The Hindu scriptures have announced the incarnation of Lord Ram in the universal scriptures that narrate the history and tradition of our religion. In this verse from the Brahma-Samhita, we see a beautiful description of the birth of the exalted Lord Ram.
“ramadi murtishu kala-niyamena tishthan
The incarnation is compared to the waves of a river. The verse states that as the waves of the river or the waves of the ocean cannot be counted, similarly, it is impossible to count the incarnations of the Supreme Lord. However, from these manifold incarnations, the principal names are mentioned in the sastras and we see Lord Ram mentioned here, signifying his unequivocal importance in the shastras. Lord Ram was born in the Treta-yuga, about two million years before the period we are living in. We still celebrate the day with pomp and fervor as the Lord is still remembered by people across the world.
One of the most important Hindu festivals, Ram Navami commemorates the birth of Lord Sri Ram who is the seventh avatar or incarnation of the Hindu Almighty Vishnu. Scriptures state that Ram Navami falls on the ninth day (Navami) of the Shukla paksha (waxing phase) of the Hindu lunisolar month Chaitra. In the Gregorian calendar, this day usually falls in either March or April.
The festival also has other names like Chaitra Masa Sukla paksha Navami, and the date coincides with Vasant Navaratri or Chaitra Durga Puja. Some parts of the world celebrate the occasion with festivities ranging over a period of nine days. During the auspicious festival, Hindus hold various poojas and rituals at their homes and in temples, welcoming Lord Ram into their hearts and abodes.
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nanavataram akarod bhuvaneshu kintu
krishnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami”
When is Ram Navami in 2021?
Ram Navami in 2021 falls on 21st of April, Wednesday.
Ram Navami Madhyahna Muhurat – 11:02:08 AM to 01:38:08 PM
Duration – 02 Hours 36 Mins
Ram Navami Madhyahna Moment – 12:20:09 PM
Birth of Rama – the legend and the astrology facts
Now that we know the spiritual relevance of the festival, what is the legend behind this auspicious day? The story of Ram Navami begins with the King of Lanka, the mighty Ravan. During Ravan’s rule, the population was mercilessly terrorized, and people wished to attain freedom from the demons king and his menacing soldiers.
However, no simple man could defeat the king because he had acquired the blessing of Lord Brahma which meant that he would never get killed by the Gods or Yakshas (demigod). Therefore, Ravan had become the most powerful being in the world and his might knew no bounds. Due to this terrorism and threat, all Gods made their way to the eternal savior Lord Vishnu and requested his help in handling the situation and freeing humankind from the menace of Ravan.
Lord Vishnu acquiesced and this led him to take the incarnation of Lord Ram on Earth. Lord Ram was born to Kausalya, the wife of King Dasaratha, and he went on to defeat the monstrous King Ravan and free the people from his clutches. Ever since the day of Lord Ram’s birth is celebrated as Ram Navami. It was also on a Chaitra Shukla Navami that Tulsidas began writing the exalted treatise Ramcharitmanas.
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Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of the noble Ikshvaku dynasty, and he led an exemplary life filled with virtues like modesty, generosity, and obligation. He suffered many wrongdoings at the hands of his relatives, and finally, after an immense struggle, Lord Ram and his faithful cohorts managed to kill the demonic King Ravana who was characterized by the vices of covetousness, oppressiveness, and arrogance.
The renowned sage Valmiki, in Ramayana, narrates the finer details of Lord Ram’s birth chart. He states that Queen Kausalya bore a son on the ninth day of Chaitra month, where the ruling star was Punarvasu and the presiding deity of the ruling star was Aditi. The asterism was in the ascendant and Sun, along with the four planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus were at their highest positions, while Jupiter with Moon was ascendant in Cancer. Some modern astrological studies suggest January 10, 5114 BC as Lord Ram’s date of birth.
The almighty Lord Ram is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. According to the Hindu belief, Lord Vishnu incarnates on Earth, at regular intervals, to save people from the clutches of evil and establish the path of righteousness or dharma.
How is Ram Navami celebrated?
As a major Hindu festival, Ram Navami is celebrated with great fervor across Hindu nations, especially India. The festival is highly popular among the Vaishnavite sect of Hindus. The celebration includes aspects like the narration of Ramayan, recitation of Ramaraksha Stotra, organization of Kirtans, decoration of Lord Ram’s idol with beautiful ornaments and embellishments, and swinging the idol in a cradle. The Ramayana is continuously recited in the month of Chaitra, prior to the celebration. On the day of Ram Navami, the highlights of the legend are read aloud in the temple, with devotees thronging to pay respect to the Lord.
Hindus embark on a cleansing and purifying spree before the auspicious festival by thoroughly cleaning their houses. The family shrine or household holy spot is decorated with small statues of Lord Ram. People place offerings of flowers and fruits in the shrine and recite prayers after an early bath and purification ritual. Some people also fast and restrict themselves to a fruit diet to honor the Lord on this day. Usually, items like onions, garlic, and wheat products are not consumed on Ram Navami. In some places, people follow a tradition where they tie an earthen pot filled with money on top of a tree. The tree’s base is covered with soft mud. Youth from the locality then try to climb up and claim this pot by forming human pyramids while other people throw water at them to stop them from achieving the task easily.
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In some parts of South India, the auspicious day is also considered as the wedding anniversary of Lord Ram and Sita. On this day, the Bhadrachalam Temple in Telangana performs the world-famous ‘Sitarama Kalyanam’, or the ceremonial wedding of the divine couple. People also celebrate the occasion in their houses by marrying the idols of the deities and a procession is held in the evenings. Places associated with Lord Ram’s life, like Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Sita Samhit Sthal in Bihar, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu see multitudes of devotees thronging to the holy places to welcome Lord Ram into their hearts and lives. Ram Navami in 2021 promises to be a joyful occasion as people will be gathering after a year of Covid 19 restrictions. Though mild restrictions are still in place, they are not likely to mar the celebrations.
The Significance of Ram Navami
Along with being one of the most important festivals celebrated by Hindus across the globe, Ram Navami also symbolizes the victory of good over evil, as Lord Ram, the embodiment of virtues, defeats King Ravan, who is full of vices and cruelty. The festival also signifies the establishment of the Dharma to beat the Adharma. The celebration of the festival begins with a water offering, in the early morning, to the Sun God as people believe that the Sun God was an ancestor of Lord Ram, as Lord Ram belongs to the Suryavanshi clan.
Ram Navami is one of the five major holy festivals celebrated by Hindus. In earlier periods, this was one of the few festivals that the lower caste people were allowed to celebrate and hence it was celebrated with great fervor by all the classes of the society. People believe that fasting on this auspicious day will help them attain nirvana or salvation. Indeed, the Lord’s name itself means bliss or happiness and Lord Ram bestows these qualities on the people who remember and worship him with all their hearts. It is widely known that Lord Ram was born on earth to bring back the lost glory in humanity, destroy evil, and save innocent mankind. It is important to understand his characters and virtues and imbibe them in our daily lives even as we gather to celebrate this auspicious festival and worship the Lord and Saviour.
Indeed, we know that the life and journey of Lord Ram is an example for all of us. We can all attain salvation and happiness if we follow the virtues exemplified by the Lord in our own lives. He is, truly, an embodiment of noble qualities. It was because of these characteristics that he was called Maryada Purushottam or a perfect human being. Lord Ram’s actions and practices in life offer us the perfect example of how to lead our lives as good and exemplary human beings who bring positivity and goodness to the world.
Lord Ram’s life choices were always in tune with dharma or the right path. He taught all of us the lessons of righteousness and goodness by showing his own example as an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal husband, an ideal friend, and an ideal king. During his rule, the earth was prosperous and happy, and his subjects were full of devotion and joy. ‘Ram Rajya’ is the name given to ideal rule which embodies justice, happiness, harmony, and prosperity for all humans. We must always attempt to be like Lord Ram even as we celebrate the auspicious festival with all our hearts.