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Valmiki born as 'Ratnakar' is a legendary Hindu sage (maharishi) traditionally regarded as the author of the epic, Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He was the tenth child of Pracheta. There is a religion based on Valmiki's teachings as presented in the Ramayana, the religion is called Balmikism.


The Ramayana, which Valmiki is famous for composing, consists of 24,001 verses in seven cantos and tells the story of a prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rakshasa) king of Lanka, Ravana. Valmiki Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BC to 100 BC, or about co-eval to early versions of the Mahabharata. As with most traditional epics, since it has gone through a long process of interpolations and redactions, it is impossible to date it accurately.

In the Ramayana he wrote:

aapadaam apahartaaram daataaram sarvasaMpadaam.h . lokaabhiraamam shriiraamam bhuuyo bhuuyo namaamyaham.h ..
Maharishi Valmiki is accepted by many Indian communities as the author of the Yoga vasistha, this particular piece of work was taught to Rama when he was disillusioned with the world in large. The Yoga Vasistha is an incredible piece of text which discusses a wide array of philosphical issues. Moreover, it appears to have been written over 5000 years ago

Legend of Valmiki

The great Valmiki originally named Ratnakar was from a Kirata Bhil community. Valmiki Muni was from a backward caste community and his name before he became the Adi-Kavi (prime poet) who recorded the Ramayana, was Vailya. He was trained by the Narada Muni, who is thought to be a devotee of Vishnu or Narayana.

n an another legend that goes, Valmiki (then Valia Koli) was a dacoit and a robber who would rob people passing through woods and dense forests. He would not only rob out of their possessions but also cut their ears and wear them in the form of a chain. One fine day, Narada Muni was passing through this forest and Valia Koli happened to confront him. Narada Muni, with his sweet voice and commanding accent, asked Valia if he knows what he is doing? Valia replied saying that it is this which runs his family and the family is aware about it. Then Narand Muni asked Valia if his family members would share a part of a burden of his sins? Valia was so moved with this, he ran back to his home and asked every member of his family if they will share, if need be. No member of the family, neither his wife nor his sons replied in assertive. His wife said that the sins Valia is doing everyday are part of his life and it is his duty to feed his family and it is only he who is responsible for the sins he committed.

Hearing this, Valia changed himself completely, from a dacoit to a Sage. He returned to Narada Muni and requested him to help enlighten himself.

Valmiki once asked Narada, "O Venerable Rishi! Please tell me whether there is a perfect man in this world who is at once virtuous, brave, dutiful, truthful, noble, steadfast in duty, and kind to all beings". Valmiki once asked Narada, "O Venerable Rishi! Please tell me whether there is a perfect man in this world who is at once virtuous, brave, dutiful, truthful, noble, steadfast in duty, and kind to all beings".

Narada replied, "There is such a one, a prince of Ikshvaku's line named Rama. He is virtuous, brave, gentle, and wise. He is a great hero. He loves his subjects immensely. He is a protector of Dharma. He is firm and steadfast. He is just and liberal. He is well-versed in the Vedas and in the science of arms. He is unique in the possession of virtues and matchless in beauty. He is an obedient son, a kind brother, loving husband, a faithful friend, an ideal king, a merciful enemy, and a lover of all living beings. All people adore him."

Thus, Sage Narada narrates the story of Shri Rama to Maharshi Valmiki as he heard from Lord Brahma in 100 verses. This is called 'Sankshipta Ramayana' (which means 'short Ramayana'). This story of Rama filled the thoughts of Valmiki and he started thinking of the same again and again in his heart.

There is a legend that Lord Brahma appeared before Valmiki and told him to write the Ramayana.Many believe that Valmiki is an avatar of Lord Brahma.

First Poet and the First Sloka

Some time after Narada left, Valmiki went to the river Ganga to bathe. A disciple by name Bharadwaja was with him carrying his clothes. On the way they came across the Tamasa Stream. The water in it was very clear. Valmiki said to his disciple, "Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man ! I will bathe here today."

Valmiki was looking for a suitable place to step into the stream, when he heard the sweet chirping of birds. Looking up he saw two birds flying together. Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy bird couple. Just then one of the birds fell down hit by an arrow. It was the male bird. Seeing the wounded one, its mate was screaming in agony. Valmiki's heart melted at this pitiful sight. He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. The hunter had shot the bird for food. Valmiki became very angry. His lips opened and words came out:

mAnishAda pratishTAtum samagah ssAshvatIssamAh yat krouncha mithunAdEkam sokam avadhIm kAma mOhitam
"You who have killed one of the bird engaged in the act of love, thus, may you not yourself live long!" The form he used is called a 'sloka' in Sanskrit. It means a couplet. A sloka was born out of his mouth automatically in a mood of sorrow. Later Valmiki composed entire Ramayana on the order of Lord Brahma in the same meter that issued forth from him as a sloka. Thus this sloka is revered as the "first sloka" in Hindu literature. Valmiki is revered as the first poet, and the Ramayana, the first kavya., 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
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