Valmiki Jayanti 2017: History, significance and celebration
Birth anniversary of Adi Kavi Valmiki, revered as the first poet of Sanskrit literature, is being celebrated across India on Thursday. Valmiki was a great sage and author of the epic Ramayana which consists of 24,000 verses and 7 cantos (Kandas) including the Uttara canto.
It is difficult to define the exact timings of his birth, however, it is celebrated on Ashwin Purnima as per Hindu lunar calendar.
As per Ramayana, Shri Rama met Valmiki during his period of exile and interacted with him. Later, Valmiki gave shelter to Devi Sita in his hermitage when Rama banished her. Kusha and Lava, the twin sons of Shri Rama were born in his hermitage. Valmiki taught Ramayana to both twins.
According to Hindu mythology, Valmiki was a highway dacoit in his early life. It is believed that sage Narada Muni transformed Ratnakar into great devotee of Lord Rama. He performed great penance by reciting 'Rama Nama'. After years of meditation, a divine voice bestowed him with new name Valmiki, the one who born out of ant-hills.
On Valmiki Jayanti, usually followers take out processions called 'Shobha Yatra' accompanied by singing bhajnas. Also, some government organise public functions to felicitate achievers from Valmiki community.
People decorate Maharishi Valmiki's temples with flowers and light the temples. Devotees also offer free food to people and recite prayers in honour to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti.
On Valmiki Jayanti, followers usually take out processions called 'Shobha Yatra' accompanied by singing devotional songs. PTI file photo
Last year, Punjab government dedicated the Temple-cum-Panorama Complex at Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal in Amritsar. PTI file photo
State governments also organise public functions to felicitate achievers from Valmiki community. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with a boy dressed up a Valmiki during inauguration of "Valmiki Jayanti" celebrations in Bengaluru. PTI file photo