Hindu Festival: Ram Navami





On the ninth day of the durga puja of chait [the ninth day after the new moon in the Sukul Paksh (the waxing moon)] some time in the month of April, Lord Vishnu took the seventh avtar, and Sri Ram was born to rid the world of Ravan who was creating havoc. Lord Brahma had granted so many boons to Ravan in the past, that he had become almost invincible and so became extremely arrogant. He was destroying dharma on earth and in devlok without a single thought for the future.

The devtas ran to Lord Brahma. Brahmaji told them that he was well aware of the atrocities committed by Ravan, but he himselfcouiddo nothing about it. He had to depend on a human being to do something. Ravan could not be killed by any god or devta, but, in his arrogance, Ravan had forgotten to safeguard himself against a mere human being! Ravan was sure no man could kill him, therefore, only a human being stronger than Ravan must be born on earth to get rid of that evil force. At that very moment Lord Vishnu arrived on his uahan (vehicle) the Garud, and Brahma asked him to take the autar of Ram. All the human beings on earth and the deutas in heaven were in utter misery because of the atrocities of the rakshas, Ravan. Vishnu agreed as he had also promised to be the son of Dasarath (or Dashrath) and Kaushalya in 'Treta Yug (The two in a previous birth had done a lot of tapasya and prayed to Lord Vishnu to be their son and he had agreed.) Now the time had come.

King Dasarath of the glorious line of lkshwaku who traced their origin from the sun god himself was bowed down with grief because he had no son to succeed him. He consulted great rishis and munis they all agreed that he must perform the Ashvamedha Yagna in which a horse is let loose. It roams in every town and country and anyone who dared to stop it had to fight the performer of the Yagna. When the horse returned unharmed, it was sacrificed with great pomp and show. Well, just when the yagna was about to come to a close, Dasarath asked the gurus to perform the Putrakama Yagna, which would grant him a son, the greatest desire of his heart.

That great yagna was being performed when from out of the fire came a divine (male) form. He was dark and he was clad in crimson. He was wearing the most beautiful gold ornaments around his neck and arms and he smiled softly and charmingly. The divine being had a bowl in his hand and he gave it to King Dasarath and asked him to distribute the contents to his wives, saying, I have been commanded by the gods to give this kheer to you to give to your wives to eat and they will bear you the sons you crave for. Dasarath took the bowl in his hands and the divine being vanished.

The king went to Kaushalya (the eldest wife) and asked her to take half the contents. He then gave half of what was left to his second wife Sumitra and then he went to the third, Kaikeyi, who took some, but a little was left over, which the king again gave to Sumitra. And so were born Ram the eldest to Kaushalya; twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan, to Sumitra and Bharat to Kaikeyi. They were all the amsha (part) of "Vishnu' (all living beings according to Hindu belief are in essence a part of the manifest 'Supreme'). They loved each other and were the most perfect of brothers, but Ram and Lakshman along with Ram's wife Sita were to lead a life that became the essence of the great epic Ramayana, which is the guiding light of virtually every Hindu household and moulds the Hindu character to such an extent that many people fail to understand its full implications. It is held in such high esteem even in the south-eastern Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia (which have now turned mainly Muslim) that to this day the traditions of the Ramayana are rooted deep in their lives and their plays and dramas and even their names are based on the epic.

So, in Ayodhya, on the banks of the Sarayu river, in the kingdom of Kusala, was born Ram who grew up to be the most righteous of men, truthful, courageous, full of valour, firm of mind, handsome - with a very attractive personality unruffled by emotions, powerful, highly intelligent and charming. Dark in complexion, broad shouldered with long arms and a wide chest, he had a large and beautiful forehead, liquid eyes and a very attractive gait. He was a great archer. He was noble and good and spoke softly.

All the great qualities that one could ever aspire to were in this son of Kaushalya. I Ram was the perfect man and in the words of Swami I Vivekananda, he was the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all the ideal king Ram was a man who grew into perfection as he faced the turmoilís of life. His life and the life of his wife Sita have become the role models for married couples, and the lives of his brothers, the role models for the younger brothers. By adhering to these ideals, one can get guidance as to the right or wrong of a situation when one is confronted with a dilemma in human relationships. Ram's and Sita's life story serves as a strength-giving narration and Ram Rajya is the ideal rule of a king or the one in power.




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