Celebrating Lord Rama's Birthday
Are you all set to celebrate the birth of Lord Rama? On 08Th April, Tuesday this year arrives one of the most auspicious days of the year, Ram Navami. Ram Navami is a famous Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, son of King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya, of the Ayodhya kingdom. Ramnavami falls on the 9th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (March-April). Ram navami is one of the most important festivals of the Hindus, particularly the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. It is also called as the Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami.
Rama is one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, and one of the two most popular, along with Krishna. Rama is an epitome of perfection fulfilling all his duties towards both family and subjects. Rama was the first of the four sons of King Dasharatha.
Ram Navami Celebrations start on Gudi padwa, which is the first day of Chaitra; and continue for 9 days. On this auspicious day, devotees repeat the name of Rama with every breath and vow to lead a righteous life. People pray to attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Rama and invoke him for his blessings and protection.
Many observe a strict fast on this day. Ram Navami is an extremely colorful ceremony, highly inspiring and instructive too. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy 'Ramayana' is read in the temples all nine days. As per astrology, worshipping Lord Rama by chanting mantras, reading Ramayana, listen to bhajans brings good health, wealth and prosperity.
In Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day. In many regions across south India people celebrate "Sri Ramnavami Utsavam" for nine days with great fervor and devotion. The South Indian devotees chant the holy name of Rama and celebrate the wedding anniversary of Rama with Sita on this day.
People chant the sacred Mantras "Om Sri Ramaya Namah" or "Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram". Devotees greet one another with "Sri Ram" or "Jai Ram-ji-ki". A "havan" or sacred fire ceremony is also performed. Leaflets, booklets and books relating to Lord Rama are distributed.
The periodic readings (parayans) of the Ramayan, spiritual discourses (kirtans) and beautifully embellishing Shriram;s statue is worshipped by hundreds of people. During these nine days, reciting the Ramaraksha prayer (stotra) eleven times daily with a resolve (sankalpa) fulfills all prayers. It also helps in curing various ailments and brings good luck and prosperity.
A grand celebration on this day takes place in Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Rameswaram and Bhadrachalam. At some places Rathayatra or chariot procession (Shobha yatra) of the Lord Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshman and God Hanuman is carried out by the thousands of people after taking a holy dip in the sacred river, Sarayu or Ganga. Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami.