Land of Sages
India is home to many saints and poets since ancient times. Earlier sages used to be part of big Gurukuls, what we term today as international schools that taught its students lessons and chapters, not just on one or two specialized subjects, but provided and taught the students holistic learning methods and intensive life lessons.
They also taught him to be a warrior, they bred them well in Vedic studies, taught them Sanskrit, they were well versed in Sanskrit hymns, they learnt skills in many other fields too. The main reason why students were sent to these centers of learning was because back then, these were the only centers of learning that imparted formal education to students and made them ready for their higher living.
Students were taught about the various phases a man will go through in his life and imparted life lessons to them. They were taught skills in archery, they played games, learnt horse riding, learned how to handle weapons, etc.
Sages of India meditated for long periods of time and reached penance in their lives. They led lives of enlightenment. Kings consulted them before taking big decisions, they were considered as messengers of god who could correctly decide the right thing from wrong.
They carried out havans, did Pooja, lived in small hamlets, renounced happiness in the world, lived a live free of even the basic rights in life and gave importance to spirituality of the mind and higher levels of attaining peace and sanctity in life.
They realized higher meanings in life and looked at life from a totally different level and attitude. They lived deep in the forests and meditated for years together. No rain or any other natural forces could deter them and they could be brought back to the normal state only after they were done with their meditating period.
They did not have any deep desires for food, clothing, materialistic things etc. they had a small piece of cloth to cover themselves and they had sacrificed all essential desires any person would have.
Athri, Bharadwaja, Valmiki, Agastya, Dadhichi, Nachiketa, Vasishta etc were famous sages of India who wrote many spiritual scriptures and poems and recitations that shook the world.
The world was amused at the kind of knowledge they displayed and the kind of living they led. They lived a higher level of living and they were a great influence on kings.
Adi Kavi or The First Known Poet
Valmiki is the first poet of India, popularly called Adi Kavi who gave the world, the most beautiful epic, the Ramayana. Valmiki, as the world knows him, was a very great Sanskrit poet and all his creations were written in Sanskrit language.
Valmiki is world famous for his contribution to Indian literature, in that he gave the world, the most important scripture in Sanskrit, Ramayana. It consisted of 24,000 Shlokas and it is rendered in the form of a poem by Valmiki. Valmiki wrote Ramayana and created history.
The story of Ramayana deals with the story of lord Ram and his childhood days, his education, childhood diaries, chapters, after he married goddess Sita, when they renounced the palace and went into the forest with Ram’s brother Lakshmana, the hardships they faced in the forest, Sita’s abduction and finally the burning of Lanka and the end of Ravan.
There are many verses in Ramayana and Valmiki has presented each sequence by giving attention to detail and anyone reading the Ramayana in detail and researching on it would know the intricacies and the complexities with which the poet has woven the fine details into the poem.
The poem presents lord Ram, goddess Sita and all other characters in high glorification and one can gain a great gateway to the world of spiritual knowledge by reading through the texts. Lord Brahma assisted Valmiki in writing Ramayana, it is said popularly.
After the burning of Lanka, it was Valmiki who provided shelter to Goddess Sita and her two sons when Lord Ram gave her many tests to take up before accepting her as his own. Sita took shelter in his ashram for many days After Valmiki wrote Ramayana, he brought Sita’s two sons and started teaching them as well.
Sita’s two sons, Luv and Kush then went to Ram’s empire and re-told everything they were taught during the Ashwamedh Yagna and Ram was surprised looking the wonders of the kids. He followed them closely to Valmiki’s Ashram where he found out about the two guys, being his own children.
Qualities he Possessed
Older stories related to the sage call him by his earlier name, Agni Sharma. Some are of the belief that his first name was Ratnakara. A popular story goes that it was mainly because of Lord Vishnu that Valmiki earned this title for himself.
One day when Valmiki and his close disciple Bharadwaja were travelling, they came across a stream of water. The stream of water looked so pure and clear that Valmiki was happy seeing the waters and decided to take a bath in there.
When he jumped into the waters, he saw two cranes sitting beautifully next to each other and since it was the mating season for birds, the two birds mating there looked very picturesque for the poet. He was impressed by the beauty of nature and he put his eyes on the two cranes.
He started admiring their beauty and wondered how beautiful nature really was. At the same time, an arrow flew in the sky and hit one of the cranes. Neither Valmiki nor his disciple was able to understand from which direction the arrow came in and why the crane was the target of the arrow.
Naturally, Valmiki was very angry at the demise of one of the cranes. He could very easily understand the pain of the other crow and decided to put the whole sequence in words. That’s how Valmiki’s first creation took birth.
Valmiki Jayanthi is celebrated across the country to celebrate and honor the great poet’s contribution to Hindu religion and culture.
His outstanding contribution in terms of his greatest contribution, the Ramayana is read and worshipped by many Hindus. In fact many Hindu people personally prefer to keep their own copy of Valmiki Written Ramayana so that they can be spiritually connected and can do things in the right way.
Valmiki as an Inspiration
Valmiki’s message to the society stands relevant even today. He has spoken in all his creations to be true to self and lead a life of righteousness. He never encouraged people to fall prey to their own desires and needs. He took pity at the dead crane. He was hurt by its sufferings.
He was enraged looking at the arrow. These are some of the qualities known of Valmiki. He taught people to fight injustice. He shook the whole world by his strong use of Sanskrit words.
Many of his works are researched by great scholars and they have given their beautiful tribulations to a man who composed the most beautiful epic of Indian history.
Valmiki was a great poet, the first known poet in India and he was bent on writing in Sanskrit. All his creations were in Sanskrit language.
The world still looks at our country for the rich cultural heritage our country possesses. Great sages, saints from time immemorial have contributed in large to the society, telling people what seems right to them and have always asked people to live a life of truth and sincerity.
They believed in the powers of god and always bowed down before them. Their treasure of knowledge cannot be compared to anything in this world. The younger generation should be allowed to spread their wings and dig into the ancient epics of India to really know what our country was known from the past.
Many foreign researchers are working on the rich creations of these poets and they are really amused and astonished at the rich culture our country possesses. They have provided their tribute to these poets by researching for so many years and have taken this knowledge back to their own countries and spread the word there.
It is time we realize the importance and greatness of these poets and celebrate their contributions to our society. Children of today are leaders of tomorrow. It is our duty to guide them on the right path by taking them back to our culture and enlightening them with the prestigious and rich works these saints have left behind them.