~ 179. Valmiki Reads Hanuman's Ramayana ~

Valmiki composed the Ramayana, the epic story of Rama's journey.
The devas and devis all praised his poem; Valmiki was proud.
But then Narada said, "Hanuman's is better."
Valmiki stared in disbelief.
"Go read it yourself! He lives in an orchard in the Himalayas, and he wrote his Ramayana on banana-tree leaves."
Valmiki went to Hanuman's orchard, and there he read Hanuman's Ramayana on the leaves. 
"Hanuman's is better," Valmiki admitted, weeping.
Then Hanuman appeared. "Why are you weeping?" he asked.
Valmiki explained.
Hanuman grabbed the leaves and swallowed them. "Now your Ramayana is the best," Hanuman told Valmiki, smiling.

Inspired by: Hanuman's Ramayan by Devdutt Pattanaik, with illustrations by Nancy Raj.
Notes: Pattanaik also includes this story in his book Sita, p. 294. In some versions, Hanuman writes his Ramayana on rocks; in other versions he writes it on palm leaves.

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