Valmiki Jayanti is the birthday celebrations of Maharishi (great sage) named Valmiki who authored Hindu epic, The Ramayana. Maharishi Valmiki is worshipped with great devotion on this auspicious day. It is celebrated widely in India with great enthusiasm and fervour.
Maharishi Valmiki was an avid poet; all of his writings are in Sanskrit language. He is also known as Adi Kavi, which literally means The First Poet as it is believed that it is he who discovered the first Shloka or verse and set the foundation of Sanskrit poetry. He created a distinguished place for himself in Sanskrit poetry which none could replace ever. He was the one who penned down the Ramayana epic- a legendary story that was destined to influence all the generations to come.
Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated on Poornima (full moon day) in the month of Ashwin, as per the Hindu calendar.
According to Hindu mythology, Valmiki was a highway robber who used to rob innocent people of their belongings. One day, he met Narad Muni (a famous Hindu Sage) who was a devotee of Lord Narayana. Narad Muni asked Valmiki that why he robbed people. He replied that he robbed others in order to run his family. Narad Muni asked him to ask his family members if they would like to be a part of his sins and share the consequences of them. The robber was very confident about his family’s approval and agreeing to share all his sins. However, his family refused to be a part of his sins. At that moment, the robber realized his mistake and he surrendered in front of Narad Muni and became his follower.
Narad Muni asked him to recite a mantra (a Vedic hymn) called “Rama, Rama”. But since Valmiki was a very sinful person, he could not recite those hymns. Instead, he recited “Mara Mara” (meaning dead) continuously which sounded like “Rama Rama” when repeated. Lord Ram was pleased with his determination and freed him of all his sins. His heart got purified and treaded on the path of spirituality ever since.
In fact, it was Valmiki who, as per Ramayana epic, gave refuge to Lord Ram’s wife Sita and taught her twin sons until they were returned to their father. Valmiki has a very significant and respectful place in Hindu religion.
Rituals and Celebrations
Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti is mainly celebrated in Madhya Pradesh and in a few other regions. Valmiki Jayanti, like all other Indian festivals is celebrated with a lot of devotion and enthusiasm. Devotees worship Lord Maharishi early in the morning. Devotees gather in the temples and offer their prayers with flowers and other offerings. They also take out a procession in the honour of Maharishi Valmiki and offer prayers to Lord Valmiki’s portrait. Free food is also distributed among people, especially the poor.
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