Hanuman's Giant Leap

“Alright, where should I begin?” The grandfather was at a loss as to how to best explain the greatness of Hanuman. “Well, I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but Hanuman is a great devotee of Rama and would do practically anything for him. Unfortunately, poor Rama had many trials that required the help of Hanuman. The biggest one of all is when Rama’s wife, Sita, was kidnapped by the evil Ravana. Rama enlisted the help of all the men and animals who searched this world and many others until they finally discovered that Ravana had taken her to the city Lanka. Now, this city was separated from the mainland by about 100 leagues of the ocean-”

“Wait,” interrupted Aakash, “what is a league...?”

“Oh, I would say about 300 miles,” replied the grandfather. Aakash simply looked astounded upon hearing this number. He had enough trouble just walking the few miles to school. Just imagining 300 miles was mind-boggling to him. “Anyway, as I was saying, Sita was being held captive about 300 miles across the sea and the animals had no idea how they were ever going to get to her! The monkeys and bears began to feel doubtful that they would ever be able to cross the sea and bring back news of Sita. They all looked around at each other knowing that there was only one monkey that would be up for the job: Hanuman. The animals realized that the little monkey was under a curse that made him unaware of his powers. One by one, they each reminded Hanuman of his great strength and his ability to do practically anything. Hanuman then saw his own potential and grew as large as the Taj Mahal! Hanuman climbed to the top of the mountain and took one, giant leap.”

“Wow! That is absolutely insane. I bet jumping over those 300 miles was no big deal for Hanuman. It sounds like nothing could ever bring him down.” Aakash was truly in awe.

“It’s funny you say that actually. While most tasks are easier for Hanuman, he still has obstacles that are always getting in his way. When he was only 20 leagues way from Lanka, a demon who lives in the sea, Sinhika, saw Hanuman flying over and was determined to eat him! She grabbed his shadow and began pulling him closer and closer to her mouth.”

“How did he escape?! Man, and this had to happen when he is so close to Lanka! How typical.”

“Now, Aakash, don’t forget that Hanuman can change his form whenever he wants. Although this demon had opened her mouth so large that she could completely swallow Hanuman, Hanuman was clever enough to become so small that when swallowed, he crushed her heart and jumped out of her ear! Her blood gushed into the sea and the fish finished her off in no time. Hanuman jumped once again and was on his way to Lanka!

“So, what do you think?” The grandfather looked at Aakash, who was completely at a loss for words.

“Well, Hanuman really seems to know how to kick butt. I just wish he didn’t have that curse on him making him unaware of his powers. This story probably would have gone a lot faster then,” Aakash replied.

The grandfather smiled to himself and said, “If fast-paced is what you want, then I have just the right story for you.”

Author's Note: I used the story from William Buck's Ramayana and kept the content pretty much the same, but left out many details for the sake of simplicity. I thought all the details would be too hard to explain without having to tell many other stories as background information. The story of Rama, Ravana, and Sita is the main plot line for the Ramayana and so for my classmates reading this, there should be little confusion about why Hanuman is crossing the sea. My storybook focuses on Hanuman's adventures so I tried to keep this story as much about him as possible. I left out some of the other incidents that were mentioned in Buck's version, too, because I did not think they were very exciting and would hold a child's attention. Although this story is not terribly exciting, it demonstrates Hanuman's incredible abilities, such as his power to grow and shrink at will, as well as the effects the curse have on him. I tried to keep the reader interested by hinting that the next story will be really exciting and full of adventure, and I hope I will be able to deliver!

Buck, William (1976). Ramayana: King Rama's Way.

Image Information: Hanuman's Leap
Web Source: Sulekha