Valmiki
   author of the Ramayana
   Valmiki is the mythological author of India’s great epic the RAMAYANA. His authorship, however, con-sisted simply in putting into a lasting composition a story that was related to him by the ancient RISHI (seer) NARADA.
   Valmiki is said once to have seen a hunter shoot a male bird as it was making love to its mate. The female bird, seeing her mate bleed-ing and in distress, cried out piteously. In grief and sorrow, Valmiki uttered a poetic verse of two lines that upon reflection made a special meter. Because he received the line in sorrow (shoka), Valmiki termed the meter shloka. It is in this meter, suitable to be accompanied by the Indian lute (vina), that most of the Ramayana was composed.
   Further reading: J. L. Brockington, Righteous Rama: The Evolution of an Epic (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985); Ilapavuluri Panduranga Rao, Valmiki (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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