About Ram Navami
Ram Navami is a major Hindu festival which commemorates the birthday of Lord Sri Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Major celebrations are held in almost every part of India and also various other countries with a sizable Hindu population. Lord Rama was born to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya of Ayodhya and was the older brother of Bharath, Lakshman, and Shatrughan. Considered as the perfect human being, Rama was the epitome of an ideal son, a virtuous husband, and father, and an exemplary brother. He is the quintessential paragon of virtue and the personification of a perfect human being for others to emulate. Lord Rama is one of the most widely worshiped deities in India and many temples in the country are primarily dedicated to this celestial deity. On the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami, a divine euphoria grips the nation and people flock to Rama temples to offer prayers and take the blessings of the Almighty.
Although Ram Navami celebrations are conducted in different ways, the underlying factor remains the same -that of observing the birthday of Lord Sri Rama. Generally, people celebrate the festival of Ram Navami by fasting, chanting mantras, and signing bhajans in praise of Lord Rama.
About Ram Navami Fasting
One of the most important and traditional ways of observing Ram Navami is by keeping a fast on the day. Many devotees throughout the country follow a strict fast to pay their respects to Lord Sri Ram. Ardent followers of Lord Ram make it a point to keep a fast, but this is not binding and is not enforced for those who are not in a position to do so.
Generally, the Vrat or fast starts from the previous night itself and continues for the length of the Navami day. During this period, it is customary to worship and do Japa (chanting) of Rama mantra while contemplating on the image of the Lord in mind.
Some observe a fast until noon, some till midnight, and some eat only one meal a day. Ardent devotees observe the fasting period for nine days beginning on the first day of Chaitra. Many people eat a single meal comprising of only fruits and fruit extracts, while many eat an entire meal which usually includes potatoes, haldi, garlic, ginger, onion, fruits, and vegetables. The other favorite items consumed on Ram Navami are curd, tea, coffee, milk, and water.
Many staunch devotees observe a strict fast without even consuming a single drop of water for the entire, day. They take their first sip of water only after breaking the fast at midnight. It is recommended just for those who enjoy excellent health and should not be undertaken by people who suffer from a medical condition or poor health.
Significance of Ram Navami Fasting
Fasting is an effective way of communicating our desires to the almighty. By abstaining from food, we show the inclination to curb our instincts and exercising control over the mind. Hindu religious texts also speak of the importance of fasting as a means of attaining liberation and achieving the highest state of being. The Ram Navami fast has been considered as one of the most important rituals since ancient times. Fasting on Ram Navami day holds immense significance and those who do so with a pure and sincere mind are sure to be blessed with health, wealth and happiness.