The apsara Anjana was born as a woman on earth. She married the monkey-king Kesari. Lord Shiva took birth in the form of a monkey through vanara Anjana. The child born to Anjana was called Anjaneya which is another name for Lord Hanuman. After giving birth to Hanuman, Anjana decided to return to heaven.
Anjaneya became very sad. “Mother, what will be my future without you? How can I feed myself ? How can I live?” he asked.
Anjana said: “Don’t worry, Anjaneya” “Gods will always protect you. When you feel hungry, fruits as red and ripe as a rising sun would be your food.”
Anjana kissed her son and left for heaven.
“Fruits as red and ripe as the Sun or Surya?” – thought Anjaneya. “Is Sun such a ripe fruit? Let me see!”
The baby Hanuman wanted to taste the Sun. He was, after all, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. So reaching for Surya Deva was not a tough task for him. He made a giant leap to catch the glowing ball on the sky. The sun glowing in the sky suddenly saw a monkey coming towards him. Bal Hanuman grew bigger and bigger as he neared the sun. The terribly hot rays which made the presence of any mortal body impossible near the Sun, had no effect on the creature. The Sun got scared and started calling out for help. “Oh Indra! Oh Indra! Please help me!” he cried.
“Why Suryadeva seeks my help?”- Indra wondered. “Is he not powerful enough to burn everything that comes near him? Or is it something beyond his control? Anyway, I have to see what’s happening!”
Indra promptly climbed on Airavata his mount, the white elephant and set out to find the cause of Surya Deva’s fear. Soon, he found that a flying monster was trying to catch hold of the sun. On nearing the sun, Indra was surprised to see that the monster was actually a giant monkey.
“Stop!” he ordered. “Who are you? Why are you trying to catch the Sun?”
“I’m Anjaneya, son of Kesari and Anjana” – replied the giant child. “My mother told me that fruits as ripe as the red sun will be my food. So I’m going to catch the sun and eat it.”
Indra was amused by the child’s innocence, so he advised him to return to earth. “This is not a fruit, Hanuman, this is the Sun – the source of all light and life” – said he and commanded, “Return whence you came”.
But naughty Anjaneya ignored his command and continued his journey to capture the Sun. Indra became angry and warned him to return. He repeated several times his warning, but Anjaneya did not listen to him. At last, the King of Devas became so enraged that he struck Anjaneya with his thunderbolt “Vajra”.
The Vajra hit the child, wounding his chin and causing him to fall down to earth. Anjaneya’s cheeks were swollen twice their size. As the boy fell, his body became smaller and smaller. Finally, he became the child monkey he really was and hit the ground.