Interesting things to know about Valmiki

How Valmiki got his name ?

He was a brahman by birth belonging to the lineage of bhrigu. Fate consigned him to a family of robbers which brought him up. Accidental contact with the saptarishi – the seven sages and with the sage narada changed his life. By the repetition of ramanama or the name of ram, he attained the supreme state of a ‘maharshi’ or great sage. Since a ‘Valmika’ or an anthill had grown over his body during his long period of austerities and poised state of penance, he came to be known as Valmiki.

Turning into a robber as his family grew larger, ratnakara found it next to impossible to feed them. As a result, he took to robbery and began looting people passing from one village to another.

Valmiki first śloka :

Valmiki was going to the river ganges for his daily ablutions. A disciple by the name bharadwaja was carrying his clothes. On the way, they came across the tamasa stream. Looking at the stream, valmiki said to his disciple, “Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man! I will bathe here today.”

when he was looking for a suitable place to step into the stream, he saw a crane (bird) couple mating. Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy birds. Suddenly, hit by an arrow; the male bird died on the spot. Filled by sorrow its mate screamed in agony and died of shock. 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. Valmiki became very angry. His lips opened and he uttered the following words:

“म ां निष द प्रनिष् ां त्वमगमः श श्वि ः सम ः। यत्क्रांचनमथुि देकम्अवध ः क ममोनििम्”

“You will find no rest for the long years of eternity for you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting” emerging spontaneously from his rage and grief, this was the first śloka in sanskrit literature.

Later valmiki composed the entire ramayana with the blessings of lord brahma in the same meter that issued forth from him as the śloka. Thus this śloka is revered as the “first śloka” in hindu literature. Valmiki is revered as the first poet, or adi kavi, and the ramayana, the first kavya. His first disciples to whom he taught the ramayana were kusa and lava, the sons of rama.

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