Updated: Jun 26, 2022
When the Ramayana war was in full force with Ravana's side about to lose, he enlisted the help of Ahiravana, his brother and king of Patala (netherworld) to get rid of both Rama and Lakshmana.
Ahiravana disguised himself as Vibhishana (another brother of Ravana, but who had chosen to be on Rama's side), to outwit Hanuman and take Rama & Laxmana to Patala by abducting them. On realising his folly, Hanuman at once reached Patala to defeat Ahiravana and rescue the brothers. Once there, he came to know that Ahiravana's life was hidden in five candles placed in five different directions. He would have to blow out all candles simultaneously to be able to kill the demon. This made Hanuman take his Panchmukha (five faced) form to extinguish the candles at the same time, kill Ahiravana and carry the brothers safely back to Lanka.
The five faces of Panchmukha Hanuman are:
- South facing Narasimha (half lion, half man avatar of Vishnu)
- West facing Garuda (eagle)
- North facing Varaha (boar avatar of Vishnu)
- Upward facing Hayagriva (horse)
- East facing Hanuman himself