Ram Navami – a festival that honors the birth of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. A celebration that transports us into a world of rich cultural heritage, ancient traditions, and deep-rooted spirituality.
The sounds of bhajans and kirtans filling the air, the scent of incense and flowers wafting through the atmosphere, and the sight of beautifully decorated temples and colorful processions. Picture devotees, young and old, dressed in vibrant traditional attire, singing praises of Lord Rama and reciting stories from the epic Ramayana.
Lord Rama was born on the ninth day of Chaitra month, which falls in the Hindu calendar month of March or April. Ram Navami is celebrated on this auspicious day with great zeal and enthusiasm. The festival is observed by offering prayers and performing various religious rituals dedicated to Lord Rama.
The day begins with devotees taking a bath early in the morning and then visiting temples to offer prayers to Lord Rama. Special prayers and hymns are recited, and offerings of flowers, fruits, and sweets are made to the deity. The temples are decorated with flowers and lights to mark the occasion.
The festival is also celebrated by reading and reciting the Ramayana, which is an epic tale that tells the story of Lord Rama’s life and his deeds. Many people observe fasts on this day and refrain from consuming non-vegetarian food.
In some parts of India, especially in the northern region, processions are taken out on the occasion of Ram Navami. These processions are known as ‘Ram Navami Yatras,’ and they involve carrying idols of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman on decorated chariots or palanquins.
The festive occasion of Ram Navami, which falls on March 30th, 2023, is set to commence with preparations that will commence a day prior on March 29th, 2023.
Puja Tithi and Shubh Muhurat
The Navami tithi starts at 09:07 PM (indian time) on March 29 and ends at 11:30 PM (indian time) on March 30. The subha Muhurat is from 11:12 AM to 01:41 PM. The duration is of 2 hours and 29 mins with Ram Navami Madhyana moment of 12:27 PM.
A wooden chowki, A piece of fresh yellow cloth for covering the chowki, An idol of photo frame of Shri Rama, Haldi, Chandan, A coconut, Paan and supari, Banana, A brass lamp, Oil or ghee and cotton wicks, Dhoop (Incense sticks), Camphor (Kapur), Kumkum, Akshat, Flowers, Tulsi leaves, Fruits, Kalava and/or a fresh piece of cloth, A janeu (sacred thread), Trays for arranging these items and a small plate for performing the aarti, Dakshina, For Panchamrit – Banana or mishri, ghee, curd, honey and raw milk
- Commence the puja by paying your respects to Lord Ganesh.
- Proceed to perform the puja of Shri Rama.
- Initiate the puja rituals with a peaceful meditation.
- Seek the blessings of Lord Rama and offer him your prayers, along with other offerings.
- After Dhyana, perform Avahanam by offering your prayers to Lord Rama with folded hands, and place his photo frame or idol on a wooden platform draped with a yellow cloth, providing him an asana.
- Light an oil or ghee lamp as a symbol of hope and devotion.
- Offer water to the feet of the deity, and then offer kalava, janeu, haldi, chandan, kumkum, flowers, Tulsi leaves and Panchamrit.
- Recite the Vishnu Sahasranamam and offer incense sticks and the Tamboolam (coconut with its husk, paan, supari, fruits, bananas and dakshina).
- Conclude the puja by performing the aarti, a symbol of offering light and gratitude to the deity.
Raamaaya Raamabhadraaya Raamachandraaya Vedasey
Raghunaathaaya Naathaaya Seethaayaah Pathaye Namaha!!
Om Kleem Namo Bhagavathey Raamachandraaya sakalajana vashyakaraaya Swaaha!!
Sri Rama Jayam
Shri Ram Shri Ram
Shri Ram Sharnam Mamah
Shri Ram Jaya Ram Siva Ram
The Birth of Lord Rama
The story goes as:
In the court of King Dasharatha, the court advisor suggested an Ashwamedha yajna, which is an imperial horse sacrifice. The chief priest of the grand sacrifice, Rishi Rishyashringa, included a powerful offering rite that was believed to help with begetting sons.
Following the placement of offerings in the fire, the remaining remnants were divided amongst the king’s wives, who consumed them. As a result of the concluded Ashwamedha yagna, King Dasharatha’s three wives gave birth to four sons – Kausalya bore Rama (in whom Vishnu had incarnated), Kaikeyi bore Bharata, and Sumitra bore Lakshmana and Shatrughan.
Rama, the eldest of the four princes, was his father’s favorite, while Lakshmana was devoted to his elder brother from a young age.
At the same time, Ravana, the King of Lanka, was causing trouble in the Swarga Loka, the Kingdom of Gods. To preserve order, Lord Vishnu incarnated in the form of Rama, the son of Dasharatha, to defeat Ravana.
Thus, the Ashwamedha yajna not only resulted in the birth of four sons but also paved the way for Rama’s incarnation, who would eventually become a legendary figure known for his virtuous and righteous character.
Sloka from BalaKanda
tatō yajñē samāptē tu ṛtūnāṅ ṣaṭsamatyayu:.
tataśca dvādaśē māsē caitrē nāvamikē tithau৷৷1.18.8৷৷
nakṣatrē.ditidaivatyē svōccasaṅsthēṣu pañcasu.
grahēṣu karkaṭē lagnē vākpatāvindunā saha৷৷1.18.9৷৷
prōdyamānē jagannāthaṅ sarvalōkanamaskṛtam.
viṣṇōrardhaṅ mahābhāgaṅ putramaikṣvākuvardhanam.Balakanda, Valmiki Ramayana
It states that the birth occurred on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the twelfth month of Chaitra. Aditi, a Hindu goddess, was the presiding deity during the birth, and the star Punarvasu was in the ascendant. At the time of birth, the five planets, Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, were exalted in their own houses in Karkata Lagna. Brihaspati, the planet Jupiter, was in conjunction with the Moon.
The sloka describes Lord Rama as a facet of Vishnu, the Lord of the entire universe. It states that he was adorned with all auspicious signs and received obeisance from all over the world. Lord Rama is also described as the venerable one who would perpetuate the Ikshvaku race. The Ikshvaku dynasty was believed to be the ruling dynasty of ancient India, and Lord Rama was considered one of its most important kings. (Commentary source)
Celebrations around the world
Puja, bhajan, and kirtan are the main forms of worship during Rama Navami. Fasting is also a significant aspect of the celebration. Devotees read passages from the Ramayana, the holy book that tells the life story of Rama. Cities mentioned in the Ramayana, such as Ayodhya, Rameswaram, Bhadrachalam, and Sitamarhi, organize major celebrations.
The festival is named after Rama, but it also includes reverence for Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman, who played important roles in Rama’s life. Some Sanatani observe the festival in Hindu temples, while others celebrate it at home. The worship of Surya, the Hindu sun god, is also a part of the celebrations in some communities.
Karnataka: Local Mandalis celebrate Sri Ramanavami by distributing free panakam and food even on footpaths.
Bengaluru: Sree Ramaseva Mandali, R.C.T (R.) Chamrajpet, organizes India’s most prestigious month-long classical music festival. This musical extravaganza sees celebrated Indian classical musicians from both Carnatic and Hindustani genres descend to offer their musical rendition to Rama and the assembled audience.
Eastern Indian states such as Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal: Jagannath temples and regional Vaishnava communities observe Rama Navami and treat it as the day when preparations begin for their annual Jagannath Ratha Yatra in summer.
Vaishnavite: Observe all nine days of the Vasanta Navaratri by reading the Ramayana and remembering Rama. Temples organize special discussion sessions in the evenings. Charitable events and community meals are also organized by temples and Vaishnavite organizations.
Devotees associated with ISKCON: Observe Rama Navami by fasting through the daylight hours. Many ISKCON temples have also introduced more prominent celebrations of the holiday to address the needs of their growing native Hindu congregations.
South Africa: Many families forced to leave India due to British-engineered famines and worked on colonial South Africa continued to celebrate Rama Navami by reciting the Ramayana and singing bhajans of Tyagaraja and Bhadrachala Ramdas. This tradition continues in contemporary times in the Hindu temples of Durban every year.
Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Singapore: Hindu descendants of colonial-era indentured workers hold Ramnavami as significant festival as it helps them remember their cultural roots and keep their traditions alive.
Fiji: Re-migrated Hindu descendants of colonial-era indentured workers continue to celebrate Rama Navami.
Ram Navami is not just a festival, but a celebration of the virtues of Lord Rama and his teachings. It serves as a reminder to people that good always triumphs over evil, and that following the path of righteousness can bring peace and prosperity to one’s life.
The festival brings people from all walks of life together, and it provides an opportunity for them to reflect on their own lives and the values they hold dear. With its rich history, vibrant traditions, and deep spiritual significance, Ram Navami is truly one of the most revered and cherished festivals for us Sanatani.