In the Hindu pantheon, it is not unusual to come across gods with animal features. For instance, there is Lord Ganesha, who has an elephant’s head. We have Narasimha, who has a lion’s face. Goddess Varahi has a boar’s face. Hanuman is the deity with a monkey’s face.
Hanuman or Veer Hanuman/Veera Anjaneya, as he is also called, on account of his strength and courage, is well-known to all Hindus as the devoted companion of Lord Rama who helped him to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Hanuman’s devotion to Rama is legendary. He once tore open his chest to show that Rama was within him!
Story of Veera Anjaneya
It is said that Hanuman was actually an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He was born to Anjana, an apsara (celestial maiden) who was cursed by a sage to turn into a monkey if she fell in love. Anjana had come across what she thought was a monkey meditating in the Padmasana (lotus pose) in the forest. Finding it hilarious, she had thrown some fruits at the ‘monkey’. To her chagrin, the monkey was actually a sage. He was furious that his penance had been disturbed and cursed her.
The distraught Anjana begged him to forgive her and take back his curse. But he replied that he was helpless. However, he assured her that the man she loved would love her despite her monkey face.
It so happened that Brahma wanted to reward Anjana for her services. When he asked her what she wanted, she asked him to deliver her from the curse. So Brahma told her to go down to earth and live there. There, she would meet the man she was destined to fall in love with. Brahma told her that she needed to give birth to an incarnation of Shiva to be freed of the curse.
Anjana falls in love
Everything happened, as Brahma said. Anjana met a man and fell in love with him. Immediately she turned into a monkey. But the man she loved was Kesari, the king of the monkeys. He had a monkey’s face and a human body as he had the power to take any form he wanted. He told Anjana that Shiva had given him magical powers. He also wanted her to be his wife. So Anjana married him, and they lived happily in the forest. Anjana did rigorous penance to please Shiva. One day Shiva appeared before her and granted her wish to give birth to his incarnation.
The divine kheer
When King Dasharatha of Ayodhya performed the Putrakameshti Yagna to have a son, Agni (Fire God) gave him some kheer and told him to distribute it among his three wives so that they would conceive. But a kite snatched some of the kheer and flew away with it. The kite dropped it in the place where Anjana was meditating. Seeing this, Vayu (Wind God) caught it and placed it in Anjana’s hand. Thinking it was a gift from Shiva, Anjana ate it. Soon, she gave birth to a monkey-faced son and was freed of her curse. He was named Anjaneya (son of Anjana).
How Anjaneya became Veer Hanuman
As a child, Anjaneya was very naughty. Once, mistaking the sun for a fruit, he flew up to the sky in order to eat it. the sun became fearful and asked Lord Indra for help. Indra sent his thunderbolt ‘Vajra’ against the boy, and it struck his cheek. He fell to the ground, wounded. Seeing this, Vayu was enraged. He took Anjaneya and went to Patal or the underworld. Without air, people, animals and plants began to suffer terribly. Brahma scolded Indra for hurting Anjaneya. He, along with Indra and other gods, went to Patal and begged Vayu to return to earth. To mollify Vayu, Brahma cured Anjaneya’s injuries and blessed him, saying that no weapon on earth could harm him.
Indra also blessed him, saying that Anjaneya would be a Chiranjeevi or immortal. As he had taken aim at his ‘hanu’ (cheek), Anjaneya would hitherto be called Veer Hanuman, Indra added. This was how he got the name Veer Hanuman.
To get the blessings of Lord Hanuman, one can perform Maha Veera Anjaneya Homam. It has many benefits:
- It can bestow great strength and power
- It removes the adverse effects of Shani or Saturn
- It can cure physical and mental ailments
- Removes anxiety and bestows courage and self-confidence
- Helps you to overcome problems