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Sri Rama Navami

Ram Navami is a Hindu holiday. It falls on the ninth day of the Hindu lunar year (or Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami), and is a celebration of the birthday of the Hindu god Rama.
The story behind Ram's birth goes as below: Dasarath, The King of Avadha Kingom had three wives, Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi. Their greatest worry was that they had no children. At that time Maharshi Vasist suggests him to perform PuthraKamesti Yagna, through which he can have children. He also tells him to bring Maharshi RushyaShrunga to perform this Yagna for him. Immmediately King Dasharath gives his consent, and heads to Maharshi RushyaShrunga's ashram, to get him. Maharshi agrees and will accompany Dasharath to Ayodhya(Capital of Avadha) and performs the yagna. As the result of yagna, Yagneshwar appears and hands Dasarath a bowl of Payasam and asks him to give it to his wives. Dasharath gives one half of the payasam to his elder wife Kausalya, and another half to his younger wife Kaikeyi. They both give half of their portions to Sumithra. After few days all three Queens concives. On the nineth day(Navami) of Chaithra Masa(First month in hindhu calender),at noon Kaushlya gives birth to Lord Sri Ram, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharath, and Sumithra to twin boys, Lakshman and Shatrughan.
Lord Ram is seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who takes birth on earth when Adharma over rules Dharma. He protects all his devoties by vanishing the roots of Adharma. Lord Ram was born on earth to destroy the demon named Ravan.

Hindus normally perform Kalyanotsavam (marriage celebration) with small murtis of Rama and Sita in their houses, 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 utsavam called Chaitra Navaratri (Maharashtra) or Vasanthothsavam (Andhra Pradesh) (festival of Spring), which starts with Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra) or Ugadi (South India). According to recent astrological studies, his year of birth is consider to be January 10, 5114 B.C [1][2]
Some highlights of this day are-
  • Kalyanam (Ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests) at Bhadrachalam on the banks of the river Godavari in Khammam district.
  • Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
  • Procession of idols in the evening that is accompanied with play of water and colours.
For the occasion, Hindus are supposed to fast (or restrict themselves to a specific diet). Temples are decorated and readings of the Ramayana take place. Along with Shri Ram, people also pray Sita (Ram's wife), Lakshman (his brother who went on exile with him) and Hanuman (monkey god, ardent devotee of Ram and Ram's chief of army).
Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.
Ramrajya
(the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how, according to him, India should be after Independence.
Ramnavami occurs in the months of March and April. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.
On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.
Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty which is called the Sun dynasty. This dynasty is famous for great kings like King Dileep, King Raghu and many others. In all King Raghu was noted to stand for his word. Following the foot prints of his great ancestor King Raghu, Lord Rama too went to jungles to keep the promises made by his father Dasarath to his step mother Kaikeyi. Hence Rama came to be known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun-worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.
Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra which in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.
The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama along with other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Ramnavami antedates the R- ayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered themselves to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

Sri Rama Navami

Whenever the evil forces reign supreme, the Lord will come to the rescue and set things right. Accordingly Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe (according to the Hindu mythology) has taken 9 "Avatars" or incarnations to eradicate the evil forces and establish goodness and prosperity. (Lord Vishnu is yet to take his 10th Avatar - "Kalki). Of these incarnations, the seventh is the Sri Rama Avatar. Sri Rama Navami marks the birth of Lord Rama. From Ugadi for the next 9 days, we celebrate the Vasantha Navarathri. It concludes with Sri Rama Navami. It is celebrated on the day when "Navami" (9th day after the new/full moon day) and the star "Punarvasu" occur together in the Tamil month of "Chitirai". (Sometimes it might fall in the "Panguni" month also). The Hindu tradition has a lot of meaningful practices. The Tamil months Panguni and Chitirai (April & May) are the hottest months of the year in this part of the world. Hence the "Prasadams" offered to God will be directly related to the weather conditions.

For Sri Rama Navami, the "Prasadams" offered are Panakam, Neer Mor (Diluted Buttermilk), Vadai Paruppu and Panchaamirutham. These items are also prepared at the temples and distributed as prasadams to the devotees who come to seek the blessings of God. All the above mentioned foodstuffs can be taken to bring down the body heat. They also make up for the loss of body fluids due to the excessive perspiration. Apart from the above, in olden days, there was a custom to gift hand-made fans to other people. Since there was no electric fans then, to reduce the effect of the heat, these hand-operated fans were very useful during the summer months. It was indeed a thoughtful gesture.

Sri Rama Navami

Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his preperous and righteous reign. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how, according to him, India should be after independence.

   Ramnavami occurs in the month of March. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.

   Surya - The Sun was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties potrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered themselves to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

   On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.

   Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun-worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.

   Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra which in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

   The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama alongwith other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Ramnavami antedates the R- ayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties potrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered themselves to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

   There is some link between Lord Rama and Sun Worship. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun-worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra which in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

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