Most of us have grown up listening to the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata from our grandparents; there are generations in the world, who would start their Sunday mornings watching the televised versions of these shows or start their regular days by praying to a Lord Ram statue. Many of us were told that the Shri Ram and how was always considered Mariyada Purshottam – the ultimate man, because he had all the good traits that a man should have. Whether it was how we was an ideal son to his parents or how he was the best brother or how he was the most loving husband, we have heard stories about all of these and we were often taught to inculcate these very traits into our lives as well.
And even though many of us know that Ram Navami is almost here, how many of us actually know the importance of the day or why it is celebrated with such aplomb!
Ram Navami

What Is Ram Navami? What Happened On Ram Navami?

Rama Navami or Shri Ram Navami is a day during the spring season, that celebrated the birthday of Lord Rama, who is said to be the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, making him an important figure in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. The day traditionally falls on the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha or the bright half of the Chaitra month, which is the first month of the Hindu calendar and is a part of the Navaratri. As per the English calendar, this day normally comes during end of March or beginning of April. It is believed that he was born at around noon, which is known as the Madhyama period, and this time, which normally falls between 11am to 1:30pm, is considered to be extremely auspicious.

Legend has it that the King Dashratha of Ayodhya had no children and even though he had three wives, he was without a successor. He tried several tips and tricks, medications and mantras, but all to no avail. It was only after doing several rigorous poojas and rituals that he was blessed with not one, but 4 sons, with Lord Rama being the eldest and most blessed. The minute he was born, it was deemed that he would become the king of the Suryavanshi Ikshvaku Dynasty and the day he was born is till date, celebrated as Lord Rama birthday!

What is the difference between Sri Rama Navami and Maha Navami?

Now, there are those who wonder how Ramnavami is different from Maha Navami – because there are two navamis that are consider important in the Hindu calendar. In Sanskrit, Navami means nine and this is the ninth day of the lunar fortnight or paksha in the Hindu calendar. Technically, each month has two navamis – one in the Krishna paksha and one in the Shukla paksha; however, there is a difference in these two special navamis.

Shree Ram Navami comes in the Chaitra month, the first month of the Hindu calendar and comes in the first half of the year; however, Maha Navami is a part of the main Navaratri celebrations and comes towards the later part of the year. Sharad Navratri is a part of the Dussera celebrations.

Why We Celebrate Ram Navami?

In the simplest of terms, Ram Navami celebration is to celebrate the birth of Lord Rama, who is an important reincarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Hindu way of life. More importantly, the story of Ramayana is one the depicts the triumph of good over evil – even though Ravana was a king and highly learned, his intentions were impure, when he kidnapped the wife of another man. Rama fighting a battle to bring his wife back safely shows not only the love he had for his wife, but also his inability to stand by what is considered inherently wrong in a general sense.

Some of the grandest Ram Navami festival celebrations take place in Ayodhya, which is supposed to be the birthplace of Shri Rama. Other important locations for these celebrations include Sita Samahit Sthal in Uttar Pradesh, Janakpurdham in Nepal, Bhadrachalam in Telangana, Ramanathaswamy temple, Rameshwaram and Sri Rama Pada Temple, Dhanushkodi, Rameshwaram both in Tamil Nadu.

While the flavour of celebrations might vary a little from state to state, the basic method of celebrations remain the same – houses will be cleaned out and recitation of Ram Charit Manas will be undertaken. Some people might choose to bathe and clothe a baby version of Lord Rama, while others might choose to worship the Ramdarbar murti they might already have. Many people will head to the temple, where they can see the lord being worshipped at a much grander scale. People also choose to fast on this day and they avoid food items made with wheat, onion and garlic; consuming mostly only fruits and juices.

Rathyatras or shobha yatras and Ramleela are also methods of celebrating this auspicious day – in the former, chariots are decorated and statues of Lord Rama and sometimes, Sita and Lakshmana are taken out around town with much devotion and celebration. Smaller scale versions of these yatras might have Shri Ram painting instead of idols. On various stages, particularly in the northern and eastern parts of India, scenes from the life of Lord Rama are depicted by actors and these performances are known as Ramleela. Several temples and even local communities will hold religious discourses, where either excerpts will be read out from Ramayana or stories will be narrated from the life of the lord. There are also bhajan and satsang sessions held in temples and even local community halls. This festival is also associated with providing food to the needy.

What To Do On Ram Navami?

If you are unable to visit any temples on this special day, there are plenty of things that you can do, right at your home.
  • Before you start the ramnavami puja, you need to ensure that your home has been cleaned out thoroughly, in particular the area where you intend to do the pooja.
  • If you have a mandir, make sure that it is cleaned out and you can place a picture of Lord Rama or you could even use a Ram Sita idol. Many people also choose to pray to the other members of Lord Rama’s family like Lakshmana, King Dashratha and of course, Lord Rama’s most ardent devotee, Hanuman.
  • The house can be decorated with designer door hanging toran or fresh flowers.
  • After everyone has taken a bath, the youngest female member of the family should put teeka for all other members of the family.
  • You can use decorative brass diyas for pooja and by lighting these up, you are also symbolically removing all the darkness that prevails in your mind and house.
  • Ganga jal, roli, akshat can all be sprinkled over the gods and sweets can be prepared to be used as prasadam. Generally, the prasadam is shared only in the afternoon, symbolically, after the time of Lord Rama’s birth.

What Is The Significance Of Ram Navami?

The inherent significance or importance of Ram Navami is not just celebrating the birth of Shree Ram, but everything he embodied – being a dutiful son, a good brother, a devoted husband and of course, a good human being.
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