Bengaluru: Valmiki is the author of Ramayana. A hunter-robber, he was rescued from the clutches of the evil practice by none other than sage Narada, he understood the sinfulness of the practice and made amends for it through severe penance. 

It is said he was blessed by Lord Brahma when he undertook the endeavour of writing the great epic. 

Let’s take a look at the salient features of the Valmiki Ramayana. 

1.    It is composed of 24,000 verses.

2.    Lord Rama was 27 years old when he was exiled by his father, King Dasaratha.

3.    Jatayu’s father Arun is credited with trying to rescue Sita and not Jatayu.

4.    Shurpanakha curses Ravana with death for killing her husband.

5.    The concept of Lakshmana rekha is not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana.

6.    It took five days to build the bridge to Lanka.

7.    The kingdom of Lanka belonged to Ravana’s elder brother Kubera. However, Ravana overthrew him and occupied the throne.

8.    Apart from being well-versed in the Vedas, Ravana was also an accomplished veena player.

9.    Lakshmana never slept during the 14 years he spent in exile with Lord Rama and Sita.

10.    Sita was called Vaidehi while she was living in exile. 

Valmiki is revered as the Adi Kavi or the first poet.

Also Read: From a robber to the Adi Kavi, here's the life of Valmiki

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.