Thursday, January 20
Son of Hanuman
It seems that after the mighty warrior ape had set every single 'attalika' in Lanka to fire, he landed on the beach and extinguished the flames on his tail with the sea water. The tail was slightly scorched but that obviously didn't mean a thing to the 'mahabali'. He took off at wind speed toward Shri Ram's camp across the sea, unaware of that shred of burnt skin that had travelled through the sea into paatal lok and then to Naag Lok (the land of the serpents). This is where my memory blurrs. What I remember is that there was a certain serpent maid who, having been brought up on a steady dose of Hanuman tales and in obvious awe of the mighty, flying warrior ape on the surface. So smitten was she that she impregnated herself with Hanuman's ansh (DNA folks! The Naags had advanced genetics. They could morph into anything, from what I've heard).
Years later, Hanuman meets a young Naag who resembles him every respect. Just one thing. He's a Naag!
I did NOT cook this up. Couldn't even look up more on this myth on the net. If someone knows more please expose the ape of steel!
The Patala incident
In another incident during the war (the one that brought about Hanuman's Panchamukha form), Rama and Lakshmana are captured by the rakshasa, Mahiravana (and his brother Ahiravana), a powerful practitioner of black magic and the dark arts, who holds them captive in his palace in Patalpuri or Patala (the nether world). Searching for them, Hanuman reaches Patala whose gates are guarded by a very young creature called Makardhwaja (known also as Makar-Dhwaja or Magar Dhwaja), part fish and part Vanara.
The story of Makardhwaja's birth is that although Hanuman remained celibate all his life, Makardhwaja was his son; when Hanuman had extinguished his burning tail in the ocean, unknown to him, a drop of his sweat had fallen in as well. Swallowing this sweat droplet, a fish then becomes pregnant. This is discovered when the fish is brought to Mahiravana's kitchen for cooking. Mahiravana raises the child, entrusting him to guard Patalpuri's gates. Hanuman is unaware of this. Although Makardhwaja knows his father is Hanuman, he had never seen him. So, when Hanuman introduces himself to Makardhwaja, he seeks Hanuman's blessings, but decides to fight him as part of his duty as guardian of the gates. Hanuman subdues him and ties him up before entering Patalpuri to rescue Rama and Lakshmana.
Upon entering Patala, Hanuman discovers that to kill Mahiravana, he must simutaneously extinguish five lamps burning in different directions. Hanuman assumes the Panchamukha or five-faced form of Sri Varaha, Sri Narasimha, Sri Garuda, Sri Hayagriva and his own, and blows out the lamps. Thus killing rakshasas, Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana. Afterwards, Rama asks Hanuman to crown Makardhwaja king of Patalpuri.
Hanuman continues to play an indispensable role in the war.