An ardent follower of Lord Rama, Hanuman is a personification of strength, devotion, and perseverance. Born to Anjana and Kesari, Hanuman is also bestowed with the title of ‘Pawanputra’ meaning the son of the deity Vayu (Wind god, himself the son of Vishnu) because of legends associated with Vayu's role in Hanuman's birth.
As the legends suggest when Anjana was worshiping Lord Shiva, Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya was also performing the ritual of Putrakama yagna that blesses one with bliss of parenthood. As a result, Agni, the Fire-God gave him a sacred pudding (payasam) and asked him to share it among his wives so that they may have divine children, leading to the births of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna.
By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu, the Hindu deity of the wind, delivered that pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it. As the divine pudding went inside her throat, Anjana immediately felt the blessings of Lord Shiva and gave birth to Hanuman.
One of the instances tells us about how Hanuman became the beholder of ocean of powers. As a kid, mischievous little Hanuman caught the sight of the sun and mistaking it for a ripe fruit he leapt after it. The sun took flight but Hanuman chased him as far as Lord Indra’s heaven.
Hanuman’s impertinence enraged the King of Gods and he struck hum with his thunderbolt. It hit Hanuman on his jaw, and he fell to the earth unconscious with a broken jaw. His father, Vayu (air), became upset and withdrew causing immense suffering to all living beings.
Lord Brahma when learnt about the turn of events went along with other gods and begged Vayu to return to earth.
"I beg pardon on behalf of all men, all creatures and divine beings. Please return to the earth, o gentle Vayu."
"I'll not come anywhere without my Anjaneya", Vayu said firmly. Then, using his powers, Brahma magically cured Anjaneya's wounds. He also gave him a boon saying, "No weapon will be ever able to have an effect on Anjaneya again."
To please Vayu further, Indra said to the boy, "You will be a 'Chiranjeevi' (immortal). I had taken my aim in your hanu (cheek). So from now, you will be called as the valiant Hanuman!"
Thus Anjaneya came to be known as Hanuman and had many more adventures during his childhood. With the blessings of all the gods, Hanuman became a great warrior later and had helped Lord Rama in his quest to bring back the latter's wife, Sita.
Hanuman’s undying devotion towards Lord Rama has scripted legends, from setting Lanka ablaze to bringing Lakshmana, Lord Rama’s brother, back to life by lifting the entire Himalayan mountain and carrying it across India to Lanka only for Lakshmana.
Hanuman achieved a permanent place in the heart of Lord Rama, the ultimate parabrahma incarnation. The legends of Hanuman strive for humility, purity and strength among children all over the country.
Ramayana through illustrations: Baal Kaand