Anjana: Mother of Hanuman

An insight from the concept of Anjaneyam: Hanuman’s Ramayana Hanuman was born to the humanoid creatures called the vanaras. His mother Anjana was an Apsara named Puñjikastalā, who was born on earth as a vanara princess due to a curse from sage Durvasa, and she married Kesari, a vanara chief. She was redeemed from this curse on her giving birth to a son. The Valmiki Ramayana states that his father Kesari was the son of Brihaspati and that Kesari also fought on Rama’s side in the war against Ravana. Anjana and Kesari performed intense prayers to Shiva to get a child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva granted them the boon they sought. Hanuman, in another interpretation, is the incarnation or reflection of Shiva himself. Hanuman is often called the son of the deity Vayu; several different legends account for the Vayu’s role in Hanuman’s birth. One story mentioned in Eknath’s Bhavartha Ramayana (16th century CE) states that when Anjana was worshiping Shiva, the King Dasharatha of Ayodhya was also performing the ritual of Putrakama yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred pudding (payasam) to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. King Dasaratha gave the pudding to Kausalya and Kaikeyi. However as Dasaratha was about to hand over the pudding to Queen Sumithra, a bird snatched the payasam and flew away from there. Both Kausalya and Kaikeyi immediately gave a portion of their own pudding to Queen Sumithra, because of which Queen Sumithra gave birth to twins – Lakshmana and Shatrugana. Queen Kausalya gave birth to Ram, the hero of Ramayana and Queen Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat. The bird which stole the payasam also has a story. The bird was actually an Apsara – Suvarchala. Suvarchala was very impulsive and often acted without thinking. Once because of her impulsive behaviour, Lord Brahma got very angry with her and cursed her that she would become a bird. Suvarchala promised Lord Brahma that she had repented her ways. Lord Brahma said that his words could not be taken back and that Suvarchala would have to go to earth and stay as a bird. Lord Brahma however modified the curse and said that Suvarchala was to be freed from her curse if she touched the pudding given by Lord Agni to Dasaratha. Eager to have her curse lifted, Suvarchala snatched the pudding from Queen Sumitra. Immediately she changed form and became an apsara. The payasam fell from the bird’s claws and was falling to the ground when Vayu, the Wind God following the orders of Lord Shiva, blew the pudding softly without spilling it to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it. Hanuman was born to her as a result and was named “Anjaneyan, the son of Anjana. Birthplace of HanumanThere are multiple places in India are claimed as the birthplace of Hanuman 1) According to one theory, Hanuman was born on Anjaneya Hill, in Hampi, Karnataka.This is located near the Risyamukha mountain on the banks of the Pampa, where Monkey King Sugreeva and Lord Rama are said to have met in Ramayana Legend. 2) Anjan, a small village about 18 km away from Gumla, Bihar , houses ANJAN DHAM , which is said to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. The name of the village is derived from the name of the goddess Maa Anjani, the mother of Hanuman. Aanjani Cave, 4 km from the village, is believed to be the place where Mata Aanjani once lived. Many objects and items of archaeological importance obtained from this site are now held at the Patna Museum. 3) The Anjaneri (or Anjneri) mountain, located 8 km from Trimbakeshwar in the Nasik district, is also claimed as the birthplace of Hanuman. One has to trek around 6 kms up from the base of the trek to reach the birth place. 4) A cave in a hill near Gokarna, one of the oldest temple towns of India, is also said to be the birthplace of Hanuman. This cave has had a Hanuman temple for a long time. Gokarna, situated in west coast of Karnataka, is known for Atma Linga of Shiva, installed by Ganapathi to save it from the hands of Ravana long before Ramayana days.

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