Thousand years ago, during the Treta Yug, there lived a very dangerous man known as Ratnakar. He used to live on the banks of the holy river Ganga in a small cottage. People used to fear Ratanakar a lot. Not only humans but also animals were afraid of him. Whenever Ratnakar visited a place everyone used to run inside their houses out of fear. While walking through the forest birds and animals used to run back to their nest and caves in fear. This shows how heinous Ratnakar was. On one fine day, Ratnakar hid in the forest near the pathway, waiting for prey. A few hours later a sage called Naradji came through that path. He was very peaceful and composed. The sage was chanting Bhajans, and marveling at the beauty of nature. Suddenly Ratnakar jumped out of the stone and ordered “Hand me everything you are carrying right now or I will harm you”.
With love and care in his eyes, Narad replied “My dear, you really think I own something to give you? The only thing I have right now is the old clothes I’m wearing. If you wish to take it, please yourself.” Ratnakar was shocked by the answer, he hesitated and looked right into the sage’s eyes. On looking at it the filthy and wicked mind of Ratnakar softened. Naradji was aware of this transformation. He smiled and slowly began to describe how killing other living beings is a big sin, and stealing other’s belongings earned by hard work is wrong. At last, Naradji said” Your family may enjoy the fruits of your sinful actions, but they will not share any of your sins. At last, you are the one who would be getting punished.” Ratnakar realized his mistake and touched Naradji’s feet. Ratnakar asked for forgiveness as he cried big tears. Naradji forgave him and taught him how to chant the holy word Ram. Ratnakar began chanting the sacred word Ram from day to night without stopping. Many years passed away as he chanted Ram without sleeping or eating. His concentration level was so high that soon an anthill began to grow over his naked body. Naradji was impressed with his dedication and came back to that place. Naradji carefully removed the Anthill and the soil from Ratanakars body. On that day Naradji announced Ratnakar as a sage from now on. He said, “From now onwards, you will begin your new life with the name Valmiki, as you were reborn through a Val-Miki (Ant-Hill).” Ratnakar burst out in tears and walked away to begin his new life as Valmiki. He created an ashram on the banks of the river Ganga. It was the same ashram where Sita sought refuge and the great sage Valmiki composed Ramayana!
This very heart-touching legend about the transformation of a criminal into a great sage is full of lessons for humanity. It tells about the importance of knowledge and guidance. How a heinous dacoit turned to a sage by providing knowledge and correct guidance. It also teaches that the consequences of our own sins are borne by us. No family or friends will take part in bearing the consequences. Therefore do good actions and stay away from committing sins. Lastly, it tells us that killing animals and robbery is a big crime that may be unforgivable. So be fair and love every living being.