He is described as ‘smitapūrvābhibhāṣī’, someone who always has a smile before he talks. There are many instances which proves that he had a great sense of humour. We see that he had said, ‘ परिहासो ह्ययं मम (it was just a prank)’, to Trijaṭa.
The Story of Gomukha
When the enemies flung me in different directions, a certain divine woman picked me up and dropped me in a forest. I was greatly distressed and readied myself to jump off a ravine. However, a tapasvin stopped me, took me to his āśrama which was called Śivakṣetra. He heard my story and narrated about himself.
The avarice of the brāhmaṇas
One night sleep eluded him, he was thinking, “I’ve been deeply interested in her, I’ve neglected others, where are my other wives? Where are my ministers?” he heard a female voice, “Alas! Such difficulty!” he turned towards the direction of the voice where he saw only the face of the woman through the window, resulting in a delusion that it might be the moon. As he kept staring bewildered, she extended her hand and signalled through her fingers, “Come to me!” Having seen Gandharvadattā asleep he went without fear.
The humour in Śrīmad-rāmāyaṇam has always appeared in the most appropriate places. Humour always demands an awareness of the world around us. Only someone who can understand the world and the whims and fancies of the people can handle humour well. In that respect, maharṣi Vālmīki is someone who knows the world well. The observation made by maharṣi Kaṇva in the play abhijñāna-śākuntalam, ‘वनौकसोऽपि सन्तो लौकिकज्ञा वयम्’ i.e.
तुष्टेन येन देहार्धमप्युमायै समर्पितम्।
स वो ददात्वभिमतं वरदः पार्वतीपतिः॥
May Śiva, who has given half his body to Umā being pleased with her, grant your wishes.
निशि विघ्नजितो वोऽव्यात् ताण्डवोद्दण्डितः करः।
स वो विघ्नेश्वरः पायात् नमितोन्नमितेव यम्।
अनुनृत्यति नृत्यन्तं सन्ध्यासु भुवनावली॥
[May Vighneśvara, whose evening dance is imitated by the entire world by movements of getting up and bowing down, protect us!]
सखी सखाय भूयाद्वः शम्भोर्भालेक्षणप्रभा॥
There is a uniqueness in hāsya as opposed to the other rasas. It is enjoyed by one and all. This rasa has the power of entertaining everyone from small kids to old people. Irrespective of their vocation, whether one is a beggar, a servant, an officer, a merchant, a householder or a mendicant, everyone can enjoy it. This is not the case of the other rasas. The śṛṅgāra cannot be understood by small kids while the elderly might be disinterested. It is forbidden for the sannyāsīs.
Deva! Kaṇva narrated this story and said, “Whoever would face adversities with courage will get all the fruits later, not the people who would run away in front of calamities; so, cast away your worries; Mṛgāṅkadatta will be reunited with Śaśāṅkavatī and he will rule the earth for a long time.” We found courage from his wise counsel and set out to find you.
Vālmīki also finds mention in the Śrīman-mahābhāratam too. In the sabhā-parva (7.19, *7.14 in critical text) Vālmīki’s presence in the court of Indra is mentioned by devarṣi Nārada. When bhagavān Śrī-kṛṣṇa goes to the court of Dhṛtarāṣṭra as the messenger, Vālmīki along with other maharṣis wish him success in the udyoga-parva (82.27, *81.27 in critical text). Later in droṇa-parva we see when Bhūriśravas has renounced the war and is in the state of dhyāna, Sātyaki beheads him.