Tulsidas, the saint poet and author of Ramacharitamanas, had vision, or darshan, of Hanuman at Benaras (Kashi – Varanasi). This interesting story is associated with a ghost and it also explains the origin of the famous Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi.
Tulsidasji used to perform his morning ablutions at particular spot outside the main Banaras city. He used to carry water in a water pot for cleansing.
On his return to the city after his daily ablutions, he would pour the remaining water in the water pot under a particular tree.
The tree was the abode of a ghost. The ghost was happy to receive the daily quota of water. It is believed that ghosts are in perpetual thirst and will help those who give them water.
One day the ghost appeared before Tulsidas and thanked him for giving it water daily. The ghost offered the saint poet a boon for the service.
Tulsidas told the ghost that his only desire in life was to have darshan of Bhagavan Sri Ram.
However, the ghost did not have the power to fulfill this wish.
But he gave a wonderful piece of advice to Tulsidas. The ghost told Tulsidas to ask Hanuman to arrange for darshan of Bhagavan Ram.
A puzzled Tulsidas stared at Ghost thinking it was mocking him.
Then the ghost gave out the secret that Hanuman daily arrives at the home of the poet on Ganga ghat to listen to him recite the story of Bhagavan Sri Ram. He comes disguised. But he can identify him as he is the first to arrive and last to leave.
That evening Tulsidas kept a close watch of the people who came to listen to his recitation of the story of Bhagavan Ram. He noticed that the first person to arrive was an old leper. He sat in a corner away from the crowd.
After the day’s recitation, Tulsidas secretly followed the old man. The old man reached a thick forest area outside the Benaras city.
Tulsidasji prostrated and fell at the leper’s feet. He told the old leper that he knew who he was and asked Hanuman to take him also with Him to have darshan of Bhagavan Ram.
At first the old man tried to pretend he was annoyed and asked Tulsidas ji to not to torment him.
But Tulsidas held firmly on to the leper’s feet. Hanuman could not ignore the unfathomable devotion Tulsidas had for Lord Ram and he was forced to show his true form.
Hanuman asked Tulsidas to go to Chitrakut and there he would have darshan of Bhagavan Sri Ram.
The famous Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi is located at the very spot where Tulsidas had darshan of Hanuman.
Hanuman is chiranjeevi – immortal – and he arrives disguised to listen to the story of Bhagavan Sri Ram even today. Hanuman is present where the story of Ram is recited.