Sri Rama Jayam!
The Rama Navami festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Dashavataram, and also the hero of the epic, Ramayana. Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya, to King Dasharatha out of a Putra Kameshti Yagna. Dasharatha had three wives: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Ram was Kaulsalya’s son, and was the eldest among the four sons of Dasharatha. Bharatha was Kaikeyi’s son and Lakshmana and Shatrughna were the twin sons of Sumitra. Lord Ram is married to Queen Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, and they have two sons, Luva and Kusha. Lord Hanuman is Lord Rama’s bhakta or loyal devotee and is a favorite of the Lord and loves Rama dearly.
The Rama Navami festival is observed on the ninth day of the Shukla Paksham of the month of Chaitram.
In 2017, in the United States, both the Smartha and Vaishnava Rama Navami is celebrated on Tuesday, April 4th. In India, the Vaishnava Rama Navami is celebrated on Tuesday, April 4th and the Smartha Rama Navami is celebrated on Wednesday, April 5th.
On this day, in all Hindu temples, they perform the Kalyanam Utsavam, wherein they conduct the marriage of Lord Ram with Goddess Sita in a grand manner, like a real live wedding, but with the Utsava Vigrahams or Idols of the temple, followed by the temple procession of the deity. This festival is celebrated all over India but in a much more grand and ceremonial manner in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andra Pradesh and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu because of the importance these places had in Lord Ram’s life in the Ramayana.
The following are offered as neviedhyam:
- Neer Moru
- Nei Payasam
- Channa Dal Kosumalli
- Moong Dal Kosumalli – believed to be a favorite of Lord Hanuman
- Urad Dal or Ulundu Vadai– also prepared in honor of Lord Hanuman
- Take a hair bath.
- Prepare the neivedhyams.
- Draw the kolams outside the house and at the God’s place – mostly the Naalu Moolai Kolam.
- Light the lamps.
- Chant the prayers and do archanai.
- Offer the neivedhyams by taking a little water in hand or udrani and make a circular motion around the food and think of God and drop the water in the middle.
- Do namaskarams.
- Serve the prasadams.
The prayers usually chanted on this day are:
- Rama Ashtothram or Shathanamavalli
- Hanuman Chalisa
- Sundara Kaandam, Bala Kaandam, Seetha Kalyanam and Pattabhishekham
- Ramayana Dasakams from Narayaneeyam
Wish you all a great Rama Navami and may the Lord shower his blessings on you and your family!