Valmiki Jayanti 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations

Valmiki is one of the most respected and beloved poet of India in Sanskrit literature, he is most famously known for writing the Hindu epic Ramayana

Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated annually on the full moon night or Purnima of the Ashwin month according to the Hindu calendar celebrating the birth anniversary of great sage poet Maharishi Valmiki. This year it falls on 9th of October. 

He is most famously known for penning down the Hindu epic of Ramayana which is one of the most important text of Hinduism today telling the story about the eight avatar of Lord Vishnu which is Lord Rama. He is considered as one of the greatest poet the country had ever had in India. 

The Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki, consists of 24,000 shlokas and seven cantos. The Ramayana is composed of about 480,002 words, being a quarter of the length of the full text of the Mahabharata or about four times the length of the Iliad. 

Event Valmiki Jayanti
Date October 9, 2022
Day Sunday
Significance The day honors the birth anniversary of great sage poet Maharishi Valmiki
Observed by India

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Valmiki Jayanti History: 

The exact date and time of Valmiki’s birth are unknown, but he is believed to have lived around 500 BC. The Ramayana written by him also dates variously from 500 B.C.E to all the way upto 100 B.C.E. There are many popular legends behind his origin story and his journey of becoming a great poet as well some of them are very popular while the others are not that popular. 

One legend states that Valmiki was born as Agni Sharma to a Brahmin named Pracheta of Bhrigu gotra of Hinduism, According to legend he once met the great sage Narada and had a long debate with him regarding his duties. Moved by Narada's words, Agni Sharma began to perform penance and chanted the word "Mara" which meant "die". As he performed his penance for several years, the word became "Rama", a name of the god Vishnu. Huge anthills formed around Agni Sharma and this earned him the title of Valmiki. Later he became a prominent poet. 

However the most popular legend today says that Valmiki was a highway dacoit named Ratnakar in his early years. He used to rob and kill people until the day he met Narad Muni, who transformed him into an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. After meditating for years, a divine voice declared his penance successful and bestowed him with the name Valmiki. He was later revered as Adi Kavi for being the first poet of the Sanskrit Literature. 

It is also believed that Maharishi Valmiki had met Lord Rama in person during his exile. He also rescued Sita after Lord Rama banished her from the kingdom of Ayodhya and provided her shelter. It was in his ashram that she gave birth to the twins, Lava and Kusha. During their childhood, the great sage became their instructor and taught them Ramayana. 

Once Valmiki saw a crane couple mating. Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy birds. But suddenly the got hit by an arrow, the male bird died on the spot. Filled by sorrow, its mate screamed in agony and died of shock. Valmiki's heart melted at this pitiful sight. He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. Valmiki became very angry. His lips opened and he cried out, "You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting." Emerging spontaneously from Valmiki's rage and grief, this is considered to be the first shloka in Sanskrit literature.

Valmiki Jayanti Significance: 

Lord Rama inspires and is revered by Hindus across the world, and the story of his life is highly celebrated in Indian society. On Valmiki Jayanti, Hindus pay respects to the person who brought Lord Rama’s story to the world. The title ‘Maharishi,’ meaning ‘great monk’ in Sanskrit, is bestowed on sage Valmiki for composing the epic "Ramayana" which tells us the whole story about Lord Rama and is one of the two ancient epics of Hinduism, the other one being the Mahabharata. 

Even though there is no known record of his exact birth date, Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated annually on the full moon day during the Ashwin month according to the Hindu lunar calendar because legend has it that the sage’s face had a glow resembling the shine of the full moon. Hence this date was chosen for him according to his characteristics. The day falls between September and October on the Gregorian calendar.

Valmiki is revered in India as the author of the Indian epic poem Ramayana, and is also worshipped as the avatar of God by members of the Balmiki sect of Hinduism and thus this day is also called Pargat Diwas. The "epic metre" in traditional Indian poetry is attributed to Valmiki, with verses consisting of memorable rhyming couplets, suggesting that the poem was intended for public recitation, a common Indian oral tradition. 

Vishnudharmottara Purana says that Valmiki was born in the Treta Yuga as a form of Brahma who composed Ramayana and that people desirous of earning knowledge should worship Valmiki. He was later reincarnated as Tulsidas, who composed the Ramcharitamanas, which was the Awadhi-Hindi version of the Ramayana. 

An area in Chennai, Tiruvanmiyur is believed to derive its name from Sage Valmiki, Thiru-Valmiki-Oor. There is a temple for Valmiki located in this place, which is believed to be 1300 years old. There is also Shree Valmiki Mata Maha Samsthana in Rajanahalli, Karnataka. Overall this day celebrates the legacy of one of the greatest poet in Indian history Maharishi Valmiki. 


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Valmiki Jayanti Celebrations: 

Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the northern parts of India, particularly by the Hindu devotees. On this day, people take part in great processions called Shobha Yatras during which followers of the Valmiki sect sing songs extolling the sage and Lord Rama’s virtues. 

During this parade called Shobha Yatras the representations of a priest dressed up in saffron-coloured robes with plume and paper in their hands, goes through the streets of the Valmiki territory with a portrait of Valmiki in the center of the parade which is accompanied by reverential singing done by the followers. It makes an amazing site to observe and will make you deep in devotion. 

On this day the temples of the sage are decorated with flowers and lights, and the devotees are often offered free food in the form of prasad which is a food offering made to God and people likes to visit temples on this day where recitation of prayers takes place. 

At many temples of Lord Rama across India and the world, recitals of the epic are held on this day. Hearing the verses or 'shlokas' gives a very pleasure experience to the devotees. If people don't go to temples then they try to recite and read Ramayana on this day as a way to pay tribute to the great poet. 

Most Searched FAQs on Valmiki Jayanti: 

1. When is Valmiki Jayanti celebrated? 

Valmiki Jayanti is annually celebrated on full moon might in the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunar calendar. 

2. For what Maharishi Valmiki is known for? 

Maharishi Valmiki is known for penning down the Hindu epic of Ramayana. 

3. Is Valmiki Jayanti a national holiday? 

Valmiki Jayanti is an optional holiday. India’s holiday laws limit employees to a certain number of holidays from a list. So it is not a public holiday where leave is given. 

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