Rama Navami

Infobox Holiday
holiday_name = Rama Navami
type = Birthday of Rama


caption = Images of Rama (center), with consort Sita and brother Laxman
official_name =
nickname =
observedby = Hinduism
begins =
ends = Ninth day of Navami
date = April
date2008 = April 14
date2009 =
celebrations = 2 days
observances = fast and feasting
relatedto = Rama Sita

Ram Navami (IAST "IAST|Rāma-navamī") is a Hindu Vaishnava holiday which falls on the ninth day of the Hindu lunar year (thus named "Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami"). Ram Navami is the celebration of the birthday of Rama, a divine figure in Hinduism.cite book
author = Gupte, B.A.
year = 1919
title = Hindu Holidays and Ceremonials
publisher =
isbn =
]

Hindu History

In the Ramayana, Dasarath, then king of Ayodhya, is believed to have had three wives named Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi. Their greatest worry was that they had no male children, and so they had no heir to the throne. Rishi Vasistha suggests him to perform "Puthra Kamesti Yagna", through which he can have a desired child. He also tells him to bring Maharshi Rushya Shrunga to perform this Yagna for him. Immediately King Dasharath gives his consent, and heads to Maharshi Rushya Shrunga's ashram, to get him. Maharshi agrees and will accompany Dasharath to Ayodhya (Capital of Avadha) and performs the yagna. As the result of yagna, Yagneshwar appears and hands Dasarath a bowl of Payasam and asks him to give it to his wives. Dasharath gives one half of the payasam to his elder wife Kausalya, and another half to his younger wife Kaikeyi. They both give half of their portions to Sumithra. After few days all three Queens conceive. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra Masa (first month in Hindu calendar), at noon Kaushlya gives birth to Lord Sri Ram, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharath, and Sumithra to twin boys, Lakshman and Shatrughan.

Lord Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who takes birth on earth when Adharma over rules Dharma. He protects all his devotees by vanquishing the roots of Adharma. Lord Ram was born on earth to destroy the demon named Ravan.

Natal chart of Rama

This day is celebrated as Ramanavami festival throughout India [ [http://www.salagram.net/rama9.htm Rama Navami] ] .

Celebration

Hindus normally perform "Kalyanotsavam" (marriage celebration) with small murtis of Rama and Sita in their houses, and at the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets. This day also marks the end of the nine-day utsavam called "Chaitra Navaratri" (Maharashtra) or "Vasanthothsavam" (Andhra Pradesh) (festival of Spring), which starts with Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra) or Ugadi (South India). According to recent astrological studies, some consider his year of birth to be January 10, 5114 B.C [ [http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031012/spectrum/main6.htm The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum - Lead Article ] ] [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=273107 'Lord Ram was born in 5114 BC'-India-The Times of India ] ] Some highlights of this day include
*"Kalyanam", a ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests
* "Panakam", a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
* "Procession" of murtis in the evening, accompanied by playing with water and colours.

For the occasion, Hindus are supposed to fast, or restrict themselves to a specific diet. Temples are decorated and readings of the Ramayana take place. Along with Shri Ram, people also worship Sita, Rama's wife; Lakshman, Rama's brother; and Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Ram and the leader of Rama's army in battle.

Sri-Rama Navami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day, or "navami". The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.

A number of ISKCON temples introduced a more prominent celebration of the occasion of the holiday with the view of addressing needs of growing native Hindu congregation. It is however always was a notable calendar event on the traditional Gaurabda calendar with a specific additional requirement of fasting by devotees.cite journal
author = Zaidman, N.
year = 2000
title = The Integration of Indian Immigrants to Temples Run by North Americans
journal = Social Compass
volume = 47
issue = 2
pages = 205
url = http://scp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/47/2/205
accessdate = 2008-06-01
quote=Another example of a religious enterprise initiated by a board member was theorganization of Lord Ramachandra Appearance Day (Sri Ram Navami).
doi = 10.1177/003776800047002005
]

Ram Navami is shared with Swaminarayan Jayanti, the the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who was born in the village of Chhapaiya in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Ramrajya

(the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how, according to him, India should be after Independence.

Rama Navami occurs in the months of March and April. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Rama Navami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.

On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.

Sri Rama Navami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty which is called the Sun dynasty. This dynasty is famous for great kings like King Dileep, King Raghu and many others. In all King Raghu was noted to stand for his word. Following the foot prints of his great ancestor King Raghu, Lord Rama too went to jungles to keep the promises made by his father Dasarath to his step mother Kaikeyi. Hence Rama came to be known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun-worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Rama Navami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.

Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra." In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra which in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama along with other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Rama Navami antedates the Ramayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognized as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered themselves to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

References and notes

External links

* [http://www.theholidayspot.com/Rama Navami/history.htm History of Ram Navami]


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