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ValmikiValmiki is almost indisputably the author of the Sanskrit Ramayana even though it is quite likely that the story of Rama's life was in circulation before Valmiki gave it its present form. As a poet and composer, Valmiki acts within the story that he tells. Later legend has it that Valmiki was a bandit who was converted from his life of looting and pillaging by Rama's grace. His devotion then inspired him to compose and recite the story of Rama's adventures. While it is impossible to establish conclusive dates for Valmiki?s life and there is nothing outside the Ramayana itself to prove that he was a historical figure, it is believed that this Sanskrit text was composed between 700 and 500 BC.