Rama Navami is the day on which Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu ‘s seventh incarnation, incarnated in the land of Ayodhya, in human form. She is Vishnu’s ardha ansh, or has half of Lord Vishnu’s definitive qualities. Literally, the word “Rama” means one who is divinely blissful and brings happiness to others and one in whom the sages rejoice.
Ram Navami falls in the month of Chaitra (April / May) on the ninth day of the bright fortnight (8 days after Yugādi), and coincides with Vasant Navratri or Chait Durga Puja. Thus the festival is spread over nine days in some regions. This day, marking Lord Rama ‘s birthday, is also observed as the day of Rama and Sita ‘s marriage and is thus also known as Kalyanotsavam.
Rama Navami is a Hindu Spring festival celebrating lord Rama ‘s birthday. He is of special significance to the Hindu tradition of Vaishnavism, as Vishnu ‘s seventh incarnation The festival celebrates the descent of god Vishnu as Rama incarnation, through his birth to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya The festival is part of the Navratri season, and falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) in the Chaitra Hindu calendar month. It usually happens annually in the March or April Gregorian months. Rama Navami is an optional holiday for the Indian government.
The perfect person (maryada purushottam), exemplified by Bhagwan Rama. He was the embodiment of compassion, gentleness, kindness, integrity and righteousness. Although he possessed all the power in the world, he was still gentle and peaceful.
His reign in Ayodha is known as Ramarajya, the epitome of perfect administration. Ayodhya was the capital that king-rishi Manu had founded. Ayodhya had entered a period of great prosperity during King Dasharath ‘s reign. But Dasharath had one issue — he didn’t have children. Hence he decided to make the sacrifice for ashvamedh. It has had to perform complex and complicated rituals. The yagya was chaired by Rishi Rishyashring. The performance of that sacrifice in Ayodhya has been a great event. Rishyashring ultimately recited a Mantra and made an offering to the fire. Instead Brahma started to pray to the gods, gandharvas, siddhas, and rishis present around. During that time, Ravana, the king of Lanka, terrorized the people and sought liberation from his threat. Ravana had gained great power because he had obtained from God Brahma the boon that he would never die in the hands of gods, or gandharvas, or yakshas, or demigods. He didn’t care to include men in the list of his potential slayers, as he was not afraid of men. So Brahmadev said Ravana was going to die in a man’s face. Then the gods went to Vishnu for help and asked him to take birth in the wombs of his three queens in four different incarnations of His divinity since Dasharath was a glorious king. When the sacrifice of Dasharath came to an end, a shining figure appeared over the sacrificial kund, offering the king a divine beverage called “payasam,” to be given to Kausalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra, his reines. Kausalya gave birth to Rama in due time, to Bharat Kaikayi and to Laxman and Shatrugna Sumitra.
The Sun is considered the progenitor of the dynasty of Rama, which is called the Solar Dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa – Raghu means family descendant of Sun and Kula or Vamsa). Rama is also referred to as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra and so on.
Significance of Ram Navami
The Ramayan ‘s story is a classic, everlasting, universal message of Dharma vs. adharma, of deva vs. demon, of good vs. evil, as portrayed in the Rama-Ravana war.
Ravana was a brahmin; he was a great scholar who had written many works on the philosophy of the scriptures. He appeared strong, dynamic, and beautiful. He had everything one would need to be happy and peaceful as the brilliant, beautiful King of Lanka. Yet he was arrogant, selfish, lustful and greedy. His insatiable desires led him to yearn for more and more power, more and more wealth, and more and more ladies to fulfill his whims.
There is one big difference: the heart of Bhagwan Rama filled with divinity, devotion, compassion, modesty and a sense of duty. In comparison, Ravana ‘s heart was filled with avarice, greed, and selfishness. Under the divine influence of Bhagwan Rama, the animals were his devotees and divine aides. Beneath the hands of Ravana, even humans were animals.
Through his noble and divine choices, he tells the world to choose dharma over Artha (when leaving for the forest instead of being coronated as King) and to choose Moksha over Kama (when choosing his kingdom over his marriage).
Bhagwan Rama teaches that :
- As a son
Obey your father’s orders with reverence and devotion. Sacrifice your own comfort against the honor of your family.
- As a step-son
Even if your step mother (or mother-in – law) isn’t kind to you, even if she obviously dis-criminates against you in favor of her own birth child, don’t hate her, don’t fight her. Value her desires and those of her.
- As a brother
Remain loyal to your brother. Care for him.
- As a husband
Protect wife. Fight for its protection and for its purity. Yet there are occasions when one’s spiritual direction also has to take precedence over householder ‘s path. Do not maintain the ultimate position of householder.
- As a King
Sacrifice for your people everything. Don’t worry about your own comfort , convenience or enjoyment. Be able to put your own needs ahead of the Empire.
- Ravana ‘s ego led to his own death, first his spirit and heart died and then his body died. He thought it was he who ran it all. He felt he was the “doer” of all of this. Bhagwan Rama, on the other hand, was always modest, and never lent credit for something. Bhagwan Rama gave Sitaji a tour of the city at the end of the war in Lanka, showing her where all of the various things had occurred. When they reached the place where Ravana had been victoriously slain, he only mentioned it to Sitaji as, “and that’s where Ravana died.” He didn’t say, “This is where I crushed the demon,” or “This is where I killed Ravana.”
Ram Navami is a festival which celebrates the birth of King Dasharath ‘s son Lord Rama. It was a joyous day all those centuries ago in Ayodhya when the successor to King Dasharath finally came into being. It was like a dream come true for the King because he had been deeply troubled by the absence of an heir for many years.
Lord Rama is Lord Vishnu’s Avatar who came down to earth in human form to battle the invincible Ravana. Lord Brahma had received complaints from all of the gods about the havoc that Ravana was wreaking on earth, but since Lord Brahma had given so many boons to Ravana, a god could not destroy him. But Ravana had become so overconfident he would never expect a human attack. So Lord Vishnu decided to go down to earth under the guise of Prince Ram, King Dasharath ‘s son and Queen Kaushalya.
Lord Rama ‘s story as told in the grand epic Ramayana is one that most Indians know regardless of caste, ethnicity, and faith. Lord Rama is a legendary figure, the epitome of all that is real and good, the man who defeated the king of the devil, Ravana. Lord Rama is not only a hero but the Hindus has given him the status of a king. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his birth is celebrated with great pomp and enjoyment year after year on the ninth day after the new moon in Sukul Paksh (the waxing moon), which sometimes falls in the month of April.
The Rāma Navamī vrata is nitya or obligatory for Rāma devotees, and optional for others. It is one of the calendar ‘s highly eulogized vratas that can destroy one’s sins, and even confer mukti or liberation.
The vrata itself starts with a fasting from the previous night. The electors will have to start fasting on the navamī day, perform worship and homa to Rāma in a picture built in a specially prepared shrine, do Rāmamantra japa, and keep vigil throughout the night. After the vrata has been completed, he donates the image to an ācārya along with other liberally made gifts.
There are three different types of fasts that can be held on this day:
- Fasting until noon
- Eating only once during the day
- Fasting until midnight
- Fasting for nine days beginning on the first day of Chaitra
During the quick it may consist of fruits and fruit extracts while consuming a single meal. Alternatively, if a complete meal is consumed, it can include potatoes made in some form without haldi (turmeric), garlic , ginger or onion, fruits and any kind of vegetables. It also allows for curd, tea , coffee, milk, and water.
Ram Navami is celebrated in a variety of ways, from bhajan and pujas programs to ratha yatras and pandal programs. Bhajan programs are arranged both at home and in temples. Bhajans extolling the virtues of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanuman are chanted during these services. When inside a temple,Such services are also accompanied by Ramayana Katha, sharing specifics of the Ramayana, or chanting the Ramayana as a whole. Many people do akhanda ramayana pat, or just sing sunderkand.
- Performing akhanda Ramayana Pat involves chanting the entire Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas, which usually takes 24 hours
- Chanting Sunderkand takes three hours. Sunderkand discusses some of Hanuman’s exploits and his meeting with Sita in Lanka.
- Temples will usually have the chanting of the Valmiki Ramayana or larger pandal programs in which the Ramayana is discussed for nine days, beginning on Ugadi and ending on Rama Navami.
A huge fair with thousands of devotees gathering to celebrate this festival is held in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama. The fair goes on for two days, and rathyatras, carrying Ram’s Dieties, Laxman ‘s uncle, Sita’s aunt, and Mahavir Hanuman ‘s greatest devotee, are taken out of almost all Ram temples. Hanuman is known for his devotion to Rama, and his stories are a major part of the celebration
Ram Navami is observed in Andhra Pradesh for 10 days from the Chaitra saptami to the Bahula Padyami ending in the month of March and April. Temples re-enact Lord Rama and Sita ‘s marriage in commemoration of this event, as this day is also the day they got married.
Some of the popular bhajans sung on this day include the Hare Krishna mahamantra
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
The Rama Stotra in the Vishnu Sahasranama, say this sloka 3 times as mentioned in the sahasranama.
Sri Rama Rama Rameti Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasra Nama Tat Tulyam Rama Nama Varanane
Sri Rama Nama Varanane Iti