Hanuman Ji is one of the eminent personalities mentioned in Ramayana. He is represented with a face like monkey and also with a tail. Naturally this doubt will come into mind of an inquisitor.
Did Hanuman Ji really resembled a monkey?
This question is important as many people make mockery of Hanuman Ji by addressing him as ape god.
I started researching about Veer Hanuman in Valmiki Ramayana . I was surprised to learn about the reality. I am putting forward my analysis for the readers.
Hanuman ji belonged to Vanara community. The famous meaning of the word Vanara is Monkey but the literal meaning is one who dwells in the forest and lives on that food that grows in a forest. So, instead of considering him as a monkey why cannot we consider him as a forest dweller? It seems that the word Vanara is misinterpreted. We can also understand this logic with the help of another example. Another name of mountain is Giri and the persons living on the mountain are called as Girijan. So, if Girijan can be mountain dwellers than why cannot Vanara be forest dwellers? Thus, Hanuman ji was Human not a monkey living in forest.
Apart from Hanuman ji Sugariv, Bali all others are portrayed as monkey with a tail. While their wives are portrayed as common women without any tail and monkey like facial appearance. Isn’t it strange that all males of Vanara community resembles monkey while all females resemble Human being. We do not find any species in the whole world with such difference between males and females of same species. So, depicting Hanuman as monkey seems to be a mere imagination of an artist. This, Hanuman ji was a Human not a monkey.
After meeting Hanuman on Rishimukh mountain in Kishkindha Kand of Ramayana Hanuman is depicted by Shri Rama to Lakshmana.
न अन् ऋग्वेद विनीतस्य न अ यजुर्वेद धारिणः |
न अ-साम वेद विदुषः शक्यम् एवम् विभाषितुम् || 4/3/28
Rama says that the person with whom i just talked was well trained in the RigVeda , have enormous power to remember Yajurveda, scholarly knowledge of Samaveda. This type of impressive and heart touching talk is impossible without a scholarly command on Vedic grammar and related texts. Thus, Shri Rama acknowledged that Hanuman ji was an enlightened scholar of the Vedas. Is it possible for any monkey to attain such scholarly treat? No. So, Hanuman ji was a Human being not a Monkey.
4. In Sundar Kand of Valmiki Ramayana When Hanuman saw Sita in Ashok Vatika. He wanted to converse with Sita. But he was thoughtful.
यदि वाचं प्रदास्यामि द्विजातिरिव संकृताम् रावणं मन्यमाना माम सीता भीता भविष्यति सेमयालोक्य मे रूपम जानकी भाषितं तथा रक्षोमिस्त्रासिता पूर्वं भूयस्त्रासं गमिष्यति ततो जातपरित्रासा शब्दम कुर्यान्मनिस्विनी जानाना माम विशालाक्षी रावणं काम रूपिणम् सुन्दर ३०/१८ , २०
“If I use Sanskrit language like a Brahmin, Sita will get frightened, thinking me as Ravana. Certainly, meaningful words of a human being are to be spoken by me. Otherwise, the virtuous Sita cannot be consoled. Looking at my figure and the language, Sita who was already frightened previously by the demons, will get frightened again." Sundar Kand 30/18–20
This reference proves that Hanuman ji was a scholar in Sanskrit. Is it possible for any monkey to attain such scholarly treat? No. So, Hanuman ji was a Human being not a Monkey.
5. The most famous doubt regarding Hanuman ji is how he flied over the ocean to reach Lanka. Some considers that he was all powerful and blessed with the powers to fly. Some says that he was possessing a flying machine.Some says he used his tail to fly.
The answer to this query is given by the few shaloks from kishkindha kanda.
मारुतस्य समो वेगे गरुडस्य समो जवे |
अयुतम् योजनानाम् तु गमिष्यामि इति मे मतिः || ४-६७-२७
In this shalok Angad praised Hanuman Ji of his powers and requested him to cross the ocean. Hanuman ji said "I who am a coequal of Air-god in speediness, and of Garuda in fleetness, can traverse (swim) ten-thousand yojanas at a stretch,that is my certitude. This shalok proves that Hanuman ji crossed the ocean by swimming. There is a Hindi proverb havā sē bātēṁ karanā (हवा से बातें करना) which means anyone who move with so great speed as he is flying in air. Hanuman ji with his power of celibacy crossed the ocean by swimming with high momentum. This lead to a confusion among readers that he was flying rather than swimming.
So, this proves that Hanuman ji was a human being with enormous stamina and strength. He was not a monkey but a human being.
There are several other instances which proves that the other characters of Ramayana like Sugriva, Angad, Jatau, Jamvahan etc were humans. By logic, true interpretations and evidences from authentic resources we can easily reach this conclusion that
Hanuman ji was not a monkey but a Human being.
Dr Vivek Arya
This article is also available in Hindi at this link
क्या हनुमान आदि वानर बन्दर थे?