Hanuman to the Rescue
(IBH, Jan. 1, 1999)
Hanuman was the chief general of the monkey king, Sugreeva. The story of his adventures, particularly after the monkey army reaches the sea-shore opposite Lanka, is one of the best efforts of pure imagination to be found in the Ramayana. When no one feels confident to make the mighty leap to Lanka, where Sita has been held captive, he alone is found equal to the task. What follows after this leap to Lanka has fascinated Indian children for hundreds of years. At times, Hanuman reduces himself to the size of a man's thumb. When it suits him, he swells himself to the size of a mountain. His exploits, particularly after he sets out to bring the herb Vishalya Karani from mount Gandhamadana to save Lakshmana, have been beautifully embellished in Krittivasa's Ramayana, on which this Chitra Katha is based.