Lord Hanuman has always been invincible, he is also considered to have a boon of immortality. Lord Hanuman is very generous and it is considered that he gives ‘Darshan’ to his true devotees.
Of many such incidences, one of the instances is expressed by Tulsidas -an ardent Hanuman devotee and also the writer of the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.
The incident dates back to the 15th century:
In many of his works, Tulsidas has mentioned that he had a face to face encounter with Hanuman and Bhagwan Ram. The scripture, Bhaktirasbodhini, written by Priyadas accounts the detailed description of the meets of Tulsidas with Lord Hanuman and Lord Ram.
As illustrated by Priyadas, here’s how Tulsidas identified and met Lord Hanuman:
For his morning ablutions, Tulsidas used to go to the woods outside Varanasi. Tulsidas used to take his water pot with him. On his way back home, he used to offer the remaining water to a tree. Regular watering to the tree incidentally quenched the thirst of a Preta (spirit) who was believed to be ever thirsty for water. The satisfied Preta, appeared before Tulsidas and agreed to grant him a boon.
As a boon, Tulsidas asked for his eternal wish, of meeting Lord Ram. The Preta was taken aback and said that this boon was beyond his powers. The Preta, however, shared a secret with Tulsidas. The secret was that he could guide him to Hanuman who was capable of granting him the boon of meeting Lord Ram.
The Preta revealed that Lord Hanuman disguises as a leper and comes to the temple to listen to the Ramkatha, every day. Lord Hanuman is the first one to be at the temple for Ramkatha.
Tulsidas immediately went to the temple. He stood there waiting for the first arrive. To his surprise, the first visitor was indeed an old leper. The leper sat at the end of the gathering very humbly. After the Katha was over, Tulsidas very swiftly followed the leper. The leper proceeded towards the woods, at the exact spot where the Sankat Mochan Temple stands today. Tulsidas fell at the leper’s feet and merely shouted, “I know who you are and now you cannot escape me”. Initially, the leper tried to escape in ignorance but Tulsidas’ relentless begging persuaded him to reveal his original form.
Lord Hanuman blessed Tulsidas. Tulsidas asked for a boon from Lord Hanuman. He said, “I want to meet Lord Ram”. To this wish, Hanuman replied that “ Lord Ram lives in the Chitrakuta, to see him, you have to go to Chitrakuta’ and thus Tulsidas had the privilege to met Lord Hanuman and later Lord Ram.
At the very beginning of the scripture, Ramcharitmanas, Tulsidas bows down in gratitude to a particular Preta and asks for his grace to always be with him. (Ramcharitmanas, Doha 1.7). According to Rambhadracharya, this is the same Preta which led Tulsidas to Hanuman.