Wait!! ..Before you start frowning and closing this page .. please give a few seconds to state it clearly. Hanuman is also a character of Mahabharata.
The first reference to Hunuman in Mahabharata comes in the time during the exile of Pandava’s. While roaming around the jungle in anger, Bhima sees that an old monkey has obstructed the path. Bhima with ego and pride about his prowess and dynasty rudely asks the monkey to move its tail.
The old monkey says “I am very old, I can’t move my tail.”
Bhima with extreme anger says, “You have obstructed my way and if you want to stay alive move your tail!”.
The old monkey replies, “If you are so sure about your valor and power, why don’t you move it?”.
Enraged Bhima tries to move the tail. It doesn’t move! He applies all his power, still couldn’t move it. Finally, Bhima realizes that this is not an ordinary monkey.
Bhima says, “I accept my defeat, you are not an ordinary monkey. Please reveal yourself”
Then, monkey grows bigger and bigger and finally, Hanuman reveals himself. Hanuman says,
“I am your elder brother. (Both Hanuman and Bhima are sons of Yavu, God of wind) I wanted to test you. Remember Bhima, you are very strong but, ego doesn’t suit you. I bless you will be victorious in war”
Both Bhima and Hanuman embrace each other.
The second reference of Hanuman in Mahabharata comes when Arjuna goes to Rameshwaram, in South India. A monkey kept following him. Arjuna comes near Setu (Bridge built by Hanuman and battalion of monkeys by rocks, so that Shri Ram and his army can cross the sea and attack Ravana’s Lanka). Arjuna says to himself,
“If Shri Ram was so mighty and powerful in archery, why didn’t he build the Setu of arrows by himself? Why did he need an army of monkeys to build it?”
Monkey taunts Arjuna, “O’ prince, do you know who were those mighty monkey warriors? There were Hanuman, Angada, Nala, Neela who built the bridge. Bridge of arrows couldn’t withstand the weight of monkey’s army. Why don’t you try it? I will test it by standing on it. I challenge you, you bridge of arrows won’t even withstand my weight!”
Arjuna gets angry and takes the vow that “I take up your challenge ignorant monkey. I will build a bridge with arrows and it will withstand you. If it doesn’t withstand your weight, I will commit suicide.”
Arjuna builds a bridge of arrows. The monkey jumps on the bridge and bridge collapses immediately. Arjuna builds another bridge but the moment that monkey stands on the bridge the bridge collapses. Disappointing with this, Arjuna creates a pyre to jump into it and give up his life. As he was about to jump a boy comes there and asks Arjuna,
“O’ Prince, why are you jumping in the fire?”
Arjuna says, “I lost the challenge and according to my vow I am giving up my life.”
The boy says, “But was there anyone who can verify if you were successful or not? This time I will be the referee. Arjuna tries it again”. Both monkey and Arjuna accepted what boy said. This time Arjuna applied all his knowledge and built a bridge. Monkey then tried jumping on it everywhere, but bridge didn’t collapse. Monkey finally with its magical power starts growing bigger and bigger as a mountain. Finally, Hanuman reveals himself. Arjuna gets anxious that bridge won’t withstand Hanuman ji’s weight. Hanuman tries his best to break the bridge, but he couldn’t. During this time boy keeps smiling. Arjuna and Hanuman realized, this boy is not an ordinary boy. Both of them fell to boy’s feat.
Krishna reveals himself as that boy. Krishna tells Hanuman, “I am Shri Ram and I am Shri Krishna! Arjuna, the bridge didn’t collapse because I was protecting it. Let this be a lesson of humility for you. Hanuman, how can you drive a great warrior like Arjuna on the verge of giving his life?”
Hanuman says to Krishna, “Lord, please forgive me. As a remorse, I vow to protect and stabilize Arjuna’s chariot in the great war by being present on the banner of it.”
We all know, Hanuman was on the banner of Arjuna’s chariot. One more interesting thing to mention is that, after the war of Kurukshetra, Krishna asked Arjuna to step down first, then Krishna stepped down. Hanuman then disappears from the banner. Immediately after Hanuman steps down whole chariot explodes, catches fire and becomes ash. Krishna told Arjuna that, chariot caught fire because it had absorbed all Astra’s and Shatra’s fired towards Arjuna.
This was the interesting story of Hanuman in Mahabharata!