Along with Kesari, Anjana performed intense prayers to Shiva to beget Him as her Child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva granted them the boon they sought.
Different stories are told as to Hanuman's birth. One is that at the time that Anjana was worshipping Lord Shiva, elsewhere, Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya, was performing the Putrakama Yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred pudding, to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding, and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu, the Hindu deity of the wind, delivered the falling pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it. Hanuman was born to her as a result.
Being Anjana's son, Hanuman is also called Anjaneya (pronounced Aanjanèya), which literally means "arising from Anjani".
Hanuman, in one interpretation, is also considered as the incarnation of Shiva or reflection of Shiva. Others, such as followers of Dvaita consider Hanuman to be the son of Vayu or a manifestation of Vayu, the god of wind. When Ravana tried to enter the Himalayas (the abode of Shiva) Nandi stopped him and Ravana called Nandi a monkey. Nandi in return cursed Ravana: monkeys would help destroy him. In the process word monkey along with panchaksram "Om Namashivaya" hit Shiva. Shiva, to give respect to his devotee, took the form of a vanara, Hanuman.
References to Hanuman in classical literature could be found as early as those of 5th to 1st century BC in Panini's Astadhyayi, Abhiseka Nataka, Pratima Nataka and Raghuvamsa (Kalidasa).
On ascertaining Surya, the Hindu deity of the sun to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested that Surya accept him as a student. But Surya refused, claiming that as he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn effectively. Undeterred by Surya's refusal, Hanuman enlarged his body; he placed one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges and with his face turned toward the sun, made his request again. Pleased by his persistence, Surya accepted. Hanuman then moved (backwards, to remain facing Surya) continuously with his teacher, and learned all of the latter's knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his "guru-dakshina" (teacher's fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. But Hanuman insisted, and it was then that Surya asked him to help his (Surya's) spiritual son Sugriva. Hanuman's choice of Surya as his teacher is said to signify Surya as a Karma Saakshi, an eternal witness of all deeds.
Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realising that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him. By this curse Hanuman forgot his own prowess, and recollected it only when others reminded him about it. It is hypothesised that without this curse, the entire course of the Ramayana war might have been different, for he demonstrated phenomenal abilities during the war, despite the curse. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kanda and Sundara Kanda when Jambavantha reminds Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita.
The Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana, focuses mainly on the adventures of Hanuman and the story is as follows.
Having seen Rama and Lakshmana, Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches the two brothers in the guise of a brahmin. His first words to them are such that Rama says to Lakshmana that none could speak the way the brahmin did unless he or she had mastered the Vedas. He notes that there is no defect in the brahmin's countenance, eyes, forehead, brows or any limb. He points out to Lakshmana that his accent is captivating, adding that even an enemy with sword drawn would be moved. He praises the disguised Hanuman further, saying that sure success awaited the king whose emissaries were as accomplished as he was.
When Rama introduces himself, Hanuman reveals his own identity and falls prostrate before Rama, who embraces him warmly. Thereafter, Hanuman's life becomes interwoven inextricably with that of Rama. Hanuman then brings about a friendship and alliance between Rama and Sugriva; Rama helps Sugriva regain his honour and makes him king of Kishkindha. Sugriva and his vanaras, most notably Hanuman, help Rama defeat Ravana and reunite with Sita.
In their search for Sita, a group of Vanaras reaches the southern seashore. Upon encountering the vast ocean, every vanara begins to lament his inability to jump across the water. Hanuman too is saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras, and especially the wise bear Jambavantha begin to extol his virtues. Hanuman then recollects his own powers, enlarges his body and flies across the ocean. On his way, he encounters a mountain that rises from the sea, proclaims that it owed his father a debt and asks him to rest a while before proceeding. Not wanting to waste any time, Hanuman thanks the mountain and carries on. He then encounters a sea-monster who challenges him to enter her mouth. When Hanuman outwits her, she admits that it was merely a test of his courage. Finally on killing Simhika, a shadow-eater rakshasa, he reached Lanka.
When Lakshmana is severely wounded by Indrajit during the war against Ravana, Hanuman is sent to fetch the Sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb from the Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas to revive him. Ravana realises that if Lakshmana dies, a distraught Rama would probably give up, and so has his uncle Kalnaimi tempt Hanuman away with luxury. However, Hanuman is tipped off by a crocodile (actually a celestial being under a curse) and kills the Rakshasa. When he is unable to find the specific herb before nightfall, Hanuman again displays his might by lifting the entire Dronagiri mountain and bringing it to the battlefield in Lanka, thus helping others find the herb to revive Lakshmana. An emotional Rama hugs Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own beloved brother Bharat.
In another incident during the war (the one that brought about Hanuman's Panchamukha form), Rama and Lakshmana are captured by the rakshasa, Mahiravana (and his brother Ahiravana), a powerful practitioner of black magic and the dark arts, who holds them captive in his palace in Patalpuri or Patala (the nether world).Mahiravan keeps them as offerings to his deity. Searching for them, Hanuman reaches Patala whose gates are guarded by a very young creature called Makardhwaja (known also as Makar-Dhwaja or Magar Dhwaja), part reptile and part Vanara.
The story of Makardhwaja's birth is that although Hanuman remained celibate all his life, Makardhwaja was his son; when Hanuman had extinguished his burning tail in the ocean, unknown to him, a drop of his sweat had fallen in as well. Swallowing this sweat droplet, a crocodile then becomes pregnant. This is discovered when the fish is brought to Mahiravana's kitchen for cooking. Mahiravana raises the child, entrusting him to guard Patalpuri's gates. Hanuman is unaware of this. Although Makardhwaja knows his father is Hanuman, he had never seen him. So, when Hanuman introduces himself to Makardhwaja, he seeks Hanuman's blessings, but decides to fight him as part of his duty as guardian of the gates. Hanuman subdues him and ties him up before entering Patalpuri to rescue Rama and Lakshmana.
Upon entering Patala, Hanuman discovers that to kill Mahiravana, he must simutaneously extinguish five lamps burning in different directions. Hanuman assumes the Panchamukha or five-faced form of Sri Varaha facing north, Sri Narasimha facing south, Sri Garuda facing west, Sri Hayagriva facing the sky and his own facing the east, and blows out the lamps. Thus killing rakshasas, Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana. Afterwards, Rama asks Hanuman to crown Makardhwaja king of Patalpuri.
Hanuman continues to play an indispensable role in the war.
After the victory of Rama over Ravana, Hanuman went to the Himalayas to continue his worship of the Lord. There he scripted a version of the Ramayana on the Himalayan mountains using his nails, recording every detail of Rama's deeds. When Maharishi Valmiki visited him to show him his own version of the Ramayana, he also saw Lord Hanuman's version and became very disappointed.
When Hanuman asked him the cause of his sorrow, he said that his version, which he had created very laboriously was no match for the splendour of Hanuman's, and would therefore, go ignored. At this, Hanuman took those rocks on one shoulder and Valmiki on the other, and went to the sea. There he threw his own version into the sea, as an offering to Rama. This version, called the Hanumad Ramayana, has been unavailable since then.
Maharishi Valmiki was so taken aback that he said he would take another birth to sing the glory of Hanuman which he had understated in his version. Later, one tablet is said to have floated ashore during the period of Mahakavi Kalidasa, and hung at a public place to be deciphered by scholars. Kalidasa is said to have deciphered it and recognised that it was from the Hanumad Ramayana recorded by Hanuman in an extinct script, and considered himself very fortunate to see at least one pada of the stanza.
More significantly, during the great battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna entered the battlefield with the flag of Hanuman on his chariot. The incident that led to this was an earlier encounter between Hanuman and Arjuna; Hanuman appeared as a small talking monkey before Arjuna at Rameshwaram, where Sri Rama had built the great bridge to cross over to Lanka to rescue Sita. Upon Arjuna's wondering out aloud at Sri Rama's taking the help of monkeys rather than building a bridge of arrows, Hanuman (in the form of the little monkey) challenged him to build one capable of bearing him alone, and Arjuna, unaware of the monkey's true identity accepted. Hanuman then proceeded to repeatedly destroy the bridges made by Arjuna who became depressed and suicidal, and decided to take his own life. Vishnu then appeared before them both, chiding Arjuna for his vanity, and Hanuman for making the accomplished warrior Arjuna feel incompetent. As an act of penitence, Hanuman decided to help Arjuna by stabilising and strengthening his chariot during the imminent great battle. Legend goes that Hanuman is one of the three people to have heard the Gita from Lord Sri Krishna himself, the other two being Arjuna and Sanjaya.
The mind, being ever fickle, jumps from place to place, obtaining everything in its path and engaging in numerous activities that brings no peace to the surroundings. The mind can travel to any place and fly anywhere and cross to other parts of the world such is the power of the mind.
The mind can also expand or contract, and if it remains under the control of animal passions and sensory activities, it will become unstable and devious. Hence, the mind of Hanuman is always under this fluctuation.
However, once surrendering occurs to the inner self and the mind becomes devoted unconditionally, the mind can obtain miraculous powers and perform stupendous feats like that of Lord Hanuman. When one's mind reaches this state in working for the divine, it helps the lower self (Sita) and Soul (Rama) to come together and become united.
There have been numerous prophets who claimed to have seen Hanuman in modern times, notably Madhvacharya (13 Century A.D.), Tulsidas (16th century), Sri Ramdas Swami (17th century)and Raghavendra Swami (17th century), Swami Ramdas (20th century).
Others have also asserted his presence wherever the Ramayana is read (in Sanskrit, not translated):
यत्र यत्र रघुनाथ कीर्तनम् तत्र तत्र क्रित मस्तक अन्जलिं बष्पावरी परीपूर्ण लोचनम् मारुतिं नमश्च राक्षस अंतकम्।
That wherever the deeds of Sri Rama are sung,
At all such places does Hanuman cry tears of devotion and joy,At all such places does his presence remove the fear of demons.
This can be found in many other texts like Vinaya Patrika by Tulsidas, Mahabharta by Ved Vyasa, Anand Ramayan and many others with slight variation in language/Sentence. Even the places where holy function of Ramayanpath is taking place, there is a special puja and space (or asan) reserved for Hanuman.
There are numerous temples for Hanuman, and his images are usually installed at all temples where images of avataras of Vishnu are installed. Hanuman temples can be found in many places for the reason that the area and the surroundings are free from 'Rakhshasas' and 'evils'. This was a presentational 'Varam' to him by Rama and Sita. Hanuman idols are found on mountain roads because it is believed that he protects people from accidents.
The Hanuman temple at Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India is situated inside SIES complex. The Hanuman idol is tall and is installed on a pedestal of height , bringing the total height to . In the picture shown, Hanuman has silver coverings (Silver Kavasam).
An Karya Siddhi Hanuman murthi was installed at Carapichaima-Trinidad and Tobago, by Avadhoota Dattapeetham Pontiff Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda. (Tallest in the Western hemisphere and second tallest in the world)
Swaminarayan, founder of the Hindu Swaminarayan sects (including BAPS), holds that other than worship of God through the Narayana Kavacha, a devotional hymn, Hanuman is the only other deity who may be worshiped in the event of trouble by evil spirits.
Some famous Hanuman (Anjaneya) Temples are:
Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami was the main deity of Sri Raghavendra Swami. The place where he meditated on this five-faced form of Hanuman is now known as Panchamukhi, wherein a temple for him has been built. There is also a shrine for Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. A tall monolithic green granite murti of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has been installed in Thiruvallur, also in Tamil Nadu. This place was known as Rudravanam in olden times when many saints and seers had blessed this place with their presence. The Panchamukha Hanuman Ashram itself was established by a saint called Venkatesa Battar.
Hanuman assumed this form to kill Mahiravana, a powerful rakshasa black-magician and practitioner of the dark arts during the Ramayana war. Mahiravana had taken Lord Rama and Lakshmana captive, and the only way to kill him was to extinguish five lamps burning in different directions, all at the same instant. Hanuman assumed His Panchamukha form and accomplished the task, thus killing the rakshasa, and freeing Rama and Lakshmana.
This form of Hanuman is very popular, and is also known as Panchamukha Anjaneya and Panchamukhi Anjaneya. (Anjaneya, which means "son of Anjana", is another name of Hanuman).
Every Face of Sri Panchamukha Hanuman has significance —
In the Ramayana,Hanuman is said to have rescued Shani, that is, the planet Saturn, from the clutches of Ravana. In gratitude, Shani promised Hanuman that those who prayed to him (Hanuman) would be rescued from the painful effects of Saturn, which in Hindu astrology, is said to produce malefic effects on one's life when one is afflicted "negatively" with Saturn.
Another version of the encounter between Lord Hanuman and Shani Bhagavan is that the latter once climbed on to Lord Hanuman's shoulder, implying that he (Hanuman) was coming under the effects of the influence of Shani. At this, Hanuman assumed a large size, and Shani was caught painfully between Hanuman's shoulders and the ceiling of the room they were in. As the pain was unbearable, Shani requested Hanuman to release him, promising that if a person prayed to Hanuman, he (Shani) would moderate the malefic effects of his influence on that person; following this, Hanuman released Shani.
One more version of the story behind why Lord Shani stays away from those who remember the Lord Ram's name. Once Lord Hanuman was sitting silently absorbed in deep meditation of Lord Rama. Lord Shani passed by and he felt to tease Hanuman. He started teasing Hanuman by pulling his tail, and pinching. Hanuman warned him to go away as he is his Guru's (Lord Sun) son, and so he respects him. When Shani did not hear, then Hanuman started to give him a good thrash. In the end, Shani pleaded to leave him and Hanuman took a promise from him that Shani will never ever go near a devotee who is meditating on Lord Rama.
There is a spiritual interpretation of the relation between Lord Hanuman and Lord Shani. The former is said to be a symbol of selflessness, while the latter is symbolic of ego and pride. Thus, to counter the karma borne out of selfish action, one must be humble like Lord Hanuman. This is particularly true for those who are said to be experiencing the evil effects of Sade Sati - a period of about seven and half years when Saturn (Lord Shani) is supposed to afflict the sign in which "planet," the moon is placed in the natal chart of a person.