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How did Valmiki write Ramayana? | Description of Ramayana

Which quality of Rama you like the most?

The sages and seers of the Vedic pantheon always spoke and wrote works which would uplift the life of the common man. Their only objective was to give benefit to the general population through their spiritual works. They had no other purpose. The mindset with which one should approach these works of great men should be that of reverence, utmost humility, with the faith that “these works are for my benefit alone”. They should never be regarded as a work of fiction or a novel. If one were to assume that these works are light works for one’s entertainment, one shall never receive any Grace or purpose from these works. For generations together there have been many families in the land of Bharath whose lives have and still continue to revolve around the works of The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and The Srimad Bhagavatham. Children from many of these families spend half their lifetime understanding the precepts hidden in these scriptures and preach about the value system encoded within these scriptures. If that were the case, could these scriptures be even remotely considered as ordinary? The Ramayana is perhaps the most widely sung and preached scripture in the whole of Bharath Bhumi (भूमि land) today. On the auspicious day of Vijadashami, “Dusshehra” I am writing this piece.

Sage Valmiki and Sage Bharadhwaja, the disciple of the former lived an austere life at the hermitage of Bithoor, located centrally in the now modern Indian province of Uttar Pradesh. Once the great sage Devarishi Narada paid a visit to the hermitage at Bithoor. Both the sages Valmiki and Bharadhwaja offered extended prostrations at the lotus feet of sage Narada. Sage Valmiki received sage Narada with all customary ablutions, as part of his reception. Sage Narada was then seated on the “asana” (आसन a seat made of cloth or a special material). Sage Valmiki posed certain questions to sage Narada, who, in reply delivered the Story of Lord Rama in extreme brevity. Sage Narada later told Valmiki “You should document whatever I have told you in great detail. Do not worry, a time shall come when this shall happen.” So saying the sage Narada blessed the two sages and left for the heavenly abodes. Following this period, Sage Valmiki paid a visit to the area where the river Tapasa flowed. There a life-changing event took place. A few days later, the celestial father of sage Narada, Lord Brahma paid a visit to the hermitage of sage Valmiki. Sage Brahma then ordered sage Valmiki to start writing the Ramayana. These three events form the prelude to the Ramayana.

There are three qualities that need to be present in a sage so that he is qualified to author a scripture or advice a living entity towards liberation. They are

1) He should have mastered the Vedas and must have extracted the knowledge contained therein.

2) He should have performed enough austerities and penance, so that his senses are controlled, which can hold the knowledge that he has gained through the Vedas. Moreover it is only penance that gives maturity to knowledge transforming it into wisdom.

3) Above all, he should be talented and should have developed his communication, so that through simple language he can address and advice millions of living entities of varied moods and temperament. His command on language should be good so as to convey deeper meanings through simple words, presented through appropriate contexts.

On the visit of Sage Narada, Sage Valmiki asked the celestial sage about the presence of certain 16 highly divine and exceptional qualities, in one single individual. To this the celestial sage replied “I know of a man who has infinite highly divine and exceptional qualities which includes 16 of the ones you are looking for. In addition, this man also has not a single flaw. Since this man’s qualities are infinite they cannot be counted. Since this man has no flaws, even his short-comings cannot be counted.” The first quality that sage Valmiki was looking for was this “Is there a man who treats or connects with other people without taking into account their social status, who does not have barriers of high and low?” It is well-known that Lord Ramachandra considered the banished Vanara King, a sub-human as His own brother and friend. Sri Rama considered Vibheeshana, a demon, as His brother. Lord Rama considered Nishada, a tribal commoner, as his closest friend and associate. Sri Rama granted Jatayu, a vulture, the position of His father. Sri Rama accepted half bitten berries from a lowly tribal old woman as a matter of Her love for Him without any consideration of her social background.  Sri Rama’s own position was that, He was the son of the most powerful King Dasharath, of Ayodhya. Sri Rama was revered all over the land of Bharath and yet He never considered anyone lower than Himself.

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