Maharishi Valmiki was born as Ratnakara to sage Prachetasa. At a very young age, Ratnakara went into the forest and got lost. A hunter, who was passing by, saw Ratnakara and took him under his own care. Under the love and care of his foster parents, Ratnakara forgot his original parents. Under his father's guidance, Ratnakara turned out to be an excellent hunter. As he approached marriageable age, Ratnakara was married to a beautiful girl from hunter's family.
Turning into a Robber
As his family grew larger, Ratnakara found it next to impossible to feed them. As a result, he took to robbery and began looting people passing from one village to another.
Meeting with Narada and Transformation
One day, the great sage Narada, while passing through the jungle, was attacked by Ratnakara. As Narada played his Veena and sang praises of the Lord, he saw a transformation coming over Ratnakara. Then, he asked Ratnakara whether the family, for whom he was robbing others, will partake in his sins also. Ratnakara went to ask the same question to his family and on being refused by all his family members, he went back to sage Narada. Narada taught him the sacred name of 'Rama' and asked him to sit in meditation, chanting the name of Rama, till the time Narada came back.
Ratnakara followed the instructions and kept sitting in a meditative posture for years, during which his body got completely covered by an anthill. At last, Narada came to see him and removed all the anthills from his body. Then, he told Ratnakara that his tapasya (meditation) paid off and the God was pleased with him. Ratnakara was bestowed with the honor of a Brahmarshi and given the name of Valmiki, since he was reborn from the Valmika (the ant-hill).
Receiving Lord Rama
One day, Valmiki had the fortuity of receiving Lord Rama's wife Sita (later gave birth to her twins Lav & Kusha in his ashram), later Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman at his ashram. On Valmiki's suggestion, Lord Rama built his hut on Chitrakuta hill, near the ashram.
Narada visited Maharishi Valmiki in his ashram once and there, he narrated the story of Lord Rama. Thereafter he received a vision from Brahma in which the Lord instructed him to write Ramayana in slokas, which the sage readily followed.
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is an epic poem of India which narrates the journey of Virtue to annihilate vice. Sri Rama is the Hero and aayana His journey. In India, there is believe that Sri Rama lived in Treta Yug, millennia BC.
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is composed of verses called Sloka, in Sanskrit language, which is an ancient language from India and a complex meter called Anustup. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called Sargas, wherein a specific event or intent is told. These chapters or sargas are grouped into books called Kaandas where Kaanda means the inter-node stem of sugar cane, or also a particular phase of the story or an event in the course of story telling.
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana contains 24,000 verses or [sloka] arranged into numerous cantos [sarga], which are contained in six Kaandas or Books, and they are:
Bala Kanda ( Book of Youth) [77 chapters]
Ayodhya Kanda (Book of Ayodhya) [119 chapters]
Aranya Kanda (Book of Forest ) [75 chapters]
Kishkindha Kanda (The Empire of Holy Monkeys) [67 chapters]
Sundara Kanda ( Book of Beauty ) [68 chapters]
Yuddha Kanda ( Book of War ) [131 chapters]
Many many thanks to an “Unknown friend” for providing ACK scan.
Many many thanks to “Ajay Misra” for providing this ACK scan.