Sri Rama Navami
Updated: May 16
Sri Rama Navami celebrates the birth of Sri Rama at midday on 21st April this year.
2021 Rama Navami
Rama Navami Madhyahna Muhurat - 10:50 AMt o 01:19 PM POS Trinidad
Lord Rama was born on Navami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. Each year this day is celebrated as birthday of Lord Rama. Lord Rama was born during Madhyahna period which is middle of Hindu day. Madhyahna which prevails for six Ghatis (approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes) is the most auspicious time to perform Rama Navami Puja rituals. The mid-point of Madhyahna marks the moment when Shri Rama was born and temples symbolize this moment as birth moment of Lord Rama. The chanting of Shri Rama and celebration reaches its peak during this time.
We fondly recall Sri Bala Swamiji’s visit here in 2019 for Rama Navami.
Ramayana has inner, yogic meanings
There are many people who translated Ramayana. Ananda Ramayana is full of Ananda—happiness. Adyatmika Ramayana is full of spirituality. Rama and Sita are wonderfully described. Hanuman is described as Prana Shakti, the life’s force. Indrajith is compared with Ahankara—the ego or the “I” consciousness. Kumbhakarna is a sign of tamo guna –laziness. What is good for us and what is bad for us is all explained in Adyatma Ramayana.
There is one more Ramayana written by Hanuman. That is Hanumad Ramayana. This is not available now. Hanuman, sitting on Gandhamadana Mountain wrote this Ramayana. How did he write? With pen? No. He wrote with His nails and piled it up in a cave. Valmiki once went to that cave. Hanuman showed the Ramayana written by him to Valmiki. Valmiki read every page. He felt happy and sad at the same time. Why sad? Because, he felt that Hanumad Ramayana might be more popular than the Ramayana written by him. Hanuman recognises this change in Valmiki. He feels he doesn’t need fame. He only needs devotion. Hanuman thinks, “ Valmiki has done a great penance and is named as Valmiki as a result of this penance. Such Valmiki’s Ramayana should be popular.” Thinking so, Hanuman dropped the Ramayana written by him into the Himalayas. Valmiki was surprised at this act of Hanuman. Hanuman says, “ I didn’t write it for fame but have written it for my own satisfaction and for self- study.” Self- study is very important for us. We also need to read Ramayana for ourselves.
Once, two famous musicians came to Mysore Ashrama and asked Appaji that they wanted to perform in the Prayer Hall. Appaji said, “You both are great musicians and there is no function going on now and there are not many devotees to listen to you.” They replied, “ We will perform for You, Appaji.”
One should be like that. Hanuman told Valmiki, “I could see some sadness in your face, after reading this Ramayana. So I threw it. Valmiki Ramayana only should be there in the world.” This is Hanuman’s order. That is the reason, even today Valmiki Ramayana is the base for us even though Ramayana written by many others are available.
The Lord is indescribable—endless surprise
There is one more Ramayana called Aascharya Ramayana. Everything is a surprise in that, because Lord Himself is a surprise! It is not possible to experience Him. ‘What is happiness?’ questions Shastras (Scriptures). When we construct a wall, we first place a brick, then cement and again brick, and it can go on ….Likewise, the One which has no end is called happiness or satisfaction. Paramatman is said to be ‘Leela Maanusha Vigraha’—He is a surprise with no end!
Power of Ramayana-transforming power
In Ramayana there is a story. It is said that offerings given in Tulabhara (in which one’s weight is equal to the grains including rice or any auspicious object which is at the other end of the scale to be donated) should not be taken by Brahmins. It is a sin. It has to be donated to the needy. One Brahmin took that offering and became a Brahma Rakshasa(fierce demonic spirit) in a forest. He knows why he became like that. Once an ascetic goes to that place in the forest and sits under the tree where that Brahma Rakshasa was. When you pray, sometime or the other you will have the result of your prayers. Prardhana is prayatna. You must put in effort to pray at least. If you don’t pray, there is no result. This ascetic does Ramayana chanting under that tree, where the Brahma Rakshasa was. The moment the chanting was completed, the Brahma Rakshasa gets rid of its evil spirit and narrates his entire story how he became a Brahma Rakshasa. This story has been told in Aascharya Ramayana in the beginning itself as Phala Sruthi(fruit gained by chanting/listening to Ramayana). It has the power to cleanse the environment and the entire universe too!
Sri Rama born in lineage of Dharmic King Dasharatha
The fifth sarga of Valmiki Ramayana gives a wonderful description of Ayodhya, its ruler, King Dasharatha and people. Valmiki describes Kosala kingdom through which he teaches us how to maintain a city. …No enemy could enter that city. It had the best singers, and great people dwelling there….No water tax was levied in those days. Music of auspicious instruments was always played. No other city was equal to Ayodhya. It was built with the power of penance. It was not built by normal engineers. (When 70ft. Hanuman was brought to Mysore, it was with the divine sankalpa of Swamiji. Future will about His ‘tapas Shakti.’)…
Fearless warriors lived in the city. They spoke only truth….All the four castes of people lived happily. There was no difference in opinions….The king of Ayodhya is described. Do we need this you may ask. First, stop seeing Rama as god. Valmiki’s intention is that Rama is to be followed for his righteousness….
Dasaratha ruled like Manu. People liked him so much. He is a king turned into a Rishi and then to Rajarshi. He is equal to Kubera. He gives importance to Dharma. Everyone in his kingdom spoke truth. Everyone was rich because they were happy and satisfied under his rule. If you have no desire in your mind, even if Lord Shiva comes and offers you a wish, you don’t have anything to wish for. People should leave these desires to achieve Moksha…. We must follow our swadharma. Neglecting these duties may lead to natural calamities like tsunami, earthquakes etc. etc. People in this kingdom never lied….Everyone followed their Dharma.
Dasaratha had great ministers and great gurus always guiding him into the right path. In spite of this richness, there was something lacking in King Dasaratha’s life, as he has taken a human birth, says Valmiki. The ministers of Dasharatha were also very righteous, not cunning and give right advices to their king….Especially Sumantra is mentioned in many instances in Ramayana. Two of the king’s priests always guided him in the path of Dharma. They were Vasishta and Vamadeva. The King’s ancestors were Suyagnu, Jabali, Kashyapa, Markandeya. All his ministers were great and never showed ego….
Dasaratha’s good intention
Dasaratha was once reminded of Ashwamedha Yaga which is very difficult, so he wanted to perform this Yaga for purifying himself to have children. Though he was already old, he felt this was missing. This good intention is the base for the entire Ramayana. Here, Valmiki teaches us how a noble intention turns one’s life. This is a major twist. He calls his gurus and Veda pandits and all of them blessed him saying that his sankalpa was great and asked him to get ready for the Yaga. Sumantra tells a secret to Dasharatha about the great sage, Rushya srunga, Sage Vibhandaka Marashi’s son, who was extremely pure, having lived always in the forest, doing penance. They devise a plan for him to marry Shanta, daughter of king Romapada. The latter marries Shanta, for, he falls in love with her on seeing her in the forest when she is sent by her father to serve Sage Vibhandaka. Then the King Romapada invites him to stay in his kingdom for a few days, and because he was so pure, as soon as his feet touch the ground in Romapada’s kingdom, there were heavy rains—no more famine. So King Dasharatha at once invites Sage Rushyasrunga to Ayodhya, and through his father-in-law’s request, he accepts to do the Ashwamedha yaga. After one year, the horse used in the Yaga returns to Ayodhya, the city is well decorated, and Rushya Srunga performs the yaga with all rules, with Vashista and Vamadeva’s blessings. Rishi Vashishtha and King Dasharatha successfully arrange everything, and it is a divine scene to see the great Rishi Vasishtha and other sages participating in this Yaga. After completing all rituals, the King Dasharatha feels that he was purified of all his sins. Rushya Srunga also tells him his sins have been washed away. Everyone is happy. The king makes huge donations of gold and rupees, to all the priests.
Dasharatha performs Putra Kameshti Yaga
Then, on the advice of Rushya Shrunga he decides to do PutraKameshti Yaga for children. While Rushyasrunga is performing the Putra Kameshti Yaga, the Devatas, all gods and goddesses requested Brahma to give an idea to get rid of Ravana. Brahma said that it was only a human who could kill him because of the boon given to him, and Ravana did not know human power, so he did not list humans in his killing list. Then they all pray to Lord Vishnu to take a human form to kill Ravana as his bad deeds, his tortures, were increasing. Vishnu promised them he would bring back Dharma on this earth in the form of Rama. There are also many rules to follow, and Vashista tells the King’s wives to be very careful with deeksha. The fire pit is protected throughout the yagnam. While doing this Putra Kameshti Yaga, all devatas appear and witness this Yaga. (Sri Appaji said all the deities came also to witness when He was performing the Jana Samrakshana Yaga for world peace here in Trinidad in 1995). They descended to accept the offerings through Agni, the homa fire in their Sukshma rupa/subtle form). They discuss how they are contributing for Rama Avatara. Then Vishnu appears and selects Dasaratha and Kausalya as His parents. Brahma inspires all the deities to be born as monkeys and even bears, to assist Him. Rama, Lakshman, Bharatha are all different forms of Rama.
In the past, we have witnessed Ati Rudra Yaga, Sarpa Navagraha Yaga, and Sarpa Shanti Yaga at our own ashram. ….Ahuti is to be done with great faith…. “Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havihi” i.e, “Everything is Brahma …” is strictly followed.
In the Yaga, first came the Yagna Purusa, then came the Prajapathya Purusha, and Agni Purusha from the homa smoke. Then at the end, Prajapathya Purusha appeared to Dasharatha giving him a bowl of sweet porride, (payasam), telling him, “I’m giving this payasa as a merit of your yagna.” He asks him to distribute it among his three wives.
If you ask Ayurvedic doctors, they say that even our Naivedya (food offered to god)has some power. The Naivedya offered on Navarathri, Dhanurmas, Rama Navami Panaka ( water syrup made of jaggery and pepper etc,) Dadhyanna, ( etc. taken as prasada is good for us. Milk (Ksheera) is good for health.
Dasharatha shares 8 parts to Kausalya, 6parts to Sumitra, and 2 parts to Kaikeyi. The Yaga is completed with Annadana to the priests and Vidwamsas/scholars. Feeding the hungry is our Dharma. Everyone was happy. During their pregnancy, the three wives of Dasharatha they were glowing like fire as Paramatma was in their womb, as a result of taking the porridge/payasam. Brahma inspired all the devatas to come and assist Maha Vishnu when he incarnates as Rama as monkeys and bears. Hanuman among the Vanaras is the most powerful, being both intelligent and strong. His nails are weapons. Nala, Angada, Neela and others took birth also. The Pariwar came first, so Hanuman is older than Rama.
The birth of Rama
After one year in Chaitra Navami, on the day of Punarvasu star when 5 grahas (planets) were in uchcha sthana(highest position) with Guru/Brihaspati in Karkata Lagna, with Surya, Kuja, Shukra and Shani in exaltation, Kaushalya gives birth to Rama….
Kaushalya glows with him. He looked like Maha Tejasvi Rama. Vishnu’s 4th aspect Bharata was born to Kaikeyi under Pushya star. He is Satya Sandha. He was glowing like a perfected being with all the good qualities in him. Vishnu’s amsa Lakshman and Satrugna were born to Sumitra…. All the brothers were intelligent , noble persons. All the celestial gandharvas sang and the apsaras were dancing in happiness. Ayodhya was like a heaven with happiness everywhere. Dasharatha donated whatever he needed to. Twelve days passed by, and on the thirteenth day, the Namakarana(naming ceremony) was done. Vashistha came to name the babies.
Rama Nama=true happiness
Vashistha was grieving at losing his son. When he saw Rama in the cradle, his many years of sorrow were gone. He felt whatever name was to be given, it should be easy to call and should be according to the essence of the Upanishads, a name which gave happiness should be given. He thought of Rama Upanishad and named the baby, ‘Rama’, ‘One who gives happiness to the world.’ Then Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrugna. After the rituals, everyone loved Rama. All the four sons were as pleasant as the moon….Lakshman was always behind Rama. They were inseparable-one like a black pearl and the other a white pearl. Without Lakshmana, Rama did nothing! Satrughna was fond of Bharata. Rama and Lakshman indicated the aims of life, Dharma and Artha, and Bharata and Shatrughna indicated Kama and Moksha. That is why we don’t see much of Shatrugna’s part in Ramayana because he indicated Moksha aspect of Rama/Maha Vishnu.