Sanjeevani: The Magical Herb
- May 13, 2022
By Srinidhi Murthy
Sanjeevani, also known as Vishalya Karani, was a magical herb that grew on the peaks of Mount Gandhamadana. This herb saved Rama’s brother, Lakshmana, during their battle with Ravana. Read the story of how Hanuman brought this herb in time to save Lakshmana’s life.
During the final battle between the army of Ravana, the king of Lanka, and Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, Ravana hurled a spear at Lakshmana. Rama came forward to save his brother as he fell and drove away Ravana. Unfortunately, Lakshmana fell unconscious as the spear had already struck him before Rama’s arrival. The injury brought Lakshmana to the brink of death. Distressed, Rama asked Sushena, the Vanara physician, to save his brother’s life. Sushena examined him and declared that Lakshmana could still be saved with the magical herb called Vishalya Karani, or Sanjeevani, that was available on Mount Gandhamadana. He further added that the herb would need to be fetched before sunrise. However, soon Sushena revealed that it would take eighteen years for them to reach Gandhamadana. It seemed as though getting the herb was an impossible task and Rama and the army had lost hope for Lakshmana’s life.
Script: Luis M. Fernandes; Illustration: Ram Waeerkar
Hanuman to the rescue
Suddenly, Hanuman stepped out of the crowd and promised to bring the herb before sunrise. Sushena instructed Hanuman to look for a golden creeper with blue flowers growing on either side of the river flowing down one of the peaks of Gandhamadana. After receiving Rama’s blessings, Hanuman increased his size and then, with one leap, rose high into the sky. As he flew, Ravana saw him from Lanka and immediately guessed that Hanuman was flying to get the magical herb. He was determined to stop Hanuman and ensure that Lakshmana could not be saved.
Ravana summoned Kalanemi to defeat Hanuman. Kalanemi was a fearful monster-magician with four heads, eight eyes and eight arms. Ravana promised half of his kingdom to the monster if he succeeded in defeating Hanuman. Kalanemi was terrified at the thought of a battle with Hanuman. He reminded Ravana about Hanuman’s powers and added that he would be dead if he tried to destroy the son of Vayu. However, Ravana ignored his words and asked him to drown Hanuman in the river in Gandhamadana, as the river was home to a ferocious crocodile. Left with no choice, Kalanemi agreed to the task and quickly transported himself to Gandhamadana. There, he transformed himself into a hermit and created a hermitage. He then waited for Hanuman’s arrival.