--> Skip to main content

Is Monkey King In China Influenced By Hanuman Of Ramayana

The Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, is a legendary figure in Chinese literature and folklore, primarily featured in the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West". While there are some similarities between the Monkey King and Hanuman from the Hindu epic Ramayana, it's essential to recognize that they come from distinct cultural and literary traditions.

Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, is a central character in "Journey to the West," a 16th-century Chinese novel attributed to Wu Cheng'en. Sun Wukong is a mischievous and powerful monkey with magical abilities. He acquires great strength and immortality through Taoist practices and becomes a key companion to the monk Xuanzang on his journey to retrieve Buddhist scriptures from India.

Hanuman, on the other hand, is a prominent character in the Hindu epic Ramayana, attributed to the sage Valmiki. Hanuman is a devoted and loyal monkey deity with exceptional strength and intelligence. He plays a crucial role in the rescue of Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, and is known for his unwavering devotion to Bhagavan Sri Rama.

While both characters share some common characteristics, such as being powerful monkeys with extraordinary abilities, their stories, cultural backgrounds, and contexts are distinct. The Monkey King is deeply rooted in Chinese mythology and literature, while Hanuman is a figure from Hindu religion.

Similarities between Hanuman and the Monkey King include:

Monkey Companionship: Both Hanuman and the Monkey King are associated with monkeys and have a group of monkey followers or companions. Hanuman is often depicted with an army of monkeys, while the Monkey King leads a band of monkeys in "Journey to the West."

Devotion and Loyalty: Both characters are known for their unwavering devotion and loyalty. Hanuman is a devoted follower of Bhagavan Sri Rama, and the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, becomes a loyal companion to the monk Xuanzang on his journey to the West.

Strength and Abilities: Hanuman and the Monkey King possess great strength and supernatural abilities. Hanuman is known for his incredible strength, agility, and the ability to change his size at will. Similarly, the Monkey King in Chinese folklore has immense strength, the power to transform, and control over various magical abilities.

Devotional Stories: Both figures are revered in their respective cultures and have inspired numerous stories, poems, and artistic representations. Devotees often tell tales of their heroic deeds, emphasizing qualities like courage, loyalty, and devotion.

Divine Connections: Hanuman is considered a divine monkey and a devoted follower of Bhagavan Rama, a revered deity in Hinduism. On the other hand, the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, is a supernatural being born from a stone in Chinese mythology. 

Differences Between Hanuman And Monkey King

Religious Context:

Hanuman: Hanuman is revered as a deity in Hinduism and is considered a symbol of devotion, loyalty, and strength. He is often depicted as a monkey-faced god with a strong and muscular physique.  He is a popular god in Hindu religion and believed to be a partial incarnation of Mahadeva Shiva.

Monkey King (Sun Wukong): Sun Wukong is not worshipped as a deity; he is a fictional character created for the purpose of the literary work "Journey to the West." While he possesses supernatural abilities, he is more of a trickster figure.

It's important to appreciate the uniqueness of these cultural and mythological traditions and not conflate them, as they have different religious, historical, and literary contexts.