Maharishi Valmiki* (aka – Agni Sharma, Ratnakar) is believed to be the first Sanskrit poet and author of Sanskrit Ramayana comprising 24000 shlokas. It is dated about 500 – 100 BC. I have fictionalized his early life for this prompt.
Look at the ant-hill for some time and you may see a faint outline of the face of Agni Sharma. He was a reformed highway robber who infested these ancient woods once.
One day he attacked a sage passing through these woods and was impressed by the sage’s calm demeanor. On inquiry he told the sage that he robbed to feed his family. The sage asked him whether his family would apportion the karma of his sins. He sought the answer from his family and was stunned to know that none of them were ready to share it.
The sage advised him to chant the name of Rama as penance. However, the sinner could not pronounce Rama because of his misdeeds. The sage then asked him to chant ‘mara’ (~kill in hindi).
The robber sat in a meditative posture for years chanting mara, mara. The woods were infested with white-ants and they made an ant-hill (~Valmik in sanskrit) around the reformed robber.
Words ~ 161
*Valmiki ~ Born of Valmik (anthill)
PS – Finally, the sage returned and removed the anthill; and also bestowed him with divinity and called him Valmiki as he was reborn from the ant-hill. Besides being the first Sanskrit poet and authoring the epic Ramayan he is also credited as the mentor and tutor of Lord Rama’s twin sons.
Thank you Priceless Joy