Valmiki's Ramayana is believed to be the first poetic work written in Sanskrit; it is, therefore, referred to as the Adikavya. It is said that Brahma assured Valmiki that "as long as the mountains stand and the rivers flow, so long shall the Ramayana be read by men". In the Puranas, Rama is described as an avatar of Vishnu, but Valmiki does not refer to him as God. The few verses which do so are considered interpolations. The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses.
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