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Hanuman is a God who helped Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, in rescuing his wife, Sita, from King Ravana of the Rakshasas, and symbolizes the pinnacle of bhakti, a Sanskrit term from Hinduism meaning loving devotion to the supreme God (Hanuman pp). He is also believed to be an avatar of Shiva, and also the source for the Chinese mythological character Sun Wukong, and is most popular in the north of the Indian subcontinent (Hanuman pp). Hanuman is the son of a cursed apsara, a celestial being called Punjisthala, who due to the curse becomes Anjana, a female monkey, so Hanuman is also called Anjaneya (Hanuman pp). She is the wife of Kesari, a "mighty monkey who once killed a mighty elephant that caused trouble to sages and hermits, therefore he got the name of Kesari, namely the lion, and is also called kunjara sudana, the elephant killer (Hanuman pp). One day the Wind-god, Vayu deva, blew the clothes of the body of Anjana, and became so enticed by her charms that he "possessed her," resulting in the birth of Hanuman, whose birthday is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti (Hanuman pp). According to legend, Hanuman inherited his father's activities of "quick flying, forceful travel, and mighty strength, so soon after his birth he decided to catch the Sun, thinking it was fruit eat it (Hanuman pp). This upset Indra, administrator of universal laws, and so he threw the Thunderbolt which felled Hanuman to the earth (Hanuman pp). This in turn upset Hanuman's father, the Wind-god, so much that he went into seclusion, causing choking deaths and asphyxiation to all living beings (Hanuman pp). To appease the Wind-god, Indra removed the effect that his Thunderbolt, which had cut Hanuman's two cheeks, thus he is called Hanuman, for hanuhH in Sanskrit is the word for cheek (Hanuman pp). Brahma, the Hindu creator god, blessed Hanuman with a "diamond-like body, even invincible to a brahma-astra, a super missile, and made him immortal, "Th...
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