Hanuman having returned with the news of Seeta’s captivity in Lanka, Sugreeva lost no time and began preparing his army to accompany Rama and Lakshmana to Lanka in order to vanquish Ravana, liberate all those imprisoned within the vices of the senses and bring back Seeta Devi.
They reached the sea-shore and here it was proposed to build a bridge. Upon what foundation would the bridge stand? Hanuman simply said, “Chant Rama’s divine name and the rocks would not sink!” Although the others were doubtful of this suggestion, they complied and were instantly convinced, for the rocks not only floated but also stayed at the spot they were placed on the sea! Walking upon these rocks, chanting Sri Rama’s divine name, they laid more rocks until the bridge was built.
When there was a need for Hanuman to take back a whole mountain to Lanka, he lifted it by the powers he attained by chanting ‘Jai Sri Rama’.
Many years later, when the purpose of Rama’s avatara on earth was fulfilled, he was about to go into samadhi. He asked Hanuman to do likewise and attain the abode of perpetual bliss. Hanuman declined saying that bliss to him was to live on the earth where Rama was born, his name ever playing on his lips! To this Rama asked, “Why is it that you value my name more than me?” Hanuman said, “Thou art but a mere mortal incarnation while your name and deeds are eternal. Hence your name on earth is eternal!”
In later times, during the age of the Mahabharata, Arjuna whose flag Hanuman adorned reached the place where the bridge had been built earlier by the Vanaras. Filled with pride, he said, “Why, dear Maruti, did the Vanaras have to take all the trouble to build such a huge bridge? All it needs is a great archer like me to build one! Just watch me!” Then he shot arrow after arrow with such intense speed that they interlocked and formed a strong bridge across the ocean.
Hanuman told him gently that it is not wont of great men to boast of earthly achievements, but Arjuna who was immensely flattered by his own bridge, did not sway. He challenged Hanuman to prove that this bridge was inferior to the one they had built earlier. Hanuman simply breathed, ‘Jai Sri Rama’ and the bridge collapsed as if it were made of feathers! Arjuna fell at Hanuman’s feet and begged to be pardoned.