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Friday, October 30, 2015

Valmiki... The one, who began it all...



Years ago, when I was barely five, I got to read Ramayana. It happened to be the first ever longish story that I read. Of course, not that it was long at that stage, but only a comic book. Two years, later my grandfather, bought me the Bala Ramayana. Of course, after that I got to see Ramanand Sagar’s epic on TV, Ramayan. 

But Ramayan never interested me. But nowadays, I get to read, ‘Asura: Tale of the Vanquished – The Story of Ravana and his People’, an Anand Neelakantan perspective with Ravana’s point of view and one from Sita’s viewpoint, in ‘Sita : An illustrated retelling of the Ramayana’ by Devdutt Pattanaik. Both these books are brilliant in the own right, due to the willingness of the authors to experiment with the book and give us all a whole new perspective. 

But, in all this, I was reminded of Valmiki, and the ACK comic, I had read about him. Valmiki, who was born as Ratnakar, a dacoit, one day, comes up on the Saptarishis, who stop him from stealing and teach him to say ‘Mara’, which is what he repeats for many years. The seven rishis then return, and Valmiki who is covered in an ant hill, is now ready to undertake his spiritual power.  

Years after, Sage Narada pays him a visit and tells him the story of Rama. And Valmiki, upon hearing the story, begins writing the Ramayan. He is the poet of Sanskrit literature, and wrote 24,000 verses and 7 cantos. Incidentally, his birth anniversary is celebrated on Ashwin Purana.

So, this year on 27th October, occurred Valmiki Jayanti, when I started wondering about Ramayana, and thinking of a man, who all those years ago, gave us all a story, which we have read and re- read for so many years and thought about in so many different ways.

Wow, I wonder what Valmiki would have said if he was to reappear again, today. Would he lap up, all of them? Would he like the new books, the one from Ravana’s perspective and the one from Sita’s and also the one from Lava - Kusha’s?

Not to say, that he had not thought of all these, or would he have written so much, that gives all the authors, newer ideas, newer thoughts, and whole new books, with all the different outlooks.

Do you think that he could possibly agree with half of our views of the Ramayan? Do you think he would ever watch them on TV? Or like them? Would he be happy with the views people have today? And the reasoning of them? Or the justification or not of them?

You think he would be happy if he saw the world, today? Or if he saw women or men, today?   Or if he saw students with all the learnings today?

Now, that is something to think about. Nowadays, we get to see so many views and counterviews of whatever we write. Wonder what he would say, if he sees even half of them… :)


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