to converse like him without attaining command over the Rig, Yajur, and Sama Vedas. His proficiency in grammar is thorough; he has studied it many times over. And though he has spoken so much, he has not uttered a single word out of place or irrelevant to the context. There was no grimace on his face, eyes, forehead, or brow, nor any inappropriate gesture from any other part of his body. His diction is neither expansive nor elliptical, neither too slow nor too fast. The thoughts in his heart, escaping his throat, are expressed in a medium tone. His language is cultured, attractive, and beatific, and his manner, neither gushing nor tardy. How can the objectives of a king, who does not have such an illustrious emissary, ever be accomplished?'[34]

Erudition apart, Hanuman has great sensitivity and excellent communication skills. While speaking with Rama and Lakshmana, he uses flawless Sanskrit; but he decides against it when he has to introduce himself to Sita in the Ashokavana. He deliberates: ‘I am a monkey, and if I speak Sanskrit as the high-bred twice-born do, she may be scared, taking me to be Ravana in a fresh disguise. How can a monkey speak with her except in a dialect?’ He therefore, ‘spoke in a language which must have been the ordinary spoken tongue (mānusīmiha sanskritām) in either Kosala or Mithila’.[35]In counseling Sugriva, when the latter becomes negligent in his duty towards Rama; in advising Angada, when he is contemplating suicide and nursing thoughts of revolt against Sugriva; in dealing with Mount Mainaka, and the demonesses Surasa and Simhika while crossing the ocean; and in teaching a lesson to Lankini, or Lanka-lakshmi, the presiding demoness of Lanka, at the city’s threshold, Hanuman’s tact, tactical skills, and physical strength are on display.

The excellence of his character is also noteworthy. In the course of his search for Sita, when he walks into Ravana’s harem and sees his mistresses in various states of undress, he is filled with contrition for invading their privacy. His spiritual wisdom and diplomatic skills are simultaneously expressed in his discourse to Ravana in the latter’s court. In the Ashokavana, when he finds Sita in a miserable condition—being threatened by Ravana and the attending demonesses—his reaction of empathic pain on the one hand and his deliberation over the pros and cons of the next course of action highlight both his humanness and decision-making abilities.

In recounting the events of Rama’s life to Janaki in the Ashokavana and to Bharata in Ayodhya, Hanuman becomes the frst narrator of the Ramayana. Legend also has it that the Sanskrit drama Mahanataka or Hanuman-nataka was authored by Hanuman and inscribed by him on the rocks of a mountain. When Valmiki read it, he was both delighted and worried: delighted because of the sheer exquisiteness of the work and worried because he felt that his Ramayana might lose its pre-eminent status once people read Mahanataka. On coming to know of Valmiki’s apprehension, Hanuman threw those rocks into the sea. Much later, this work was retrieved, albeit in a disfgured and substantially damaged condition, during the reign of King Bhoja, who had it restored by Damodar Mishra, his courtier.[36]

Hanuman namo.jpeg

Hanuman is not just a prodigious intellect or a practical mind; he is a virtual store-house of strength, valour, and versatility. Once he comes to know of his immense potential, he rises like a mountain of gold (kanaka-bhūdharākāra), resolves to fulfil the mission assigned to him, and ‘like the unfailing arrow from Rama’s bow, shoots across the ocean’, determined not to rest till his mission is accomplished. Single-handed, he devastates Ashokavana, decimates the demon-brigade, and kills their commander Aksha, the son of Ravana. Although blessed with Brahma’s boon that his missiles would do him no harm, out of respect for the Creator, he allows himself to be chained by the Brahmastra thrown at him by Indrajit. Unfazed, he appears before Ravana in his court and interacts with him in the presence of his commanders and courtiers. Neither is he perturbed when his tail is set ablaze; instead, he ‘breaks into laughter, and roars as he touches the sky’. He earns the gratitude of practically all the major characters on Rama’s side—Sugriva, Vibhishana, Lakshmana, and Vaidehi. Rama himself declared his indebtedness to him more than once: ‘The task accomplished by you is difficult even for the mighty gods to achieve. I do not know how to repay my debt to you. I offer you all that is mine’; saying so Rama held Hanuman in tight embrace.[37]

Besides the major battle where we see Hanuman’s prowess, we also come across his amazing encounters with demons like Mahiravana and Airavana, and Mairavana. The Mahabharata records how, in his old age, Hanuman humbled the mighty Bhima. In another episode, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the latter’s chariot was safe as long as Hanuman was resting on its flag; Kapidhvaja—one having Hanuman as insignia on the flag—is one of Arjuna’s many epithets. ‘The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama, and hence Lord Rama emerged victorious. Now, both Rama and Hanuman were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Krishna is Rama himself and wherever Lord Rama is, his eternal servitor, Hanuman, and His consort Sita, the goddess of fortune (Lakshmi), are present. Therefore Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemy whatsoever.’[38]

Bulcke records nearly seventy adjectives that have been used to eulogize Hanuman’s valour and strength in the Valmiki Ramayana and other texts.[39]

Mahavira: An Ideal[edit]

Rama hanuman signet.jpg

Two pictures of Hanuman come to our mind, almost simultaneously. In one, we see him ‘with hands folded together in the anjali pose, expression on the face one of humility and devotion, kneeling on one leg as if receiving benediction from his lord and master, Rama’;[40]and the other: colossus like, with mace in one hand and the Sanjivani hill in the other, striding across the heavens. In Rajasthani paintings, artists celebrate ‘his humanness, devotion, and humility’ [41]; in Mughal art, ‘his deeds marked him as heroic, intelligent, dauntless, enterprising, kind, humble and devout servitor … The most enchanting and dynamic representation of Hanuman is to be seen in folk style illustrations in small-size manuscripts’ [42].

The mighty Hanuman with phenomenal physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual powers—is yet a picture of humility in Rama’s presence. In the words of Sri Ramakrishna, he is established in the belief that ‘as long as I have the feeling of “I”, I see that Thou art the whole and I am a part; Thou art the Master and I am Thy servant. But when, O Rāma, I have the knowledge of Truth, then I realize that Thou art I, and I am Thou.’ [43] This is not just an abstract or intellectual realization. For Ramakrishna, who, taking Hanuman as his ideal, had himself practiced dāsya sādhanā—spiritual practice with the attitude of a servant—Hanuman lives this realization in his practical life. Ramakrishna says, ‘Hanuman kept the “servant ego” after realizing God in both His Personal and His Impersonal aspects. He thought of himself as the servant of God.’ This is the ‘ego of Devotion’ (500). Though having all the siddhis or supernatural powers in his possession, he uses them only to accomplish rāma-kārya, Rama’s mission.

Swami Vivekananda says: As on the one hand Hanuman represents the ideal of service, so on the other he represents leonine courage, striking the whole world with awe. He has not the least hesitation in sacrificing his life for the good of Rama. A supreme indifference to everything except the service of Rama, even to the attainment of the status of Brahma and Shiva, the great World-gods! Only the carrying out of Sri Rama’s behest is the one vow of his life! Such whole hearted devotion is wanted.[44]

And then, Vivekananda adds: ‘The Damaru and horn have to be sounded, drums are to be beaten so as to raise the deep and martial notes, and with “Mahavira [Hanuman]” “Mahavira” on your lips … the quarters are to be reverberated’ [45].

If, as Vivekananda wanted, our young men must possess ‘muscles of iron and nerves of steel’, there could be no better role-model than Hanuman, the Vajranga (or Bajranga): having a frame as hard as the thunderbolt.

Hanuman is also the epitome of wisdom, both mundane and spiritual. As Rama’s messenger, Hanuman also believes that the best envoy is one who, after having accomplished the assigned mission, does an extra task, not contrary to the original assignment.[46] Thus, while in Lanka, not only does he trace Sita’s whereabouts, he also warns Ravana and tries to persuade him to give up his evil designs, discovers Vibhishana as a potential ally, and inflicts considerable damage on the lives, property, and morale of the rakshasas.

In the role of Sugriva’s minister, Hanuman tries diplomatically to bring him back to his senses when, drunk with power and passion, he forgets his duty to Rama. It was Hanuman who, in the frst place, introduced Sugriva to Rama. He counselled Vibhishana as a friend and, in the face of opposition from Sugriva and others, facilitated Vibhishana’s refuge in Rama. In doing so, Hanuman acts as both Sugriva’s and Vibhishana’s guru.

Vivekananda says: Shri Rama was the Paramatman. Sita was the Jivatman, and each man’s or woman’s body was the Lanka. Sita, thus imprisoned and trying to unite with her Lord, receives a visit from Hanuman, the Guru or divine teacher, who shows her the Lord’s ring, which is Brahma-Jnana, the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions; and thus Sita finds the way to be at one with Shri Rama, or in other words, the Jivatman finds itself one with the Paramatman [47].

Though Hanuman is content with remaining a servant, he has become a cult fgure. Today he is the most celebrated ‘devotee-deity’ of India. Sita had blessed him thus: ‘People will worship your image to get out of trouble—in towns, gardens, cities, villages, homes, cow-sheds, pathways, temples, forests, and places of pilgrimage; on hills, near rivers and ponds; in orchards and basil-clusters, under bo and banyan trees. Just by remembering your name, they would succeed in warding off evil spirits.’ [48]

It is well known that Tulsidas would recite the Hanuman Bahuka to cure himself of his serious arm ailment; and to ward off calamities, he would chant the ‘Sankata-mochana-stotra’. Today, these and the Hanuman Chalisa are chanted in temples and the homes of millions of people, every morning and evening. ‘Hanuman, the monkey god and devotee of Rama, grants us the power of higher life-force (Prana) that elevates the mind and increases our devotion.’ [49]

The worship of Hanuman cuts across sects and communities: ‘Śrī Vaishnavas worship Garuda and Hanumān alike as the mounts of Vishnu. Hanumān is also a manifestation of śakti (śaktirūpa). The tāntrikas worship one-headed, five-headed and eleven-headed Hanumān for spiritual attainment.’ [50]. He is worshiped by the Shaivas as an incarnation of Shiva or the eleventh Rudra. Madhvacharya, the founder of the Dvaita school of Vaishnava philosophy, called himself the incarnation of Hanuman. ‘His [Hanuman’s] image can be seen repeated in stone carvings, masks, ballet performances and the minor arts of Bali, Java, Thailand etc. where the Ramayana is a living force till today’ [51][52].

‘The worship of the deities—primarily Ganeśa, Skanda, Sarasvati, the Mothers as also Bhairon and Hanumān—has got so much importance in the Jainism of today that the cult of the Tīrthankaras has strongly receded behind it.’ [53]

‘It is certain, at all events, that none of the larger villages of India is without its image of the monkey-king Hanuman and that monkeys are swarming in many temples and are treated with great forbearance and love.’ [54]

This article is concluded by an excerpt from an episode from the ‘Yuddha Kanda’:

Ramachandra gave Sita a pearl necklace, glittering like the moonbeams, along with bright garments and beautiful ornaments. Sita looked at them, and then gave them to Hanuman. Next, removing her own necklace, she looked repeatedly at the assembled vanaras as well as at her husband. Rama, understanding her intent, told her to give that to the one with whom she was most pleased. Sita gave the necklace to Pavanaputra, who was possessed of [such ‘pearl-like’ attributes as] energy, fortitude, glory, dexterity, efficacy, humility, statesmanship, valour, prowess, and discernment. Hanuman wore the necklace and shone like a mountain lighted up by the moonbeams.’ [55]

Rāmāyana-mahāmālā-ratnam vande’nilātmajam. 

Our obeisance to the son of the Wind, a veritable jewel in the great necklace that is the Ramayana.


  1. Valmiki Ramayana, 7.36.44.
  2. ādikavi : first or foremost among poets
  3. Brahma, the Creator
  4. Valmiki Ramayana, 1.2.36–7
  5. Mahabharata, 3.147.37; Adhyatma Ramayana,6.16.12–14; Ananda Ramayana, 1.12.141–5.
  6. The eight cirañjīvins are the eight immortals. The other seven are: Ashvatthama, Bali, Vyasa, Vibhishana, Kripacharya, Parashurama, and Markandeya.
  7. See the Telugu Ranganatha Ramayana, 4.3; PadmaPurana, ‘Patala Khanda’, 112.135; the Tamil Kamba Ramayana, 4.2.35; and the Malay Seri Rama.
  8. aurasa : born of oneself
  9. ksetraja : wife’s off-spring by a duly appointed person
  10. Valmiki Ramayana, 4.66.30. See Manu Smriti, 9.159–60 for the twelve types of sons listed by ancient Indian lawmakers
  11. Valmiki Ramayana, 4.66.18–20.
  12. See Rig Veda, 10.86; and Shanti Lal Nagar, Hanumanin Art, Culture, Thought and Literature (New Delhi: Intellectual, 1995), chapter 3
  13. A A Macdonell, A History of Sanskrit Literature(Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1962), 262–3.
  14. Camille Bulcke, Ramkatha: Utpatti aur Vikas(Prayag: Prayag Vishwavidyalaya, 1999), 85.
  15. Camille Bulcke, Ramkatha: Utpatti aur Vikas(Prayag: Prayag Vishwavidyalaya, 1999), 92.
  16. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 9 vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1–8, 1989; 9, 1997),4.70.
  17. See Hanuman in Art, Culture, Thought and Literature, chapter 21.
  18. See Hanuman in Art, Culture, Thought and Literature, chapter 21.
  19. Jinendra Varni, Jainendra Siddhanta Kosha (New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnan Pith; 2000, 2002), 1.346;3.464, 475; 4.529.
  20. Adhyatma Ramayana, 4.7.19–21.
  21. K M Panikkar, A Survey of Indian History (Bombay:National Information and Publications, 1947).
  22. Tulsidas, Vinay Patrika, 26.1, 25.3, 27.1.
  23. Krittivasa Ramayana, 6.129.
  24. Kamba Ramayana, 5.13.
  25. Tulsidas, Ramcharitmanas, 5.16.2; 5.31.4.
  26. Valmiki Ramayana, 4.66.21–9, 7.35.22–65, 7.36.1–27.
  27. Valmiki Ramayana,7.36.28–36
  28. Shantanu Vihari Dwivedi, Bhaktaraj Hanuman (Gorakhpur: Gita Press), 13.
  29. Valmiki Ramayana, 7.36.45; Tulsidas, Hanuman Bahuka, 4.
  30. Mahabharata, ‘Vana Parva’, chapters 149–50.
  31. Vinay Patrika, 26.8.
  32. K C Aryan and Subhashini Aryan, Hanuman in Art and Mythology (Delhi: Rekha, 1975), 71.
  33. Ramkatha: Utpatti aur Vikas, 539.
  34. Valmiki Ramayana, 4.3.26–34.
  35. Dewan Bahadur Ramaswami Sastri, Studies in Ramayana (Baroda: Department of Education, 1954), 123. See also Valmiki Ramayana, 5.30.17–19.
  36. Munnalal Abhimanyu, Hanuman-natakam (Varanasi:Chowkhamba, 1992), 6–7. According to some, it was Vikramaditya who had the work restored.
  37. Adhyatma Ramayana, 5.5.60–1.
  38. Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita as It Is (Bombay:Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1989), 50–1. In Hanuman Bahuka, Tulsidas refers to Hanuman’s presence on Arjuna’s chariot and says that his roar created commotion among the Kaurava forces.
  39. Ramkatha: Utpatti aur Vikas, 535.
  40. Hanuman in Art and Mythology, 21.
  41. Hanuman in Art and Mythology, 35.
  42. Hanuman in Art and Mythology, 33,38.
  43. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nikhilananda (Chennai: Ramakrishna Math, 2002), 105.
  44. Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 7.232.
  45. Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 7.233.
  46. Bhatti, Bhattikavya (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1952), 8.127.
  47. Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 5.415.
  48. Ananda Ramayana, 1.12.147–9.
  49. David Frawley, Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing of Consciousness (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,2006), 253.
  50. Hanuman in Art and Mythology, 19.
  51. Hanuman in Art and Mythology, 20-1.
  52. This work also includes a painting (plate 65) by an unknown seventeenth-century Muslim worshiper of Hanuman from Western India.
  53. Helmuth von Glasenapp, Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1999),407.
  54. Maurice Winternitz, A History of Indian Literature,2 vols (Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1927),1.478.
  55. Valmiki Ramayana, 6.131.78–83.

Originally published as "Hanuman: Valour, Wisdom, Humility, and Devotion," by Prabuddha Bharata, October 2008 Edition PDF. Reprinted with permission.

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