Hindu Epic Written by Valmiki: Hanuman in Ramayana
Ramayana is a Hindu epic written by Valmiki which has 7 Kandas – 1) Bala Kanda 2) Ayodhya Kanda 3) Aaranya Kanda 4) Kishkindhaa Kanda 5) Sundara Kanda 6) Yuddha Kanda 7) Uttara Kanda. Here we will see about the Sundara Kanda, where Hanuman travels to Lanka in search of Sita. Hanuman was also called as “Sundara” by his mother Anjani. Sundara Kanda was also called as “Beautiful section” since Sundara means beautiful whereas Kanda means section. Valmiki says it is a Beautiful Kanda because it contains poetic descriptions of Sri Lanka, the Pushpaka Vimana, Asoka forest, Madu Vana etc., It consists of 2885 versus and 68 chapters.
Testing Hanuman for his efficiency by devas:
Jambhavan suggested Hanuman to cross the sea and rescue Sita from the Ravana who was residing at Sri Lanka. Hanuman promised his friends that he would find Sita. In order to help Hanuman, the God of seas asked his friend Mainaka to raise the mountain above the sea level so that hanuman can rest on it. But Hanuman refused it. The devas thought of testing the Hanuman’s efficiency. So, they sent Devi Surasa as Rakshasi. Devi Surasa asked Hanuman to enter into her mouth to become her food. He increased his size to mega form. But she also increased her size of the mouth sufficiently big and so she can swallow him. At that time hanuman reduced his size to thumb level and entered her mouth and jumped in and out. Then the Devi Surasa blessed her and they knew that hanuman can do this task.
On the way to Lanka:
When Hanuman is on his way, he came across the first rakshasi called Simhika who caught his shadow and started dragging him into her mouth to make him as pray. At that time, Hanuman made his body too big and killed her. After reaching Lanka, he made his size too small in order to avoid detection. But however, the Lanka devata spotted him and challenged him. Hanuman hit her with his fist, she fell down. Simhika came to realize that the end of Lanka is nearing.
Hanuman started searching for Sita all over the Lanka. He searched including in Ravana’s harem. By seeing Mandodhari he thought it was Sita. But later on, he concluded that she couldn’t be Sita as she couldn’t live the life of luxury. He searched for Sita and later on he found her in Asoka forest. It was near to Ravana’s harem. She was sleeping on the floor, without taking bath. She hung her non-essential ornaments on the tree.
Ravana visits Sita:
When hanuman was watching Ravana visits Sita and requests her to be his wife. Sita refuses it and she says that the only way for him to live, is to give her back to Rama. Ravana became angry and he said that he will give two months to live and he also instructed the rakshasis to terrorize her and accept his proposal.
At this time the rakshasis trying their best to convince Sita. Suddenly Trijata, daughter of Vibhishana, said about her dream that she could clearly see the defeat and death of Ravana and victory of Rama. The rakshasis were scared. At that time Sita was dejected by her situation and decided to commit suicide by hanging herself by her own hair.
Hanuman talks to Sita:
Hanuman hid himself in tree and said to Sita that he was sent by Rama to rescue Sita. Sita was enthused. Later on, Hanuman appeared before Sita after all the rakshasis were fall asleep. Hanuman describes the adventures of Rama which happened in Bala Kanda and he also gives the Rama’s signet ring to Sita for identification. Hanuman requested her to get her on his back to reach Rama. But Sita refused because that would insult Rama’s valor, and also, she is a virtuous woman, she would not touch another male willingly. And also, she gave pearl hair brooch given by her father. At the same time, she also said the story of the crow that attacked her and how Rama put a tilak on her forehead with a Redstone.
Hanuman meeting Ravana:
Hanuman thought of leaving Sita. Before leaving he thought of meeting Ravana. In order to draw attention, he burnt the Asoka forest. So Ravana sent his warriors and also his younger son Akshaya Kumara to capture Hanuman. But hanuman killed everyone. So Ravana sent his elder son Indrajit who has succeeded by Hanuman by using his Brahma Astra. Though Hanuman has the boon to become free, he himself submitted to the rakshasha to reach the Ravana’s court.
Ravana became angry because of Hanuman’s action. So, he decided to give the capital punishment. But Vibhishana, Ravana’s younger brother said that this punishment wouldn’t be enough. So Ravana agreed to him and decided to set fire to the Hanuman's tail. At the same time Sita heard this news from other rakshasas and she started praying. The god of fire didn’t hurt Hanuman and he also escaped from the rakshasas and he set fire to the Lanka city. He took leave from Sita and he jumped to the other shore.
Hanuman reaches to Rama:
Hanuman after escaping from Ravana, he reaches India. Ravana destroyed the honey garden of king Sugreeva and so they reached kishkinda. He then decided to tell what had happened in Lanka. And also, he said if Rama didn’t reach Sita within two months she would die.
Why hanuman is famous in Ramayana:
Hanuman wants Rama and Sita to be together. So, when Ravana kidnaps Sita takes her to Lanka, he flies to Lanka in order to know how Sita is. And so that, Hanuman is still worshipped till today. Hanuman fights against the hurdles against him in his path to Lanka. In Ramayana, Sundara Kanda captures the determination of Hanuman.