Rama Navami celebrations in Rishikesh
At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh (Uttar Pradesh
), Ramnavami is celebrated for nine days as follows:
- The sacred Mantras “Om Sri Ramaya Namah” or “Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” are chanted.
- Devotees read the whole of the Ramayana, either the Sanskrit version of Sage Valmiki or the Hindi version of Saint Tulsidas, during these nine days.
- Those who cannot recite the entire epic may read this single verse which contains in a nutshell the story of the Ramayana: “Formerly, Sri Rama went to the forests, where sages did penance, and killed the illusive deer. Sita was carried away and Jatayu was killed. Rama met Sugriva, killed Vali and crossed the ocean. The city of Lanka was burnt by Hanuman. The demons, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, were then killed. Thus is recited the holy Ramayana”.
- Devotees greet one another with “Sri Ram” or “Jai Ram-ji-ki”.
- Those who have adopted Lord Rama as their favorite deity observe a fast, taking only milk and fruit for all the nine days. Some fast only on the Ramnavami day itself.
- On the final day of Ramnavami, a grand worship of Lord Rama is organized in the gorgeously decorated temple. All the Vedic rituals including Laksharchana are performed.
- A “havan” or sacred fire ceremony is also performed.
- From four in the morning to late at night, there devotional music and chants of Rama are played.
- Leaflets, booklets and books relating to Lord Rama are distributed.
- Special meetings are held in the evening at which discourses on the life and teachings of the Lord are delivered.
Eight Prahar fasting is suggested during Rama Navami. Which means devotes should observe the fast from sunrise to sunrise. Rama Navami Vrat can be observed in three different ways, casual (नैमित्तिक) -which can be observed without any cause, continual (नित्य) – which can be observed throughout life without any desire and desirable (काम्य) – which can be observed to fulfill any desire.