Pleasure to narrate the tale of Hanuman who brought the ‘Sanjeevani’ herb
along with the ‘Oushadi Parvata’ (Mountain with herbs) to bring Lakshmana back to life in the battle with Ravana. In the words of Goswami Tulsidasji in his Hanuman Chaleesa, “Laaye Sanjeevan Lakhan Jiyaye”
Have you noticed in Ramayana, that ‘Vayuputra’ Hanuman has been the ‘Prana’(breath) of the epic as he saved the lives of Rama, Sita Ma, Lakshmana and Bharata and of course the lives of scores of Vanaras! Without Hanuman, Rama could not have ever completed his life’s mission.
When Hanuman found Sita Ma in the Ashok Vatika, contemplating suicide having lost hope of finding Rama, Hanuman was there just in time and saved her life. Similarly, when Rama and Lakshmana and other Vanaras fainted in the battlefield and once again when Lakshmana was wounded and lost consciousness, Hanuman brought the ‘Sanjeevani’ and saved them. Again, when there was delay in Rama reaching Nandigram and Bharata had already prepared to give up his life, there came Hanuman and saved his life.
How many of us know that the ‘Oushadi Parvata’(mountain of herbs) which we refer to as Sanjeevani, was brought by Hanuman not once but twice from the Himalayas? Read on to find out..
Mission I Sanjeevani:
When the mighty Kumbhakarna, elder brother of Ravana was killed by the Rama, Ravana was devastated. Unable to believe the news, he fainted and fell down, terribly shocked. When he woke up, one of Ravana’s sons, Trishiras consoled him and sought permission to fight Rama, taking along with him, the other sons of Ravana namely, Devantaka, Narantaka and Atikaya (who looked like Kumbhakarna). They were all well-trained warriors.
With Ravana’s blessings they took a huge army and went to fight and as expected there was a dreadful encounter. However, Hanuman killed Trishiras. Devantaka and Narantaka were slain by Angada. Atikaya who was over-confident had gone straight to Rama and said that he would fight only with someone ‘worthy enough’. Lakshmana, who was furious and challenged him and finally killed him.
Extremely troubled at the turn of events, filled with grief and anxiety
Ravana kept fainting and waking up again and again, and was totally confused. Indrajit heard of the happenings and came to Ravana.
“Don’t worry dear father!” he said. “There is no need to be dejected while I
am alive. I will go immediately and fight with the enemy and annihilate them.”
Springing into action, he immediately went and performed fire oblations and worship of his weapons and chariot, invoking the Brahmastra to his possession, as he did every time he went to fight. He then got on to his magic chariot and flew in the sky to the battlefield. A terrible encounter followed with the Vanaras fighting valiantly but Indrajit was like a glowing fire, raining deadly arrows on them injuring almost everyone very badly, including Sugriva and Angada. Many Vanaras died.
Indrajit then proceeded to where Rama and Lakshmana were and hid himself in the sky and started showering arrows like a torrent, on them both. Rama knew that Indrajit was using the ‘Astra’ given by Brahma and hence advised Lakshmana to bear the onslaught so that Indrajit would leave the place quickly and damage to their army would be reduced. So, both the brothers submitted themselves to the weapons and fainted, fell down and lost their consciousness. As Rama had anticipated, Indrajit thought that they had fallen and he returned to the city shouting in glee.
The only persons who were totally unaffected by Indrajit’s weapons were
Hanuman and Vibhishana. But they were so depressed at the turn of events. They went around in the field, with a torch in hand searching for the warriors who had survived the weapon of Indrajit. That was when they found Jambavan injured and lying on the ground. Jambavan was relieved to hear that Hanuman was unharmed and told Hanuman of the ‘Oushadi Parvata’ which was situated between the Kailasa peak and Rishaba hill on the Himalayas.
“You are the only one” said he, “who can go and get the herbs ‘Mritasanjeevi’ (to bring back to life), ‘Vishalyakarani’ (to heal the wounds), ‘Sandhanakarani’ (to heal fractures) and ‘Savarnyakarani’ (to restore the skin). These grow on the ‘Oushadi Parvata’. These herbs glow in the dark. Please go immediately and bring them”
Hanuman immediately assumed a gigantic form as he had done while coming to Lanka for the first time. Off he sprang to the skies, at the speed of the wind towards the northern direction. It was as if a massive mountain was air-borne. Soon he found the ‘Oushadi Parvata’ but could not identify the herbs. In a fit of anger, Hanuman uprooted the mountain in its entirety and carrying it in one hand, flew back to the battlefield in Lanka.
The moment he placed the mountain on the battlefield, the medicinal smell of all the herbs wafted across and all who had swooned and fell into a coma
including Rama and Lakshmana woke up as if, from a trance. All the traces of their wounds had also disappeared.
Interestingly, the dead bodies of the Rakshasas had been thrown into the ocean under Ravana’s standing instructions so that Rama’s army would not know how many Rakshasas were killed, and so no Rakshasa came back to life. Hanuman lifted the mountain once again like a child’s play and went back and kept it in its place in the Himalayas and came back to Lanka.
Mission II Sanjeevani:
Next, Kumbhakarna’s valiant sons Kumbha and Nikhumba fought bravely only to meet Yama in in the hands of Sugriva and Hanuman respectively. The morale of the Vanara army was boosted after the death of these brothers.
Ravana decided to send Indrajit again. Indrajit, deciding to fool the army by deceit, brought in his chariot the ‘Maya Sita’ (Exact Sita-like person created by Maya). He was accosted by Hanuman who believed that it was indeed Sita Mata and was deeply pained and shocked. As Hanuman charged to attack him, Indrajit, with a loud laugh slashed the chest of ‘Sita’ and ‘killed’ her. Hanuman was shattered and walked away from the battle, feeling utterly miserable that the very reason for whom the battle was on, was killed.
Indrajit was happy to have diverted the attention of the enemy camp as he
had planned a secret ritual at a place called Nikhumbila, on the completion of which, he would become invincible. So he proceeded to Nikhumbila to start and finish the ritual as soon as he could.
The killing of ‘Sita’ brought about great gloom and sorrow to the army and Rama swooned on hearing the news. The army and all the Vanaras with Lakshmana were trying to revive Rama frantically when Vibhishana told them that it would have been Indrajit’s trick to divert their attention. He also said that killing Indrajit was now the priority.
Rama who had now regained his consciousness sent Lakshmana and Hanuman along with the army to Nikhumbila. After a fierce battle ensued between Lakshmana and Indrajit, using the Aindra Astra, Lakshmana killed Indrajit. The whole of the Vanara army and Rama were thrilled at this achievement.
Benumbed with great shock at the death of his invincible son, Ravana came with the last three warriors Mahaparshva, Mahodhara and Virupaksha and started battle with Rama. The three warriors were killed.
Ravana was greatly enraged to see his brother Vibhishana being protected by
Lakshmana and hurled a weapon by name Shakthi at Lakshmana. This weapon never missed its victim. Before it hit Lakshmana, luckily Rama uttered “May the weapon fail in its vigour and leave Lakshmana unharmed”. Shakthi, though lost its strength, entered the chest of Lakshmana and pierced the ground. Lakshmana fell on the ground bleeding profusely.
Although Lakshmana was wounded, Rama had to fight. Entrusting Lakshmana to Hanuman and Sugriva he fought with so much fury that Ravana decided to leave the field for the day.
Now that Ravana had left Rama’s grief poured out. Weeping profusely, he
declared that he had no desire to live nor rescue Sita without Lakshmana being alive.
Sushena, the physician, then examined Lakshmana and diagnosed that he was not dead. This was when Hanuman was again requested for the ‘Vishalyakarani’ leaves from the ‘Oushadi Parvata’.
“Hanuman” said Sushena. “You have to bring the Oushadi…”
The ever-ready Hanuman was air borne already. Within moments he reached the Himalayas and impatient as he was, lifted the whole mountain once again in one hand, and was back in Lanka within minutes. Hanuman had assumed such a huge form that the big mountain in his hand looked like a small block of soil.
The moment Hanuman landed and kept the mountain down, Sushena took the ‘Vishalyakarani’ leaves and administered the juice in the nostrils of Lakshmana. Lakshmana woke up as if from a trance. He was completely cured and was feeling more energetic than ever. All the other injured Vanaras also were rejuvenated.
Rama was overjoyed at Lakshmana’s revival. Ravana was slain subsequently and the mission of Rama accomplished.
This is how Hanuman saved not only Lakhan, but all the warriors by bringing the ‘Sanjeevani’ not once but twice!