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Vaalmeeki Jee is a Raamaayan character. He wrote even Raamaayan. It was the first long poetry in Shlok style. Vaalmeeki Jee is called Aadi Kavi (Poet of Poets, or the first poet). He has written Raamaayan in Sanskrit language in which Shree Raam's life is described. It is the very first story written in poetry that is why it is called Aadi Kaavya (the earliest poetry). Vaalmeeki was not his real name. His parents gave him the name Ratnaakar. By profession he was a highway robber, but how did he become a Rishi and poet-singer, and how he became Vaalmeeki, it is an interesting story.

There was a Rishi Prachetaa on the bank of Gangaa Jee. He had a boy named Ratnaakar. One day Ratnaakar went to play in the forest and lost his way there to come home. He was crying on losing his way, that a hunter came looking for a prey, he found a crying boy, he fondled him and pacified him, and took him with him. As he did not have any child, he brought him up as his own child. Ratnaakar's parents looked for him, but when they did not find him anywhere, they thought that the boy had been the prey of some wild animal. They cried very much for him but couldn't do anything.

Ratnaakar as Hunter and Robber
Ratnaakar also forgot his parents and considered hunter and his wife as his parents. He learned hunting there. When he grew up he was married to a girl from a hunter's family. They had several children. As his family grew, he could not find hunting enough for their living, so he started robbing people.

Ratnaakar Meets Naarad Jee
One day Naarad Jee was passing from there playing his Veenaa (an Indian musical string instrument) and singing Bhagavaan's praise, that Ratnaakar came and asked him for whatever he had, otherwise he would break his head. Naarad Jee was not an ordinary man. He wanders around three Lok. He said, "All I have this Veenaa and these rags on my body. If you want to take them, take them, why to break my head for such small things." Ratnaakar was astonished to hear these words, because Naarad Jee was neither angry nor frightened. Besides nobody else had said such words before. He just continued to look at his innocent fearless face. Naarad Jee sat under that tree and started playing his Veenaa and sing Bhagavaan's praise.

Naarad Jee asked him that why did he do such bad Karm like killing animals and robbery. Ratnaakar said, "I have my old parents and a large family. I have to provide them with food and clothing, these are the only jobs I know of. What else I can do?" Naarad Jee said, "These are sins. Go and ask your family members if they will share your sins too. Go and bring back their reply, I am sitting here."

Ratnaakar hesitated, Naarad Jee understood, he said, "If you don't trust me, tie me with this tree." After a little hesitation, Ratnaakar tied Naarad Jee with that tree and went to his house. When he asked everybody in his house, they all said, "Why we will share your sins, that is your duty to feed us." His eyes opened, he came back running and untied Naarad Jee weeping. He said, "Now what? How I will get relieved from all these sins. You tell me, you are my savior."

Naarad Jee Gives Him Raam Mantra
Naarad Jee said, "Do not worry. You sit here under this tree and say this word "Raam" continuously. Do not go from here till I come back." But Ratnaakar could not pronounce "Raam", then Naarad Jee asked him to Jaap "Maraa, Maraa" (which becomes Raam on saying repeatedly). So Ratnaakar sat there and started his Jaap with "Maraa, Maraa". He got so much joy in it that he forgot food, water and sleep.

Ratnaakar Becomes Maharshi Vaalmeeki
In this way a few years passed. An ant-hill grew around his body. At last one day Naarad Jee came and removed that ant-hill carefully. He was still in deep meditation. When Naarad Jee pronounced "Raam" in his ears, then he woke up. Naarad Jee touched his whole body and he felt as healthy as before when he sat there in the beginning. Naarad Jee said, "Bhagvaan is very pleased from your Tap. Now you are "Brahmarshi" - Rishi of the highest status. Since you have come out of a Valmeeki (an ant-hill), you will be famous as Vaalmeeki. Vaalmeeki Jee built his Aashram at the bank of Gangaa Jee and lived there.

A similar story, with a different flavor, about him is given in Bhavishya Puraan, 3/24.

Origin of Raamaayan
One day Naarad Jee came again to visit him. He asked Naarad Jee, "You wander in Tri-Lok, tell me who is the most virtuous person in Tri-Lok." Then Naarad Jee told the name of "Raam" and told His story in short. He was very happy to hear that story. Naarad Jee blessed him and left.

One day Vaalmeeki Jee went to take bath in Gangaa River, his disciple Bharadwaaj Muni was also with him. They came to Tamasaa stream. Its water was very clear at that point, so he decided to take bath at that place only. There was a Kraunch bird couple sitting on a tree and chirping joyfully. Suddenly the male bird fell down in the river stricken by an arrow. Seeing this Vaalmeeki's heart moved, he looked around and found a hunter with a bow. He gave Shaap to him, "You have killed one member of a happy couple, you will not live long." This was the first poetry  came out of his mouth. Naarad Jee named it Shlok (a couplet in Sanskrit language) as it came out of Shok (grief) in this world (Lok), so it became Shlok.

Vaalmeeki Jee himself was surprised at this that how this Shlok came out of his mouth. He all the time thought about the Kraunch bird and this Shlok. He was sitting in his Aashram and thinking about the Kraunch bird and Shlok, that Brahmaa Jee appeared before him and said, "I inspired this Shlok to come out of your mouth. Now you will write Raamaayan in this type of poetry. Naarad Jee has already told you the story, and whatever you don't know you will be able to see that also from your own eyes. Whatever you will write it will be true, and people will read it until these mountains and rivers are there on Prithvi." And Brahmaa Jee went away.

Then Vaalmeeki Jee started writing the Raamaayan. It has 24,000 Shlok in 500 Sarg and these 500 Sarg are divided in seven Kaand (chapters). He taught Raamaayan to Lav and Kush, Shree Raam's sons, when they were born to Seetaa while Seetaa was sent to exile and She lived with Vaalmeeki Jee. They went to recite it in Shree Raam's court also when Raam did Ashwamedh Yagya.

Vaalmeeki Jee Meets Seetaa
When Raam was wandering in exile (as asked by Kaikeyee from Dasharath as one of her two Var), they came to Vaalmeeki's Aashram too and asked for a good place to stay for some time. He suggested them Chitrakoot to stay and they stayed there for a while. He is the one who gave shelter to pregnant Seetaa when Raam had banished her on a washerman's (who washes clothes) bad comments. And he was the one who brought Seetaa in his Aashram and brought up Seetaa's two sons Lav and Kush into fine young princes. He taught them Raamaayan and sent them to Raam's court to tell Seetaa's story. They did so and thus became the source to join their mother to Raam. But unfortunately, they lost Her at the same time.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/30/13