When Hanuman goes to meet lord Rama for the first time, did he meet with his original form or as a human? If so,

why he didn't meet lord Rama with his original form?

How could they identify each other?

Could lord Rama not identify Hanuman at first meet?

If Hanuman had forgetten his power at this moment then, How could he able to change his form to human?

  • Don't know whether true or not. But I heard, When Hanumana was kid(before curse incident and he was fully aware of his power) then one time Hanumana and Ravana face each other and Hanumana got angry on Ravana and take his 11 mukhi (11 heads) form. And just about to kill Ravana. Ravana all astra's got useless in front of 11 mukhi roop of Hanumana. To stop Ravana vadha by Hanumana Shiva went to Rama and bring Rama to Hanumana while he was sleeping and after seeing lotus feets of sleeping Rama, Hanuman's anger calm down and Ravana got save from death. This might be coocked up story. – Rishabh Jan 2 '18 at 6:43

Hanuman met Rama in a human form. This is due to the request of his lord Sugriva. Sugriva asked Hanuman to investigate who the warriors visiting the Rishyamooka mountain. Sugriva was frightened by the sight of Rama and Lakshmana thinking that they were sent by his brother Vali.

वालि प्रणिहितौ एव शन्के अहम् पुरुषोत्तमौ |
राजानो बहु मित्राः च विश्वासो न अत्र हि क्षमः || ४-२-२१

"I presume these two... those best of men are abetted by Vali to assault me... for, the kings like Vali do have many friends and trusting them absolutely is an unpardonable mistake... [4-2-21]

Sugriva asked Hanuman to go to them in a commoner form rather than his original form because if the two warriors (Rama and Lakshmana) were indeed sent by Vali, they would easily recognise him and know the whereabouts of Sugriva too.

तौ त्वया प्राकृतेन एव गत्वा ज्ञेयौ प्लवंगम |
इङ्गितानाम् प्रकारैः च रूपव्या भाषणेन च || ४-२-२४

Begone to them oh, monkey Hanuma, in a commoner's form, for your monkey-hood is distinguishable by Vali's agents, and know the intentions of those two by their conduct, by their semblance, and by their conversation, as well...[4-2-24]

After assuring his Lord Sugriva nothing to fear, Hanuman assumed a form an ascetic and went to the Ikshvaku brothers.

कपि रूपम् परित्यज्य हनुमान् मारुतात्मजः |
भिक्षु रूपम् ततो भेजे शठबुद्धितया कपिः || ४-३-२

Casting off his monkey's semblance Air-god's son Hanuma attained the persona of an ascetic, for that monkey is incredulous in mind about Raghava-s. [4-3-2]

The reason for choosing an ascetic, thinking that nobody tells a lie to an ascetic, and thus he wanted to gain information in an ascetic's form.

This was the first meeting between Hanuman and Sri Rama. Before this incident, there were strangers. That is the reason Hanuman asks Rama and Lakshmana a series of questions but finds no reply from them. Their conversation is given in this answer.

Neither Rama identified Hanuman nor Hanuman identified Rama.

The powers forgotten by Hanuman was his special powers given as a boon by the Gods when he was hit by the Vajra of Indra. He only forgot special powers only exclusive to him. Whereas shapeshifting is a common power to all the vanaras.

काम रूप बलोपेता यथा काम विचारिणः || १-१७-२४
सिंह शार्दूल सदृशा दर्पेण च बलेन च |

They are endowed with guise changing faculties, with bodily might and by their pride and might are identical to lions and tigers, and they are born-free in their movement in forests. [1-17-24b, 25a].

All the Vanaras also had this power. During the coronation of Sri Rama, the Vanaras changed their form into Human beings and wore ornaments.

नवनागसहस्राणि ययुरास्थाय वानराः |
मानुषन् विग्रहन् कृत्वा सर्वाभरणभूषिताः || ६-१२८-३२

Assuming human forms and adorned with all types of ornaments, monkeys sallied forth, mounting on mine thousand elephants. [Yuddha Kanda sarga 132 shloka 32]

So, he had no problem in changing his form.

  • 2
    One thing: changing form and the like isn't the inherent power of all Vanaras. It's the power of the special Vanaras who were the sons of Devas, born to assist Rama. – Keshav Srinivasan Jan 2 '18 at 11:37

What was Hanuman's natural form - Langur - no. Those of us who believe Sri Rama was a historical figure and not mythical - should analyze - Kishkinda Kaanda - Srimad Valmiki Ramayana / Tulsidas Ramacharitamanas / Kamba Ramayana - all state Hanuman took the form of a Brahmin and reciting the Vedas approached sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana. Did Hanuman take the form of a Brahmin or was his form human. Though the vanaras lived in caves, the description of Kishkinda, the skill of Nala who helped build the bridge to Sri Lanka (Yuddha Kaanda), the powress of Vali, etc. clearly show Vanaras were NOT MONKEYS. As has been described by some historians, it is more likely that Vanaras were a tribe whose Dwaja (standard / flag) carried the emblem of a monkey.

Secondly, Hanuman was cursed to forget his strength and power AND NOT HIS SKILL. Hanuman, accepting he was a monkey, had the skill to take on various forms and so he assumed a human form.

Further the Panchamukhi Hanuman also has a human face amongst others.

Why didn't they recognize each other?

Sri Rama during his Avataara was not aware of his divinity. He lived the life of an Uttam Maryada Purusha. On the other hand Sri Krishna knew he was God. Therefore, as an ordinary himan, there was no way he could have recognized Hanuman, whom he met for the first time in Kishkindha Kanda.

This is only a partial answer. Other aspects of this question call for opinion, since to the best of my knowledge, there is no reference to the same in the three above referred works.

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