Hanuman, the monkey god, is one of the most popular deities in Hindu mythology. His incredible strength, loyalty, and intelligence have inspired countless stories and legends. One of the most famous tales involves Hanuman attempting to eat the sun as a child. This event is significant in Hindu scriptures, as it is said to be the reason why Hanuman received numerous boons. However, many people are left wondering whether this story is actually true. Did Hanuman really eat the sun, or is it just a myth? In this article, we will explore the origins of this story and separate fact from fiction.
Who is Hanuman?
Before we delve into the story of Hanuman and the sun, let’s take a moment to understand who Hanuman is. Hanuman is a Hindu deity who is often depicted as a monkey or an ape. He is considered to be the son of the Vanara hero Kesari and the goddess Anjana. According to Hindu mythology, Hanuman was born by the grace of Vayu, the wind god, and is therefore also known as Vayu’s son. Hanuman is revered for his strength, courage, and intelligence, and is a prominent figure in Hindu epics such as the Ramayana.
The Story of Hanuman and the Sun
The story of Hanuman and the sun is a popular one among children and adults alike. According to the legend, Hanuman was a very naughty child who was also a voracious eater. One day, when he was one year old, his mother Anjana took him to the riverside and allowed him to play on the banks while she was having a bath. Hanuman indulged in numerous pranks and then climbed trees on the riverbank and ate all the fruits. But the fruits did not suffice his hunger. Then suddenly he saw the orange-colored sun slowly rising in the sky.
Hanuman thought this was some exceptional new big fruit and called out to his mother to come out and have a look at the fruit. Anjana thought it might be some fruit on a tree and allowed him to go for it. Hanuman immediately darted towards the sun. He soared up to the sky toward the sun. Anjana who came out of the waters saw her little baby flying towards the sun. She called her husband Kesari who could only watch in dismay.
Vayu, the wind god, was following him to protect him from the heat. The day happened to be the solar eclipse day, and Rahu was slowly moving to swallow the sun. Hanuman thought Rahu was some huge worm that was blocking his way and dashed towards it. Rahu fled and took refuge at the feet of Indra. He told Indra that a monkey was stopping him from his duty. Indra took his thunderbolt and rode on his elephant Airavata and attempted to stop Hanuman. But Hanuman attempted to get hold of the elephant. This angered Indra who hit Hanuman on his cheeks with his thunderbolt. The impact of the thunderbolt made Hanuman unconscious. He was caught by Vayu, who took him down to earth.
Is the Story True?
The story of Hanuman attempting to eat the sun is a popular one, but is it true? The answer is no. There is no evidence to suggest that Hanuman actually tried to eat the sun. In fact, the story is most likely a myth that was created to explain the solar eclipse phenomenon. The solar eclipse was not well understood in ancient times, and people often came up with myths and legends to explain it. The story of Hanuman and the sun is one such example.
The Origins of the Story
While the story of Hanuman eating the sun is a myth, it is still an important part of Hindu mythology. The origins of the story can be traced back to the Parasara Samhita, which is the only authentic book on Hanuman with complete details. According to the Samhita, Hanuman as an infant asks for food on a new moon day. His mother Anjana asks him to eat any fruit. Hanuman sees the rising sun, assumes it to be a fruit, and gets closer. Indra hits him with Vajrayudha on the cheek, and it swells. This event was later turned into the story of Hanuman attempting to eat the sun.
While the story of Hanuman and the sun may be a myth, it is still important to understand Hanuman’s childhood. According to the Valmiki Ramayana, Hanuman’s childhood is not described in detail. However, the Parasara Samhita provides some insight into Hanuman’s early years. When Hanuman was a child, Kesari was called away on duty by his chief Sugreeva. Anjana took care of her son, and Vayu, who was fond of the little Vanara, used to take care of him while Anjana was away.
When Anjana went out to the forest to get fruits, Vayu would play with Hanuman. He would push colorful leaves and flowers towards the child. When the child tried to grab them, he would blow them away. The little kid would run after the leaves and flowers, chasing them down the forest path across rivers and up the mountains.
The Symbolism of Hanuman and the Sun
While the story of Hanuman and the sun may be a myth, it is still rich in symbolism. The sun is a symbol of power, energy, and vitality, while Hanuman is a symbol of strength, loyalty, and courage. The story can be interpreted as a metaphor for the human desire to attain power and strength. Like Hanuman, we may sometimes try to reach for things that are beyond our grasp, and like the sun, these things may be too powerful for us to handle. The story of Hanuman and the sun reminds us that we must be humble and accept our limitations.
The Importance of Hanuman in Hinduism
Hanuman is an important figure in Hinduism and is revered by millions of people around the world. He is considered to be a symbol of devotion, strength, and loyalty. Hanuman is often depicted carrying a mace, which is a symbol of his strength and power. He is also known for his devotion to Lord Rama, and his unwavering loyalty to his cause. Hanuman is the embodiment of the ideal disciple, and his story serves as an inspiration to all who seek spiritual enlightenment.
The Significance of Mythology in Hinduism
The story of Hanuman and the sun is just one example of the rich mythology that is a part of Hinduism. Mythology plays an important role in Hinduism, as it provides a framework for understanding the world and our place in it. Hindu mythology is full of stories and legends that are meant to inspire and teach. These stories are often rich in symbolism and offer valuable lessons on morality and ethics.
The story of Hanuman and the sun is a popular one, but it is a myth. While the story may not be true, it is still important to understand the symbolism behind it. Hanuman is an important figure in Hinduism, and his story serves as an inspiration to all who seek spiritual enlightenment. The mythology of Hinduism is rich in stories and legends that offer valuable lessons on morality and ethics. As we continue to explore the world of Hindu mythology, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.