Rama Navami, or Ram Naumee, is the birthday of Sri Rama which has been celebrated for thousands of years. It will be held on 21 April, 2021, at the end of Chaitra Navratri – with the auspicious moment during the daytime hours.
Rama and the Ramayana
Rama (Raama, राम or ராமர்) is the perfect role model for our conduct – the Purushottama (पुरुषोत्तम). He shows us how to manage Kama (desire), Artha (wealth), Dharma (righteousness) and Moksha (liberation) through the course of his life story. Ravana, his opponent, has ten heads which symbolise his overwhelming ego and sense of entitlement – and conversely his death is celebrated at Dussehra.
He appeared in the Treta Yug, a considerable time before 1000BCE as the Ramayana was first written down after that period. History and scriptures had been orally transmitted before that. The story is geographically accurate and incorporates real places from millennia ago, such as Ayodhya, Sri Lanka, the Himalayas and South India.
Those who seek to divide Hindus have aimed criticism at the Ramayana. Rama was cruel to Sita, condescending to the Vanaras, North India v South India, Vaishnavites v Shaivites, etc. These rakshasas even describe Ravana as an innocent, misunderstood king! The Ramayana endures despite this mischief: it is universal and extremely popular in South East Asia, where the Ramayana is performed as the national play, the Kings of Thailand are Rama to this day and the Indonesian national emblem is the Garuda.
How to observe
Ram Navami observance starts from the New Year and runs parallel with Chaitra Navratri. Sections of the Ramayan a are read in temples or at home, While the focus is on Rama, the characters associated with him – Sita, Hanuman, Lakshman – are also revered.
The key observances are:
- Fast throughout the day
- Worship Lord Rama
- Read sections of the Ramayana
- Celebrate marriage of Lord Rama and Sita, and hold a procession
- Conduct Homa ie Hawan fire ritual
In South India devotees of Lord Rama perform Kalyanotsavam. During Kalyanotsavam, the symbolic marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita is conducted and deities are taken to the streets through a ceremonial procession. In South Indian temples, a special recipe named Panakam, is prepared on the auspicious day of Rama Navami. The Panakam is sweet liquid made of ginger powder, jaggery, peppercorns and cardamom. It is also a natural body coolant and served to devotees in palm similar to Gangajal in North Indian temples.
Reading or listening to the Ramayana
There are many books and famous movies that have come out. If in doubt, ask someone for their favourite version. If you are new to this, this video is good for english speaking kids of all ages
Rama Navami Madhyahna Moment – 11:54 AM.
This is the time in India, which means the corresponding time in South Africa would be 3.5 hours back, so 8:24. Please consult your priest should you be unclear.
Navami Tithi Begins – 09:13 PM on Apr 20, 2021
Navami Tithi Ends – 09:05 PM on Apr 21, 2021