The Ramayana of Valmiki is hailed
as the "Adikavya", the foremost among spiritual works, in poetic form.
The manner in which the sage composed it has an interesting aside to it,
which is significant in the spiritual tradition. Valmiki was a hunter by
birth and was taught just the syllables "Ma" and "Ra" in the Ram Mantra,
which proved to be the turning point in his life.
He chanted it with sincerity oblivious
to his surroundings and a anthill grew around him during his penance because
of which he came to be known as Valmiki. His spiritual transformation can
be gauged from the fact that he became the chosen one to transcribe the
life of the Lord. His life is the standing testimony to the efficacy of
chanting the Divine name and his immortal work is a source of perennial
In his discourse on the Ramayana,
Sri Kalayanarama Bhattachrair said, the names chosen by Vasita for the
sons of Dasaratha had great significance. The name Rama was chosen
after great deliberation, as the sage knew that the Supreme Being had manifested
in human form. This divine name is unique in that it is also a mantra capable
of delivering man from bondage.
The choice of the name Bharatha
indicated that he would be one would shoulder responsibility. It was a
harbinger of the role he played subsequently when he foiled his mother
Kaikeyi's plans by refusing to accept the kingdom of Ayodhya and instead
took good care of it for Rama till he returned from his Exile. Lakshmana
means one who is blessed by the grace of Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
Shatrugana indicates one who has
total control over himself.
An extract from the Hindu dated 22 June 1999, Bangalore