In the years of exile, the Pandavas and their wife Panchali along with mother Kunti had to wander across the forests and some times stay in modest houses as recipients of charity from the village folk.
During their stay in the Kamakhya forest, Arjuna was sent by his elder brother, Yudhistira on a missive to please Lord Indra and get access to some divine weaponry, to rival Karna,the staunch ally of Duryodhana and master at such weapons.
The absence of Arjuna was most deeply felt by Draupadi who often complained of her feeling of desolation. The other brothers too were some how lacking in enthusiasm as Arjuna was not around but the journey had to go on.
Bhima endowed with a rare largesse of the mind and the body tried his best to cheer up the party and often took the the help of his son , Ghatolkacha to help the Pandavas traverse difficult terrains.
While travelling through the forest of Narayanasrama, Draupadi felt enchanted by the wafting fragrance of the flower, Saugandika and turned to Bhima and cried like an indulgent child,”Look, how beautiful these flowers are. Please get me more of this kind”. Eager to please his lady love and ever chivalrous by nature, Bhima set out immediately in search of the flower.
On his way, he came across an old monkey which had rather arrogantly blocked the path with its tail, and an irritated Bhima called out the monkey to remove its tail and allow him to walk ahead. The monkey did not respond. When Bhima thundered again and threatened the monkey of dire consequences of inviting the wrath of the mighty Bhima, the old monkey murmured in a tired tone, ” Would you please mind, removing the tail on your own? As you can see, I am weak and rather old”.
Impatient, Bhima bent down to pluck the tail away but to his surprise and shock his repeated attempts failed to move the tail an inch from its position. Sensing that something was amiss, he prostrated before the monkey requesting him to reveal his true identity.
The monkey then revealed himself as Hanuman, the trusted servant of Lord Ram, and replied to Bhima commending him for his strength and also advising him to shirk pride and arrogance. Hanuman also blessed his younger brother, Bhima,born of the god of wind to mother Kunti and promised to be by his side in his time of need.
A relieved Bhima now proceeded to find the saugandika flowers under the direction of Hanuman and returned to a beaming Draupadi.
Pride goes before a fall, didn’t we know that already?!