Sunday, April 6, 2014


CELEBRATIONS ON APRIL 8 Ram Navami is one of the most significant days observed by the Hindus, especially the followers of Vishnu. Ram Navami is the day etched out in the Hindu calendar as the auspicious occasion that consecrates the birth of Lord Ram, Lord Vishnu's seventh human incarnation on earth. Born to King Dasarath and his wife Kaushalya on the 'navami' or the 'ninth day' of Chaitra month, Ram Navami is celebrated in the spirit of a festival in March/April. 
According to Hindu belief, Lord Rama came on earth invested with the divine qualities of Lord Vishnu, associated with purity of soul, beneficence and humility. From the mythological perspective, Lord Rama is seen as eternally blissful and in his earthly form came to exemplify the perfect man, referred to as 'Maryada Purushottam'. It is this aspect that is recalled during the Ram Navami festival.

Lord Rama's dutifulness, integrity and magnanimity are detailed out through the various episodes of the epic 'Ramayana'. Recitations and discourses from the Ramayana help us to take cues from Lord Rama's demonstration of integrity and courage in order to triumph over evil motives and selfish desires. Thus, Ram Navami festival is for all those who want to imbibe these qualities in thought and action. 
It is with this spirit that Ram Navami is celebrated in all parts of the country, with instances of full nine-day celebration and fasting rituals to seek Lord Rama's grace throughout the crest and troughs of life. Since the day coincides with the wedding of Rama and Sita, the mood on this day is extremely jubilant. In Andhra Pradesh, temples re-enact the marriage of Lord Rama and Sita on the final day of Ram Navami. 

This year 2014, Sri Ram Navami falls on 8th April and it is celebrated with elaborate preparation and fervor. The rituals in the observance of Ram Navami include recitations from 'Ramayana' or Tulsidas's 'Ramacharitmanas', long renditions of bhajans and kirtans and awe-inspiring puja and arti. The bhajans are very uplifting as they eulogize the virtues of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanuman. Hanuman is known for is his devotion to Rama, and a lot of devotees recite 'Sunderkand' that strengthen qualities of courage and dedication. Ayodhya, Lord Rama's holy birth place witnesses a huge congregation of devotees who come to take a holy dip in river Saryu on the pious occasion of Ram Navami. In South India, the Ram Navami festival carries on for nine days consisting of several elements of ceremony and rituals. In Rishikesh, which is an important seat of Ram worship, special prayers dedicated to Lord Rama, japas and constant chantings invoking Lord Rama's name is a common practice. Mantras like 'Om Sri Ram', 'Jai Sri Ram' raise the higher energies around the place. Our spiritual teachers have taught us that if we hear about the life of Ramachandra, His activities and pastimes, we will be associating directly with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for there is no difference between His form, His name, His pastimes, and Himself. With his exemplary behavior, Lord Rama achieved unity in thought, word and deed, for that reason, far from celebrating Ramanavami as a mere celebration, this occasion is an invitation to elevate our emotions, our feelings and our understanding of spiritual contemplation and self-control, with which we come into harmony with the forces of the world. (Editor's note).

Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, an ancient kingdom that was located in present day Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya was its capital.  The childless Dasharatha was advised by his family priest Vashishtha to perform a fire sacrifice ceremony to seek the blessings of God for children.  While performing the fire worship ceremony, a majestic figure rose from the sacrificial fire and handed to Dasharatha a bowl of rice pudding, saying, “God is pleased with you and has asked you to distribute this rice pudding (payasa) to your wives - they will soon bear your children.”  The king received the gift joyfully and distributed the payasa to his three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. Kausalya, the eldest queen, gave birth to the eldest son Rama.  Bharata, the second son was born to Kaikeyi and Sumitra gave birth to the twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna.  Rama’s birthday is celebrated now as “Ramanavami”.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“The Ramayana Summarized”  -

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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