Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valmiki of Ramayana and Valmiki of Purananuru are the same.

In an earlier post
Purananuru contains Vaalmiki's Tamil poem we saw a poem from Purananuru written by Vaanmeekiyaar.

This Vaanmeekiyaar of the Siddha tradition is none other than Valmiki who wrote the Adhi grantha, Ramayana. This is told by another Siddha in his book.

Siddhar Bogar
has said in his work "Bogar 7000" that this Vaanmeekiyaar was the same Valmiki who wrote Ramayana. This is recorded in the verse 5834 of this book by Bogar. This information can be read in

In the next verse (5835) Bogar has mentioned that
Valmiki's age was 700 years + some days. He has also stated that Valmiki was a learned scholar in Tamil. From this work by Bogar we know that Valmiki lived in Tamilnadu and attained Siddhi at a place called Ettikkudi (It is now known as Ettuk kudi which is located in Nagappattinam)

I am on the look out of this book as it seems to contain many 'secrets' of the olden times. For instance, the verses by Bogar on how Sage Agasthya cured the headache of Thrunathumagni is further proof of absence of North- South division. This incident happened in Kapatapuram – which is now submerged under the Indian ocean off Kanyakumari. These verses can be read in Mr Jayabharathi's website

Thrunathumagni is none other than Tholkaapiyar, the disciple of Agasthya who wrote Tholkaapiyam. In his commentary on Tholkaapiyam,
Nacchinaarkkiniyar gives this real name (Sanskrit name) of Tholkaapiyar while explaining why Tholkaapiyar did not mention Agasthya anywhere in his work in spite of being groomed by Agasthya and inspired by his early Tamil work of Grammar, Agastheeyam.

Tholkaapiyar had a grooming in Sanskrit and belonged to
North India but came to Tamilnadu along with his teacher, Agsthya and composed the grammar book, Tholkaapiyam. This also shows the co-existence of the two languages Tamil and Sanskrit for long. While Sanskrit owes it existence to the Gods themselves, the spoken tongue of Tamil was codified and developed by sages well versed in Sanskrit.

Valmiki's early history

Now coming to think of Valmiki, Valmiki's early history shows that he grew up as an ordinary person. Though he was born to a sage by name
Prachetas, he was lost in the forests at a young age and was subsequently picked up by a hunter who grew him up as his foster son. Ratnakara was the name given by the hunter to this boy who was originally known as Praachetas (Praachetas is the son of Prachetas).

The rest of his story as a robber is well known to many. When he encountered Narada in a bid to rob him,
Ratnakara was still an unlettered man, who must have spoken the manushya bhasha. Narada also must have interacted with him in that manushya bhasha only. After his realization upon the goading by Narada, that one's sins will have to be borne by oneself, he sought Narada's guidance and started meditating on Rama naama. His mediation was deep and continuous in such a way that an ant-hill was formed around him in due course.

Later Narada came back, ended his meditation and hailed him as Brahma rishi. It was a rebirth for Ratnakara, a former robber from valmika, which means ant-hill in Sanskrit. From then onwards he came to be called as Valmiki.

This name Valmiki is thus a derived name, which is not a common name.

If someone by name Valmiki had penned a poem in Tamil which is complied in Purananuru, the probabilities are that the person himself was Valmiki or a descendant of Valmiki. From the accounts we have from Ramayana, we know that Valmiki led an ascetic life and was not married. So a lineage by name Valmiki is not possible.

Looking at
another episode from Valmiki's life, we can say that Sanskrit was alien to him as he was only conversant in the 'manushya bhasha' spoken at his times.

He was an unlettered robber until he became Valmiki. Language is not a requisite factor for meditation. He did the simplest japa of repeating the name "Rama' and attained eminence. When he set up his ashram near the
Ganges surrounded by disciples such as Bharadwaja, there is no way to assume that he learnt Sanskrit. He must have conversed in the manushya bhasha only.

This is known form the shock and startle he expressed upon uttering the
'maa nishada' sloka in Sanskrit on seeing the fall of the Krouncha bird.

From the verse
1-2-16 in Valmiki Ramayana, we learn that he was surprised at his own words – that such beautifully constructed words in Sanskrit had been uttered by him.

He 'discovered' it as a sloka only after uttering it that sprang from his inner mind.

"This utterance of mine has emerged out of anguished annoyance, and it is well- arranged with letters metrically posited, tuneful and rhythmical to be sung with string instrument, and hence, this shall be a verse, not otherwise..." [

Valmiki was quite overwhelmed that he kept on pondering on the sloka, its meaning and the way it has been well constructed in Sanskrit. Later Brahma deva appears in front of him and tells him that it sprang from His Will only. With Brahma's blessings, Valmiki started composing Ramayana with this sloka as the opening one. How he grabbed the rest of the epic is explained in this chapter of Valmiki Ramayana. He kept on saying again and again the first sloka and the other slokas started flowing out of his mouth.

This episode explains that Valmiki did not write Ramayana with a previous expertise in Sanskrit language and its grammar. The language and poetic nuances of Sanskrit were all new to him. He was able to compose the Epic only with the blessings of Brahma.

It must be noted that his native tongue was the one that was spoken by ordinary folks throughout the region. He had been well versed only in that Manushya bhasha. That he had contributed to Tamil Sangam and had lived in regions which are now known as Tamilnadu makes us deduce that Tamil must have been the manuhya bhasha even as early as Ramayana times.

It is also worthy to note that
Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai got its name after Valmiki or Vaanmeeki who worshiped Lord Maruntheewarar in that place.


The striking similarity of the two works is that Ramayana starts with ‘Maa’ – Goddess Lakshmi (Sita) and Puranauru verse ends with Laskhmi (Thiru).

விட்டோரை விடாள் திருவே
விடாதோர் இவள் விடப்பட்டோரே "

The central theme in both is Sita.

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