Dr. Dolgobinda Shastri


Ratnakar, a devil to say, was transformed and became one of the most revered Maharshi (sage) of ancient Bharat Varsa. This miraculous achievement was due to the spiritual power and compassion of Devarshi Narad.

Now prior to Valmiki, the Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva) and the Upanishads (more than one thousand, but only 108 Upanishads, so far published in printed form) were regarded as the most ancient literary works. These were mostly didactic, philosophical and spiritual in content. Poetical flavour and fragrance was rarely found, but that too, in mystic vocabulary. Ordinarily people of the common mass could not realise  the ecstasy of the poetical aspect. The verses of the Vedas and Upanishadas (mainly named as Suktas) were seen or composed in the metres, which were also not easily understood by the common people without vast academic knowledge.

With this end in view, there was a necessity to express the essence of the Vedas and Upanishads in easily acceptable style and metre. The metre namely Anustup-Chhanda and the like, was considered as the suitable vehicle. Narad and Veda-Vyasa were two main stalwarts of the ancient period who took the lead to perform that Himalayan task.

Narad found, selected, encouraged and inspired Valmiki and Vyasadev as first pioneers. A pathetic incident happened in the initial monastic life of Maharshi Valmiki. The story goes as thus.

Once Valmiki, while offering oblations of water to the Sun-God and forefathers after bathing in the sacred river,  saw a very cruel and inhuman act of a fowler, who killed a heron while mating with the counterpart.   When Valmiki was so much aggrieved by seeing this cruel act, unconsciously and unknowingly, a verse in Austup-Chhanda came out of his tongue as –

Ma Nisada ! Pratistham  twam

Agama saswati- sama

Yat krauncha mithunad

Ekamabadhi Kama-mohitam

 (Alas ! How terrible cruelty ! You retched fowler ! How could you kill a heron while mating ??? You will never be worthy of a higher existence and this is a curse which will hang upon you forever.)

After uttering this verse, Valmiki himself was astonished, puzzled and exclaimed-

“How strange ? What I uttered?”

Suddenly he saw his divine master (guru) Narad before him and after due submission, he entreated Narad to defuse his worry in the unexpected situation.

Narad was eager to avail of this opportunity to utilize the moment for the fulfillment of long cherished desire for the well being of the mankind to compose an epic narrating the life history of Ram, the first complete human-incarnation of God on the surface of the earth. Such poetic expression of profound compassion must be utilized for a divine purpose to exhibit a life style of an ideal son, ideal king, ideal brother, ideal husband, and last but not the least, an ideal human character who was Rama, the son of king Dasarath. Rama is worshipped as Maryada Purusottam, i.e., the embodiment or Deity of propriety where as Krishna is worshipped as Lila-Purusottam or the Deity of Divine Sports or  Divine Pastimes.

We must bear in mind that, The Vedas and Upanishads are the eternal unending stores of knowledge, philosophy and spiritual guide of all ages, all kinds, races of living beings on Earth.

Ramayan, Mahabharat-  the two epics, and all other puranas contain the essence of the Vedas and Upanishads written in poetic style for the benefit of the common mass for all ages. Fables, concocted stories are inserted only to attract and make them popular.

Ramayan is the first epic and Valmiki is the first poet or Adi-Kavi.