Lord Hanuman stands as one of Hinduism’s most beloved deities. Unlike many other gods, he chose to live a celibate life and never married. Remarkably, he never flaunted his divine status but instead humbly regarded himself as the greatest devotee and servant of Lord Rama. His unparalleled strength and sharp intellect are what most people remember him for.
Every day, thousands of devoted followers turn to Lord Hanuman, seeking his blessings to overcome challenges posed by their adversaries. The sheer number of Lord Hanuman temples that dot the landscape bears testament to his immense popularity across the country.
Yet, what may surprise many is the existence of Hanuman’s son – Makardhawaja. Surprisingly, even Lord Hanuman himself remained unaware of his son’s existence until they had an unexpected encounter in the depths of the netherworld, known as Patala Loka.
The Mysterious Birth of Makardhwaja: Two Popular Legends
There are two widely popular legends surrounding the birth of Hanuman’s son, Makardhwaja. The first legend narrates that as Lord Hanuman was returning from Lanka after wreaking havoc on its palaces, he felt fatigued and perspired profusely. Seeking relief, he decided to take a brief dip in the sea. However, as he was about to immerse himself, a tiny drop of his sweat fell into the mouth of a sea creature, unknowingly impregnating it.
This sea creature was later caught by a fisherman and taken to the netherworld, ruled by the demon king Ahiravana. Upon dissecting the fish-like creature, they discovered a peculiar baby with a monkey’s face and a reptilian body. This unique creature was named Makardhwaja, a name derived from the mythological creature ‘Makara’ or crocodile in Hinduism. Notably, it’s essential to recognize that the original Valmiki Ramayana doesn’t mention this story; it’s a local folklore passed down through generations in various parts of India.
In the second version of the tale, a slight variation exists. In this rendition, it is said that a drop of Hanuman’s seed was discharged into the water, rather than a drop of his perspiration. Nonetheless, the rest of the story remains consistent with the first version.
Makardhwaja: The Guardian of Darkness
After being discovered in the womb of the sea creature, Makardhwaja found himself in the care of Ahiravana, a formidable demon king. He was not an ordinary being, inheriting immense power from his father, Lord Hanuman. This might explain why Ahiravana entrusted him with a vital responsibility—to guard the entrance to a hidden chamber where he practiced forbidden dark magic to gain supernatural abilities.
Makardhwaja’s strength and prowess mirrored that of his father, making him the ideal choice for this task. However, fate took a dramatic turn when, just as Lord Rama was about to cross the sea and confront Ravana in Lanka, Ahiravana, on Ravana’s orders, abducted Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana.
News of this dire situation reached Hanuman, who wasted no time in launching a rescue mission. As he arrived at the entrance to the secret chamber, he encountered an unexpected obstacle: his own son, Makardhwaja, standing guard. Makardhwaja, acknowledging his lineage as the son of Lord Hanuman, was determined to prevent his father from entering the chamber.
Lord Hanuman and His Son: A Pivotal Battle
Initially amused by the claim that he had a son, Hanuman expressed his disbelief since he had never married. However, when Makardhwaja shared the story of his birth, Hanuman’s heart swelled with joy, and he gave his blessings to his newfound son.
Eager to reach Rama and Lakshmana, Hanuman implored Makardhwaja to allow him entry into the chamber. Makardhwaja, resolute and determined, insisted that Hanuman must prove his worthiness by defeating him in combat. The father and son engaged in a fierce battle, with Hanuman eventually emerging as the victor.
During their intense confrontation, Hanuman strategically blinded Makardhwaja for a brief period to prevent any further interference. With determination and valor, Hanuman defeated the demon king Ahiravana, securing the rescue of Rama and Lakshmana.
In the end, Hanuman’s love for his son and his unwavering commitment to Lord Rama’s cause prevailed, and they were able to return safely to their rightful place.
Makardhwaja: From Warrior to King
Following their triumphant rescue, Lord Rama, in his wisdom, advised that Makardhwaja should be crowned as the new ruler of the netherworld, Patala Loka. This decision was rooted in Makardhwaja’s remarkable strength, bravery, and qualities befitting a just and righteous leader.
Recognizing his son’s noble qualities, Lord Hanuman wholeheartedly supported this decision. In honor of Makardhwaja’s valor and newfound role as king, several temples were erected in his name. Notable among them are the temples located in the village of Odadar, Gujarat, and the Hanuman-dandi temple on Bet Dwarka. These temples stand as enduring symbols of Makardhwaja’s legacy and his journey from a warrior to a king, guided by the blessings of Lord Rama and the unwavering love of his father, Lord Hanuman.