Vanara Gita 35: The greatness of Mother Anjana

Hanuman’s arms are tremendously powerful. Tulsidas, in his Hanuman chalisa, praises the Lord’s powerful arms through the verse- Mahaaveera vikrama bajarangi. 

It is impossible to describe the strength that exists within those arms. During the battle with Shatakanṭa Ravana, he lifted the brothers Rama and Lakshmaṇa on his mighty shoulders all the way from earth to high up in the skies! Just this incident gives us an insight into the power stored within those arms!

Devotees of Hanuman find His face appealing and peaceful. To the wicked, however, his sharp teeth resemble thunderbolts (diamond weapon that sharply cuts through) thereby instilling great fear. During the war, the sight of his fearsome teeth frightened en masse many demons and caused them to faint. Such mass fainting took place in the vanara army only when the demons used the powerful weapon Brahmastra.

Countless demons were crushed under Hanuman’s tail. With his arms he smashed limitless demons against trees. Many more were hurled against mountains and killed, and an infinite number were thrown into the ocean and crushed under his feet. In this manner, in his universal form, he destroyed hordes of demons.

The face that caused the demons to simply collapse out of fright appeared absolutely calm and peaceful to the Vānaras. The demons found this face fearsome. Sinners and those who do not adhere to dharma (rules of righteous living) find it impossible to look into Hanuman’s face.

Many persons avoid looking into Sadguru’s face. They shy away from it. The reason being they have sinned. Their sin deters them from looking into the Guru’s face or even from having the darshan of his feet. There is no expiation for such sins. Such persons find his face very fearsome.

Hanuman’s mother Anjana Devi, was a great ascetic and a great saint. Forced by circumstances, Maharishi Goutama cursed his sons Vali and Sugriva to turn into monkeys. Vali in turn cursed his elder sister Anjana to turn into a monkey. Without any grievance, Anjana adopted quickly to the new life as a monkey. She led a very pious life. Adhering to Sage Narada’s advice, her father Maharishi Goutama gave her in adoption to the Vanara king Kunjara. Kunjara in turn gave her in marriage to the Vanara by name Kesari.

Anjana was initially a Gandharva (celestial being) maiden by the name Sukanya. In her next birth she was born as a woman by name Sadhvi. In this birth she performed intense penance. Sadhvi was re-born as Anjana. To understand the janma rahasya (secrets behind the birth) it is essential to dig back into the past lives. When the present experience is seen in isolation, it appears puzzling, funny or queer. It creates many doubts. However, it is from such doubts that profound messages appear. Ultimately, they clarify our doubts. For this reason, in the character of every deity, the past births and stories are detailed.

Here, through the knowledge of the past births of Anjana Devi, we understand the extent of penance that she performed. In this birth, even after transforming into a Vānara, Anjana performed intense penance and procured the grace of Lord Shiva. With steadfast determination she continued her penance. She consumed the fruit containing the luster of Shiva and thus with the blessings of the Lord of Wind (vayu), she gave birth to Lord Hanuman. No sooner was He born, than He, considering the Sun as a fruit, flew up to catch it. All these incidents are inter-twined. Any amount of explanations that are given for these incidents seem insufficient.

Vanara Gaja offers his prayers to Anjana Devi who was such an elevated and profound being.


Om Namo Hanumate Namaha.

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