The story of Bhima bringing the Saugandhika flowers for Draupadi and his encounter with Hanuman is very famous. Numerous artists have performed this in the dance forms of Kerala.
Draupadi Asks for the Flowers
During their travels in the forests, Draupadi goes through extreme difficulties. Unused to such harsh conditions, at some point, she experiences great fatigue and unable to move further. At this point, the Pandavas seek the help of Gatotkacha who carries them further.
While resting in the forest, a marvelous lotus of thousand petals and bright as the sun is brought by the wind. The lotus is so beautiful that Draupadi asks Bhima to bring more flowers that they can carry to their hermitage in kamakhya. To gratify the love of his life, Bhima set on a rapid pace in the direction of the fragrance. He scaled beautiful mountains and water falls that gave him immense energy to travel to regions beyond human capability.
Bhima Encounters Hanuman
As Bhima was moving at tremendous speeds, he was obstructed by a radiant and brilliantly shining monkey. The monkey’s huge body was lying like the Himalayas blocking his path. Bhima uttered a loud shout. Birds and animals went mad at his shout. The powerful Hanuman, however, opening his eyes partially looked at him (Bhima) with disregard, with eyes reddened with intoxication and smile asked why Bhima woke him with a shout. Hanuman said that he was an old monkey and Bhima would have to leap over him. Bhima replies that he cannot leap like Hanuman. Curious at the mention of his name, Hanuman innocently enquired about “Hanuman” to Bhima. Bhima explained that Hanuman was his brother and described his might in detail.
Bhima thought that using his full strength he could just lift the tail of this monkey and send him to Yama. Unable to move the tail even by an inch, Bhima was alarmed
Humbled by this experience, Bhima asks the real identity of the monkey. Hanuman reveals his identity and pleases Bhima. Extremely happy at hearing Hanuman’s narration of the stories of Rama and Sita, Bhima puts forth a wish to Hanuman. He prays that Hanuman may reveal the form that he had during the era of Ram.
Hanuman explains the scale of things during the period of Rama and says that it is impossible and not advisable to take that form.
Bhima refuses to move forward without seeing Hanuman’s form.
Hanuman Takes a Gigantic Form
Hanuman assumed a gigantic body which (both) in length and breadth increased exceedingly. And that monkey of immeasurable effulgence stood there, covering the plantain grove furnished with trees, and elevating himself to the height reached by the
Vindhya. And the monkey, having attained his lofty and gigantic body like
unto a mountain, with coppery eyes, and sharp teeth, and a face
marked by frown, lay covering all sides and lashing his long tail. Bhima, beholding that gigantic form of his brother closed his eyes. Thereupon
Hanuman addressed Bhima with a smile, saying, ‘This is the extent to which you can see me. I can however grow beyond this through my own energies.’
He also promised that he would be on the flag of Arjuna and make constant noises that will discourage and dissuade the enemies.
Infused with new energy after meeting Hanuman, Bhima set out to get the Saugandhika flowers.