Story of Valmiki

In ancient India there lived a highway robber by name Ratnakar. He was very merciless as he had a very large family to support. At times he used to kill people if they did not part with their belongings. One day, Ratnakar climbed up a tree and was waiting for travelers to pass by. After some time, he spotted an ascetic with only a tamboora slung around his shoulder. Ratnakar thought that the ascetic had some valuables hidden in his tamboora and quickly climbed down the tree to rob the ascetic. He pulled out a knife and asked the ascetic to give away all his belongings. The ascetic laughed and told the robber that he had nothing with him except the tamboora and readily offered the tamboora. Ratnakar got irritated by this casual behavior and roughly asked the ascetic to reveal his name.

The ascetic replied that his name is Narada and he is the son of Brahmadev. He further advised Ratnakar to give up his sinful life of robbing and killing people. The robber replied harshly that he does not care if he was committing sins as he was only trying to feed his large family. Narada then asked him to find out with his family members if they are ready to share his sins. Ratnakar thought for while and replied that he would definitely go and ask his family members if they are ready to share his sins. Before leaving Ratnakar tied up Narada to a tree and threatened him with dire consequences if he tried to escape.

Ratnakar reached his hut and asked his family members if they are ready to share his sins. To his surprise, none of them were ready to share his sins. A dejected Ratnakar walked back to Narada and told the sage that none of his family members are ready to share his sins. Narada comforted Ratnakar by telling him that there is a way to atone all his sins. He asked the robber to chant the name of Lord Rama till he returned and immediately vanished. Ratnakar sat motionless for years together chanting the name of Lord Rama. Soon ants constructed an anthill over him. After several years, he found peace within himself. Sage Narada appeared before Ratnakar and praised him for his devotion. He further told the former highway robber that henceforth he will be known as Valmiki (the one who emerged from an anthill). Valmiki asked Narada to tell him all about Lord Ram. After listening to the story from Narada, Valmiki wrote the story of Ramayana.

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