Indian epics/texts are replete with rich poetic expressions, philosophical expressions and spiritual injunctions. With a variety of allegories and real stories, they enhance the quality of life, while developing the character of the reader. However, it doesn’t mean that they are devoid of logic and science. Thus, Ramayana is no exception to this fact. Anyone aware of the Ramayana is also aware of the Rama Setu, the underwater bridge between India and Sri Lanka. However, before building the bridge, apparently, Hanuman, the ape god flew to Sri Lanka. Before we dive into analyzing Hanuman’s flight, here is a concise backdrop:
Rama, the protagonist of Ramayana was amongst the four sons of the king Dashratha, who ruled over the kingdom of Kosala in North India. Being the eldest and most eligible, Dasharatha decided to coronate him. However, his youngest wife Kaikeyi intervened with two boons that she received years ago from Dasharatha. Accordingly, the first boon was that her son Bharata be crowned king, while the second meant a 14-year exile for Rama.
Related article: The real strength of Rama
The great Rama accepted this without any resistance and left for the forest. His brother Laxman and his wife Sita joined him in exile. In 13 years, they travelled to South India. In due course, they slew a lot of demons, thus receiving blessings from a lot of sages. However, this greatness earned them the enmity of Raavana, the demon king of Sri Lanka. What followed was the kidnapping of Rama’s wife Sita by Raavana.
Meeting Sugreeva and Hanuman
While searching for Sita, Rama and Laxmana met Hanumana and Sugreeva, the king of Vaanaras (the ape tribe). A friendship developed between them. Hence, Sugreeva sent armies in all directions to search for Sita. Incidentally, they reached the tip of India in the current day Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India.
Hanuman personally led this expedition to the tip of the nation. There they met a bird called Sampaati, who guided them in the direction of Lanka, Raavana’s kingdom. However, the big challenge was to cross the Indian Ocean from India to Sri Lanka. Hence, Hanuman decides to fly across the ocean to Lanka. This brings us to our topic of Hanuman’s flight.
Hanuman and his Flight
Before we discuss anything further, please take a look at the below image:
This beautiful image depicts the flight of Hanuman. Leaving aside the aesthetics, if you observe the last quadrant, you will see the trees being uprooted. What has it got to do with his flight? We must applaud the artist to have captured such fine details in his art. However, the poet of Valmiki Ramayana i.e. Valmiki Ramayana deserves the same applause for his immaculate descriptions. Here is the below text from Valmiki Ramayana’s Sundar Kanda:
Thinking that he was Garuda himself the great Hanuman jumped up with great force. Because of the speed of his course, the trees on the mountain were pulled up with their roots. With the flowering trees rushing along with him Hanuman entered the skies. The trees went with him some distance and it seemed as though they were well-wishers who went with him some distance to make the journey fruitful.
If you read the lines, ‘Because of the speed of his course, the trees on the mountain were pulled up with their roots,’ you will realise that this is Bernoulli’s principle in action. According to Bernoulli’s principle, an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in static pressure. Thus Hanuman’s extremely high speed creates a low-pressure belt around him. Since objects move from high pressure to a low-pressure area, the uprooted trees follow him to a certain distance, to be pulled back by gravity eventually.
Isn’t it phenomenal how much scientific insight our sages displayed while writing the greatest poems on our planet? Hope you enjoyed reading it. However, this will be incomplete and unfair if I don’t give credits where they are due.