Mythological Tales of Hanuman and Arjuna
Once, Arjuna went on pilgrimage to holy places all over India. A Brahmin also went with him. First of all, they went to Rameshwaram on reaching there, the Brahmin said, “Arjuna, this is the place where Lord Rama and the monkeys had built a bridge of arrows from here to Sri Lanka.”
Arjuna said, “But why did Lord Rama need the monkey& assistance when he himself was strong enough to build it?”
The Brahmin did not give any reply. He simply walked away from there. A monkey, which had been following Arjuna, laughed and said, “Because the weight of the monkeys could have broken the bridge.”
Hearing this Arjuna said, “When a bridge made by a simple man does not break then how could Lord Rama’s bridge break?”
Oh! Is that so? said the monkey. “Then I challenge you. I am a small monkey yet your bridge of arrows will not bear my weight. And if my words do not come true then I’ll be your slave for all my life.”
“And if I lose then I’ll enter the fire,” Arjuna said.
So Arjuna went to the shore. He took out his quiver full of arrows. Soon the bridge of arrows was ready. Arjuna asked the monkey to walk on it. As soon as the monkey stepped on the bridge, the arrows drowned and the bridge collapsed. Once again Arjuna made the bridge but it collapsed again.
According to the challenge, since Arjuna had lost, he lit a fire and was about to enter it. Just then a young boy came there and said, “Why are you doing so sir?”
Arjuna and the monkey told him all about the challenge. The young boy said. “But there was no witness to what had happened. I think you must build the bridge of arrows once again. I’ll be the witness and see if the monkey can break it.”
Again Arjuna created a bridge of arrows. The monkey stepped on it but this time the bridge did not break. Then the monkey jumped high and hard but still the bridge did not collapse. It did not get damaged at all.
“What’s wrong with me? I think my strength has decreased I must now take the form as I had done when I went to search for Sita Mata,” the monkey thought.
So the monkey grew higher and larger. Soon he was as huge as a mountain. Now he jumped hard again but the bridge still remained intact.
Arjuna was observing all this. He thought to himself, “This young boy is not an ordinary child. Surely he must be Lord Krishna himself because in his presence the bridge has not collapsed.” On the other side the monkey thought, “All my strength has gone waste. I’ve not been able to damage the bridge this time. This child must be Lord Rama in whose presence my powers have failed.”
With those thoughts both, the monkey who was Hanuman and Arjuna fell at the young boy’s feet. The young boy revealed his true self. He was Lord Vishnu indeed. He said, “Arjuna, you had become too proud of your skill and had forgotten to be humble. And Hanuman, you too became boastful of your immense strength. You were using your strength for a wrong task. As a punishment, you will have to be on Arjuna’s flagstaff all the time.”
And from that day onwards Arjuna got Hanuman on his flagstaff.