Rama Navami

Lord Rama is recognised as the ideal human being. Chanting his name is believed to destroy sins leading to emancipation.

Words: Madhuri. Y

The day of Rama’s birth is celebrated as Rama Navami which falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra. Lord Rama is considered the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. People celebrate Rama Navami as the day on which Rama married Sita.
Known as maryada purushottam, Lord Rama is seen as perfect example of a man who espoused moral virtues and exhibited compassion and respect to elders. He is suryavanshi or belonging to the solar dynasty. Rama Navami celebrations are organised when the Sun is overhead and at its peak. Some devotees begin their prayers on the day with invocation to Surya.

LEARNING FROM LORD RAMA
Ramayana is a story of compassion and righteousness; victory over pride and greed. In leaving the palace despite being the crown prince to honour his father King Dasaratha’s promise given to wife Kaikeyi, Rama teaches us dharma is not only superior to worldly pleasures it must strictly be adhered to.
Even though Kaikeyi had asked for an unfair boon (for banishment of Rama to the forest), he continues to treat her with respect. As a devoted husband, he goes to great lengths to rescue Sita. Yet, when her presence conflicts with his duties as a king, he sends her away, giving greater importance to his duties as a king than as a loyal husband. In doing so, his people and kingdom came first ahead of his personal likes. Despite his victory over Ravana, he remains humble.

festival
RAMA MANTRA
Sri Rama Rameti
Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasra Nama Tat Tulyam
Rama Nama Varaanane
Sri Rama Nama Varaanana Om Nama Iti
Reciting the Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra during Brahma muhurtha (one hour 36 minutes before sunrise) is considered auspicious. Chanting the Rama Mantra, which is part of the Vishnu Sahasranama, is believed to offer the same effect as chanting the entire Sahasranama. In fact, reciting Rama mantra as above thrice is considered equal to reciting the entire Vishnu Sahasranama.

CELEBRATING RAMA NAVAMI
Fasting during Rama Navami is believed to destroy one’s sins leading to liberation from birth and death cycles. The fast begins the previous night and continues through the day of Rama Navami. One can fast until noon, eat once during the day, fast until midnight or fast for nine days, starting the fast with the new year, which is celebrated in some regions, and ending it on the day of Rama Navami. Fasting devotees can also take fruits or milk.
Ram bhajans are held at home, in temples and in pandals. Some recite Rama Mantra and Sri Rama Ashtottara Shatanamavali (the 108 names of Sri Rama).

It is believed that repeating Rama’s name − Rama Nama − brings peace, wisdom, joy and liberation. Often, Rama Katha, or story of Lord Rama is narrated. Many undertake Akhanda Ramayana reciting the entire Ramayana which can take up to 24 hours. Others read just the Sundar Kand.
Homes are washed clean and pictures of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman are placed for the puja. Flowers, lighting lamps and incense sticks, offerings and puja items like rice, water, flowers, bell and conch are placed.
The youngest female member of the family applies tilak to males and red bindi to females. After puja and aarti, waters of the Ganga are sprinkled on everyone.
In many places, Rama’s wedding is re-enacted in pandals and temples. Couples take turns sitting for the puja.

TEMPLES OF LORD RAMA

SITA RAMACHANDRASWAMY TEMPLE
festival1
This temple at Bhadrachalam in Telangana is known for the deity, Vaikuntha Rama, the only one of its kind. The deity is Lord Vishnu who descended in the form of Lord Rama to keep the latter’s promise to a devotee. Vishnu forgets that in Rama’s form, he was a human and descends with four hands.

SITA RAMACHANDRASWAMY TEMPLE
This temple at Bhadrachalam in Telangana is known for the deity, Vaikuntha Rama, the only one of its kind. The deity is Lord Vishnu who descended in the form of Lord Rama to keep the latter’s promise to a devotee. Vishnu forgets that in Rama’s form, he was a human and descends with four hands.

KODANDA RAMASWAMY TEMPLE
festival2
The temple in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, is said to have been built by two robbers who had turned into Lord Rama’s devotees. They are then believed to have turned to stone.

SREE RAMASWAMY TEMPLE
Also known as Thiruvangad temple, it is situated in Thalassery, Kerala. During the 18th century, part of the temple was damaged by Tipu Sultan’s army, although the main temple remained intact.

festival7

festival3RAMASWAMY TEMPLE
Built by the Nayakkar kings during the 16th century in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, the temple walls depict the Ramayana in pictures. When taking the three parikramas, devotees can go through the Ramayana.

KALARAM MANDIR
This temple in Nasik is named after the black statue of Lord Rama. The statue of Lord Hanuman too is in black. Sardar Rangarao Odhekar is said to have dreamt of Lord Rama’s statue in the river Godavari from which he retrieved it and had the temple built.

RAM MANDIR
Ram Mandir in Odisha is known for the tall spire of the main temple. The spire can be seen from many parts of Bhubaneswar.

festival4RAM CHAURA MANDIR
Lord Rama is believed to have got his first mundan, head shaving, done here in Hajipur, Odisha. The temple is said to have been built on his footprints.

PATTABHIRAMA TEMPLE
Well-known during the period of the Vijayanagara Empire, today the temple does not have an idol. Yet, it is one of the most beautiful temples in Hampi and is as large as the renowned Vittala temple.

RAM RAJA TEMPLE
In this temple in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, Lord Rama is in an unusual posture, holding a sword in his right hand and a shield in the other. He sits in padmasan with his left leg across the right thigh. It is believed that devotees’ wishes are fulfilled if they get a glimpse of the left toe.

RAMTEK RAM TEMPLE
Lord Rama is believed to have rested here in Nagpur. When demons were disturbing the rites of the sages, Rama is said to have taken a ‘tek’ – a vow – to rid the world of demons.

festival5RAGHUNATH TEMPLE
A complex of seven shrines, each with a shikhara, this temple in Jammu was built by the order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. While the main shrine follows Sikh architecture, the others follow the Mughal architecture.

festival6RAMANATHASWAMY TEMPLE
Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu is actually a Shiva temple. Lord Rama is believed to have worshipped the Shivalingam here to atone for his sin of having killed Ravana who was a Brahmin.

festival8