In his early days, Valmiki, then called Ratnakara, was a criminal who attacked and robbed a group of sages. The sages spoke to him about dharma, and enlightened him to the path of right action. Knowing that a crook so immersed in wrong-doing, would never take the name of Shri Rama, they convinced him to recite, ‘mara, mara, mara,’. Which when chanted together repeats the name of Rama.
The effect of this seed mantra eventually transformed the caterpillar into a butterfly and now Valmiki is called the adi-kavi, the first among poets. When he saw a bird innocently being injured by a hunter, his feeling of compassion caused him to create the poetic metre called Shloka. It is through Valmiki the Ramayana was transmitted for the benefit of all beings. This mantra, the name of Rama is inconceivable, knowingly or unknowingly it opens the door to the highest state of consciousness, which is absolute unconditional love. It is believed that by regularly meditating upon it, the mantra will wash away our impurities bringing us to the highest presence.
27. The first of poets, Valmiki is well acquainted with this name, for he found liberation even by chanting it backwards!