One of my favorite stories from the Mahabharata is when Bhima and Hanuman meet. Re-told quickly: Bhima runs across a monkey, who is blocking his path. Bhima gets angry, and the monkey basically says, “Well, move me then.” Bhima — the strongest of the Pandavas, and coincidentally Hanuman’s half-brother on their father’s side — sets out to do just that, but Hanuman proves his match, being too big and heavy for even Bhima to lift.
Hanuman then reveals himself and all is well.
The tale of Arjuna and Hanuman’s meeting, however, I don’t recall. But I happened upon it, and here’s one version:
Arjuna once got a very big gnawing doubt. If Rama was really a good archer, why did not build a bridge of arrows? Why did he have to struggle so long with a monkey army for the bridge? He very much wanted to meet Hanuman and get the answer to this question.
While he was on a pilgrimage in South India he prayed a lot to meet Hanuman and once he finally did meet him in an old temple where RamNam was being sung.
Hanuman was sitting in a corner quietly meditating on Ram.He asked him, “If Rama was truly a great archer as he claimed why did he not think of building a bridge with arrows?
Hanuman laughed and said, “How could he? How can a bridge of arrows hold the weight of us monkeys?” Arjuna said, “It should be possible. I can build such a bridge now if you want”
Hanuman and Arjuna entered into a bet. Arjuna will build a bridge of arrows and if Hanuman is able to walk on it, Hanuman will enter fire else Arjuna will.
Can you guess what happens next?
This version is fairly light-hearted; another has Arjuna and Hanuman really coming close to blows, until a certain Blue-Skinned One intervenes.
Posted by Steve