Little is known about Hanuman in Mahabharata. He had a subtle yet significant role in it. Here are the stories:
Bhima and Hanuman
One day, Draupadi wanted Saugandhika flowers. Thus, Bhima went to impress his wife and bring him the desired flowers. Bhima met a monkey in the way and it obstructed Bhima’s path. Bhima told the monkey to move. The monkey said that it was old and tired and it cannot move. It would be better if Bhima the mighty one can push him aside and make his own way.
An enraged Bhima tried to move the monkey with all his might and also used the mace. The monkey did not even move a centimetre. Bhima realized his mistake and figured out that the monkey was no ordinary monkey. Hanuman revealed himself and Bhima was ashamed of not being able to recognize his own brother – the mighty Hanuman. Then Hanuman helped him to find the flowers and also transformed into his giant form to help him pass the forest and reach his destination.
Arjuna and Hanuman
A young Arjuna had gone to Rameswaram and visited the temples of Lord Rama. When he visited the bridge of stones, he had a question that he asked everyone. Why did Lord Rama take the help of monkeys and small animals when he could have simply made a bridge of arrows? A monkey that followed them from the start of their journey answered- The army of Rama was full of mighty warriors like Sugreeva, Angad, etc. The bridge would not carry the weight.
Arjuna challenged the notion and said that a good bridge of arrows can. The monkey challenged him to make one and the monkey would walk on it. If the bridge falls apart, Arjuna would have to burn himself. Arjuna agreed and made a bridge of arrows. The monkey stepped on it and it fell apart. Arjuna was about to go burn himself in the fire when a boy stopped him. He said that no one was there to judge the challenge and it should be done again. So there was a rematch and Arjuna’s bridge did not fall this time.
Hanuman walked, jumped, and stomped to no avail. He then transformed to his mighty state but the bridge was unaffected. Arjuna realized his mistake and Hanuman was also surprised. The little boy revealed himself to be Lord Krishna and both the warriors bowed down to him in respect and admiration. Hanuman wanted to repent for his actions and promised to be on the chariot of Arjuna whenever he goes to war.
Arjuna’s chariot had the flag of Hanuman and it was the reason why no celestial weapons affected the chariot. As soon as the war was over, Krishna stepped down and told Arjuna to stay away from the chariot. Hanuman left the chariot and it burned down to ashes due to the impact.
Thus, Hanuman was the protector of Arjuna and helper of Bhima. He is one of the eight Chiranjeevis and has also heard the Bhagavad Gita. These are the two memorable stories of Hanuman in Mahabharata.