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Lord Hanuman always depicted with carryinging a mace:

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But during few conversation with our in-house user Sree Charan, he said

There is no explicit reference that Hanuman used Gada/mace. In Sundara Kanda(a chapter in Ramayana an epic of India), he used a iron club which he finds in Lanka instantaneously. - src

Which made me wonder, then how come Hanuman is always depicted with Mace/Gada as primary weapon? What is the primary weapon of Hanuman from scripture then?

  • 1
    When a god is to be worshipped ritualistically (such as in a temple), agamas mandate that the said deity have :- a sakti (hence even "bachelor" gods are "married off"), a vahana/vehicle - hanuman's vehicle is depicted as a camel, a weapon - hence the mace. – user1195 Jun 8 '17 at 6:24
7

As we all know, Hanuman belongs to a class of being called Vānara. As described in this chapter of Balakanda, they are the attackers using trees and rocks. Their favorite weapons are nails and claws.

शिला प्रहरणाः सर्वे सर्वे पर्वत योधिनः || १-१७-२५
नख दन्ष्ट्र आयुधाः सर्वे सर्वे सर्व अस्त्र कोविदाः |

All of them are the assaulters with stones, and all are the attackers with trees, and all have their nails and claws as their weapons, yet all are experts in missiles.

Here, expert in the missiles means that they are skillful in warfare and weaponry. They know how to face missiles and weapons Yet they chose to use nails, claws and rocks in case of war.

ते तार्क्ष्य बल संपन्नाः सर्वे युद्ध विशारदाः |
विचरन्तोऽर्दयन् सर्वान् सिंह व्याघ्र महोरगान् || १-१७-३४

All of those who are well-versed in warfare and endowed with the might of divine eagle Garuda, used to thwart the pride of lions, tigers and great snakes just by their own prideful subjugation while they move about the forests.

In the fight between Vāli and Sugriva, it is generally depicted that they used their golden maces to attack each other. But they used fists, trees and rocks in their combat. Vāli says these words to his brother Sugriva:

एष मुष्टिर् महान् बद्धो गाढः सुनियत अंगुलिः |
मया वेग विमुक्तः ते प्राणान् आदाय यास्यति || ४-१६-२०

Properly clenching fingers this great fist of mine is firmly clenched, and it will unclench only on taking your lives when I pitch this on you at full speed." So said Vali threateningly to Sugreeva. [4-16-20]

Then Sugriva replied:

एवम् उक्तः तु सुग्रीवः क्रुद्धो वालिनम् अब्रवीत् |
तव च एष हरन् प्राणान् मुष्टिः पततु मूर्धनि || ४-१६-२१

Thus said, Sugreeva with high dudgeon said, "this fist of mine shall fall on your forehead plundering your lives." [4-16-21]

वृक्षैः स शाखैः शिखरैः वज्र कोटि निभैः नखैः || ४-१६-२८
मुष्टिभिः जानुभिः पद्भिः बाहुभिः च पुनः पुनः |
तयोः युद्द्धम् अभूत् घोरम् वृत्र वासवोः इव || ४-१६-२९

Among those two there happened a deadly fight time and again using trees with branches, peaks of mountains, their own nails that are similar to the razor-sharp edges of thunderbolts, and with fists, knees, feet, and arms, like the fight that once chanced between demon Vritra and Indra.

Hanuman's primary choice of weapon:

We don't find specifically a choice of a weapon of Hanuman like sword, maces etc., he uses what he finds instantly.

  • In Sundara kanda, when Hanuman fought with Kinkaras, the demon soldiers of Ravana, he grabbed an iron rod instantaneously from the Ashoka Garden.

    स तैः परिवृतः शूरैः सर्वतः स महाबलः |
    आससाद आयसम् भीमम् परिघम् तोरण आश्रितम् || ५-४२-३९
    स तम् परिघम् आदाय जघान रजनी चरान् |
    स पन्नगम् इव आदाय स्फुरन्तम् विनता सुतः || ५-४२-४०
    विचचार अम्बरे वीरः परिगृह्य च मारुतिः |

    Surrounded on all sides by those strong demons, that Hanuma endowed with a great strength seized a huge iron bar belonging to the arched gate. Taking that iron rod, Hanuma killed the demons. That violent Hanuma strolled in the sky, taking that iron rod in his hand, as Garuda the eagle would carrying a serpent in its claws.[5-39-40]

  • While fighting with Prahasta's son Jambumali, Hanuma uses rocks and Sal trees. He kills Jambumali with the same Iron rod with which he killed thousands of soldiers.

    Hanuma, struck by those arrows, was enraged with that demon and then saw by his side, a big rock of a very large measure. [5-44-10]

    Seeing that work in vain, the powerful Hanuma of terrific prowess, uprooted a very large sal tree and whirled it around.[5-44-12]

    Hanuma, with his body full of arrows, was highly enraged and taking the same iron rod as well as clasping it swiftly, whirled it around.Spinning the iron rod with a great speed, Hanuma, richly endowed with strength and highly agitated, threw it on the broad chest of Jamubumali. [5-44-15,16]

After this incident, Ravana sends seven sons of his minister Prahasta and army to fight with Hanuma.

  • Hanuma uses his body to fight with them now.

    That Hanuma, the annihilator of enemies, struck some with his palms, some with his feet and some others with his fists. He tore down some others with his nails.[5-45]

  • Then Hanuman kills Ravana's army generals using various weapons like a Sal tree, a mountain top and his body itself.

    Like a mass of lightning on a mountain, Hanuma instantaneously fell on Durdhara's chariot, by jumping up from far above with great speed.Losing his chariot whose axle and pole had been broken and all his eight horses destroyed, Durdhara then dropped down, losing his life, to the ground. [5-46-25,26]

    Approaching a sala tree and uprooting it, that Hanuma the monkey killed those two valiant demons(Virupaksha and Yupaksha).[5-46-30]

    Having plucked up the top of a mountain with its various animals serpents and trees, the heroic Hanuma the best among monkeys, killed those two demons(Praghasa and Bhasakarna). [5-46-33]

  • During his battle with Aksha Kumara, son of Ravana, he destroyed Aksha 's chariot using his palms.

    Then, the great chariot of Aksha, thus struck by the palm** and subdued by Hanuma the counsellor of Sugreeva, had its interior broken, its carriage pole loosened and its horses dead and fallen from the sky to the ground. [5-47-32]

    Thereafter, Hanuma with his prowess equal to that of wind, approaching Aksha moving in the sky, which is often frequented by Garuda the eagle, the wind and Siddhas the ascetics endowed with supernatural powers, slowly grasped his feet firmly.[5-47-34]

In the final battle too, Hanuman used huge rocks, trees, mountain peaks to attack the demons.

  • During the duel with demon Jambumali(not the son of Prahasta), he destroyed a chariot with bare hands.

    Hanuman, the son of the wind-god, ascended his chariot and soon overthrew it together with the demon, with the palm of his hand.[6-43-22]

  • While fighting with the demon Dhumraksha, used trees, rocks.

    Seeing the army perturbed due to tormented by Dhumraksha, Hanuman was enraged and turned towards him, taking a gigantic rock in his hands. [6-52-27]

    Thereafter, Hanuman the son of Maruta (the wind-god), after breaking the chariot, destroyed the demons with trunks of trees furnished with their branches.[6-52-30]

    That Hanuman, who was endowed with an energy similar to the wind, was in no way disturbed by that blow but struck Dhumraksha on the middle of his skull with his rocky peak.[6-52-35]

  • Hanuma and Neela join Angada to fight with Mahodara, Trishiras and Devantaka. Trishira and Devantaka are Ravana's sons. Hanuman kills Devantaka.

    Then, Hanuma the foremost of monkeys, while jumping up, struck on the head of Devantaka rushing upon him with his fist equal to a thunder-bolt.[6-70-24]

    While that enraged Hanuma hurled a mountain-peak, the strong Trishira broke it into several pieces with his sharp arrows. [6-70-34]

    Seeing that mountain-peak becoming useless, Hanuma then hurled a volley of trees towards Trishira in that battle-field.[6-70-35]

Above are only some examples of Hanuman's choice of weapons. If we search each and every chapter of YuddhaKanda, we find that he killed many demons using his nails, fists, trees and mountain peaks. Not only Hanuma, other valiant vānaras like Nala, Neela, Angada et cetera had used similar weapons like Hanuma does.

Conclusion: Hanuma used rocks, trees and his body parts to attack his enemies(demons) in the war making them his primary weapon of choice.

How come Hanuman is always depicted with Mace/Gada as primary weapon?

Hanuman is widely known for his physical strength. The mace is also the primary weapon of some strong warriors of Mahabharata like Duryodhaa, Bhima. If we look at the picture, A mace in the hand increases an opinion that the warrior is very strong. So, this is an attempt to depict that Hanuman is a very strong and glorify them. Other famous vānaras like Sugriva and Vāli are also shown holding maces.

The translators on Valmikiramayan.net also add in their commentary to the verse 1-17-25,26

The golden maces or clubs handled by Hanuma, Sugreeva, and Vāli usually depicted in pictures are for more mythical ornamentation to glorify the characters.


Numbers in brackets after english translation denote verse number from Valmiki Ramayana. Format - [Kanda-chapter number-verse number]

  • Nice answer! Didnt know the gada was not really a weapon of Hanuman! – Amrit Dhara Dec 20 '18 at 15:36
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    @AmritDhara He never used that weapon. However there are other forms of Hanuman like Panchamukha Hanuman who holds several weapons. Gada is also one of them. Using and holding is not the same. He didn't use gada or other in wars. – Sarvabhouma Dec 20 '18 at 17:04
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Like any other vānara, Hanumān's weapon of choice was 'bare hands' for close combat and uprooted trees and rocks for distant combat.

Here's a scene from Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa where Hanumān uses his fist to hit Rāvaṇa in the chest but he was no match for Rāvaṇa's strength.

"This five-branched right hand of mine, which I now raise, will rob you of your life that has long been resident in your body." [6-59-56]

Hearing the words of Hanuma, the exceedingly valiant Ravana, his eyes inflamed with anger, answered. [6-59-57]

"Strike quickly without fear, O Monkey! Win eternal renown. Thereafter, I shall destroy you, after measuring your strength." [6-59-58]

...

Then, Hanuma answered, "O, Ravana! Cursed by that strength since you do still survive!" [6-59-65]

"O, foolish fellow! Why this boasting? Now come, strike me once! My fist is about to dispatch you to the Abode of Yama the Lord of Death!" [6-59-66]

Hearing the words of Hanuma, the powerful Ravana, enraged, his eyes red with fury and whirling his fist with force knocked it down violently on Hanuma's chest. [6-59-67/68]

Under the shock, Hanuma reeled once again. Seeing that mighty Hanuma exhausted, Ravana turned his chariot towards Nila. [6-59-69]

Another incident from Sundara Kāṇḍa where Hanumān throws rocks and uprooted trees on Jambumālī:

cukopa bāṇa abhihato rākṣasasya mahākapiḥ |
tataḥ pārśve ativipulām dadarśa mahatīm śilām || 5-44-10

10. mahaakapiH = Hanuma; baaNaabhihataH = struck by the arrows; chukopa = was enraged; raakSasasya = of the demon; tataH = and then; dadarsha = saw; paarshve = by his side; ativipulaam shilaam = a big rock; mahatiim = of a very large measure.

Hanuma, struck by those arrows, was enraged with that demon and then saw by his side, a big rock of a very large measure.

Uplifting that rock with strength, the athletic Hanuma hurled it with force. The enraged demon then struck back that rock with ten arrows.

Seeing that work in vain, the powerful Hanuma of terrific prowess, uprooted a very large sal tree and whirled it around.

Seeing the mighty Hanuma, whirling around the sal tree, the exceedingly strong Jambumali discharged numerous arrows.

A true vānara has no use for things like maces, swords, bow & arrow, etc. Bare hands will do it.

  • True vanara , false vanara- Any definitions? – Rickross Jun 13 '17 at 16:42
  • Yes. 'True vanara' - "All of them are the assaulters with stones, and all are the attackers with trees, and all have their nails and claws as their weapons, yet all are experts in missiles. [1-17-25b, 26a]" (source) – sv. Jun 13 '17 at 17:02
2

Hanuman's ultimate weapon is Ramnam.

यत्र यत्र रघुनाथकीर्तनं तत्र तत्र कृतमस्तकांजलिम्
वाष्पवारिपरिपूर्णालोचनं मारुतिं नमत राक्षसान्तकम्
||

Wherever the Glories of Raghunatha are Sung, there, with Hands held over His Bowed Head in Salutation, and Eyes Filled with Tears, Maruti (Hanuman) is Present; I Salute Maruti Who puts an End to the Rakshasas.

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