TODAY IS THE BIRTHDAY OF SAGE VALMIKI (A GREAT SANT WHO PENNED DOWN THE GREAT EPIC RAMAYANA)
Sage Valmiki – a great Sant/Rishi, who changed himself from a robber and a hunter of animals to a Maharishi of repute. This example should serve as a great lesson to us that if we resolve to leave the path of sin and adopt a path which leads to level-headedness and wisdom, we can. It also give us a lesson that humans have an inner potential to change, if he/she determines impediments and other constraints notwithstanding. The life of Sage Valmiki, to say the least, offer us the following lessons:-
- Circumstance may be any, if we want to change our attitude, we can. Even the hardened criminal can be refined if that particular individual wills.
- We have to suffer the pangs of our Karmic deeds or misdeeds. Nobody will share that suffering when Judgment Day comes – not even our very closest kins.
- We should hear the voice of reason as Ratnakra listened to Sage Narda and changed himself. But one thing stands out, the change we want comes by abandonment of many comforts of which we are habituated – to the lifestyle and the habits and attitude we have imbibed over a period of time.
- For a man who wants to have change, nothing can stop that individual to have change for the better but again for becoming good, we are constrained to surpass some impediments since the sins we have already committed will not wash away so easily. For these to be washed, we have to cleanse our body, mind and the soul. It requires huge effort.
- We should always listen to our inner voice as Ratnakara had listened and learned lesson after meeting Sage Narda.
- Great works of Rishis, Sages, Sants, Sadh Gurus, Great Masters (Like Sant Kirpal Singh and other renowned personages who helped in enlightening the lives of multitudes) are great motivators and bestow us the opportunity of removing our ignorance and show us the path of enlightenment and liberation (Moksha).
- All the great works of Rishis give us enlightenment.. There is no credence or relevance to to which Religions, castes, creeds, colour etc they belonged. What they preached us through their works should be of relevance to us.
The words of Sant Kabir are enlightening irrespective of religion or caste to which we belong.
It is needless to ask of a Sant the caste to which he belongs
For the priest, the warrior. the tradesman, and all the thirty-six castes, alike are seeking for God.
It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint may be;
The barber has sought God, the washerwoman, and the carpenter.
I am not a Hindu,
Nor a Muslim am I!
I am this body, a play
Of five elements; a drama
Of the spirit dancing
With joy and sorrow
- Everything is possible, if we have strong determination to refine ourselves and follow a course which is spiritually oriented and we can be remembered for our deeds if we resolve.
- Fact remains, if we want to change from Ratnakara to Sage Valmiki, we have to wash off the dross that is existing in our system and having done that the path ahead is clear for us FOR SELF REALIZATION.
- A self-realized person can be a great inspiration and a source of motivation for other humans whose past life has been dismal failure – meaning what we do today counts and if you want to bring forth refinement in our character and attitude it will go a long way in shaping our destiny.
- Then the lessons from his great epic Ramyana are:-
(I) We should not commit the sin of looking at others’ wives with lust or commit any sin of abduction which may tarnish our image and we should be earning KARMIC DEBIT for this.
(ii) We should always fulfil the promise we make to others and not renege on the same. Lord Rama stood for Dharma and Karma as the two pillars of strength of a person.
(iii) Ram Rajya stood for equality for everybody – all the subjects in Ram Rajya were treated equally. He did not spare even his spouse and sent her to the forest when he heard an ordinary washerman uttering something against Sita Maa.
LIFE HISTORY OF SAGE VALMIKI (MEANING ANT HILL)
Sage Valmiki lived in Treta Yuga. During that time, there were forests on the banks of Ganges and were infested with wild animals. His original name Ratnakara and was the son of a sage named Prachatasa who had his hermitage on the banks of river. Ganga.
In his childhood, he used to wonder in the forest. Unfortunately, one day he lost his way. Despite his best efforts, he could not locate the hermitage of his father. At nightfall, he started weeping for fear of his life since he knew that the forest was full of wild animals.
As ill-luck would have it, a hunter passed that way. This hunter eked out his living by hunting the animals He also made search for the hermitage so that the child could be sent to his parents but in vain. . He pacified the child and took him to his home. As he was having any child, he adopted Ratnakara. It has been said, ‘time’ is a great healer, the child too forgot his parents and considered the foster parents as his own.
In his adopted home, he learned hunting from his foster father. He killed birds and animals for a living. When Ratnakra grew up, his foster father married him off to a beautiful girl. Thereafter, he had his own children to look after. As time went on, his foster parents grew old. Now he had a huge responsibility towards his parents, wife and children. For their sustenance, he was constrained to rob the villagers who traveled to other villages for meeting their daily needs. After sometime, he even started killing the victims who resisted his attempts to rob.
One day, a strange thing happened. A sage named Narda passed through that path. Ratnakara, as usual, stopped him and ordered him to hand over everything he had. Sage Narda, very coolly and with serenity at his command told him that he had only one Veena and his tattered clothes. He can part with those things. Seeing the composure of Sage Narda Ratnakara was surprised. His mind melted. There was no problem at all. Sage Narda is known for his travels from heaven to earth and acted as a trouble-shooter in many cases which require Divine intervention.
In the meanwhile, Sage Narda, sung a sweet song in the praise of Almighty God. Ratnakara was obviously moved by the grace and poise of the Sage.
Then Sage posed a question to Ratnakara. You earn a living by robbing people and hunting the animals and birds. Stealing and killing animals and birds is a sin.
This way, you commit sin – meaning you are a sinner. Will your parents, your wife and the children partake this sin with you? Saged asked the robber and hunter to pose this question to all your family members.
Subsequently, Ratnakara went to his home. He first of all, went to his foster parents, posed them the question; whether they will partake the sin of robbing and even killing his victims. They retorted that being their son, it was his responsibility to look after them in their old-age. Therefore, they will not share the sin which he committed. He will himself suffer the pangs of his Karmic Deeds.
Then he went to his wife. She too said that as a husband, it was his duty to feed her and his children, she will partake the booty which he brought but not partake the sins which he committed. Ratnakara was obviously moved by the turn of events. He was surprised that everybody wanted his booty but nobody wanted to partake his sin.
He remembered the Sage’s words and rushed for the forest to the place he had fastened him with the tree lest he escapes. He fell into the feet of the Sage and begged for his assistance in his salvation as he was a sinner. Meaning, there was a complete change in him. He, very respectfully, asked the Sage for his mercy and asked for his deliverance. The sage took mercy on him and advised him to chant RAM NAAM and went away. Ratnakara sat under the tree and started chanting the name of RAMA with complete belief and focus. There were change of climates, sunny days changed to dark nights and vice versa etc. but Ratnakara’s penance remained unaffected by these natural changes – withstood everything that came his way.
Then after some period of time, an ANT HILL was made around his body. One day, Sage Narda passed that path and saw the Ant Hill formed. He was knowing the exact cause. He very carefully cleared the anthill and chanted RAM NAAM near the ears of Ratnakara. Hearing this, he opened his eyes and saw the Sage. The Sage re-named from Ratnakara to Valmiki (meaning Anthill). Thus the saga of Maharishi Valmiki starts.
Rest all is known to us that he penned down the great Epic Ramyana before it actually transpired – from the birth of Lord Rama to his exile to his journey to Demon King Ravana to bring back Sita Maa from Lanka, his battle with demon king along with Sugriv and Lord Hanuman besides his monkey warriors.
Subsequently, after the exile of Lord Rama, Sita Maa’s event of proving her chastity by walking on the fire to her exile to the forests after Lord Rama heard a washerman’s terse and offending comments that he cannot forgive the faults of his wife (infidelity) as done by Lord Rama. She remained in the hermitage of Rishi Valmiki. Sita Maa gave birth to two sons Luva and Kusha. These two princes were brought up under the care of the Rishi. They were experts in the archery and other arts including all the mannerism which the princes should imbibe.
Subsequently, there was meeting (Milap) between Lord Rama, Sita Maa and his two sons Luva and Kusha. He wanted that Sita should accompany him to his palace. But Sita Maa wanted liberation from this world.
As she was born from the Mother Earth, she very reverentially asked Mother Earth to open her bosom and in that she got absorbed. Then afterwards, Luva and Kusha ruled their respective kingdoms. As they were brought up in very congenial atmosphere, and they were the sons of Lord Rama and Sita Maa, they too proved to be the best kings to their subject on the principles – RAGUKUL REET SADHA CHALI AAEE PRAN JAYE PAR BACHAN NO JAYE. (It is the tradition of the Ragukul to be exterminated rather than reneging from the promise which Is made.
Conclusively, we can say with complete belief that if we determine we also can be like RISHI VALMIKI, the past life is no hindrance in this endeavour.