Ramayana, as we all know, is one of the greatest Sanskrit epics of Hindu mythology. Lord Ram himself is believed to be the supreme Hindu god and has a very special place in the hearts of people across the world.
Ram Navami, is looked upon as an important Hindu Festival, and a celebration to honor the birth of Lord Ram, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu.
So, every year, with a lot of faith and dedication, around March and April, millions of Hindus around the world flock into temples to celebrate Lord Ram’s birth. You can witness this festival in all its glory in cites of Uttar Pradesh, Nepal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
When is Ram Navami celebrated?
This spring Hindu festival is celebrated on the 9th day of Shukla Paksha or the bright phase of the lunar fortnight. And, in 2020, it’ll be celebrated on the 2nd of April, Thursday.
Why is this auspicious day believed to be so significant?
Whenever there is a need for the protection of the devotees, the Lord appears!
The three queens to King Dashratha, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi were unable to bear an heir to the kingdom of Ayodhya for a long period of time. The sacred ritual called Putra Kamesti Yagna was thus performed by the queens, as suggested by the great Sage Vashishth. The ceremony saw King Dashratha distribute payasam (a preparation of milk and rice) to his three wives. And, then on the ninth day of the Hindu month, Chitra, queen Kaushalya gave birth to Lord Ram, and the other queens gave birth to Lakshmana and Bharat.
In Hindu mythology, Lord Ram incarnates in many forms like Matsya, the fish; Varaha, the boar; Narsimha, the half-man half-lion to protect his devotees.
Even today, Sri Ram’s heroic stories of love, respect, kindness, are very dear to people across the globe.
Ram Navami is most popularly celebrated in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, every year, with devotees dressing up as Lord Rama himself. The streets and homes are lit, nine-day long fairs are organized, music and prayers are enchanted loudly, and statues of the deity are bejeweled and made from scratch.
How can you honor Sri Ram on this auspicious day with your loved ones?
- You can bathe and dress up miniature idols of Lord Rama and place them in a cradle to mark his birth
- You can light a lamp in front of the idol
- Cook payasam and offer it to God
- You can also celebrate this day by providing food to the needy.
- If you want to delve deep into this ritual, you can even invite nine girls at home, shower them with respect and offer them prashad in the form of halwa and puri. This is popularly known as the Kanya Puja ritual, where girls are believed to be the manifestation of Indian Goddesses
Pointers to keep in mind in case you are planning to observe a fast on this day:
- Eating fruits can help you stay healthy as well as hydrated; they can be eaten raw or as juice or shakes
- In any kind of preparation, avoid the use of turmeric, red chilly powder, and salt
- A starchy and energetic meal can be made from sago, otherwise known as sabudana. Who doesn’t love a bowl full of khichdi, wada, or payasam made out of it?
Why is Ram Navami considered an important festival?
- It is one of the five major holy festivals
- Initially, this was one of the only few festivals that the lower castes were permitted to celebrate
- It is believed that observing a fast on this day could lead to the attainment of salvation
In the end, Rama means ‘bliss’ signifying the happiness that Lord Ram bestows on all those who remember and worship him. Lord Sri Ram was said to be born on earth to instill the lost glory in humanity, annihilate the evil, and protect the innocent. Let us also learn more from history, about humanity, apply them in real life, try and follow Ram’s footsteps.