Hanuman is one of the central characters of Ramayana. He's revered as a great devotee of Shree Rama and worshiped as an avatar of Shiva. He's also known as the son of Vayu. We see his images, statues, photos, sculptures, temples, etc. all over India and he's popularly depicted as a monkey. But what does Valmiki Ramayana say about Hanuman? Is he a vanara or a human being?

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    Again I pose that it is NOT clear if Hanuman is an avatar of Shiva.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 6:55
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    @SwiftPushkar how is it even duplicate Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 10:27
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    @SwiftPushkar How is it duplicate? I didn't get the answer about the Vanaras in the above question.
    – user18687
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 14:10
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    @ProudKafir You can edit and remove this and any other lines which are a duplicate of the other: "If he was a monkey, how could he have a yagyopavit (sacred thread) and master all the four Vedas?" Also, change the title to: "According to Valmiki Ramayana, was Hanuman a human being or a monkey (vanara)?" Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 23:52
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    @sv. Okay, done.
    – user18687
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


But what does Valmiki Ramayana say about Hanuman? Is he a vanara or a human being?

Valmiki Ramayana says that he is a Monkey - The most powerful divine monkey. Following are 3 verses which address Hanuman as kapi and vAnara - meaning a monkey.

  1. Here in Ramayana, Baalkaand, Sarga 1, Verse 77. Narada gives a summary of the Ramayana to Valmiki and addresses Hanuman as MahAkapiH = The Great Monkey

    अस्त्रेणोन्मुक्तमात्मानं ज्ञात्वा पैतामहाद्वरात् |
    मर्षयन् राक्षसान् वीरो यन्त्रिणस्तान्यदृच्छया || १-१-७६ ||
    ततो दग्ध्वा पुरीं लङ्कामृते सीतां च मैथिलीम् |
    रामाय प्रियमाख्यातुं पुनरायान्महाकपिः || १-१-७७ ||

    "Knowing himself to be free from the captivity of the weapon according to Brahma's boon, the valiant great monkey Hanuma enduring those demons with self-will who tied his tail with ropes with the intention of burning it, there after burning the city of Lanka while leaving from fire the Seetha of Mithila, got back again to convey the pleasant news to Rama ... [1-1-76, 77]

  2. And here again in Bala-kanda, Sarga-17, verse-16-17, mention Hanuman as the celestial vanarah, the son of Vayudeva, with an indestructible body and with the speed of Garuda:

    मारुतस्यौरसः श्रीमान् हनुमान्नाम वानरः | वज्रसंहननोपेतो वैनतेयसमो जवे || १-१७-१६ सर्ववानरमुख्येषु बुद्धिमान् बलवानपि | ते सृष्टा बहुसाहस्रा दशग्रीववधोद्यताः || १-१७-१७

    The opulent/marvellous monkey son of Vayudeva known by the name Hanuman. Whose body is as indestructible as the Vajra of Indra and in speed only Garuda, the son of Vinita can match him. Among other vanara, he is the most intelligent and powerful!

  3. And here in Kishkindakand, Sarga-3, Verse-2. Hanuman himself is thinking that my monkey form (kapi-rupam) no one would trust so I should change into a ascetic/sannyasi.

    कपि रूपम् परित्यज्य हनुमान् मारुतात्मजः |
    भिक्षु रूपम् ततो भेजे शठबुद्धितया कपिः || ४-३-२

    Casting off his monkey's semblance Air-god's son Hanuma attained the persona of an ascetic, for that monkey is incredulous in mind about Raghava-s. [4-3-2]

There are many other verses but I think this much should suffice to answer the question.

Hope this Helps.

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    I think adding some references of divinity of Hanuman from VR will make the .answer more accurate . Because he is Chiranjeevi and also a divine monkey , he is not a normal ape , we pray to him as god. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 9:46
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    @SwiftPushkar I like to stick to the point of answering the question. But I certainly agree with you and the sentiments behind it, and hence will try to add a few of those verses relevant to question as well as showing his divinity. Kindly forgive if at all the way I answered is not proper.
    – Prakash K
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:16
  • Haha , there is no issue of sentiments here. But my point is adding the ref. from VR where Haumuna is mentioned as divine monkey will be more accurate than simply quoting the shlokas where he is just called as monkey plainly. Your answer is correct and proper. But a bit less accurate with the current shlokas . Just changing the shlokas will make it the Best. And after all it all depends on you . I was just pointing , so do not take it seriously. : - ) Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:58

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