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We all are aware of the Maharishi (Sage) and Sanskrit poet who wrote the epic Ramayana. Born as Agni Sharma, he is believed to have lived around 500 BC. He is also considered as the Adi Kavi, which means the first poet of the Sanskrit language. Some also believed that he is the contemporary of Lord Rama.
This year, 20 October marks the birth anniversary of Sage Valmiki and therefore the day is celebrated across India as Valmiki Jayanti. Every year the date of this event varies because it is decided based on the lunar calendar. The birth anniversary is celebrated when the full moon (Purnima) blooms of the month of Ashwin, either September or October.
Valmiki Jayanti on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 and Purnima Tithi Begins - 07:03 PM on Oct 19, 2021, and Purnima Tithi Ends - 08:26 PM on Oct 20, 2021.
About Maharishi Valmiki-
Devotees believe that Maharishi Valmiki had met Lord Rama during His exile. It is also believed that it was sage Valmiki who rescued Sita and provided her shelter when she was banished by Lord Rama from the kingdom of Ayodhya. And it that very ashram she gave birth to the twins, Lava and Kusha.
While the twins were growing up, it was this great sage who became their teacher and instructor and taught Ramayana, which contains 24,000 verses (shlokas) and 7 cantos (kandas).
Another popular belief is that Valmiki was a highway dacoit who used to rob and kill people in his early years and was known as Ratnakar. It is believed that his life changed for the better when he met Narad Muni, who transformed his heart and made him an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. He then started meditating for years as penance and then heard a divine voice that bestowed him with the name Valmiki and forgave all his sins.
States where this festival is popular- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Chennai. People, especially Hindu devotees take part in huge processions called Shobha Yatras on this day. The temples dedicated to this sage are decorated with lights and flowers, prayers are recited and free food is also shared by the devotees.
Even though the exact date and time of Valmiki's birth are unknown, but his words have taught every generation about the virtues of life.