Rama is the name to be chanted to attain mukthi from our sinful worldl ylife. Even in the last moments of one’s life, if he chants the mantra of Rama he will go directly to heaven.
Such a great name belongs to Sriram, the seventh avatar among the dashavatars of Mahavishnu. Rama is the nayak of the epic Ramayana, the son of king Dasharatha and the avatar of Vishnu as a human being epitomizing all good virtues on earth and a role model for a good son, husband, brother and raja. His reign is blemishless and without fault to be eulogised as Ramarajya where everyone lived happily following the path of dharma.
Sri Rama Navami is the celebration of the birthday of Rama who is God incarnation born on earth to kill Ravana the king of asuras possessing great valour and intelligence. Ravana’s undue desire for Sita caused his death in the hands of Rama
.Raamvathar is to destroy Ravana who was a terror to all beings in the universe with his boon granted by Brahma of being not slaughtered by anybody but a human being. So, Vishnu took the avatar of Rama in the form of a human being to kill Ravana.
Navami after New moon in the Chaitra month (March-April) with the birth star Punarpoosam is the birthday of Lord Rama. (We all know the story of Dasharatha, the Raghu Vansh Raja performed Puthra Kameshti yagna with the guidance of the rishi Rishyashrunga and got the payasam that was given to his three wives, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. As the result, Rama was born to Kausalya, Bharata to Kaikeyi and Lakshman and Satrugnan to Sumitra).
This year Sri Rama Navami date falls on April 5 (5.7.2017).
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated as the Kalyanotsava of Rama and Sita in South India and is celebrated for a week starting from Ugadi till Rama Navami. It is the last day of Chaitra Navaratri also.
Since Rama is a paragon of virtue and transcends the barriers of caste and creed, Sri Rama Navami is celebrated with much pomp and festivity by all the people who regard truth and virtue as the realities that encompass the universe. So, all theHindu communities in the world make it a point to observe this festival as a mark of respect to the Maryadha Purushotham Sriram.
Significance of Rama Nama Japam
As mentioned earlier, Rama mantra in the moment of one’s last breath will take him to liberation. Why?
You have two key consonants in the name Rama-‘R’ and‘M’. ’R’ denotes Narayana and ‘M’ denotes Mahadeva. So, chanting Rama nama is paying reverence to both Narayana andMahadeva.
‘Ra’ also refers to Ravi that is Surya. Rama belongs to Surya Vamsa. So, it is a way of worshipping Surya, who raises our energy and power when we chant this nama.
It is said that chanting Rama nama is equivalent to reciting Vishnu SahasraNamam.
Sri Rama ramethi rame rame manorame
Sahasra nama thathulyam Rama nama varanane
‘Mantra’ means energy and ‘thaaraka’ means ‘a thing that takes you across’. Rama mantra takes you across the sea of worldly life and helps you cross it to reach the other world.
It is also said that in the word ‘Rama’,’Ra’ is the Agnibeeja and ‘Ma’ is Akashtattva. When one chants Rama, he is making an offering through Agni to Cosmic Consciousness. That is why we have many mantras with Ra and Ma sounds (hraam, hreem, hroom, aum).
In the character of Rama, we find all virtues decoded in a single person.
Rama’s life is an example of how a person should be in life. He is the role model for a great son, excellent husband, loving brother and blameless king. From his life, we understand how one can prove heights of excellence by being humble and supremely virtuous. From his life, we understand how to fight out the unforeseen situations in life.
WhenKaikeyi wants him to go to the forest on the eve of his coronation he accepts it without grumble and the same way fights with Ravana to get untied with Sita (a fight of good versus evil). His courage, will-power and strength of character teach us a valuable lesson to stand supreme even amongst the odds we face in life. His resourcefulness to use the valour of monkeys to his advantage proves his managerial skills and ability to lead a team.
Rama’s life exemplifies the fight of good over evil and dharma over adharma.
Rama Navami is a festival celebrated with jubilance all over India. Ram mandirs are decorated specially for this occasion with special poojas and there are fairs (rath yatras) in which the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman andHanuman are bedecked beautifully and taken in a procession.
In some places, reality shows depicting the life of Rama are conducted. There are musical concerts in praise of Rama’s virtues and life incidents. Such events culminate in colourful fireworks on Rama Navami. Since there are many lores written on Rama’s life, people celebrate the occasion with singing, dancing and enacting the life history of Rama.
Rama Katha is recited in temples and homes. Akanda Ramayan, Tulsidas and Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kandam are recited in mandirs and people involve in Rama nama japam and Rama bhajans. In some places, there is worship of Lord Surya as Rama belongs to Raghu Vamsa otherwise known as Surya Vansh.
Fasting on Rama Navami is a major aspect of Rama Navami celebrations. Some fast from morning till noon, some fast till midnight, some take one-time meal and some take fruits and milk. There are also people who fast for 9 days during Rama Navami celebrations. Needless to say, Rama Navami fast will relieve one of his sins and enable him to seek the grace of Lord Rama.
People take a pilgrimage to Ayodhi, Rishikesh and Rameswaram to take a darshan of Lord Rama. Ayodhi is the birth place of Rama and the Ram Navami celebrations are seamless and glorious on the day. People deem it very sacred to have a dip in the river Sarayu and worship Rama there. Having a holy dip in Rameswaram is also considered as sacred by the pilgrims on this occasion. Rishikesh is the place which is considered special for worshipping Ram and pilgrims make it a point to visit it.
Shri Rama Navami is an occasion to ignite goodness in ourselves, think of the glory of Rama, involve in his japa and seek liberation from our sins.