Hanuman was a silly man; some would even consider him to have characteristics of a wild monkey. Flailing about, making obscure noises and creating general havoc. He was also known to be a nuisance to Rama, but more so for headstrong and stern brother, Lakshmana. It was his loyalty towards Lakshmana permitted him to stay inside city limits. If it wasn’t for Lord Rama, he would have been given away to the five headed demon Ravana in return for peace in Lakshmana’s city of Lanka. It is through the steadfastness of his brother’s words that Lakshmana allowed the absurdity of the “monkey man’s” actions.
“Lakshmana, calm down… you must not jump to conclusions about the actions of Hanuman, he is but a child stuck in a man’s body, a monkey if you will”. Rama, stood in front of his brother hoping to diffuse a chaotic situation.
“Rama… as I do appreciate your kind defense of an ignorant man. I saw the aftermath, of his actions. He must not be permitted in Lanka; he is a disgrace towards the world I’m trying to build.”
“He is but a kind soul. He’s just a fool.” Rama sighed in defeat and frustration. There is nothing he could have done, because to condemn a foolish man is surely condemning yourself. A person must teach a fool, not to be silly.
“A fool…A fool that will be the downfall of Lanka”.
Earlier that day.
“Don’t be absurd Hanuman, if someone dared you to jump off the Meru Mountain, would you?” asked Vibishana.
“If I had but a simple Alocasia Macrorrhiza, I could fly down from the mountains with the grace of the Gods and Goddesses”, Hanuman spoke sure of his ties with the Gods/Goddesses of the world.
“You have high hopes for all your foolish endeavors” said Vibishana.
“Why, Vibishana. Setting fire to the fields of Lanka is not foolish. Fire replenishes the earth making it start anew.” Hanuman stated in a matter of fact way.
“Fire consumes, we can dig the roots of plants and replenish, we do not have to damn ourselves to the fires of hell”.
“Pshh, fires of hell! Now that is absurd. Watch me Vibishana and you will be in awe of the beauty I create!”.
Overly confident and happy, Hanuman, lifted himself up onto the back of a camel, and rode off to side of a building. After climbing to the top and slipping many times, Hanuman came to look out across the wondrous and lush beauty of Lanka. Putting his hands in the air to get passerby’s to listen.
“Citizens of Lanka!! I’m Hanuman, proud follower and confident of Lakshmana, great friend of Rama. I have come to improve your land to forever have bountiful crops and flowing water!!
“I will…” cut off mid-sentence by flying tomatoes an onlooker finally managed to hit Hanuman in the face.
“Get off the roof!!” said the stranger.
Having steadied himself and recovered with as much dignity as he could he spoke. Not with frustration and not unkindly.
“I will not, for I have something to say!” wiping the tomato off his face he attempted to continue his speech.
“I will rid the land of…” Splat, another tomato landed on the monkey-man. With a deep sigh he relented.
“Fine, I will show you!” with a swift motion of his hand the field off in the distance turned to fire. The Lush green grass, began to blacken and spread like wildfire.
“See there is nothing to fear, fire replenishes the earth.” Smiling he looked at this stance proud of his actions, and oblivious to the fact that the fire had spread so far that Lanka was soon to be in a state of panic.
“He will kill us all!” a citizen of Lanka screamed as the ran away from the stifling smoke and fast approaching flames.
Squinting his eyes in the distance, the only thing that Hanuman could manage to utter was “Oops”.
After, the destruction of a few dozen homes and the death of their crops and beautiful trees. The fire was put to rest by the hand of Lord Rama. Through constant prayer and repentance of the actions of his charge.
Later that day.
“Please come in Hanuman we have a lot to discuss.” With his hands clasped behind his back, Lakshmana looked out his window.
“It has come to my attention, by my brother Rama. That to punish you to the extent I wish to would be unjust, cruel and will ultimately anger the Gods. As you may know, you are a foolish man, but you are a man with a big heart, a man that is extremely loyal to those you know, and in some cases don’t know. I do not wish to have the Gods reign down on me or my already destroyed Lanka. Therefore, I have decided to make you what you are.”
Turning around he faces a sullen faced Hanuman, who has relinquished himself to consequences of his actions.
“I do find that to avoid this from happening again, I must make you what you are, to at least remind you that you must look within yourself and think about your actions before you act.”
“I accept my fate for the wrongdoing I have committed”, said Hanuman.
With a wave of his hand, Lakshmana turned a stately man with a beautiful face into a half-monkey half man.
“Now you will be reminded that you must think before you do, and pray to the Gods that you will learn from your lesson. So, you can live a valuable and humble life”.
Author’s Note: Instead of using one of my ideas from my reading diary, I came up for an entirely new idea. I decided to stick with Hanuman and his humor that he displayed in The Ramayana. Instead of highlighting his heroic efforts, I decided to give a spin on why he become a monkey. Unlike, the original story he was not born into it, but was thrown into it for the consequences of his actions. I also, really wanted to step away from Rama and give Lakshmana a pivotal role in the story. This is because The Ramayana is so focused on Rama that we, as readers, have lost what a great character Lakshmana really is. He could be a ruler in his own right. I wanted to showcase some humor, but still hold a lot of serious that makes The Ramayana such a great read. As far as including Vibishana I just wanted to bring a different character into the stories other than the predictable ones, not to mention the fact he really through himself in the line of fire (so to speak) and endangered his well-being for the sake of Rama. That’s where the idea of making him a character like Jiminy Cricket had such an appeal to me.
Bibliography: This story is based on the Epic the The Ramayana, by R.K. Narayan (1972).