List members , the tale of Ahiravan from the Ramayan epic is in my opinion the most specific , detailed and elaborate reference to Hollow Earth in ALL of mythology :-
The story of Ahiravan Vadh in Ramayana is one of the many untold stories of the Ramayana. The incident is quite an important one as well as interesting. It shows a different side of Hanuman, and tells us about what lengths he was willing to go for his beloved Lord Ram.
In the Krittivasi Ramayana, Ahiravan was the ruler of Patal Lok, or the netherworld. He was the brother of Ravan, and was immensely powerful and cruel. He was a master of magic and illusion, often confusing his enemies by showing them illusions and making them hallucinate.
According to legend, when Indrajeet, the valiant and extremely talented but vile son of Raavan was killed by Lakshman, Raavan was crest fallen and had slowly started to realize that he was losing the battle. He wanted to get back at Ram and Lakshman for taking away the apple of his eyes from him. With odds against his favour, he summoned his brother from the netherworld, Ahiravan. Ahiravan had initially decided not to be a part of the war against Lord Ram.
Ahiravan was a devotee of Goddess Mahamaya. He often sacrificed humans to her, and gained more power in the process. Raavan convinces him that if he is able to capture Ram and Lakshman and sacrifice them to the goddess, she would be very happy. This gives Ahiravan a reason to kidnap the brothers, and he formulates a plan with Ravan to capture them.
Vibhishan, well acquainted with the ways of Ahiravan, comes to know about their plan. He warns Ram and Lakshman about Ahiravan. He also requests Hanuman to keep an eye on Ram and Lakshman and guard over them. Vibhishan informs them all about the mastery of Ahiravan over magic and illusion, and tells them to be careful of him.
Lord Hanuman creates a shield around the cottage where Ram and Lakshman were sleeping with his tail, to ensure that no one is able to breach the barricade to reach the brothers.
Once when everyone is asleep, Ahiravan tries to breach the shield in various disguises, in order to kidnap Ram and Lakshman, but Hanuman foils his every attempt. Finally after a lot of planning, Ahiravan disguises himself as Vibhishan and asks Hanuman to enter the cottage and check on Ram and Lakshman. Hanuman allows him to enter the shield, and is fooled by Ahiravan in the process. He successfully manages to kidnap both Ram and Lakshman and carry them to his realm, deep underground.
In the morning, everyone wakes up to realize that Ahiravan, disguised as Vibhishan, has successfully taken away Ram and Lakshman. Seething with anger, Hanuman promises Vibhishan that he would find both the brothers and also kill Ahiravan, to get revenge for even thinking of harming his beloved Lord Ram.
It is said, that Patal Lok was the world of reverse flow. It was a world where all the rules of nature were completely opposite to what we have in our world. Life progressed in the reverse over there. Old men emerged from their funeral pyres and slowly became younger and younger until they were mere infants. Fire, instead of burning things, was used to cool things down over there.
Water used to flow upwards instead of moving downwards over there. Gravity was repulsive instead of attractive. The progress of time was backward over there, and it was much faster than our time. Vibhishan tells all these facts about the place to Hanuman.
Hanuman, with a lot of grit and determination to free his masters and save them from the evil Ahiravan, travels all the way to Patal Lok. He finds Ahiravan’s city in Patal Lok, a hauntingly beautiful place with forts and fortresses and guards everywhere. He fights off against everyone and finally reaches Ahiravan’s palace, where he meets a half monkey half reptile, Makardhwaja, the guardian of the palace.
The story of Makardhwaja is also quite interesting. To start off, he is the son of Hanuman. The story goes, that when Hanuman had taken a dip in the ocean after burning the whole of Lanka with the fire on his tail, a drop of his sweat falls in the mouth of a huge crocodile. This fish gets caught by the people of Patal Lok, and they find Makardhwaja when they cut open the crocodile’s stomach. Ahiravan, seeing Makardhwaja’s intelligence and strength, makes him the guard of his palace.
When Hanuman tries to enter the palace, Makardhwaja tries to stop him. Hanuman asks for his introduction, and Makardhwaja introduces himself as the guardian of Patal Lok, and the mighty son of Hanuman. Amused, Hanuman thinks that Makardhwaja is lying, as Hanuman had been a celibate all his life. Then, Hanuman goes into dhyan and tries to know about the origin of Makardhwaja, and comes to know the truth.
Makardhwaja tells Hanuman that he would have to fight him first, before entering the palace. He tells him that he cannot betray his mentor, Ahiravan, and is ready to face even his father to obey his master. Seeing his devotion and commitment, Hanuman is pleased, and he blesses him. They fight after that, and Hanuman wins the battle. After that, he ties up Makardhwaja and enters the palace, looking for Ram and Lakshman.
Over there, he meets Chandrasena, who tells him that the only way to kill Ahiravan was to extinguish five lamps facing five different directions at the same time. For doing this, Hanuman assumes the form of Panchmukhi Hanuman. The five faces of Hanuman, Varaha, Garuda, Narasimha and Hayagriva appear to extinguish the lamps. Hanuman faces the east, Varaha faces the south, Garuda faces the west, and Narasimha faces the north. Hayagriva faces upwards.
In this form, he is able to extinguish all the five lamps at the same time. He then goes on to kill Ahiravan with one swift blow of his knife. He ultimately manages to kill Ahiravan and keep the promise he made to Vibhishan, and rescues Ram and Lakshman.
The story does not end here. It is said that Ahiravan’s wife was pregnant at the time. When she comes to know about the death of her husband, she tries to fight against Hanuman. The fight gets very intense as Ahiravan’s wife is very powerful as well.
During the fight, Hanuman kicks her stomach, and in the process her child comes out. The child, covered with blood and mucous, was tough to catch hold of, and was extremely powerful, fighting toe to toe against Hanuman. Finally, Hanuman throws some mud on the child, and is able to get a grasp on him. He then smashes the head of the demon child on the ground and kills him.
On the way back from Patal Lok, Ram sees Makardhwaja all tied up at the entrance of the palace. He asks Hanuman about him, and Hanuman tells him that Makardhwaja is his son, who fought valiantly to prevent Hanuman from entering the palace. Ram asks him to untie Makardhwaja, and makes him the king of Patal Lok, and blesses him.
Finally, Hanuman is able to save Ram and Lakshman from the clutches of Ahiravan, the ruler of Patal Lok. They go on to defeat the army of Raavan, and Ram kills Raavan in the end, fulfilling his destiny.
The story of Ahiravan finds its place in the Ramayanas of the East. It can be found in the Bengali version of the Ramayana, written by Krittibash. The passage which talks about this incident is known as ‘Mahirabonerpala’.
One interesting aspect of this story is the fact that Hanuman has been portrayed as violent and cruel, as he kills the child of Ahiravan in the fight. This is a contrast of how Hanuman has been portrayed in the entire Ramayana. Hanuman is often said to be extremely intelligent and peaceful, who only picks up weapons when necessary.
But over here, we come to know about Hanuman’s love and devotion for Lord Ram. He completely forgets all his principles and goes up against anyone who wants to harm his Lord, and kills everyone in the process. The entire incident talks about the bravery of Hanuman, and talks about his importance and one of the major roles he played in the Ramayana.
Finally, after this whole incident is done with, Ram goes on to kill both Kumbhkaran and Ravan. He has an epic battle with Ravan, and kills him in the end, fulfilling his destiny, and rescues his beloved Sita.