Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Sri Rama Navami - ‘Sree Sitarama Kalyana Mahotsav’ (wedding)

 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.

   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.


“Wherever four Hindus live, Rama and Sita will be there” so said Swami Vivekananda, one of the foremost harbingers of modern national renaissance of Bharat. The reverse also is equally true – wherever Rama and Sita live, the people there will remain and live as Hindus.

Every hill and rivulet of Bharat bears the imprint of the holy feet of Rama and Sita. Sri Rama reigns supreme to this day in the hearts of our people, cutting across all barriers of province, language, caste or sect. Even the tribes living in isolated valleys and jungles have names like Mitti-Ram and Patthar-Ram. In some other tribes, every name carries the proud suffix of Ram, such as Lutthu Ram, Jagadev Ram, etc. In many northern parts of Bharat mutual greetings take the form of Jay Ramjee Ki.

Significance of Ram Navami:-

The story of the Ramayan is a classic, eternal, universal message of Dharma versus adharma, of deva versus demon, of good versus evil, as represented in the battle between Rama and Ravana.
Ravana was a brahmin; he was a great scholar who wrote numerous works on scriptural philosophy. He was powerful, dynamic, and beautiful in appearance. As the brilliant, handsome king of Lanka, he had everything one would need to be happy and peaceful. Yet, he was arrogant, egoistic, greedy and lustful. His insatiable desires led him to crave more and more power, more and more money, and more and more ladies to fulfill his every whim.
There is one main difference: Bhagwan Rama’s heart overflowed with divinity, love, generosity, humility, and a sense of duty. Ravana’s heart, in contrast, was filled with avarice, hatred, and egoism. Under Bhagwan Rama’s divine touch, the animals became his devotees and his divine helpers. Under Ravana’s touch, even humans became animals.
Through his noble and divine choices, he teaches the world to choose dharma over Artha (when he leaves for the forest rather than be coronated as King) and to choose Moksha over Kama (when he chooses his kingdom over his marriage).

Bhagwan Rama teaches that :-
As a son:-

Respectfully and lovingly obey your father’s orders. Sacrifice your own comfort for your father’s dignity.

As a step-son:-

Even when your step mother (or mother-in-law) is not kind to you, even when she clearly dis- criminates against you in favor of her own birth child, do not resent her, do not fight against her. Respect her and her wishes.

As a brother:-

Remain loyal to your brother. Care for him.

As a husband:-

Protect your wife. Fight for her protection and her purity. But there are times when one’s divine path must even take precedence over the path of householder. Do not keep the role of householder as the ultimate role.

As a King:-

Sacrifice everything for your people. Do not worry about your own comfort, your own convenience or your own pleasure. Be willing to put the kingdom ahead of your own needs.
Ravana’s ego led to his own demise, first the demise of his spirit and heart and then the demise of his body. He thought he was the one who ran everything. He thought that he was the “doer” of it all. On the other hand, Bhagwan Rama was always humble, and he never took credit for anything. At the end of the war in Lanka, Bhagwan Rama was giving Sitaji a tour of the city, showing her where all of the various events had occurred. When, they reached the place where he victoriously slew Ravana, he reported it to Sitaji only as, “and this is where Ravana died.” He didn’t say, “This is where I crushed the demon,” or “This is where I killed Ravana.”
Ram Navami is a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, the son of King Dasharath. It was a joyous occasion in Ayodhya all those centuries ago when King Dasharath's heir was finally born. It was like a dream come true for the king as the lack of an heir had troubled him sorely for many years.
Lord Rama is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu who came down to earth to battle the invincible Ravana in human form. Lord Brahma had been receiving complaints from all the gods about the havoc that Ravana was wreaking on earth, but because Lord Brahma had granted Ravana so many boons, he could not be killed by a god. But Ravana had become so overconfident that he would never expect an attack from a human being. So Lord Vishnu agreed to go to earth in the guise of Prince Ram, the son of King Dasharath and Queen Kaushalya.
The story of Lord Rama as told in the great epic Ramayana is one that most Indians know irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Lord Rama is a legendary figure, the epitome of all that is good and true, the man who vanquished the demon king, Ravana. Lord Rama is not just a hero, but has been given the status of a god by the Hindus. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his birth is celebrated year after year with great pomp and enjoyment on the ninth day after the new moon in Sukul Paksh (the waxing moon), which falls sometime in the month of April.

Legend:-

Four stories - even the original Ravana may not have been so tall. But this is the Kali Yuga, when evil is supposed to assume an even more terrifying form. Ravana has his moments of glory, and that too, on Rama Navami, the birthday of Rama.

The effigy of the ten-headed Ravana swaggers through the town, wearing a gaudy crown and exaggerated moustache, with shouting hordes following. But once Ravana reaches the open ground that is his final destination, he is suddenly deserted by most of his "followers" - because the noble Rama has made his appearance.

In the end, righteousness does triumph, even in Kali Yuga. Rama engages him in battle, and finally pierces him with a potent arrow. And the huge effigy of Ravana, filled to bursting with firecrackers, is set alight, and explodes into a thousand bits amid loud cheers from the crowd and shouts of Jai Shri Ram. This ritual is an important part of the Rama Navami celebrations in most parts of North India.

Rama Navami falls on the ninth day of the shukla paksha, or bright phase of the moon, in the lunar month of Chaitra (April-May). The first day of Chaitra , or Ugadi, also marks the beginning of the Indian year.

Rama is one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, and one of the two most popular, along with Krishna. Consequently, Rama Navami is widely celebrated, though not on the scale of festivals like Diwali or Dussehra.

History of Rama:-


According to legend, Rama was born at noon. Rama is the epitome of perfection, the uttama purusha, fulfilling all his duties towards both family and subjects.
In the epic Ramayana, Dasharatha, the Emperor from Ayodhya, had three wives named Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi in the Treta Yuga, which follows the Satya Yuga and is succeeded by Dwapara Yuga. Their greatest worry was that they had no children, and so they had no heir to the throne in the Ikshvaku Kula or royal lineage of great, pious, wonderful Emperors. Rishi Vasistha suggests him to perform Puthra Kamesti Yagna, through which he can have a desired child. He also tells him to invite Maharshi Rishyasringa to perform this yagna for him. Emperor Dasharatha consents and heads to Maharshi Rishyasringa's ashram, to invite him. Maharshi agrees and accompanies Emperor Dasharatha to Ayodhya (Capital of Avadha) and performs the yagna. As the result of this yagna, Yagneshwara appears and provides Dasharatha a bowl of divine pudding (Kheer/Payasam) and requests him to give it to his wives. Dasharatha 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 Sumitra. After few days all three Queens conceive. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra Masa (first month in Vedic calendar), at noon Kausalya gives birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharata, and Sumitra to twin boys, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, who takes birth by His own will, on Bhuloka (Earth) when Adharma rules over Dharma. He protects all his devotees by vanquishing the roots of Adharma. Rama decided to incarnate to destroy an Asura or person with demonic and evil designs, called Ravana

Rama Navami in North India:-

This day is dedicated to worshipping Lord Rama. All houses are cleaned and decorated nicely with colors and flowers. People go to the temple to celebrate the life of Lord Rama. Plays on the life of Lord Rama are enacted in the temples and other places of gathering. Importantly plays cover the most important aspects of Lord Ramas life: birth, life in guru kulam(school), marriage with Sitha Devi, life in the forest, friendship with Sugreeva and Hanuman, the war with Ravana, and coronation at Ayodhya. In Ayodhya (the birth place of Lord Rama) Lord Rama, Sith Devi, Lakshmana, and Hanuman are paraded in the streets with devotees singing bhajans, dances and songs. Special food is prepared at homes and in the temples. People wear new clothes, arrange feasts at their places, invite families and friends and share food with them, distribute food and clothes to the poor people.

Fasting During the Navarathri and Recitation of Ramayana:-

The day of fasting begins nine days before the Rama Navami(Lord Ramas birth), and in most places this day is the New Year. People start fasting from the New Year day by abstaining from the staple food of rice and bread. They eat only fruits and milk for ten days, and spend time reciting a few thousand verses from Ramayana everyday. The entire Ramayana containing over one hundred thousand verses will be finished during the nine days of Navarathri. Another reason why people observe Navarathri is because a divine girl called Vaishno Devi also performed Navarathri vrath(penance) for Lord Ramas victory over Ravana. Vaishno Devi was a divine girl who started meditating upon Lord Rama at the age of 9 years and when she expressed an interest to marry Lord Rama, he says that He vowed to be married only to Sitha Devi in that incarnation, and would marry her in the tenth incarnation of Kalki at the end of Kali Yuga. By observing Navarathri, devotees of Lord Rama follow the footsteps of Vaishno Devi. Another significance of observing Navarathri is to perform penance and meditate upon Lord Rama, so that they also lead a life like Lord Rama, who is an example for a perfect human being.

Rama Navami in South India:-

During his 14 years of time in forests Lord Rama travelled all the way from Ayodhya to the south tip of India, Kanyakumari. In His journey Lord Rama spent time at different places in South India. One famous place is called Bhadrachalam. It is in Andhra Pradesh state and the thatch hut called Panchavati was built here. It is in the Panchavati that Lord Rama and Sitha Devi spent their time during the vanavasa. This is the place where Lord Rama went after the golden deer that Sitha Devi wanted, and it is from here that Sitha Devi was abducted by the demon Ravana. Sri Sitha Rama Kalyanam is performed in a grand scale at Bhadrachalam every year on Sri Rama Navami day. Millions of people turn up to witness the Sri Sitha Rama Kalyanam at Bhadrachalam, and also take a dip in the sacred river Godavari. In South India devotees celebrate Rama Navami by performing the marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Sith Devi. On this day people decorate their homes with colors, especially door entrances with mango leaves which signify the prosperity. People wear new clothes and perform special prayers to Lord Rama at home. Then they go to the temple to witness the marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Sitha Devi. The special food of jaggery water(paanakam) and soaked lentles(Kosambri) are served along with mago rice. Since this is the very hot time of the summer season, drinking paanakam and eating kosambri gives cooling effect to the body, and they also have a very important medicinal value.

Sitha Rama Kalyanam:-

In Hindu tradition there is huge significance for the marriage ceremony of God and Goddess. First of all marriage is a very sacred ceremony, because it is the unification of man and woman, the two forces that give meaning to the life on this earth. Marriage is beginning to a new life. It is said in scriptures that without the presence of woman there is no meaning to the life of a man. Lord Vishnu also says that without His wife Maha Lakshmi He is incomplete. To emphasize the importance of woman, Lord Shiva appeared as Ardha Nareeshwara(Half woman and half man).
The marriage of God and Goddess is Two Powers coming together to create an Immense Power. The word kalyanam(marriage) means well being. That means it is a sacred activity that is done for the well being of others. It is said in the scriptures that for the well being of the universe, people, and all the entities of creation kalyanam(marriage) of God and Goddess must be performed regularly. Since God is our father and Goddess is our mother, they will shower blessings on people every time they are worshipped, their names are chanted and their marriage is performed.
On the other hand, God is the only Man(Purusha) and everyone else is a woman. Everyone must be desirous of marrying Him spiritually. That means winning the heart of the God, and becoming dearer to Him. Lord Vishnu says that His devotees are dearer to Him, and He can only be bound by His devotees. One can win the heart of God only by surrendering oneself to Him, love Him with utmost sincerity, worship Him, chant His name all the time, dream of Him and think about Him always. Kalyanam(marriage) of God and Goddess is a reminder for us of our goal - getting married to God with devotion, juts like 16000 gopikas(cowgirls) were married to Lord Krishna.

Meaning and the Power of the word Rama:-

It said in the scripture that the word RAMA is so powerful that by uttering the first syllable of RA people get rid of all their sins, and by uttering the second syllable of MA, people attain Moksham(salvation). Ra means the universe, Ma means master(Eeshwara). That means Rama is the master of the universe. In the word RAMA the syllable RA eliminates all sins, the syllable AA takes out the ignorance, and the syllable MA gives peace and happiness. RA means paramaathma(supreme soul), AA means nature, and MA means Jeevathma(the earthly soul). The scriptures say that the most powerful OM and Rama are one and same. Further, when the sound RA from the Ashtakshari Manthram Om Namo Narayanaya and the sound MA from the Panchakshari Mantharm Namashivaya are joined it becomes Rama Tharaka Manthram called RAMA. Thus it becomes a universal manthra for people of all traditions.
It is because of such an immense power it is said that chanting the name of Rama will liberate one from the birth and death cycle. Further, there are many stories in Ramayana to indicate how Lord Rama gave Moksham(salvation) to all those who surrendered to Him. Shabari(the old lady belonging to a low caste) and Jataayu(the eagle who tried to stop Ravana from abducting Sitha Devi) are two good examples to show us that anyone who surrenders to Lord Rama gets moksham(salvation).

Puja:-


Since Shriram is an incarnation of Shrivishnu, He too is worshipped like Shrivishnu in sixteen steps (Shodashopachārpūja). The leaves of the sacred and medicinal plant called tulsī, found in India, are essential for His worship. Tulsi has the ability to attract the subtlest pure particles (pavitraks) of Shrivishnu. It is even better if one can use Lotus flowers for the worship. A sweet delicacy made from milk and rice or vermicelli (kheer) or a sweet delicacy made from semolina, pure ghee and sugar (sheera) is Shrivishnu's favorite sacrament (Naivēdya). Choosing the substances offered in the worship according to the science of spirituality helps generate Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) in the idol, so that it aids one's spiritual progress.

What should be done during this day:-

During this day, we should clean our house, put the Kolam and place a photo of Sri Ramar Pattabhishekam on top of a wooden plate (Manai). Decorate the photo with various flowers. And now you can perform Archanai for Sri Ramar and after that you can chant some of the slokams from Sri Ramayanam.

Sri Rama Navami Also, you can chant Sri Rama Nama and it is 100% evident that wherever the great Sri Rama Nama is expressed, Hanuman will enjoy that Nama and along with Sri Ramar, he will also bless us with his grace.

More to this, by chanting the Sri Rama Nama, it is said that bhaktas will get the favour equivalent to that of the favour got by fasting. Not even on this day, even daily we should atleast say the Sri Rama Japa for 108 times (or atleast for 28 times) and we can a lot of positive changes on our life.

During this day, you should dedicate Vadai, Payasam, butter milk (diluted water) etc. and along with this, the great Sri Rama Nama. From children to elders, all can perform this great festival and chant Sri Rama Nama how many times you can. So, during this great day, chant the Nama and get the complete blessings of Sri Ramar, Sita Piratti, Lakshmanan and Siriya Thiruvadi - Hanuman.

Receips for Sriramanavami:-



Panakam:-

Ingredients:-

 Powdered Jaggery- 1/4 cup.
Dry ginger- Sukku- 1 tsp.
Cardamom-4.
Water- 4 tumblers.
Lemon juice- 1 tsp.

Method:-

 Dissolve the jaggery in water and strain all the sediments.

Add powdered sukku, cardamom, lemon juice . Mix well, offer it to God and serve chilled!

Vada papu:-

Ingredients:-

Split green gram/pasiparupu- 1 cup
Salt- to taste.
lemon juice- 2tsp.
Cilantro- a fistful.
Coconut scrapes- 1tsp.
Cucumber-few slices-optional
Raw mango pieces-optional
For Tempering- oil-mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida, green chilly- 2 slit, curry leaves-few.

Method:-

Soak the green gram for 1 hour after thoroughly washing it.
Add all the above ingredients to the soaked gram.
Heat oil- 1 tsp and add the ingredients mentioned in tempering. mix well, offer it to GOD and serve it in a plantain leaf.


Sri Rama Navami Brahmotsavams in Bhadrachalam:-


 Another major festival, Sri Rama Navami(the most popular one at Bhadrachalam) is being celebrated on every 'Chaitra shuddha navami ' on the auspicious 'Punarvasu' -'Janma Nakshatra' (birth star), of Lord Sri Rama. The Kalyanamahotsavam of Sri Rama with his consort Sita is celebrated on the holy occasion which falls either in the last week of March or first week of April. This divine festival is celebrated in a resplendent manner amid chanting of hyms by priests in Kalyanamantapam, richly engraved and exquisite sculptures depicting events from our Itihasas and Puranas, at the vicinity of stadium, where lakhs of devotees congregate to witness the fete with great devotional spirit and pay their owes for favours received or Solicited. The kalyanamahotsavam is celebrated on the holy occasion between 10 am and 12.30 pm and the sacred Talambralu showered on the deities exactly at 12 noon. This Sri Rama Navami Festival occassion is being broadcasted by All India Radio and telecast through Doordarshan on the festive day from 10 AM to 12 Noon. This is the only festival which is being covered by Akashavaani and Doordarshan as a Live programme all over the state (Andhra Pradesh).



On Chaitra Sukla Navami (the ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra) ‘Sree Ramanavami’ is celebrated. Sree Rama was born on this day and years later on the same day Rama married Sita. ‘Sree Sitarama Kalyana Mahotsav’ (wedding) is performed in the abode Sitarama Temple, Bhadrachalam, Khammam District, Andhra Pradesh with great tradition and Bhakti. On behalf of Andhra Pradesh Government, Chief Minister with his wife visits the Kalyana Mahotsav and offers Silk Clothes and Pearls as Talambralu (auspicious) to the God and Goddess. The whole of this celebration is telecasted live in Doordarshan.

1 comment:

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