The birth anniversary of the great sage Maharishi Valmiki who authored the epic Ramayana is celebrated as Valmiki jayanti. It falls on the full moon day of the ashwin month according to the Hindu calendar. Valmiki is also known as Aadi Kavi or the first poet because it was he who composed the first verse or Hindu sloka which set the foundation for Sanskrit poetry. The story of Lord Rama written by him is called Valmiki's Ramayana and is the first epic of Sanskrit literature. Ramayana is also the first kavya.
How Ramayana Was Written
After Narada Muni recited the entire story of Ramayana, immersed in the story Valmiki left to take bath in Ganges. On his sway he came across a stream named tamsa. When he was looking for a suitable place to take bath he saw two happy birds. As he looked one bird was hit by an arrow which was shot by a hunter. The other bird’s agony melted his heart and he spontaneously uttered a curse which came in the form of a sloka and thus he turned into a poet.
This is the first sloka that was created. Then with blessings lord Brahma he wrote the Ramayana in slokas. Another fact is that Valmiki was a contemporary of lord Rama. It was Valmiki who received the banished Sita to his hermitage and he also taught the slokas to Luva and Kusa the sons of lord Rama.
Why Valmiki Jayanti is Celebrated
In order to honour his unparalleled contribution in the form timeless epic Ramayana, Valmiki’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Valmiki jayanti. The day also holds great significance in the north and is called pragat diwas. This day is to remember a great saint who rose above his limitations and through his teachings encouraged people to stand against social injustice and to remember a man who personifies benevolence and penance.