Few people are born for a special purpose and reason. When the time comes, destiny plays a great role in shaping up their real purpose of life and making them remembered and respected for times unlimited. The revered Adi Kavi, Sage Valmiki‘s life is no exception to this statement. Without Valmiki, we would never have Ramayan as an integral part of our life, and the role destiny played in making him realise his true purpose is a beautiful story.
The Skanda Puran mentions the story of his previous life. Valmiki was the son of Sage Pracheta. His name was Ratnakar. When he was a small boy, Ratnakar got lost in the forest and was adopted by a hunter. Ratnakar grew up adapting the ways of a hunter. Later he got married and had children. As hunting was not enough to support his family, he resorted to robbery. He attacked the people travelling through the forest and feed his family.
One day, Rishi Narad was travelling through the forest. Ratnakar stopped him and asked Narad to give away all his precious belongings. Then Narad said he would, if Ratnakar would go and ask his family whether they would partake in his sins done by robbery. When Ratnakar put the same to his family, everyone refused it. This made Ratnakar realise that he alone was responsible for his deeds and he need to change himself into a pious man.
Rishi Narad blessed him and said to leave his old life behind and start a new life chanting the word “Mara” (which means to absolve his old life) and observe penance. Ratnakar started chanting the same, and that word transformed into “Rama” while being repeated continuously. An ant hill grew up on him while he continued penance for several years. One day, a group of rishis passing through heard the chanting coming from the anthill and found Ratnakar shining with radiance of the divine knowledge he acquired with his penance. As he came out of an anthill (valmikam in Sanksrit), he was renamed Valmiki.
Seeing the world caught amongst scores of troubles, Rishi Valmiki felt the need of an icon who could guide the world in terms of values of truth, modesty, courage and Dharma, but wondered as to who was such an icon. Brahma Ji understanding the fix of Rishi Valmiki commands Rishi Narad yet again to guide him on his unfulfilled mission. Rishi Narad comes to Rishi Valmiki and mentions to the sage that the icon whom he was searching was none other than Shri
Ram, the incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu, who made himself a human and treaded the path of Dharma inspiring mankind to walk on the values of life standing on truth and Dharma. Inspired with the divine vision Rishi Valmiki got from Rishi Narad, the great sage wrote story of Shri Ram which stands as the ever-lasting epic of our Sanatana Dharma.
Not only lettering the great epic, Rishi Valmiki had a significant role to play in Ramayan too. He was also the one who gave shelter to Mata Sita when she was exiled. He trained Luv and Kus, the twins and made them as proficient as their father Shri Ram. Later on, after Mata Sita left, he reunited the twins with Shri Rama. The one who never knew his role was to be one of the greatest one in the history of mankind, went on to become the pioneers of poetry and gave us the divine epic of the great Ramayan.