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