about Hanuman's Leap


Hanuman

Hanuman means 'the one with the broken jaw'. Hanuman was the son of the wind god Vayu, the bringer of fragrance and the life giver. When young he saw the sun rise red into the sky and jumped high to catch it. Lord Indra saw him enter his domain and angrily struck him with a thunderbolt. He fell to the ground and broke his jaw. Vayu was so angry that he deprived the universe of his power; all life and movement ceased. The gods, greatly alarmed, offered many favours to Hanuman so his father would re-instate his gifts. Hanuman would never be wounded in battle; no god would use a weapon against him, and he would only die when he chose to.

In another version of the story Rama granted Hanuman a wish in return for his noble services. Hanuman wished to live as long as people used Rama's name. In India today the Hanuman Langur (a type of monkey) is often seen around villages. It is said to be checking that people are still using Rama's name.


Gods

The Hindu faith has many gods, but is centred on a trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Most Hindus today belong to either of two main sects. In one Shiva is the main god and in the other Vishnu.

There is a third group, which is centred on the Devi (goddess) who may be described as Shakti, which is the strength and power behind all things in the Universe. She appears in many different guises representing all the different facets of human nature.


The Word Hindu

The word Hindu is believed to come from the river Indus. It was called the river Sindhu in ancient times, but the Aryan settlers could not pronounce 's' and so called it the Hindhu. They later used the term to apply to all the land around the river and then the religion that was practised in the area.

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