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When Hanuman Tried to Swallow the Sun

August 30, 2013

He noticed a red ball to the east. It was at some distance. It was the sun rising.

By Girija Rani Asthana

Lord Shiva was born into this world as Hanuman, the monkey god. His parents were Pawan, the Wind God, and his wife Anjana. Hanuman was a bundle of mischief when he was a child. He was very active. So he had a very healthy appetite too. Most of the time he was hungry. He was ready to eat anything that was tasty and within his reach.

Every day, an hour before dawn, Devi Anjana went out to collect some flowers and fruits. Usually Hanuman was asleep then. So she would leave him at home. And she would return before he woke up.

Hanuman

Hanuman took a big leap. That took him close to the sun

One day, she was held up on her way back. Hanuman woke up at the usual time. He was terribly hungry. He called out to his mother, “Ma I am hungry”. He waited for his mother to run to him. That did not happen.
“Where are you, Ma? He said loudly. Still there was no reply.
He waited a while; then called again.
“Where has Ma gone so early in the morning? I am so hungry,” grumbled Hanuman.

When he found no sign of Anjani he decided to find food on his own. He went into the kitchen. There was nothing there that he could eat. All the pots and pans and baskets were empty. Child Hanuman was getting hungrier and hungrier every minute.

“Why should not I go out and get fruits to at?” he thought. He ran down the steps of his home. Then he noticed a red ball to the east. It was at some distance. It was the sun rising.

Hanuman watched the sight. It was beautiful. The whole sky was aglow with morning twilight; the sun looked like a big juicy fruit. Hanuman thought it was a big red ripe watermelon. “yumm… I have never eaten this fruit. Ma has never got it for me. I shall get it by myself. It is very big and I am sure it is just what I need now. I can’t stay hungry any more.”

Hanuman took a big leap. That took him close to the sun. He reached out for it. He almost had grabbed it. But he missed it.

He looked around. He noticed Rahu. Rahu hated the Sun. And when soever he got a chance, he caught the sun in its shadow. That was what he did now. This was what he had been doing since the time immemorial.

Today, he too reached out to cast his shadow on the sun. But Hanuman beat him to it. He held the son firmly in his hands. Rahu was furious. He tried to snatch the sun from Hanuman. But he failed.

Angrily he ran to Lord Indra the lord of all the Gods and complained, ” Oh! Lord! You gave me permission to cast shadow on the sun, at will. Today, I wanted to do that. But a young monkey snatched it from under my nose in the nick of the time” Lord Indra thundered, “Who is this rascal? Who is this little monkey that has dared to send you back. I shall teach him a lesson,”

Lord Indira went with Rahu. The two soon came to where Hanuman was holding the sun.

Hanuman was trying to swallow the sun. Indra got enraged. He drew his weapon, the Vajrayudh, and hurled at Hangman. It hit him below the chin. He blacked out and fell on the ground with a big thud.

Pawan, the wind god, saw him wounded. “Who have done this to my son?” he growled and turned. He saw the weapon returning to Lord Indra. He lost his temper. He screamed at Lord Indra, “How dare you hit my son?” He picked up Hanuman and ran into a big cave. He gathered all the wind streams blowing in the universe and kept with him. The universe became empty airless. Not a whiff of wind moved wind anywhere. Soon it was impossible to breathe. All living things started to die. It looked as if all creations would come to an end.

All the Gods became panicky and rushed to Lord Brahama the creator.
“What brings you to me?” asked Brahma.
“You know Lord,” said the Gods with folded hands.
“Yes I know. Didn’t you know, Indra that Hanuman is none else but Lord Shiva in monkey form? He has gone to the earth to help Lord Rama in the battle against the demon Ravana. How can you hurt him?”
“I dindn’t know, Oh lord. What should we do now?” asked Indra.
“Go to Lord Hanuman and ask for forgiveness. Also grant him some of your divine powers. Then Pawan will be happy,” Lord Brahma suggested.

The Gods realized their folly. “Oh! We were fools to annoy the Lord Shiva and Pawan Dev.” They hurried to the cave where Lord Hanuman and Pawan Dev were.

Lord Indra muttered some mantras and drew back the effect of the Vajrayudh that still held Hanuman unconscious. Hanuman woke up. He found the gods standing with folded arms. They sang his praise. One by one, they gifted immense power to him.

This made Pawan Dev happy. He released the air streams and life returned again on earth.

Gods returned to Heaven. Lord Hanuman ran back home. He found his mother, holding a basket full of fruits. He enjoyed the fruits while Pawan told Anjani, “Know what? Your son has become very powerful. All the gods came and gifted him some of their secret powers.”

“Does he need anything from others? Is he not Lord Shiva himself?” Anjani smiled. Pawan Dev bit his tongue and said, “Deva. I forgot. I always forget. I think of Hanuman as our little boy. My mistake.”

Hanuman heard nothing. He was busy eating the last fruit in the basket.

This teen story was first published in Meghdutam.com (between 1999 to 2002).

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