On the day our executive director filed to incorporate Hanuman Medical Foundation, the clerk at the state office building in San Francisco was a young woman from the Indian subcontinent. On seeing the name, she said, “You will have very good luck with this—today is Hanuman’s feast day!”

Vintage postcard of Hanuman bearing the mountain to the battlefield where Lakshmana lies wounded.

One verse about Hanuman in Hindu legend goes like this:


You are as powerful as the wind.

You are intelligent, illustrious and an inventor.

There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you.

Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.

Why “Hanuman”?

You might be curious about the name Hanuman and our “flying man-monkey” logo. Here’s the story!

Although our foundation is dedicated to empirical science, supporting the work of scientists and inventors fighting diabetes, people don’t live and thrive by technology alone. We need stories and myth and art to inspire us in whatever we strive for.

Hanuman is a Hindu deity who has special meaning for the Islet Sheet Project team, and our logo is a stylized rendering of how he is sometimes depicted. Randy Dorian— principal inventor at Islet Sheet Medical and a lover of monkeys and their ways—found in Hanuman the perfect incarnation of our quest to vanquish type 1 diabetes.

Hanuman is characterized as adventurous, strong, wise, cunning, courageous, and fearless. He is ardently devoted to Rama—hero of the epic Ramayana and a symbol of humankind’s highest potential. In his childhood Hanuman was mischievous, sometimes teasing the meditating sages in the forests and disturbing their carefully arranged articles of worship. We too are a little bit subversive in our approach to funding diabetes research. We want to shake up the diabetes “establishment.”

As portrayed in many tales, Hanuman is both powerful and persistent. When Rama’s beloved brother Lakshmana is badly wounded during a battle in Sri Lanka against the evil god Ravana, Hanuman is sent to fetch a powerful life-restoring herb from a mountain in the Himalayas. Unable to identify the right herb, he transports the entire mountain to the battlefield.

Hanuman is closely associated with healing. The only Hindu deity who could resist the spell of Shani (or Saturn, another maleficent god), he even rescues Shani from Ravana. The grateful Shani promises that all who pray to Hanuman will be spared from the painful effects of Saturn, which in Hindu astrology can cause great affliction. In general, Hanuman is believed to combat negative energies.

So you can see why we chose to enlist Hanuman as an ally in our fight against diabetes. He loves people, he is invincible and protective, and he wields the power of surprise and the unexpected. With Hanuman as our guiding spirit, we seek to lift great burdens and fly over obstacles to a cure.