How is Ram Navami Celebrated?•
Posted on April 01 2022
Ram Navami is a spring festival celebrated by Hindus over a period of nine days to mark the birth of Lord Rama, one of the major incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The celebrations begin on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Chaitra. This is typically eight days after Ugadi and coincides with the Chait Durga Pooja or Vasant Navaratri festival.
The festival is not celebrated by Hindus in India alone but also by Hindu devotees from all over the world. However, it is specifically important to the Vaishnavite sect among Hindus who consider Lord Rama as their principal deity.
Ram Navami is mentioned in Ramayana, one of the greatest epics of Hindus. The epic talks of King Dasaratha and his three queens. It also talks about how the childless king performed a yagna for a prodigy and distributed some kheer to his queens after the yagna. The queens consumed the kheer and eventually conceived. The eldest queen Kausalya gave birth to Lord Rama while Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan were born to the other queens. The epic also talks about the hardships faced by Rama and His return to the kingdom after a long exile to become a just ruler.
Fasting During Ram Navami
Devotees consider fasting to be an integral aspect of Ram Navami celebrations. As a result, the festival is also known as the Vratha Katha. Hindus believe that undertaking the fast will help them to absolve their sins and get one step closer to mukti or liberation. They also believe that the fast will help them to be bestowed with good luck and happiness by Lord Rama
The fasting generally commences on the previous day and continues on to the day of Ram Navami. Worshippers of Lord Rama observe different types of fasting like fasting until noon, fasting until midnight or eating only one meal in the day. Those who opt for one meal in the day kind of fast must abstain from including meat, turmeric, ginger, onion or garlic in their meal. There are also devotees who take only fruits during the fasting period.
Other Ram Navami Celebrations
On this day, people wake up early in the morning and take a bath. After this, they clean their houses and get ready for a pooja in honour of Lord Rama along with His consort Maa Sita, brother Lakshman and biggest devotee Hanuman. The photos or idols of these deities are decorated and placed on a raised platform and two plates are kept in front of them along with flowers and incense sticks. One of them contains the items required for the pooja while the other plate has the prasad for the gods.
The pooja starts with the youngest female member of the household applying red teeka and dots to all male and female members participating in the pooja. After this, water, aipun and rice are liberally sprinkled on the deities in the mentioned order. Various bhajans and/or kirtans in honour of the lord are sung all this while. After this, everyone gets up from his/her seating position to participate in the arti. This is followed by sprinkling Ganga jal over the participants and distributing prasad to them.
One popular bhajan recited on this day is the Hare Rama Hare Krishna mantra.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Worshippers of Lord Rama also chant the Rama stotra mentioned in the Vishnu Sahasranama thrice a day on the occasion of Rama Navami.
In Ayodhya and other places in North India, the celebrations take place on a grand scale. A grand fair is organised for two days. The Rathyatra is a major feature of the fair. Idols of the deities from the major Ram temples are taken around the area in a procession in a chariot. After the procession, the idols are brought back to the shrines and the Ram Taka homa followed by a shayana arti is performed. The fair and celebrations come to an end with the lighting of fireworks.
Devotees also visit holy places like Rameshwaram during the nine days surrounding Ram Navami. In Rameshwaram, they take a bath in the holy waters of the sea and proceed to the temple for a darshan of their favourite deity.
In temples, the celebrations take place on a grand scale. Bhajans in dedication to the lord along with narration of the Ramayan katha. The Akanda Ramayan Pad entailing the complete Ramachitmanas compiled by Tulsidas is carried out. The Sunderkand recitation and discourses on Valmiki Ramayana are held for nine days starting from Ugadi to Rama Navami. The marriage of Lord Rama with Sita Devi is also enacted in several Ram temples primarily in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Hindus associate Ram Navami as a festival of great significance. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. It also highlights the formation of dharma to destroy adharma in the universe. Both these aspects are portrayed through the battle between Rama and Ravana. In some communities, Surya the Sun God is also worshipped on Ram Navami and offered water to invoke His blessings. This is because Surya Dev is considered to be one of Lord Rama’s ancestors.
Written by Deepthi K