Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an avatar of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshiped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance, and devotion.
Hindus believe in ten avatars of Lord Vishnu among a multitude of gods and goddesses. One of Vishnu's avatars is Rama, who was created to destroy Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka. In order to aid Rama, Lord Brahma commanded some gods and goddesses to take the avatar of 'Vanaras' or monkeys. Indra, the god of war and weather, was reincarnated as Bali; Surya, the sun god, as Sugriva; Vrihaspati or Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, as Tara; and Pavana, the god of wind, was reborn as Hanuman, the wisest, swiftest and strongest of all apes.
The birth of Hanuman released Anjana from the curse. Before Anjana returned to heaven, Hanuman asked his mother about his life ahead. She assured him that he would never die, and said that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would be his food. Mistaking the glowing sun as his food, the divine baby leaped for it. The god of the heavens Indra struck him with his thunderbolt and hurled him back down to earth.
Hanuman's godfather Pavana carried the burned and broken child to the netherworld or Patala. But as Pavana departed from the earth, he took all the air with him, and the creator god Brahma had to beg him to return. In order to appease Pavana, the gods conferred many boons and blessings on his foster child, making Hanuman invincible, immortal, and powerful: a monkey god.
Hanuman selected the sun god Surya as his preceptor and asked Surya to teach him the scriptures. Surya agreed and Hanuman became his disciple; but as the sun god, Surya traveled constantly. Hanuman took his lessons from his constantly moving guru by traversing the sky backward at an equal pace. Hanuman's phenomenal concentration allowed him to master the scriptures in only 60 hours.
For Hanuman's tuition fees, Surya would have accepted the manner in which Hanuman accomplished his studies, but when Hanuman asked him to accept something more than that, the sun god asked Hanuman to assist his son Sugriva, by becoming his minister and compatriot.
As a child Hanuman was very naughty although so very strong that he created problems for the ‘rishis’. One of them cursed him by saying that He would become unconscious of his own strength from then on and until someone reminded him of it. He would feel like any other person in strength. He could also expand his body and become very tall and large, or diminish himself and became very tiny — at his will.
Hanuman was entrusted the task of bringing the booti (herb) from there. On reaching the Himalayas he could not distinguish the plant from the other herbs, so he brought the whole mountain to Lanka thus saving Laxman’s life and earned the gratitude of Ram for all times.
He has become a very powerful God for all shades of Hindu and even people of other religions are seen asking Him for boons when in difficulty — Tuesday is his day. Even Sanni is soft towards him and accepts the prayer to Hanuman on this day with great devotion.
Hanuman is not married. He is shown with a gadda in one hand and the mountain in the other. His Vahan (vehicle) is the wind.