This is the story of Hanuman.

What is God without its devotee? Shiva asked this question as he came to know about the Rama avatar of Vishnu. Shiva conceptualizes the idea of a great devotee of Rama. One who will teach the world the power of devotion. 

Kesari was the king of Gokarna and a great Shiva devotee. He was a Vanar, a half-human half-monkey-like creature. He and his wife have for long prayed to Shiva for a child. The child came in the form of Hanuman. The God of air, Vayu had blessed Anjani with this child and declared himself the Godfather of the child. This is why Hanuman is also called Pawanputra.

Hanuman, like any other child, was super curious. One day he saw the rising red sun and mistook it for a fruit. Soon he was flying towards it. Indra, King of Gods, took him for a threat and struck Hanuman with his thunderbolt. Hanuman lost his consciousness and started free falling towards earth. When Vayu caught his lifeless body in the mid-air, he got angered beyond reason. In his rage, he stopped the flow of the wind, and life on earth grasped for air.

Panicked by the situation, many Gods came to Vayu and requested to calm down. They all gave Hanuman a boon to make sure he was never hurt again. Yama the god of death gave him the gift of immortality, Brahma gave him immunity to all weapons, Agni the god of fire gave him immunity to fire, the sun god Surya gave him the ability to shift sizes, and a guilty Indra gave him a maze that will break every obstacle on his way.

When he grew up he became pivotal to the story of Ramayana. He led Rama and Laxman to Sugriv. Then went to Lanka in search of Sita. There he found Sita and gave her Rama’s message. After that, he killed one of Ravana’s sons, Akshaya Kumar. He got captured after Meghanath used the weapon of Brahma on him. Even though he was immune to it, he respected it and hence surrendered. Ravana decided to put Hanuman’s tail on fire as a punishment. Hanuman, who was immune to fire, used it to cause a massive fire outbreak in Lanka. 

During the battle against Ravana, Ahiravana kidnapped both Rama and Laxman. Ahiravana was the half-brother of Ravana and the ruler of Paatal Lok (hell realm). Hanuman came down to the Paatal lok to rescue Rama and met his son. His son, Makardhwaj was the gatekeeper of Paatal lok. After defeating Makardhwaj he went on to kill Ahiravana and rescued Rama and Laxman from his captivity.

Once Laxman was stuck with a poisonous arrow and was slowly dying. Hanuman went into the fort of Ravana and brought out the royal physician. The physician informed him about a miraculous herb found in the mountains of Dronagiri. Hanuman flew his way to the mountain. Upon reaching the site he got confused by similar-looking plants. He shifted his size and took a part of the mountain with him. 

After the battle was over and Rama along with Sita had returned to Ayodhya, a ceremony to acknowledge everyone was organized. Vibhisana had given Sita a rare and beautiful pearl necklace. Sita said that such a gift belongs to someone who had helped Rama the most. He rose and put the necklace on Hanuman’s neck. Hanuman inspected it for some time and then tore it. Vibhisana felt insulted and demanded to know the reason. Hanuman said that he doesn’t keep anything that does not have Rama in it. Mockingly, Vibhisana asked him “how are you living with your body then, it doesn’t have Rama in it?”.

Hanuman smiled and then in the middle of the court tore open his chest. An image of Ram-Sita stood where his heart should have been. Sita’s eyes welled up and Rama lunged forward to hug Hanuman.

As a gift, Rama announced that Hanuman will live on this earth forever as his representative and attend every RamKatha held till the end of the world.

To this day, people first pray to Hanuman before starting a Ramkatha, a devotee before God.

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