Valmiki (Ratnakara before), a sage who wrote the epic Ramayana, initially belonged to a family of robbers, who later turned into a sage with the help of Narad Muni (a divine messenger of the time). He was advised by Narad Muni, when once he tried to rob him, about the sins he is committing to be bad. He soon realised his mistake and begged his apologies, asking for a way to repay for his sins. After being proposed to chant Rama naam to attain the nirvana, he was on his way to do it. After years of practise and unmoved chants, when he was surrounded by anthills, and he had repayed his sins, he was thus named Valmiki (relating to ants).
There are no proper mentions about Valmiki’s time of origin or sources, but he is believed to exist in the era of Lord Rama (reincarnation of Vishnu), i.e. the treta yuga. Valmiki is believed to have written the Ramayana, consisting of 24000 verses (shlokas), and 7 cantos (kandas). Therefore he holds a great importance in Hinduism, as he was the one who hosted Sita during her banishment by Lord Rama. He is also considered the first Guru for Lava-Kusha, the twin sons of Lord Rama and Sita, from their childhood.
Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated to remember the great sage, Maharishi Valmiki on his birthday, for the history and culture he has left for us to cherish. Valmiki Jayanti is usually celebrated on Purnima (full moon night) in the month of Ashwin (a hindu month). His birthday is also called Pragat Diwas in the hindu mythology.
On the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti, processions are carried out in remembrance of the greatest sage, Maharishi Valmiki. Shobha Yatras (decorated rallies), feeding the poor, decorating the hindu temples, chants of Ramayana, are some practises which are carried out for the day. The greatest Valmiki temple is situated in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai and is believed to exist for 1300 years now. With this enthusiasm and respect for the greatest sage and the great Sanskrit poet, we hope to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti with the same zeal on 5th of October this year!
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