Transcending Human Bias: The Lives and Legacies of Valmiki and Ved Vyas
Bias is an inherent part of human society, driven by prejudices, social constructs, and personal perceptions. It’s a creation of human minds that have, over centuries, divided us into castes, cultures, and religions. But the divine, as per many religious texts, exhibits no such prejudice or bias. Instead, the divine entity encourages unity, respect, and harmony amongst all creations.
The stories of revered personalities like Valmiki and Ved Vyas, both of whom made significant contributions to ancient Indian literature and philosophy, serve as shining examples of divine impartiality. Despite their complicated backgrounds and unconventional paths, their transformative journeys inspire millions, indicating that divine favoritism doesn’t factor in birth, caste, or societal status but values virtue, wisdom, and devotion.
Valmiki, formerly known as Ratnakar, was once a dacoit who lived off looting passersby in the forest. One day, he encountered the great sage Narada who, instead of offering him valuables, offered him knowledge. Narada challenged Ratnakar to introspect, leading him to realize the consequences of his actions. Subsequently, Ratnakar embarked on a journey of penance, during which he chanted the name ‘Rama’ with such fervor that he became encased in an anthill, earning him the name Valmiki – ‘the one born out of an anthill’.
Years later, Valmiki emerged from his meditation, transformed and enlightened. He was chosen by the divine to narrate the story of Rama, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, resulting in the creation of the epic Ramayana. Despite his past as a highway robber, he was given the responsibility to narrate one of the holiest texts of Hinduism, illustrating that divine judgment is not swayed by one’s past but one’s present character and actions.
Ved Vyas, born as Krishna Dwaipayana, was an illegitimate child born to the sage Parashar and the fisherwoman Satyavati. Despite being born in unusual circumstances and into a lower caste, he was destined for greatness. Ved Vyas was gifted with the power of knowledge and wisdom by birth and went on to become one of the Chiranjivis – immortals living through ages according to Hindu mythology.
Ved Vyas is best known for compiling the Mahabharata, one of the world’s longest epics. This monumental text not only narrates a grand conflict but also encompasses the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the spiritual dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. Till today, the wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita is revered, discussed, admired, and argued about, offering guidance on leading a righteous life.
Both Valmiki and Ved Vyas serve as profound examples of divine impartiality, indicating that virtue and wisdom are the ultimate measures of worth, not birth or societal status. Their lives demonstrate that divinity values deeds more than origins, showing us that enlightenment is accessible to everyone. It’s evident that God takes notice of sincere efforts and virtuous deeds, and this leads to spiritual growth in this life and the afterlife.
The narratives of these two extraordinary personalities remind us that all human divisions are transient and artificial, and it’s the virtuous actions and wisdom that count in the divine realm. Their legacy perpetuates the profound truth that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, and this message is more important now than ever as we navigate the complexities of modern society.