The Bell in Hanuman's tail

[As told by Sri Vidya Vijaya Tirtha Sripadaru of Sri Vyasaraja Matha-Sosale]

The Bell in Hanuman's tail - is an interesting feature that can be seen not just in Vyasa-Anjaneya pratima-s but also in many pratima-s across Bharata bhUmi. I have learnt one legend associated with it from elders.

Here is the legend...

Before leaving for Lanka, Sri Rama raised an army of monkeys & bears. He assured the families of these warriors that "I loose none but will return with all."


vAnara army was filled with many varieties of monkeys with varied shape, size& battle power. 'singilIka' was one such monkey variety of dwarf vAnarAs. singilIkA-s don't carry weapons but use teeth & nails to attack enemies. They engage in deadly melees&fall upon enemy en-mass.


Now, we come to the time & setting wherein an epic battle between Rama & Ravana was raging. Many of Ravana's finest generals & warriors including his many sons have fallen in the battle. Left with no option, Ravana woke up his sleeping, giant sibling - Kumbhakarna.


Ravana ordered him to fight Rama. Kumbhakarna tried to reason with his elder brother but went into battle due to brotherly love. He came to battle field raiding a huge chariot. This chariot was decorated with a string of tiny bells around its canopy.


The giant rAkshasa fought with great gusto only to succumb to deadly rAma bANa. As Kumbhakarna started falling off from chariot, his hand hit against a bell hung to the canopy. Due to the impact of Kumbhakarna's mighty hand, the bell got disjointed & fell on the ground.


That very moment, a team of 1000 singilIka-s were moving towards a rAkshasa. They got trapped under this bell which was a huge as a mountain for their size. Unaware of what befell on them &unable to figure out why sudden darkness wrapped them in, singilIkAs started worrying.


Few moments later, one monkey said "I fear no one would be saving us?" Another said "We are doomed." Yet another said "It is our fault to come here." After sometime, some monkeys have started finding fault with their king, Sugreeva.


The fit of rage caught up with many & they began to accuse Rama & Hanuma as the reason for their misery. An aged monkey among the lot shouted over others to calm down & said "Let us not loose hope in Sri Rama. Let's chant his nAma & see what happens."


Having got nothing much to do singilIkA-s one-by-one engaged in rAma nAma smaraNa.


Meanwhile, outside the bell, Ravana too got killed by rAma bANa marking the end of the battle. Now, Rama sitting in his camp ordered Sugreeva to take a count of his armies. Sugreeva returned to Rama with 1000 nos. short. Rama ordered for re-count but to no avail.


Rama got up by saying to Hanuma - "Lead the way into the battle field, I will search for the missing companions." On hearing this, Hanuma started towards the battle field strewn with bodies of slain rAkshas, broken charriots, spears, shields etc.


As Hanuma was clearing the debris, Rama started looking either sides for clues that could lead to missing monkeys. Little far into the field, Rama stopped midway & pointed towards a bell.


All got surprised by this act & were looking quizzically at Rama. Meanwhile, Hanuma having understood the mind of Rama, instantaneously put his tail into the ring of the bell & lifted it gently.

Art by Suraj B Yathish

 [Art by Suraj B Yathish]

There, inside the bell, were 1000 tiny monkey warriors with closed eyes & tAraka nAma on their lips. Thus went a uproar "Jaya Jaya Rama...Jaya Jaya Rama" like a thunder from the sky.


Having the silence thus far surrounding them shattered & a flood of bright light hitting their eyes, those small singilIkA-s came to senses & opened their eyes. Ah! There He is...AjAnubAhu, aravinda dalAyatAksha, niShAcharadhvamsi, the ever beautiful Rama Swamy!


Unable to believe their bhAgya & caught unprepared to welcome it, those singilIkA-s stood like images drawn by a skilled painter. An another round of applause by rest of army caused the tiny warriors to know what to be done next.


They prostrated before the lotus feet of Sri Rama in reverence, with devotion but more importantly to condone their retribution of doubting Sri Rama. Rama smiled & bestowed his sacred 'karaspArsha' that even Sri Lakshmi can't have at Her will.


Later Rama turned his eyes towards Hanuma, standing tall among kapi-s but slightly bent in obedience in his Swamy's presence. A shining bell in his tail he looked like prasanna, abhaya, varada AnjanEya. Bhagawan Rama was beyond limits to see him so.


Rama bestowed a boon that whoever worship Hanuma with bell in tail will be bestowed with greater jnAna, bhakti & vairAgya. They will be brought out from ignorance just like how those singilIkA-s were released by vAyuputra from darkness.

Moral of the story is that one should never loose faith in adverse conditions how dreadful they would be. The tinyness of the monkeys symbolise how one shrinks in morale during distress. The outbursts shown by some tiny monkeys indicate the agressive or abusive nature of a stressed person. Hanuma represent the calmness & logical part of the brain while Sri Rama symbolises the consciousness that beholds the whole psychology.

Jai Veera Hanuman!

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