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Story of Hanuman on Arjuna’s Flag in the Mahabharata War

In the epic battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata, Hanuman appeared on Arjuna’s flag – the flag that was hoisted on the chariot (ratha) of Arjuna and Sri Krishna. The story associated with Hanuman on Arjuna’s flag is very interesting as it teaches Arjun an important lesson that one should not be arrogant.

Before the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna went to the Himalayas to offer prayers to Shiva (Kiratarjuniya – Story of Kirata). On the way Arjuna met Hanuman and during the conversation, Arjuna wanted to know how great an archer was Sri Ram.

Hanuman said that Sri Ram was the greatest archer.

Arjuna then wanted to know if Sri Ram was a great archer why he took the help of Vanaras in building the bridge across the sea. He should have accomplished it with his arrows. Arjuna also added that he could easily build a bridge with his arrows.

Hanuman understood the arrogance of Arjuna and thought it would lead to his downfall in the Mahabharata war. Therefore, Hanuman decided to teach Arjuna a lesson.

Hanuman then asked Arjuna to build a bridge over a nearby pond as he wanted to see if it can take his weight.

Arjuna said that this is a very simple job for him.

Hanuman then asked what if the bridge breaks?

Arjun said that he will self immolate if the bridge breaks.

Hanuman agreed.

Arjuna built the bridge across the pond.

Hanuman put a single foot on the bridge and it broke into pieces.

An ashamed Arjuna decided to end his life.

Suddenly a Sanyasi appeared there and wanted to know what was happening.

When the Sanyasi heard the story, he said that Arjuna need not self immolate as there was no witness to the incident.

Hanuman also agreed and Arjuna built the bridge again in the presence of the Sanyasi.

This time Hanuman walked on the bridge and it did not break. When Hanuman looked under the bridge, he found a tortoise holding the bridge up.

Hanuman immediately realised that the tortoise was Sri Krishna.

Sri Krishna then appeared before them in his true form and both Hanuman and Arjuna fell on his feet.

Krishna embraced them both and told Arjuna that it is not wise to be proud of knowledge and skills.

Hanuman only wanted to teach this important lesson before the epic war.

Arjuna realized his arrogance and asked for forgiveness.

Hanuman was happy that Arjuna realized his mistake and promised him that he will appear on the flag on the chariot of Arjuna.