“Covered with flowers, Hanuman, the son of the wind, became brilliant in the middle of the Ashoka grove, looking like a mountain of flowers.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 14.11)
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पुष्पावकीर्णश्शुशुभे हनुमान् मारुतात्मजः।
अशोकवनिकामध्ये यथा पुष्पमयो गिरिः।।
puṣpa avakīrṇaḥ śuśubhe hanumān māruta ātmajaḥ |
aśoka vanikā madhye yathā puṣpamayo giriḥ ||
Shri Hanuman, the great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and one of the main characters of the Ramayana history, is often described as the monkey-god. This is because he is a principal object of worship within the Vedic tradition. His image resembles a monkey, as he was part of the Vanara clan that helped Shri Rama in a great military conflict to restore righteousness and return the goddess of fortune to her proper home.
After becoming immersed in the story and appreciating the selfless efforts of that heroic minister to Sugriva, it is only natural to think of Hanuman whenever there is association with monkeys. Though they be a nuisance, stealing and causing havoc, since there is remembrance of Hanuman the experience can be auspicious.
In the same way, whenever a person sees or hears about a mountain they can remember Hanuman. That great son of the wind-god is associated with mountains in a variety of ways.
1. Becoming as large as a mountain
This was the form that Bhima wished to see. It was during a chance encounter described in Mahabharata. Bhima was one of the five Pandava brothers, who are the heroes of that narrative, describing the events leading up to and concluding with the Bharata War.
Hanuman is basically Bhima’s brother through the link in the father, and so there is affection and appreciation in that meeting. At one point, Bhima asks to see the rupa that Hanuman used to cross the ocean. This was an extraordinary accomplishment. There was a specific search party of monkeys who eventually reached a crossroads.
They were at the shore of the ocean. They knew they had to proceed further, to locate the missing Sita Devi, but what could they do? That was when Jambavan reminded Hanuman of his amazing powers. Hanuman then expanded his form to a large size. In that expanded form he leapt from a perch and made it all the way across the ocean to the island of Lanka.
2. Paying respect to Mainaka mountain
There were some obstacles along the journey. Some were favorable and others were not. Mainaka mountain was a friend. He wanted to provide a resting place to that hero in his journey. Hanuman wanted to proceed without interruption, and so he simply touched Mainaka and moved on. This was a way of offering respect.
3. Looking like a mountain of flowers
The harrowing journey continued, with even more obstacles along the way. After searching diligently, Hanuman finally made it to the grove of ashoka trees. There, he accidentally became covered with flowers. Birds flew away and knocked into the branches, releasing the shower upon that dedicated servant. It is said that Hanuman looked like a mountain of flowers.
4. Carrying a mountain
This is likely the most famous depiction of Hanuman. He is worshiped in countless homes through this image. The event in question took place later on in the narrative. He found Sita Devi in the grove of ashoka trees. He then made it all the way back to where the Vanaras were. He informed Rama of Sita’s whereabouts.
The entire army of Vanaras, led by Rama and Lakshmana, marched to Lanka to deal with Ravana, the ten-headed ogre who had taken Sita there against her will. Within that battle, there was a moment when Lakshmana was badly hurt.
Whenever there is trouble, a person can rely on Hanuman, who is the coolest under pressure. He was tasked with going to a nearby place and finding a specific herb to be used as medicine. As time was running short, Hanuman decided to lift the entire mountain and bring it back with him.
In this way, we see that Hanuman is a mountain of strength in his devotion. Even when in a seemingly hostile place, nature arranges it so that he is properly worshiped. He looked like a glorified personality arriving within Lanka to do the work of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he was appropriately dressed in beautiful flowers.
Of immeasurable strength,
To cross ocean’s length.
Within Lanka to search,
Flowers showered on perch.
When time desperation making,
Entire mountain taking.
Pillar of support for me,
Greatest servant of Rama is he.
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