Festivals are an important aspect of Hindu Religion. One such important, popular and widely celebrated festival is “Shri Ram Navami”. It is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Shri Ram who is considered to be the seventh incarnation (“Avatar”) of Lord Vishnu. He is one of the oldest avatars of Lord Vishnu having a human form.
Lord Ram is also known as “Maryada Purushottam” – the one who is divinely blissful and who gives joy to others. He was born in Ayodhya to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya. This holy festival is celebrated in the Shukla Paksha of the Navami Tithi (the ninth day) in the Hindu month of Chaitra. This usually falls in the month of March or April.
Ram Navami also marks the end of the nine-day long Chaitra Navratri Festival. According to popular beliefs, this holy day is also observed as the day of the marriage of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita and is often referred to as “Kalyanotsavam.”
The Background of Shri Ram Navami
Lord Ram is an incarnation of God Vishnu, who took birth to establish “Goodness” and “Dharma” on this Earth. He is regarded as the perfect person, “Maryada Purushottam” and had the highest qualities of compassion, kindness, integrity, and righteousness. His rule over Ayodhya is an example of perfect governance often referred to as “Ramarajya”.
In fact, Ayodhya became the capital of the kingdom established by the king-rishi Manu. It reached the pinnacle of prosperity under the rule of King Dasharatha.
However, despite being a great king, Dasharatha was not happy. This was because he had no children. He then approached Rishis (saints) for advice who suggested him to perform the sacred “Ashwamedha Yagna” which consisted of difficult rituals. Finally, the Yagna was performed which turned out to be a great event in Ayodhya.
At the end of this ceremony, the Rishis made an offering to the fire and prayed to Lord Brahma. During that time, it so happened that the demon king of Lanka, Ravana had become a huge terror for people.
Everybody wanted liberation from his menace. He had acquired the boon that he would not be killed at the hands of gods, Gandharvas, Yakshas, or demons. However, he did not include men in his potential slayers. So, Lord Brahma declared that Ravana would be killed at the hands of a man.
Hearing this prophecy, all the “Devas” went to Lord Vishnu and pleaded Him to take Avatar (birth) as a son of king Dasharatha so as to liberate all the people from the cruel rule of Ravana. Lord Vishnu accepted their request and assured them that he would soon be born as a son to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya.
When Dasharatha’s Yagna came to an end, a divine figure appeared over the Kund and offered him a “Payasam” (divine beverage). This payasam was given to his three queens Kaushalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra. In due course of time, Lord Ram was born to Kaushalya; Kaikayi gave birth to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna.
According to Hindu Scriptures, Lord Ram is considered to be born in Solar Dynasty, “Raghukula” where “Raghu” means Sun and Kula mean family descendants. He is also known by names such as Raghupati, Raghunath, and Raghvendra which suggest the relationship of Sun with Lord Ram worship. Here it should be noted that Lord Ram’s birth – “Ram Navami” is celebrated when the Sun is at its maximum brilliance.
Importance of Shri Rama Navami
Ram Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Ram, who is the human incarnation of God Vishnu. The different events in the life of Lord Ram have been described in the eternal classic scripture “Ramayan”.
He took birth to liberate people from the evil clutches of Ravana and established “Dharma” and “Goodness.” He is just not a hero who vanquished Ravana but is remembered and loved like a God, who took birth to protect people from all evils.
He showed us that arrogance and lust lead to one’s downfall. In fact, Lord Ram is the true embodiment of an obedient son, a loyal brother, a perfect husband and a great King. The great epic, Ramayan depicts the whole story of Lord Ram. It is regarded as one of the most sacred scriptures in the Hindu Religion. It is held in high esteem irrespective of caste, creed, region, and religion.
The Ram Navami Celebrations
Ram Navami Celebrations are unique in many ways and range from Pujas, Fasting, Bhajans programs, to Ratha Yatras and Pandal programs. Bhajan programs are organized at homes and also in Temples. Bhajans are sung in praise of Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman, and Shri Hanuman.
Chanting of entire Ramayan is done which usually takes 24 hours. Some people also undertake to chant of “Sunderkand” which describes the exploits of Hanuman and his meeting with Sita in Lanka and usually takes three hours.
On this special occasion of Ram Navami, people undertake to clean their homes and decorate pictures of Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman. People offer flowers to the deities and keep incense sticks before them. Elaborate Puja ceremony is performed including the singing of Bhajans and
“Aarti” of Lord Ram. Some popular Ram Bhajans include:
राम रामेति रामेति रमे रामे मनोरमे ।
सहस्रनाम तत्तुल्यं रामनाम वरानने ॥
‘Sri Rama Rama Rameti Rame Raame Manorame;
Sahasra nama tattulyam Rama nama varanane!’
At the end of Puja, “Prasad” is distributed to the gathering.
However, Ram Navami is celebrated in various parts of India; special mention of Ayodhya is needed as it is the birthplace of Lord Ram. In Ayodhya, huge fair is organized where thousands of devotees gather to celebrate the festival with full joy, and enthusiasm and devotion.
The fair continues for two days. Rathayatras are taken out from almost every Ram Temple carrying the deities of Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman.
As we can see, Ram Navami is an important and popular festival in India. It gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves that God is Supreme and inspires us to live a righteous life and move ahead on the path of “Dharma” and Goodness.
Ram Navami Date 2020
In the year 2020, Ram Navami will be celebrated on 2nd April 2020 (Thursday).
Ram Navami Puja Muhurta starts at 10:55 AM and lasts up till 01:25 PM