After Yudhishtar had lost the game of dice, the five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi were exiled from their kingdom for twelve years by the Kauravas. Krishna understood that the Kauravas would never give the Pandavas their kingdom and that a war was coming....
Krishna asked Arjuna to go to Kailash and worship Lord Shiva and get divine weapons from him. Arjuna agreed and left for Kailash. The other four brothers along with Draupadi traveled from one forest to another during the time of their exile.
They once came to the forest of Narayanashram...It was the most beautiful forest and the majestic Ganga flowing across the forest brightened the moods of the Pandavas considerably.
Bheema, the second Pandava, was the son of the Vayu, the Wind God. Bheema was exceptionally strong and powerful and he was proud of his strength. Bheema loved Draupadi very much and during the period of exile he tried to satisfy every single whim and wish she had....
Draupadi also loved the forest of Narayashram. She would daily go the Ganga and offer her prayers to Surya, the Sun God. Feeling at peace she would come back to her hut in the forest...
Once after Draupadi finished her praying, she was about to go home, when a delightful aroma spread through the forest. As a gentle breeze was blowing towards her, Draupadi saw a flower drop before her. The aroma was so enchanting that Draupadi actually felt giddy for a few seconds. Slowly pulling herself together, she picked up the beautiful flower in her hands. It was soft and the flower was shining beautifully in a slight golden colour. Mesmerised she carried the flower back her home.
She showed the flower to Bheema, 'Bheema! Bheema! Look at this...' She said handing over the flower to Bheema. The entire hut was lit up by the shine of the flower and the aroma from the flower surrounded the ashrama...Bheema looked wonderingly at the flower, 'What is it?' Draupadi shook her head mutely not able to talk. 'I was coming back home, when the wind was blowing from the north-eastern direction and the flower fell near me...Isn't it beautiful?' She whispered looking at the flower in awe.
Bheema laughed looking at the child-like face of Draupadi, 'If you like them so much I will get you some more flowers like this...'
Draupadi looked at Bheema eagerly, 'Can you get them...That would be great!'
Bheema looked at Draupadi in the eye, 'I will be back with plenty more such flowers for you my dear!' And off he went...A mace in his hand, Bheema started off towards the north-eastern direction. He walked and walked and walked, along the Ganga...
As Bheema was walking, he saw a beautiful garden before him. The word 'Beautiful' hardly did justice to the garden...It was enchanting. As Bheema neared the garden, a slight breeze picked up and Bheema could smell the flowers though he was very far away. The fragrance of one flower was strong...A hundred of them together felt like heaven to Bheema.....
Happily Bheema realized that this was the garden where the flowers which he was searching for grew....He would now go and pluck as many as he wanted and take them back to Draupadi. She would be so thrilled on seeing them...
Bheema was about to walk when he saw a tough rope on the ground...Puzzled he looked on both sides and on his right saw an old...very old monkey....The monkey was resting under the shade of the tree....It was the monkey's tail which he had first thought was a rope...Shaking his head and muttering to himself, Bheema went to the monkey. 'Hey! Shoo!' He said waving his hands at the monkey.
The monkey was sleeping with his eyes closed and did not seem to hear him. Bheema yelled, ' SHOO!' The monkey opened his eyes and looked at Bheema and spoke, 'Are you talking to me?'
Bheema huffed up angrily, 'YOU ARE BLOCKING MY PATH!' Bheema thought that the monkey was old and deaf and yelled on top of his voice. The monkey said softly, 'I can't hear you! Can't you speak in a lesser tone, so that I can understand!'
Bheema muttered to himself angrily and said, 'Get out of my way!'
The monkey looked at Bheema, 'I was not in your way! What are you talking about?'
Bheema impatiently pointed at the monkey's tail, 'Get your tail out of my way!'
The old monkey looked at the tail and nodded to himself, 'Oh! Ok. Before I do that, tell me who you are? What are you doing here, young man?' The old monkey asked pointing around him, 'This is a dangerous place for humans...'
Bheema laughed aloud, 'You old monkey! What can possibly be dangerous for me? Do you even know who I am? I am, Bheema, the Pandava! I am the son of the Wind God and I am powerful enough to squash you like a bug!' Bheema said arrogantly.
'Son of Vayu?' The monkey said looking slightly impressed. Bheema thought that the monkey had ignored everything else he had said...
'I am Vayuputra!' Bheema said proudly, 'And that makes me the younger brother of Hanuman, the greatest Vanara in the world, you silly monkey! Hanuman is someone who is above all of you!'
'Hanuman? Who is that?' The old monkey asked looking suspiciously at Bheema. That did it. Bheema bristled with anger. 'You silly monkey! How dare you not know about Hanuman! He was the greatest devotee of Lord Rama and he was one of the most important reasons Lord Rama won the war against Ravana! And do you know how powerful he is...He can lift a whole mountain on his shoulders....And he is a perfect master of his own mind....He is one of the few people in the world who are eternal....we worship him as our God...and you don't know him?...' Bheema shook his head in anger, 'Silly monkey!'
The old man feebly shook his head, 'Old age! I don't remember much!'
Useless old monkey! Bheema thought to himself. Irritated he said to the monkey, 'Now move out of the way! I have to go!'
'You did not answer the second question I asked.' The monkey said tiredly. 'What are you doing here?'
Bheema was fed up. He was not used to answering foolish questions from anybody...Frustrated he shouted, 'Why should I tell you anything?'
The old monkey sighed, 'Son! I know you are irritated with me...The least you can do when you are talking to someone older than you is to be polite to them...'
Bheema wanted to punch the monkey...but he knew that would not be right. With great difficulty he controlled himself. 'I want to get some flowers for my wife....I can smell them from here....I was going to go inside the garden, when you stopped me, with your long tail....' Bheema said through gritted teeth.
The monkey looked at Bheema weirdly, 'Seriously, what is preventing you from jumping over my tail and just go your own way?'
Bheem was finally exasperated. 'You silly monkey!...Don't you know anything!....You should not jump over someone who is older than you....Unless you can leap over them like Hanuman...'
The old monkey shrugged, 'Yeah...I know it...You are not Hanuman!' The monkey let out a deep breath. 'OK Look...I am tired...Really tired! And I am also very old... You said you are very strong and all that...Just lift my tail and put it to one side and go your way...Problem solved! You are not going to eat my head yelling at me and I will not block your path!'
Bheema roared with laughter, 'You think I need my strength to pull your tail...God! You are so dumb...I will just push your tail away...I was just being polite to you, thinking you would move out of my way....' Bheema rolled up his mace and went towards the tail. 'Just see what I do now, monkey!'
The monkey shrugged unconcerned and went back to sleep.
Bheema angrily slipped his mace under the tail of the monkey and carelessly lifted it....or atleast tried lifting it.... Bheea was shocked when he felt the mace strain! He looked down and looked that the tail was lying slightly on top of the mace and it felt to him like the mace was struck under it...Bheema looked in bewilderment at the mace and looked furtively at the monkey, who looked as if he was sleeping...
Bheema kept the mace on a tree nearby and with his hands tried lifting the tail. Bheema grunted, heaved and pushed and for all his efforts the tail did not even move one inch! Bheema tried and tried and was exhausted....He could not believe that he could not lift the tail of an old monkey.
Bheema staggered and fell down. He was sweating and breathing hard...and the tail looked exactly where it had been....Bheema staggered to his feet and walked slowly towards the old monkey. He sat down near it and asked in awe, 'Who are you?'
The monkey opened its eyes and looked at Bheema with amused eyes, 'Just an old monkey, nothing more!'
Bheema looked unhappily at the monkey and shook his head, 'Look I am sorry for everything I said...I behaved arrogantly and foolishly...' Bheema took a deep breath, 'Please forgive me and tell me who you are?'
The old monkey grinned, 'I am someone like you....'
Bheema blinked as everything suddenly became clear to him, 'Oh my God! You....Hanuman! Oh my God!' Bheema slapped his forehead, 'I thought of fighting with you...I am so foolish..How could I not know?' Bheema held his head in his hands and shook his head.
Hanuman clasped his brother's shoulders and smilingly shook his head, 'It is ok, little brother, you did it out of ignorance...I do not hold any grudge against you....'
Bheema looked at Hanuman with tears in his eyes, 'I am sorry! I am so sorry!' Hanuman realized that Bheema was genuinely sorry for what he had done and quickly forgave him.
Bheema fell at Hanuman's feet and begged for forgiveness.
Hanuman lifted his brother and told him, 'I came here to warn you, little brother!' He said lovingly ruffling Bheema's hair.
Bheema looked at Hanuman wondering what Hanuman would say, 'I know you have come here looking for the Saugandhika flower...It blooms in Kubera's garden...It is in that garden there....' Hanuman said pointing at a beautiful garden beyond. 'Be careful it is a dangerous place...it is filled with yakshas and powerful beings...' Bheema nodded. Hanuman looked at him and smiled, 'But you are the most powerful man in the world...What should you be worried about?'
Bheema wryly shook his head, 'Nothing...other than old monkeys who are so tired that they cannot move their tails...'
Both the brothers laughed and hugged each other. As Bheema felt his brother's embrace, he felt a change come over him....He flexed his arms and looked at his brother...Bheema felt powerful...stronger than before. Hanuman proudly nodded his head.
'I will always be with you, my brother! Whenever you roar in battle, I will roar with you...The sound would be heard like thunder...' Bheema's eyes shone as Hanuman continued, 'I will also be in your brother Arjuna's flag...for your victory....' Bheema once again fell at Hanuman's feet.
Bheema listened in wonder as Hanuman told him stories of the Ramayana...Bheema was looking at his brother and opened his mouth to say something and closed it again shaking his head. Hanuman was quick to notice it. 'What is it, little brother?' Bheema hesitated. 'Go ahead...Tell me...' Hanuman encouraged him.
Bheema licked his lips, 'I...I just want to see your form when...when you leapt across the ocean to find Sita Devi in Lanka...'
Hanuman laughed. Before Bheema's very eyes, Hanuman grew...and grew and GREW! There was a dazzling light emanating from Hanuman that Bheema was finding it difficult to see...Hanuman was now so big that he looked bigger than the tallest mountain in the world...Bheema gazed in wonder. Suddenly Hanuman was back at his side...
Bheema was thrilled and again fell at Hanuman's feet. Hanuman blessed him and vanished from there....With his brother's blessings Bheema went into the forests in search of the Saugandhika flower....
-From the Mahabharatha