Marvel Comics always liked to draw inspiration from and reference various real-life ancient pantheons in their stories. This is what gave rise to both Asgardian & Olypian Skyfathers. This tradition was translated well to the MCU as several other mythologies became known by the fans. We know that the ‘Black Panther’ franchise is one huge tribute to goddess Bast, a panther goddess closely connected to the Black Panthers. But Wakanda is a big place, and other tribes worship their own gods. One such god is Hanuman. Let’s see who he is & how he’s connected to the real-life religion.
Hanuman is a gorilla god worshiped by M’Baku’s Jabari tribe. According to Jabari lore, after they defected from the rest of the Wakanda tribes and refused to take advantage of Vibranium, Hanuman provided them with the means to survive as well as the materials to build their impregnable Gorilla City. Hanuman is a god taken from Hindu mythology. In Hinduism, Hanuman is said to be an ardent companion of Rama, and he usually appears in sacred texts and images as humanoid red monkey standing as humans would.
Now that we’ve given you a brief overview of who Hanuman is, it’s time to analyze the reference and tell you all about his significance in the MCU. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
What do Wakandans believe in?
Wakanda has a long history in Marvel Comics, and it started with the discovery of alien metal that would become known as Vibranium, one of the strongest metals in the Marvel Universe. Before Wakandans came across Vibranium, this “nation” consisted of 5 tribes that were stuck in perpetual warfare. They worshiped animalistic and primitive gods, including Hanuman and Bast.
It was Bast who guided the first Black Panther, Bashenga, to the Vibranium. The metal has mutated the flora and fauna around it and gave rise to the so-called Heart-Shaped Herb. After Bashenga ingested the Heart-Shaped Herb, he became more attuned to the Panther goddess Bast, and as a consequence, he received superhuman abilities.
Bashenga used his newfound powers to stop the war and unite all tribes under one single crown, one united tribe. Only four tribes accepted Bast and Bashenga; the fifth tribe, the Jabari tribe, looked upon Black Panther and Vibranium as an insult to their traditional way of life and separated themselves, choosing to live a primitive lifestyle the one free from the consequences of dealing with Vibranium.
How is Hanuman connected to the Jabari tribe?
Bashenga went on to give rise to the golden line that would, in turn, produce all subsequent kings of Wakanda. Bast became their chief deity. But what happened to the exiled Jabari tribe?
Since Jabari did not have access to Vibranium or Bast’s blessings, for that matter, they were forced to retreat to the northern mountains, where they were ready to settle and face a much harsher life than their “civilized” counterparts.
This is where Hanuman comes in. According to the legend, the Gorilla god provided for the Jabari tribe and provided them with enough resources to survive and adapt and provided them with wood strong enough to build entire cities that would prove to be impregnable over time. Jabari Gorilla City looks extremely different and “stuck in time” when compared to the Golden City.
Many corners are decorated with imagery of Hanuman, and Jabari tribesmen call upon his name in times of need, such as when they are about to embark on a battle or when they are ready to thank the gods for certain blessings.
They continue actively worshiping Hanuman to this day, just like the rest of the Wakanda continues worshiping Bast.
Hanuman is based on the real-world Hindu God
Hanuman is a Hindu god usually associated with Rama and often appears in the Indian temples dedicated to the deity. He is often depicted as a humanoid monkey, and according to ancient scripts, humans should look upon Hanuman as a role model in regard to what Rama-worshiping should look like.
Hanuman is also worshipped in Buddhist regions of Central, Southeast, and East Asia, and even entire towns are named after him. Just like most gods, Hanumam has several origin stories, and his story has been retold in several forms of media, both ancient and modern.
It is believed that Hanuman inspired the monkey hero in the Chinese epic ‘Journey to the West’ and also appears in popular comic books as a superhero.
Is Hanuman in the Council of Godheads?
‘Thor: Love & Thunder’ offered us a unique look into the so-called ‘Council of Godheads,’ which is a committee comprised of several gods and their respective pantheons worshipped throughout the Universe, both fictional and based on real-life mythologies.
Fans were quick to point out several easter eggs pointing in the direction of some famous gods appearing on-screen. We’ve seen Bast in all her golden glory as well as Quetzalcóatl, an Aztec god that seems to reference Namor & his upcoming debut in the MCU. But is Hanuman in the council?
It appears that he is not, as no one was able to identify him in the background. Even though Hanuman is a big deal in Wakanda, especially among the members of the Jabari tribe, it seems that he has limited influence outside his tribe of worshipers.
In the comics, however, the Jabari tribe vehemently worships the so-called Ghekre or Ape god, and serves as the central figure of the White Gorilla Cult. Interestingly, Ghekre is inspired by the Baoulé deity worshipped in West Africa, but MCU decided to go with the Hindu deity to depict it as the central monkey god in Wakanda.
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