Bengaluru: The great epic Ramayana has inspired and influenced generations together. On this day of Valmiki Jayanti (October 13) let’s take a look at the life of its poet Valmiki. 
Valmiki is revered as the Adi Kavi or the first poet. 

Born to Pracheta as Ratnakara, he once strayed into a forest, only to lose himself. Fortunately, he was rescued by a hunter. As he grew up, Ratnakara became an expert hunter. 

Later, as he attainted marriageable age, he married a girl from the hunter community itself. And as he begot several children, it became difficult for him to make ends meet, thereby forcing him to take to robbery. He resorted to looting travellers. 

In this way, life was going on. One day, he met sage Narada who was passing by the same forest in which Ratnakara stayed. Ratnakara attacked Narada in the same way he attacked anyone else.

But Narada, a sage that he was, was unperturbed. 

Taking pity on Ratnakara, Narada enquired Ratnakara as to why he had taken to robbery. When Narada explained to him his helplessness, he asked Narada to go back to his family and ask them if they would partake of his sins. When Narada did so, to his utter consternation, his family refused to heed to his request. 

That is when he returned to Narada, begged forgiveness. Narada initiated him the Rama mantra. But Ratnakara wa unable to pronounce the word Rama. Therefore, Narada asked him to pronounce the word backwards, that is Mara. 

For years together, Ratnakara chanted the mantra and perfected it. Propitiated by it, Lord Brahma appeared before him and saw him covered by an anthill. This is how Ratnakara became Valmiki. Valmika means anthill. 

From a robber to the foremost poet, Ratnakar’s journey from a life of unscrupulousness to that of divinity, really stands out.