Rama Navami

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Rama Navami
Srisita ram laxman hanuman manor.JPG
Ram (center), with consort Sita, brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman
Observed by Hindus
Type Hindu
Significance

Birth day of Ram

Marriage ceremony of Ram and Sita
Celebrations 1 - 10 days
Observances Puja, vrata (fast) and feasting
Ends Chaitra Navami, Ninth day of Chaitra month
2013 date 19 April
2014 date 8 April, Tuesday
2015 date 28 March [1]
Frequency annual

Rama Nawami (Devanāgarī: राम नवमी; IAST: Rāma navamī) is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. Rama, the 7th avatar of Vishnu, is the oldest known god having human form. [2][3] [4] The holy day falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navaratri (Vasanta Navaratri) celebrations. Rama navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals.

At some places the festival lasts the whole nine days of the Navaratri, thus the period is called 'Sri Rama Navaratra'.[5][6] It is marked by continuous recitals, Akhand Paath, mostly of the Ramacharitamanas, organized several days in advance to culminate on this day, with elaborate bhajan, kirtan and distribution of prasad after the puja and aarti. Images of the infant Rama are placed on cradles and rocked by devotees. Community meals are also organized.[7] Since Rama is believed to have been born at noon, temples and family shrines are elaborately decorated and traditional prayers are chanted together by the family in the morning. Also, at temples, special havans are organized, along with Vedic chanting of mantras and offerings of fruits and flowers. Many followers mark this day by vrata (fasting) through the day followed by feasting in the evening, or at the culmination of celebrations.[2][8][9] In South India, in Bhadrachalam the day is also celebrated as the wedding anniversary of Rama and his consort Sita. Sitarama Kalyanam, the ceremonial wedding ceremony of the divine couple is held at temples throughout the south region, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama.[10][11]

The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) Sita Samahit Sthal (Sitamarhi) (Bihar), Bhadrachalam (Telangana) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), thronged by thousands of devotees. Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places,[2][12][13] including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.[14]

History[edit]

In the epic Ramayana, Dasharatha, the Emperor from Ayodhya, had three wives named Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi in the Treta Yuga (which follows the Satya Yuga and succeeded by the Dwapara Yuga). Rama is born to Kaushalya, Lakshmana & Shatrughna to Sumitra and Bharata to Kaikeyi. Rama is known as 'Maryada Purushottam' which means an ideal, righteous and a great or a perfect human being, being the best son, brother, husband and father.

Rama who takes birth by his own will, on Bhuloka (Earth) when Adharma rules over Dharma. He protects all his devotees by vanquishing the roots of Adharma. Vishnu decided to incarnate, as Rama, to destroy the Asura (person with demonic and evil designs) called Ravana who is a Brahmin king of Lanka. Lord Rama & Lord Krishna are the only gods in Hinduism or Aryan Vedic context that really existed (and some gods are their manifestations or devotees) and all others are mythological figures based on Puranas. Hence the mahamantra: II Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare II II Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare II

Natal chart of Rama[edit]

Valmiki in his Sanskrit text Ramayana describes the natal or birth chart of young Rama,[15] and this day is celebrated as Ramanavami festival throughout India and amongst Indian diaspora:[16]

Celebrations[edit]

Followers of Hinduism in South India normally perform Kalyanotsavam (marriage celebration) with small deities of Rama and Sita in their homes, and at the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets. This day also marks the end of the nine-day utsava called Chaitra Navaratri (Maharashtra) or Vasanthothsava (Telangana, Andra pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu) (festival of Spring), which starts with Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra). According to recent astrological studies, some consider his date of birth to be January 10, 5114 BC[18][19]

A Home temple with deities of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, on Sri Rama Navami

Some highlights of this day include

  • Kalyanam, a ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests
  • Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
  • Procession of murtis in the evening, accompanied by playing with water and colours.

For the occasion, Followers of Hinduism fast or restrict themselves to a specific diet in accordance to VedaDharma. Vedic temples are decorated and readings of the Ramayana take place. Along with SriRama, people also worship Sita, Rama's wife; Lakshmana, Rama's brother; and Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Rama and the leader of his army in the battle against the rakshasa Ravana, the Brahmin king of Lanka.

Some people put a small idol of Rama in a cradle, symbolising the significance of the day and offer prayers to it. Community meals are also organised.[7]

Sri Ramanavami Kalyanam utsava at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana

The Kalyanam performed in the Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana is very famous.[20]

A number of ISKCON temples introduced a more prominent celebration of the occasion of the holiday with the view of addressing needs of growing native Hindu congregation. It is however always was a notable calendar event on the traditional Gaurabda calendar with a specific additional requirement of fasting by devotees.[21]

Sri Rama Navami is shared with Swaminarayan Jayanti, the birth of Swaminarayan, who was born in the village of Chhapaiya in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Rama Rajya[edit]

Rama Rajya, the reign of Sri Rama, is a rare period of peace and prosperity bestowed by him alone. This festival commemorates the birth of Sri Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.

In Northern India, an event that draws popular participation is the Rama Navami procession, also called Ratha Yatra. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons enact the divine pastimes of Rama, His brother Lakshmana, His queen Sita and His pure devotee, Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as Rama's soldiers. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants praising echoing the blissful days of Rama's rule as the Supreme Emperor on Bhuloka (Earth).

“The Ramrajya means the reign, the kingdom and the general circumstances (the ‘Rajya’) that Shreeram gave to Ayodhya. Moulding the people on the lines of the subjects of Ayodhya; to make of them, what the citizens of Ayodhya were; creating a society and social order like Ayodhya had, grooming every single individual from this point of view leading to a corresponding response from the human community in its entirety - that is what the Ramrajya means”

“When the subjects (the people of the kingdom) are happy, they are not sad, not miserable, not helpless, not starved or hungry, they are not targets for abuse and contempt, they are not kicked around, the reign or the prevailing state is called the Ramrajya”, said Sadguru Shree Aniruddha Bapu in His special discourse on 6 May 2010 as he spoke about the Ramrajya, His dream, His aim, His word and His motto, all for His friends’ sakes - our sakes.

And so we understand that the Ramrajya is as much a ‘state of affairs’ at the general level as it is a ‘state of mind’ (mind as in mental capacities, inner resources of a person) at the particular level. This is a destination, a situation we have to attain and so ushering in the Ramrajya calls for committed and consistent effort at both the individual and the collective levels.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "March 2015 Calendar with Holidays". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Ram Navami BBC.
  3. ^ Gupte, B.A. (1919). Hinduism or VedaDharma - (misnomer: Hinduism) Holidays and Ceremonials. 
  4. ^ The nine-day festival of Navratri leading up to Sri Rama Navami has bhajans, kirtans and discourses in store for devotees Indian Express, Friday , March 31, 2006.
  5. ^ Sri Ram Navami VedaDharma (Hindu) and Muhammadan festivals, by John Murdoch. Published by Asian Educational Services, 1991. ISBN 81-206-0708-2. Page 47
  6. ^ Ram Navami
  7. ^ a b "President and PM greet people as India observes Ram Navami today". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Ramnavami Govt. of India Portal.
  9. ^ Ramnavami The Times of India, Apr 2, 2009.
  10. ^ Gaiety marks celestial wedding in Bhadrachalam The Hindu, Saturday, Apr 08, 2006.
  11. ^ Thousands witness Sitarama kalyanam The Hindu, Saturday, Apr 08, 2006.
  12. ^ On Ram Navami, we celebrate our love for the ideal Indian Express, Monday , March 31, 2003.
  13. ^ Shobha yatra on Ram Navami eve Indian Express, Thursday, March 25, 1999.
  14. ^ At Ayodhya, Ram Navami celebrated amid religious harmony Indian Express, Apr 15, 2008.
  15. ^ Jagannathan, Maithily (2005). "Rama Navami". South Indian Hindu Festivals and Traditions. Abhinav Publications. p. 82. ISBN 81-7017-415-5. 
  16. ^ Rama Navami
  17. ^ Bala Kanda, Chapter 18, Verse 8, 9, 10 Text
  18. ^ The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum - Lead Article
  19. ^ Bezbaroowa, Sunit; Joshi, Arvind (November 8, 2003). "Lord Ram was born in 5114 BC". The Times Of India. 
  20. ^ http://www.bhadrachalarama.org/
  21. ^ Zaidman, N. (2000). "The Integration of Indian Immigrants to Temples Run by North Americans". Social Compass 47 (2): 205. doi:10.1177/003776800047002005. Retrieved 2008-06-01. Another example of a religious enterprise initiated by a board member was the organization of Lord Ramachandra Appearance Day (Sri Ram Navami).