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Maharshi Valmiki Jayanti: Significance of Festival Dedicated to Author of Ramayana

WebdeskOct 20, 2021, 11:04 AM IST

Maharshi Valmiki Jayanti: Significance of Festival Dedicated to Author of Ramayana

Maharishi Valmiki was both a Sanskrit and Tamil scholar. He was the first poet of Sanskrit literature.

Valmiki Jayanti commemorates the birth anniversary of Maharishi Valmiki, the great author and sage. Maharishi Valmiki is the author of the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The Ramayana, which tells the story of Sri Ram, was written in Sanskrit and contains 24,000 verses divided into seven "Kaand" (cantos). In honour of this revered saint, Valmiki Jayanti is observed. The celebration of Valmiki Jayanti is a tribute to a great saint who inspired the masses through his seminal works and teachings.

Maharishi Valmiki's birthday falls on the Purnima tithi of the month of Ashwin, i.e. Purnima, in the month of Ashwin is also celebrated as Sharad Purnima, which corresponds to September-October in the Gregorian calendar. The first poet of Sanskrit literature was Maharishi Valmiki. Adi Kavi is another name for him. He was both - a Sanskrit and Tamil scholar.

The Maharishi Valmiki temple in Chennai's Thiruvanmiyur is thought to be over 1300 years old. This temple holds greater significance because it is believed that Valmiki rested here after finishing the Ramayana. The Valmiki temple is under the supervision of another prominent temple called the Marundeeswarar temple, constructed during the Chola reign. As per the beliefs, sage Valmiki visited the Marundeeswarar temple to worship Lord Shiva, following which the region was named Thiruvalmikiyur, which gradually changed to Thiruvanmiyur.

The Ramayana he composed has 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 - an ancient Greek epic poem composed by Homer. The description of Valmiki is also found in the Mahabharata period. When the Pandavas win the battle with the Kauravas, Draupadi holds a yajna, for which the blowing of the conch was necessary, but even after all efforts, including Krishna, then everyone prays to Valmiki at the behest of Krishna. When Valmiki appears there, the conch shell itself sounds, and Draupadi's yajna is completed. As per Vishnudharmottara Purana, Valmiki is a form of God. People who want to enhance their knowledge and wisdom should offer prayers to Maharishi Valmiki. Lord Rama's sons-Kush and Luv, were his first disciples to whom he taught the Ramayana.

Valmiki was a great Astronomer, poet and teacher

In the epic Ramayana, Sage Valmiki mentioned that when Lord Rama was born, the sun was located in Aries, Saturn was in Libra, Jupiter and the moon were in Cancer, Venus was seen in Pisces while Mars was located in Capricorn. Moreover, it was the ninth day of the increasing phase of the moon in the lunar month of Chaitra. These unique astral conditions were present in the sky on January 10, 5114 BC, writes Pushkar Bhatnagar in his book 'Dating the Era of Lord Rama'. Pushkar Bhatnagar, a who studied engineering and officer of the Indian Revenue Service, had acquired a unique software known as Planetarium from the USA. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions narrated by Maharishi Valmiki and obtained very interesting and convincing results, which determined the important dates starting from the birth of Sri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. The astronomic data recorded by Valmiki was fed into the software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets and stars at the noontime of January 10, 5114 BC. 

Maharishi (Sage) Valmiki first narrated the story of Sri Ram's life in the Ramayana. Valmiki was a great astronomer, as he has made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Sri Ram, indicating the location of planets vis-à-vis zodiac constellations and the other stars (nakshatras). Thus, Sri Ram was born on January 10, 5114 BC (7123 years back). As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. It is mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana's Ayodhya Kanda that King Dashrath wanted to make Sri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu surrounded his nakshatra and normally, under such a planetary configuration, the king dies or becomes a victim of conspiracies.

Dashrath's zodiac sign was Pisces, and his nakshatra was Revati. This planetary configuration was prevailing on January 5, 5089 BC, and it was on this day that Sri Ram left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile. He was 25 years old at that time. Valmiki's Ramayana refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khara Dushan in the latter half of the 13th year of Sri Ram's exile. Based on the planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to be December 4, 5076 BC, and Sri Ram completed years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC. Incidentally, that day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus, Sri Ram came back to Ayodhya at the age of 39. In Valmiki's Ramayana, it is mentioned that Sri Ram's army constructed a bridge over the sea between Rameswaram and Lanka. After crossing this bridge, Sri Ram's army defeated Ravana. Recently, NASA put pictures on the Internet of a man-made bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in the Palk Strait between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka. Recently, the Sri Lankan Government had expressed the desire to develop Sita Vatika as a tourist spot. Sri Lankans believe this was Ashok Vatika, where Ravana had kept Sita prisoner in 5076 BC.

Dr Saroj Bala, the Director of the "Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas", in her last book titled Ramayan ki Kahani, Vigyan ki Jubani also cross verified the results by putting astronomical references sequentially from Vedas and Epics and then generating the corresponding sky views using Planetarium software. She also used open-source software. Stellarium was also used to measure the veracity of astronomical references in Maharishi Valmiki's Ramayana. 

It was found that the position of the planets and constellations described in the Ramayana, the then celestial position and all the astronomical information, were exactly true. The same results came out: the year, date and time on which the description is given in the Ramayana, after putting them in the software. The Astronomical Code of the Rig Veda listed 63 ancestors of Sri Ram who ruled over Ayodhya. Sri Ram's ancestors have been traced out as King Dashrath, King Aja, King Raghu, King Dilip, etc. The events and places related to the life of Sri Ram and Sita are the true cultural and social heritage. During Ram Rajya, the evils of the caste system based on birth were non-existent. Maharishi Valmiki is of shudra class, yet Sita lived with him as his adopted daughter after she was banished from Ayodhya. Luv and Kush grew in his ashram as his disciples. We need to be proud that Valmiki was perhaps the first great astronomer and that his study of planetary configurations has stood the test of times. Let us all take pride in the fact that the Indian civilisation is the most ancient civilisation today. It is certainly more than 10,000 years old. Therefore, let us reject the story of the Aryan invasion in India in 1,500 BC as motivated implantation. Max Mueller, who was the creator of this theory, had himself rejected it. Let us admit that during the British Rule, we were educated in the schools based on Macaulay school of thinking, which believed that everything Indian was inferior.

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