Hanuman and the Mountain


NS: In the Ramayana, Lakshmana is poisoned in battle so his brother Rama tasks Hanuman with finding an herb that will save his brother’s life because Hanuman is the fastest of all the soldiers. The herb can only be found on a specific mountain that’s very far away, and Hanuman is scared he won’t be able to find the herb and bring it back in time because he isn’t sure what it looks like. As a solution, he carries back the entire mountain to Rama on the tip of his pinky finger. 


NS: Growing up, my parents told me tales from Hindu mythology; the tale of Hanuman and the mountain in particular was supposed to emphasize how devoted Hanuman was to Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu. This was in part to inspire that same devotion to Hinduism in me and my brother, but was also their way of telling us to stop being lazy (“if Hanuman could carry the whole mountain on the tip of his finger, you can do xyz!”).


I admittedly am not terribly familiar with Hindu mythology, but from this conversation it seems to be full of stories similar to this. Religious myths are often used as a way to understand the world and inspire faith in people. The Bible and in particular the Old Testament is famously a collection of such stories, designed to teach morals and the value in following the teachings of God. As a polytheistic religion, Hinduism splits those teachings into the acts and stories of service to varying gods in the pantheon, but they serve the same purpose.