Rama is the in-dweller in every body. He is the Source of Bliss (Atma-Rama) in every individual. His blessing, surging from that inner spring, confers peace and bliss. He is the very embodiment of Dharma, of all the codes of morality that hold mankind together in love and unity”.
Sri Rama Navami is a hindu festival celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama. He is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the treta yuga. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Rama to destroy the invincible demon king, Ravana who created immense trouble to people on earth and heaven.
Ram Navami festival is the most ancient festival celebrated by even the shudras or the lower castes. The ninth day or navami of the chaitra month in the bright half phase of the moon is Ram Navami. Lord Rama was born on this day in Ayodhya, when the sun and five planets were in the first house of cancer at noon along with the star Pushya.
According to the great epic Ramayana written by sage Valmiki, Dasarathta was a great king of Ayodhya. It was the capital of Kosal situated on the banks of river Sarayu. Ayodhya was prosperous under King Dasaratha.He had three wives, Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumithra. Even with his marriages, he was not blessed with a child that caused him great suffering. At the counsel given by his preceptor, Sage Vasishta, he decided to conduct a fire yagna called Puthra Kamesti Yagna to have the boon of a child. Soon with the help of Maharishi Rushya Shrunga, he performed the yagna in his ashram.
While performing the ritual, a divine resplendent being emerged from the fires and offered a bowl of sweet kheer to King Dasaratha and asked him to offer it to his wives. The wives after consuming the kheer conceived and gave birth to babies. Queen Kausalya gave birth to Lord Rama on the ninth day of Chaithra month at noon, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat, Sumithra gave birth to twins, Lakshman and Shatrughna. This occasion gave great joy to the people of Ayodhya who grieved for a long time for a heir to their kingdom. There was joy and happiness all over the kingdom over the birth of Lord Rama. Since then it is celebrated with gaiety by the devotees of the Rama.
Celebration of Ram Navami
- It is celebrated for nine days staring from the first day or Pratipat on Gudi padwa of Chaitra month. During this period, devotees read Ramayan,recite mantras on Rama, sing kirtans in praise of the lord and organize spiritual discourses on the glory of Rama.
- They decorate the idol of Rama and do pooja to it. It is considered auspicious to observe fast on these nine days for securing Rama`s grace and good fortune. It is believed that if Rama raksha stotra is recited 11 times daily with faith and devotion these nine days, the Lord will grant the desires of the heart.
- Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama written by Sage Valmiki should be studied with devotion and its principles should be practiced in daily life. Mere listening to the stories of Lord Rama has the power to cleanse the impurities of mind.
- On the ninth day at noon a coconut is draped with a cloth and placed in a cradle and it is rocked. Devotees offer flowers and fragrant powders to it and pray to it. Many places in North India burn fireworks at the end of the celebration at night. Raths or chariots are drawn out in the streets during this time.
- Holy places linked with the story of Rama like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram draw thousands of people during this period. People take a holy dip in Rameshwaram on Ram Navami before offering prayers to the presiding deity of the temple in Rameshwaram.
Power of Name `Rama`
Repetition of name Rama alone is a great mantra- RA MA – that which helps in liberation. It is called Tharaka mantra as it is a combination of mantras – Namashivaya and Om Nama Narayanaya- Union of Shiva and Vishnu.