Ram Navami – Praise to the Ideal One!
Jai Siya Ram! Jaya Jaya Rama! Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare!
Ram Navami will be celebrated once again, like every year on the 9th day of the Hindu lunar month Chaitra. This birthday of Lord Ram coincides with March 28th of the English calendar in 2015.
Born in Ayodhya to parents Maharaja Dashrath and Kaushalya, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Dashavatar (ten incarnations), Lord Rama, the serene and composed one, is the ideal form for any human being to emulate. The ideal son, husband, king, who never strayed from the path of virtue despite all obstacles that came his way, is the ultimate symbol of courage, hope, sacrifice, and steadfastness in action.
Many temples consider the period from the first day of Chaitra itself (Gudi Padwa / Ugadi) as a very auspicious period heralding the event till Lord Rama’s birth on the 9th day. Marking the occasion, there are specific readings made at temples by senior priests from the Ramayana, spiritual discourses are held where the virtues of the Lord, the lessons to be learnt from his life, and bhajans and kirtans sung in his praise, are part of the proceedings. On the 9th day during the discourse, the birth of Lord Rama is enacted with a coconut, draped in a cloth representing the child, placed in a small cradle and flowers and gulal showered on it to portray the rejoicing of a happy event – the coming of Lord Rama into this world for our salvation.
Included in the festivities are some important rituals performed with pomp and gaiety
Kalyanam – the marriage of Lord Ram with Goddess Sita performed with full spirit and splendor by the temple priests at prominent tempes, Bhadrachalam at Telangana, India, being observed very grandly
Panakam – the sweet drink with jaggery and laced with powdered pepper served to one and all
Procession of idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman with human players also seated alongside dressed as them to add some realism and in slow moving vehicles, followed by a small procession but welcomed all along the route by thousands of devotees. There are stage shows also at places enacting scenes from the Ramayana. This is true for some cities and towns across India every year.
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.
Shriram or Lord Rama – the ideal One!
The very purpose of an incarnation is to destroy evil when it looms too large and threatens to destroy the order of the universe set by God. The way of achieving is full of mystery and miracle and the outcome is naturally as desired – the triumph of good over evil and the restoration of the imbalance that prevailed to the order and balance that was ordained.
The incarnation of Lord Rama in human form, the entire playing out of Ramayana while it was to help deliver lost souls in their passage through the life cycles, who were seeking a benefactor to help them achieve Moksha, established the tenets of idealism for the human race and how a human being could strive to be ideal in society and achieve salvation. It is this closeness to life and its values and very much relating to current day situations that endear Ramayana and the life of Lord Rama till this day.
Lessons from Lord Rama’s life of perfection
Lord Rama is embodied with all the good qualities that any human could possess. While one may not achieve that level it sets as an example something good enough to pursue, despite the limitations and trying times of us human beings, more so for the younger lot whose population of close to 66 % of the total population in the world gives all the more reason to strive in this direction.
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.
Let us pledge to at least follow most if not all of these principles to the extent possible and become the modern-day ‘Maryada Purushottams’ for who so ever comes in contact with us in our lives – thereby creating a network of individuals who can always be relied upon to do the right thing and create conditions whereby more and more individuals follow suit to emulate and become ‘the living examples’.