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Ram Navami Legends: Hindu Culture & Traditions

Ram Navami Legends: Hindu Culture & Traditions

Rama Navami is a famous Hindu festival, which celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. It falls on the ninth day of the shukla paksha, or bright phase of the moon, in the lunar month of Chaitra (April-May). Rama is amongst the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu and also one of the two most popular avatars, along with Lord Krishna. Consequently, Rama Navami is widely celebrated across India. Lord Rama is considered to be the epitome of perfection, the uttama purusha, fulfilling all his duties towards both family and subjects.

It is believed that listening to the story of Rama cleanses the soul. Meditating on the noble Rama and chanting his name is believed to ease the pains of life and lead one to moksha, or liberation. It is also common practice to chant the name of Rama while rocking babies to sleep. The public worship starts from the early morning on the auspicious day of Ram Navami. People keep a fast throughout the day, breaking it only at midnight with fruit. In some parts of India, public gatherings called satsangs are organized to commemorate the birth of Rama. People of all castes and creeds participate in these gatherings to listen to the stories and their explanations offered by the learned.

Legends Of Ram Navami

Birth Of Lord Rama

The country of Kosal was situated on the banks of the river Sharayu. During the reign of king Dasarath, Ayodhya reached a period of great prosperity. However, Dasarath faced a big problem – he had no children. Therefore, he decided to perform a sacrifice known as “ashvamedh”, or horse-sacrifice. Elaborate and difficult rituals had to be observed. A very holy man, rishi Rishyashring, was chosen to conduct the sacrifice with the utmost accuracy. The performance of this sacrifice was a great event in Ayodhya. At the end, Rishyashring recited a mantra and made an offering to the fire. Then the gods, Gandharvas, Siddhas, and Rishis present arid began to pray to Lord Brahma, the Creator of Hindu Trinity.

At that time, Ravana (king of Lanka) was terrorizing the people, and all were longing for liberation from his menace. Ravana was invincible, because Lord Brahma gave him a boon according to which, he would never die at the hands of gods, or Gandharvas, Or Yakshas (demigods) or demons. As he was not afraid of humankind, he did not care to include men in the list of his potential slayers. Therefore, Brahmadev declared that Ravan would die at the hands of a man. Then the gods went to Vishnu with the request, “Dasarath is a glorious king. Please, take birth in the wombs of his three queens in four different degrees of your divinity.”

When Dasarath’s sacrifice ended, a shining figure appeared over the sacrificial homa kund, and offered the king a divine beverage called “payasam” to be given to his queens Kausalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra. In due time, Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikayi to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna. Rama was born at noon of the bright ninth day of Chaitra. He was believed to be the embodiment of half degree of Vishnu’s divinity, (Ardha Ounsh). His birth is celebrated as Ram Navami, with pomp and geity.

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