Celebrating Shri Rama Navami – Birthday of Lord Rama
Lord Rama, embodiment of perfection, born to King Dashratha and Queen Kaushalya on Ram Navami is revered by Hindus all over the world for being the paragon of virtue, the steadfast one, undaunted by circumstances, and true to his word. Every year Ram Navami, is celebrated by Hindus, marking the coming of the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the chief protagonist of the epic Ramayana who vanquished the evil demon king Raavana of Lanka. A triumph of virtue over vice, good over evil! This year Sri Rama Navami happens to be on April 15th.
Raam Navami falls on Navami or ninth day beginning from Amavasya or no moon day in the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu calendar.
People celebrate Ram Navami through recitals of the Akhand Paath from Ramcharitramanas, bhajans, kirtans, other poojas and aarti, as well as distribution of ‘Prasaad’ (holy offering from God). Images of Lord Rama are placed in cradles and kept in temples and homes to be rocked and worshipped.
Traditional prayers are offered with fruits and flowers in the morning with the celebration and chanting of hymns reaching its peak close to afternoon when he was supposed to be born. Thousands observe partial or total fast on this day to reap the fruits of his blessings.
There are a few places in India where this celebration takes on a special note.
Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Sitamarhi in Bihar, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh, and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu are places where the temples of Lord Rama are filled with thousands of devotees and special poojas are offered to the chants of the Lord’s name.
Bhadrachalam in the South of India, specially observes this also as the day of Sitarama Kalyanam or the day their marriage took place, since the period also coincides with this auspicious occasion.
The marriage ritual is conducted at temples across South India with the chanting of Lord Rama’s name.
In Ayodhya thousands take a dip in the holy river Sarayu and Rath yatras with the idols of Gods Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and ardent devotee and monkey God Hanuman are placed on chariots and driven all round the city.
As with every festival, Ram Navami is specially marked by some important rituals performed with pomp and gaiety.
- Offerings to the Lord through chanting of hymns and devotional songs in temples and marked public places
- Kalyanam or the marriage of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita performed in many temples in the South
- The colourful processions with idols and even small children dressed as these gods and taken round in chariots.
- The offering of Panaka, the sweet drink with jaggery and laced with powdered pepper served to one and all
- Exchange of greetings and good wishes for the occasion towards the evening.
If the same spirit with which Ram Navami is celebrated each year continues wth increased fervour, maybe someday ‘Ram Rajya’ or ‘The land where all is peaceful and nothing can go wrong’ could become a reality.
The power of the word ‘Ram’
It is strongly believed and true that if one were to just keep chanting the three letter word ‘Ram’ now and then throughout one’s life, more so during times of crisis, nothing can deter the progress nor achievement of success in one’s life. That is the power of the short and sweet musical intonation of a word that packs the force and energy of Lord Rama even today. There are many who have scoffed at the idea, disbelieved in its power, ridiculed at the possibilities and yet millions have benefited from the faith and hope in that small word ‘Ram’. If you are a non-believer or not a very firm believer and having some issues in life, take the Lord’s name this Ram Navami day and see how you reap the good fruits of the faith that you put in taking the Lord’s name and doing what you have to do.
Lord Rama is for the youth of today
- the ideal youngster who gives age the reverence it deserves,
- the dutiful son who obeys his parents and upholds the honor of the family,
- the elder brother who treats all his younger brothers with love and affection
- the husband loyal to his wife and caring for her devotedly, braving all dangers to rescue her from evil
- the friend who honors friendship by coming to aid during times of distress
- the leader who shows the righteous path as a living example
- the undeterred one who forgives and forgets when the need arises even if it involves enemies.
Sing in praise of the Lord Rama, whose life is an example of perfection, a symbol of hope and love, by following of whom, one can achieve the desires of one’s life.