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By Srinivas Jammalamadaka


Sometimes transliterated as: Rama Navami, RAma Navami, Raama Navami


Rāma navamī is the next auspicious day or festival after Yugādi. It is performed on the ninth day of the śukla paksha in the month of Chaitra according to chāndramāna or lunar calendar. It also is the last day of the Vasanta navarātra. This is the day when Lord Śri Rāma candra was born. Srī Rāma is believed to be the 7nth avatāra of lord Viṣṇu. According to Agastya saṃhitā as quoted in the work Hemādri, Rāma was born in morning on the 9th day of the śukla pakṣa of caitra māsa, in punarvasū nakṣatra.

Caitre navamyā prākpakṣe divā puṇye punarvasau[1]

Rāma Navamīvrata

On this day, it is prescribed to perform Rāma navamī vrata. It is stated that this vrata is nitya[2] for all, while others opine that this is a vrata for devotees of Rāma. Some even opine this to be a kāmya vrata. Agastya saṃhitā states that anyone who desires for the removal of pāpa, attaining worldly comforts or mukti[3] should perform this vrata. On this day it is prescribed to observe fast. It is said that consumption of food on this day would lead to kuṃbhīpāka[4]

Sarveṣāmapyayam dharmo bhuktimuktyekasādhanaṃ...yastu rāmanavamyām bhunkte sa ca narādhamaḥ| kumbhīpākeṣu ghoreṣu pacyate nātra samśayaḥ|[5]

On the day of Rāma Navamī one should fast and perform vrata which includes 16 upacāras for lord Rāma. It is said that one should make an idol of Rāma from gold, silver or any metal or even clay according to his financial capabilities. That particular idol should be worshiped. After completion of the vrata one should donate that idol to a learned brāhmaṇa. The phalaṃ[6] for this vrata depends on the worshiper's understanding of the saṃsāra. It means that if a person is bound to the saṃsāra, this vrata shall bring him worldly prosperities. If he is spiritually awakened and has the understanding of vedānta then Rāma is considered parabrahma, and the vrata's purpose shall be mukti or mokṣa, the ultimate puruṣārtha. The detail description of the vrata is available in the Agastya saṃhita.

Rāma Navami in recent times

In recent times, not many people observe fast on Rāmanavamī or perform the vrata, but the birth of Rāma is celebrated with great pomp. Some temples and individuals perform Rāma Kalyāṇaṃ ritual on this day followed by Rāma Paṭṭābhiṣekaṃ on the next day. Śrī Kodnḍa Rāma temple in Bhadrachalam, Telangana is famous for Rāma Kalyāṇaṃ on Rāmanavamī and Rāma Paṭṭābhiṣekaṃ on the next day. Other places such as Ayodhya, Rāmeśvaram etc. are also famous for their Rāmanavamī celebrations.


References

  1. Agastya saṃhitā, Hemādri, vrta-1, p.no. 941
  2. It means obligatory ritual.
  3. It means release from saṃsāra.
  4. Kuṃbhīpāka is a punishment in naraka which is believed to be very painful.
  5. agastya saṃhitā, hemādri, vrta-1, p.no. 942
  6. It means reward.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore