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How Hanuman helped in Ramayana war?

Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana epic, focusses mainly on the adventures of Hanuman.

While in exile, Rama enlisted the help of the vanaras in his search for Sita. A group of vanaras sent on a search mission reached the southern seashore. Upon encountering the vast ocean, every vanara began to plead his inablity to jump across the water. Hanuman too was saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras began to extoll his virtues. Hanuman then recollected his own prowess, enlarged his body and jumped across the ocean. Hanuman then entered Lanka and found Sita. Hanuman's conveying the message of Rama to Sita, is likened to that of a divine teacher, teaching a pupil about the Supreme God.

After meeting Sita, Hanuman began to gradually destroy the palaces and properties of Lanka. To subdue him, Ravana's son Indrajit used the Brahmastra. Even though Brahma had blessed Hanuman with immunity against the astra, Hanuman, out of respect to Brahma, let himself be captured. Brought before the court of Ravana, Hanuman used the opportunity to assess the strength of Ravana's army.

As a punishment to Hanuman, Ravana ordered his tail to be lit. As the attendants attempted to wrap cloth around his tail, Hanuman began to lengthen his tail. After frustrating Ravana's attendants for a while, Hanuman allowed his tail to be lit, but escaped from his captors while his tail was on fire. He then burnt down much of Lanka before heading back to Rama.

During the war, when Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, is severely wounded, Hanuman was sent to fetch the Sanjivani herb to revive him. Unable to find the specific herb before nightfall, Hanuman again displayed his prowess by lifting the entire mount Meru and bringing it to the battle field, thus helping others find the herb to revive Lakshmana.

In another incident during the war, Rama and Lakshmana are captured by Mahiravana, and are held captive in his palace in Patala (the nether world). In search of them, Hanuman entered Patala and discovered that he had to extinguish five lamps at once to kill Mahiravana. Hanuman took the Panchamukha (Pancha - five, mukha - face, thus the five-faced) form with faces of Varaha, Narasimha, Garuda, Hayagriva, and his own, and blew out the lamps. Thus killing Mahiravana, Hanuman rescued Rama and Lakshmana.

Sculpture of Hanuman carrying the Mount Meru, sculpted in Terra cotta.

All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

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