of a highway robber ‘Dasyu Ratnakar’, who later becomes Saint Valmiki. As Dasyu Ratnakar he used to rob people after killing them.
Once, he tried to rob the divine sage Narada for the benefit of his family. Upon asking if his family would share the sin he was incurring, he was deeply saddened by the fact that his family refused to share the burden. Finally understanding the hard truth of life he asked Narada for forgiveness. Narada taught him the mantra for salvation. But, the mantra in question, the name of Lord Rama, was not to be given to murderers and the like. Narada thus told Valmiki to chant “Mara” the phonetic anagram of “Rama” instead to circumvent this restriction.
Dasyu-Ratnakar meditated for many years, so much so that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name “Valmiki”, “one born out of ant-hills” (Valmikam in Sanskrit means Ant-hill).
The text “MARA”, which means dead/death, chanted by Dasyu Ratnakar is written on my work in Odiya script; when repeated seems like “RAMA”.
The painting is completed by using found objects on the canvas like tree roots, buttons, threads etc.