Ram Navami also known
as Sri Ram Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord
Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th
incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu. The festival 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-Navratri
some places the festival lasts the whole nine days of the Navratras,
thus the period is called 'Sri Rama Navratra'. 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 infant form of Sri Rama are placed on cradles and
rocked by devotees. Since Rama is the 7th incarnation of Vishnu having
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 Vedic 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.
important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya (Uttar
Pradesh), Bhadrachalam (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu),
thronged by thousands of devotees. Rathayatras, the chariot processions,
also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, are
taken out at several places including Ayodhya where thousands of people
take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.
Natal chart of Sri Rama:
in his Sanskrit text Ramayan describes the natal or birth chart of
young Rama, and this day is celebrated as Ramanavami festival throughout
India and amongst Indian diaspora:
completion of the ritual six seasons have passed by and then in the
twelfth month, on the ninth day of Chaitra month [March-April], when the
presiding deity of ruling star of the day is Aditi, where the ruling
star of day is Punarvasu (Nakshatra), the asterism is in the ascendant,
and when five of the nine planets viz., Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and
Venus are at their highest position, when Jupiter with Moon is ascendant
in Cancer, and when day is advancing, then Queen Kausalya gave birth to
a son with all the divine attributes like lotus-red eyes, lengthy arms,
roseate lips, voice like drumbeat, and who took birth to delight the
Ikshvaku dynasty, who is adored by all the worlds, and who is the
greatly blessed epitome of Vishnu, namely Rama."
- Book I : Bala Kanda, Ramayana by Valmiki, Chapter (Sarga) 18, Verse 8, 9, 10 and 11
storeys - even the original Ravana may not have been so tall. But this
is the Kali Yuga, when evil is supposed to assume an even more
terrifying form. Ravana has his moments of glory, and that too, on Rama
Navami, the birthday of Rama.
effigy of the ten-headed Ravana swaggers through the town, wearing a
gaudy crown and exaggerated moustache, with shouting hordes following.
But once Ravana reaches the open ground that is his final destination,
he is suddenly deserted by most of his "followers" - because the noble
Rama has made his appearance.
In the end, righteousness does
triumph, even in Kali Yuga. Rama engages him in battle, and finally
pierces him with a potent arrow. And the huge effigy of Ravana, filled
to bursting with firecrackers, is set alight, and explodes into a
thousand bits amid loud cheers from the crowd and shouts of Jai Shri
Ram. This ritual is an important part of the Rama Navami celebrations in
most parts of North India.
Rama Navami falls on the ninth day
of the shukla paksha, or bright phase of the moon, in the lunar month of
Chaitra (April-May). The first day of Chaitra , or Ugadi, also marks
the beginning of the Indian year.
Rama is one of the ten avatars
of Lord Vishnu, and one of the two most popular, along with Krishna.
Consequently, Rama Navami is widely celebrated, though not on the scale
of festivals like Diwali or Dussehra.
According to legend, Rama
was born at noon. Rama is the epitome of perfection, the uttama purusha,
fulfilling all his duties towards both family and subjects.
was the first of the four sons of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. When it
was time for Rama to be made crown-prince, his stepmother, Kaikeyi, got
Dasharatha to send him to the forest for 14 years. His wife Sita and his
brother Lakshmana also accompanied him. In the forest, Sita was
kidnapped by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Rama, together with
Hanuman and the monkey army, built a bridge to Lanka, killed Ravana, and
brought Sita back.
It is believed that listening to the story
of Rama cleanses the soul. Meditating on the noble Rama and chanting his
name is believed to ease the pains of life and lead one to moksha, or
liberation. It is also common practice to chant the name of Rama while
rocking babies to sleep.
Though Rama Navami is a
major festival for Vaishnavites, it is widely celebrated by worshippers
of Shiva, too. It is considered auspicious to undertake a fast on the
day in the name of Rama. The more devout fast for nine days, from Ugadi
to Rama Navami. The objective of the fast is not to ask for special
favours of the deity but to seek perfection as a human being.
perform elaborate pujas and chant the name of Rama. Temples of Rama have
special services and bhajan sessions through the day.
significant and popular element of the celebration is the Ramayana
parayana, a discourse on the Ramayana, by a pundit or a professional
story-teller. It usually lasts nine days, beginning on Ugadi and ending
on Rama Navami. A skilled story-teller who can liven up the event by
weaving in contemporary events attracts massive crowds.
Rama is also one of the most sung-about deities in Indian classical
music and literature, week-long (and sometimes, month-long) musical
programmes are organised.
Sacred places associated with Rama,
like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram, draw tens of thousands of
devotees. In Rameshwaram, thousands take a ritual bath in the sea before
worshipping at the Ramanathaswamy temple.
Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami.