Valmiki

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This is truly how I remember the ways of the world. Those words I cursed him with make a verse, and that verse could be sung to music.

Valmiki (Sanskrit: वाल्मीकि Vālmīki) is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Rāmāyaṇa, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Ādi Kavi, which translates to First Poet, for he invented śloka (i.e. first verse or epic metre), which set the base and defined the form to Sanskrit poetry.

Quotes[edit]

  • 'Sanskrit:
    मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः।
    यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥
  • Roman transliteration:
    mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṁ tvamagamaḥ śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
    yat krauñcamithunādekam avadhīḥ kāmamohitam
  • English translation:
    You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity
    For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting
    • In: Ramayana translated by William Buck in:Ramayana, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1 January 2000, p. 7.
    • He expressed anguish in a poetic form when he found the hunter killing the male dove with his arrow.
  • This is truly how I remember the ways of the world. Those words I cursed him with make a verse, and that verse could be sung to music.
    • In. p. 7.
    • He remembered these words uttered in a verse form, when he got back to his hermitage. It was then that Brahma appeared before him.
  • Sit by me.
    • In. p. 7.
    • He welcomed Brahma formally gave him water to drink but was still thinking of the two birds
  • What a crime! There was not one bit of meat on that little bird. What use is a world run all wrong without a grain of mercy on it?
    • In. p. 7-8.
    • Perceiving the words thought by Valmiki, Brahma told him "So, by a river, the world's first verse has been born from pity, and love and compassion for a tiny bird has made you a poet. Use your discovery to tell Rama's story, and your verses will defeat Time. As make you poem, Rama's life will be revealed to you, and no word of yours will be untrue.
  • In all this world, I pray thee, who
    Is virtuous, heroic, true?
    Firm in his vows, of grateful mind,
    To every creature good and kind?
    Alone most fair to all men’s eyes?
    Devoid of envy, firm, and sage,
    Whose tranquil soul ne'er yields to rage?
    Whom, when his warrior wrath is high,
    Do Gods embattled fear and fly?
    Whose noble might and gentle skill
    The triple world can guard from ill? Who is the best of princes, he
    Who loves his people’s good to see.
  • And the high mandate of his sire.
    Led by the Lord who rules the sky,
    The Gods and heavenly saints drew nigh,
    And honoured him with worthy meed,
    Rejoicing in each glorious deed.
    His task achieved, his foe removed,
    He triumphed, by the Gods approved.
    By grace of Heaven he raised to life
    The chieftains slain in mortal strife;
    Then in the magic chariot through
    The clouds to Nandigráma flew.
    Met by his faithful brothers there,
    He loosed his votive coil of hair:
    Thence fair Ayodhyá's town he gained,
    And o'er his father's kingdom reigned.
    Disease or famine ne'er oppressed
    His happy people, richly blest.

Ramayana[edit]

Would I ever? See how Life goes by, with every creature doing what follows his nature. Master, what can I say to you? - Narada.
Sita, stay here in my hermitage, you have found here your father's house in a foreign land, we will care for you as our daughter. Looking at Sita he thought :What a fair woman, how beautiful! - Valmiki

Ramayana in: William Buck Ramayana, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1 January 2000

  • It’s too cold. Away from the worlds, where a little pleasure costs a lot of pain. Don’t make trouble.
    • Valmiki to Brahma who appeared before him. p. 5.
  • As a young man, Valmiki searched through the world seeking open friendship and happiness and hope and finding none of these he went alone into the empty forest where no man lived, to as spot where the Tamasa River flows into Ganga. There he sat for years without moving, so still that white ants built an anthill over him. There Valmiki sat inside that anthill for thousands of years with only his eyes showing out, trying to find the True, his hands folded and his mind lost in contemplation.
    • In p. 5.
  • Would I ever? See how Life goes by, with every creature doing what follows his nature. Master, what can I say to you?
    • In p. 5
    • Narada to Valmiki looking at him intently
  • Just name me one honest man and I'll move.
  • Rama rules as King in Ayodhya. He is born in the Solar race and a descendant of the Sun; he is brave and gentle and firm in fight. By Rama's command his adorable Queen Sita is being brought here into the forest on a chariot, and though she suspects nothing yet, here she will be left abandoned. Unless you comfort her she will drown herself in Ganga and kill as well her unborn sons by Rama.
  • Nothing. She is innocent and blameless. She has lived as Rama’s queen ten thousand years; before that Rama saved her from great danger by wondrous and incredible deeds. And now behold one of the terrors of kingship, that Rama let her go because his people talk against her. Get up, save her life with you and your companions; and make in measured words the song of Rama, and teach it to Rama’s two sons.
  • I have no companions here.
  • You have now. Coming here, I sang a friend-gathering song. Valmiki, I've seen other skies than these, other worlds, and other friends. People are counting on you... and I can hear the chariot from Ayodhya approaching across Ganga.
  • I have no skill in any craft, even in words.
  • Act now Valmiki; Call out and the rest must follow.
  • Valmiki stood up and broke free out of that hard anthill. Suddenly he saw all around him many houses of hermits and their families, young trees carefully watered, a retreat cleared from the forest. Four boys ran up to him from the river and cried "The wife of some great warrior weeps by Ganges. She is fair as a Goddess fallen from heaven, all bewildered, all alone, never seen before, with child, and with small gifts tied from the city within a silk cloth beside her. Go to her, welcome her and protect her.
  • Sita, stay here in my hermitage, you have found here your father's house in a foreign land, we will care for you as our daughter. Looking at Sita he thought :What a fair woman, how beautiful!
    • In p. 6.
    • Valmiki to Sita
  • Valmiki went alone to the clear Ganga waterside and bathed. He washed away the anthill dust and peeled grey bark from a tree and made new fresh clothes.Then he sat back resting against a stone. He watched two small water birds in a tree nearby. The male bird was singing to his mate when before Valmiki’s eyes an arrow hit him, and the little bird fell from the limb. He thrashed on the ground an instant and then lay dead and blood drops strained his feathers.
    • In: p. 7.
  • Heartbroken the dead bird’s mate cried – Your long feathers! Your tuneful songs. A bird hunter came from the forest holding a bow. Valmiki’s heart was pounding and he cursed the killer.
    • In: p. 7.

About Valmiki[edit]

  • His [Valmiki’s] Ramayan is generally treated as Adi Kavya, the first Sanskrit poetry ever written. While it was part of oral tradition for centuries, it reached its final form somewhere between 200 BC and 200 AD. The content took a lyrical form after he experienced a painful episode.
  • Legendary sage Valmiki, venerated as the ‘Adikavi’, First Poet, in Sanskrit, though unequivocally recognises Rama as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Threthayuga, second aeon in the cycle of ages, depicts the hero Rama as the most virtuous human being, personifying all the highest ingredients of Dharma.

The Epic Civilization[edit]

As the dove fell down on the ground, the female dove went on whirling round and round the dead body of its companion in grief. In a moment the poet became miserable, and looking round, he saw the hunter. "Thou art a wretch," he cried, without the smallest mercy!, "I have never spoken in this sort of way before."

R.K. Pruthi in: The Epic Civilization, Discovery Publishing House, Jan 1, 2004

  • It is surely more important to discover what he [Valmiki] had in mind when he wrote the work [Ramayana] and how he intended his readers to study and interpret it. From this standpoint, there is hardly any doubt that his intention was to delineate Rama as an avatar.
    • In: p. 48.
  • He excels in description of forests and the hermitages of sages. Nature, in all its aspects and varieties — trees, mountains, rivers, clouds, dawn, sunset, had a great fascination for him. His sketches of some of the sages have a deft touch and they dwell on the greatness of penance and the sublimity of a spiritual life of self-realisation.
    • In: p. 51.
  • The two most ancient epics of India are called the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The oldest of these epics is called the Ramayana or "The Life of Rama". The name of the poet, or sage, was Valmiki. And this is how he became a poet. One day as this sage, Valmiki, was going to bathe in the holy river Ganga, he saw a pair of doves wheeling round and round, and kissing each other. The sage looked up and was pleased at the sight, but in a second an arrow whisked past him and killed the male dove.
    • In: p. 52.
  • As the dove fell down on the ground, the female dove went on whirling round and round the dead body of its companion in grief. In a moment the poet became miserable, and looking round, he saw the hunter. "Thou art a wretch," he cried, without the smallest mercy!, "I have never spoken in this sort of way before."
    • In: p. 52.
  • Be not afraid. This is poetry that is coming out of your mouth. Write the life of Rama in poetic language for the benefit of the world. And that is how the poem first began. The first verse sprang out of pity, from the mouth of the first poet. And it was after that he [Valmiki] wrote the beautiful Ramayana, the “Life of Rama”.
    • In: p. 52.
  • The Ramayana contains the stories of the northeastern kingdoms. But here the legends were rewritten by one man, the poet Valmiki, who played a role analogous to that of Homer.
    • In: p. 103.

The Ramayana of Valmiki[edit]

...Attacking on one occasion the seven Rishis, they expostulated with him successfully, and taught him the mantra of Ráma reversed, or Mará, Mará, in the inaudible repetition of which he remained immovable for thousands of years, so that when the sages returned to the same spot they found him still there, converted into a valmik or ant-hill, by the nests of the termites, whence his name of Válmíki.

The Ramayana translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith in: The Ramayana of Valmiki, Wikisource

  • He [Válmíki] was the son of Varuna, the regent of the waters, one of whose names is Prachetas. According to the Adhyátmá Rámáyana, the sage, although a Bráhman by birth, associated with foresters and robbers. Attacking on one occasion the seven Rishis, they expostulated with him successfully, and taught him the mantra of Ráma reversed, or Mará, Mará, in the inaudible repetition of which he remained immovable for thousands of years, so that when the sages returned to the same spot they found him still there, converted into a valmik or ant-hill, by the nests of the termites, whence his name of Válmíki.
  • He [Válmíki] is said to have lived a solitary life in the woods: he is called both a muni and a rishi. The former word properly signifies an anchorite or hermit; the latter has reference chiefly to wisdom. The two words are frequently used promiscuously, and may both be rendered by the Latin cates in its earliest meaning of seer: Válmíki was both poet and seer, as he is said to have sung the exploits of Ráma by the aid of divining insight rather than of knowledge naturally acquired.
  • Praise to Válmíki, bird of charming song,
    Who mounts on Poety's sublimest spray,
    And sweetly sings with accent clear and strong
    Ráma, aye Ráma, in his deathless lay.
  • Where breathes the man can listen to the strain
    That flows in music from Válmíki's tongue,
    Nor feel his feet the path of bliss attain
    When Ráma's glory by the saint is sung!
  • The stream Rámáyan leaves its sacred fount
    The whole wide world from sin and stain to free.
    The Prince of Hermits is the parent mount,
    The lordly Ráma is the darling sea.
  • Glory to him whose fame is ever bright!
    Glory to him, Prachetas' holy son!
    Whose pure lips quaff with ever new delight
    The nectar-sea of deeds by Ráma done.
  • Hail, arch-ascetic, pious, good, and kind!
    Hail, Saint Válmíki, lord of every lore!
    Hail, holy Hermit, calm and pure of mind!
    Hail, First of Bards, Válmíki, hail once more!

Valmiki[edit]

...The urge to write Ramayana was triggered by Valmiki's sensitive reaction to the wailing of a bird, whose mate was killed by a hunter. The ideal society portrayed so realistically in the Ramayana by Valmiki made Gandhiji name the Utopia he envisaged for India: Rama Rajya!

V.K. Subramanian in: Valmiki, the Hindu, 4 August 2006

  • Valmiki (14th - 15th century B.C.), the author of the epic Ramayana, bears comparison with Homer.
  • Though the subsequent poets like Tulsidas and Kamban have restated the story in their own style, their inspiration has been Valmiki. No poem in the world is superior to the Ramayana of Valmiki, **Aurobindo
  • Ratnakar, the bandit, became the poet Valmiki. Once when he tried to rob a sage, of his meagre belongings, he was told that no one else but he would suffer the consequences of his misdeeds. Repentant and reformed, he asked the sage for the way out of sin. He was told to recite Mara, mar (reverse of Rama). The bandit sat in penance and recited the mantra and forgot the world. An anthill enveloped him. When he was dug out, he was a realised soul and called Valmiki (one who came out of Valmike - Sanskrit for anthill). The urge to write Ramayana was triggered by Valmiki's sensitive reaction to the wailing of a bird, whose mate was killed by a hunter. The ideal society portrayed so realistically in the Ramayana by Valmiki made Gandhiji name the Utopia he envisaged for India: Rama Rajya!

External links[edit]

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