Rama Nawami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, is one of the oldest avatars of Lord Vishnu having a human form. The holy day usually falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the B.S. Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navaratri (Vasanta Navaratri) celebrations. Rama Navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals.
At some places the festival lasts the whole nine days of the Navaratri, thus the period is called ‘Sri Rama Navaratra’. It is marked by continuous recitals, Akhand Paath, mostly of the Ramacharitamanas, organized several days in advance to culminate on this day, with elaborate bhajan, kirtan and distribution of prasad after the puja and aarti. Images of the infant Rama are placed on cradles and rocked by devotees. Community meals are also organized. Since Rama is believed to have been born at noon, temples and family shrines are elaborately decorated and traditional prayers are chanted together by the family in tial havans are organized, along with Vedic chanting of mantras and offerings of fruits and flowers. Many followers mark this day by vrata (fasting) through the day followed by feasting in the evening, or at the culmination of celebrations. In South India, in Bhadrachalam the day is also celebrated as the wedding anniversary of Rama and his Nepalese consort Sita. Sitarama Kalyanam, the ceremonial wedding ceremony of the divine couple is held at temples throughout the south region, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama.
The important celebrations on this day take place at Janakpurdham(Nepal), Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) Sita Samahit Sthal (Sitamarhi) (Bihar), Bhadrachalam (Telangana),Kodandarama Temple, Vontimitta (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), thronged by thousands of devotees. Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places, including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.
In the epic Ramayana, Dasharatha, the Emperor from Ayodhya, had three wives named Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi in the Treta Yuga (which follows the Satya Yuga and succeeded by the Dwapara Yuga). Rama is born to Kaushalya, Lakshmana & Shatrughna to Sumitra and Bharata to Kaikeyi. Rama is known as ‘Maryada Purushottam’ which means an ideal, righteous and a great or a perfect human being, being the best son, brother, husband and father.
Rama who takes birth by his own will, on Bhuloka (Earth) when Adharma rules over Dharma. He protects all his devotees by vanquishing the roots of Adharma. Vishnu decided to incarnate, as Rama, to destroy the Asura (person with demonic and evil designs) called Ravana who is a Brahmin king of Lanka. Lord Rama & Lord Krishna are two gods in Hinduism or Aryan Vedic context that were born and then departed from earth. (and some gods are their manifestations or devotees). Hence the mahamantra: II Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare II II Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare II
Natal chart of Rama
Valmiki in his Sanskrit text Ramayana describes the natal or birth chart of young Rama, and this day is celebrated as Ramanavami festival throughout India and amongst Indian diaspora:
“ “On completion of the ritual six seasons have passed by and then in the twelfth month, on the ninth day of Chaitra month , when the presiding deity of ruling star of the day is Aditi, where the ruling star of day is Punarvasu (Nakshatra), the asterism is in the ascendant, and when five of the nine planets viz., Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are at their highest position, when Jupiter with Moon is ascendant in Cancer, and when day is advancing, then Queen Kausalya gave birth to a son with all the divine attributes like lotus-red eyes, lengthy arms, roseate lips, voice like drumbeat, and who took birth to delight the Ikshwaku dynasty, who is adored by all the worlds, and who is the greatly blessed epitome of Vishnu, namely Rama.”
Followers of Hinduism in South India normally perform Kalyanotsavam (marriage celebration) with small deities of Rama and Sita in their homes, and at the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets. This day also marks the end of the nine-day utsava called Chaitra Navaratri (Maharashtra) or Vasanthothsava (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu) (festival of Spring), which starts with Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra). According to recent astrological studies, some consider his date of birth to be January 10, 5114 BC but this is disputed by traditionalists who maintain that Rama was born on April/May period millions of years ago during Treta Yuga
Rama Rajya, the reign of Sri Rama, is a rare period of peace and prosperity bestowed by him alone. This festival commemorates the birth of Sri Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.
In Northern India, an event that draws popular participation is the Rama Navami procession, also called Ratha Yatra. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons enact the divine pastimes of Rama, His brother Lakshmana, His queen Sita and His pure devotee, Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as Rama’s soldiers. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants praising echoing the blissful days of Rama’s rule as the Supreme Emperor on Bhuloka .
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