Sri Rama Navami is celebrated as the day of the seventh incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu as Sri Rama.
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated on the first Navami thithi of the Chaitra month (ninth day from the Amavasya day – Sukla Paksha). The day also falls on the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri. For the year 2021, Sri Rama Navami occurs on Wednesday, 21st April 2021. The exact duration of the Navami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar.
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Sri Rama was born to Sri Kousalya as the first Son of Sri Dasaratha Chakravarthy. Daasaratha had three wives namely Kousalya, Kaikeyi and Sumithra.
Dasaratha belonged to the lineage of Sri Ikshavagu. As he had no children, he did a putra kameshti Yagna.
As the benefit of Yagna, he had begotten four children. Kausalya gave birth to Sri Rama. Kaikeyi’s son is Sri Bharatha. Sri Lakshmana and Sri Shathrugna are the children of Sumithra.
Though there is difference in timing, the four brothers were born on the same day.
Sri Rama Avathar is considered as one of the Purna Avathars of Sri Maha Vishnu. The other Purna Avathar is Sri Krishna. In the Avathars prior to Sri Rama Avathar, only some aspects of Sri Maha Vishnu were incarnated (Amsa avathar). In Sri Rama Avathar, Sri Vishnu is wholly incarnated. Sri Lakshman is the incarnation of Sri Adi Sesha, the bed of Sri Vishnu. Sri Bharath and Sri Shathrugna are considered as the amsa avathars.
Sri Ramayana – teachings
Sri Rama Avathar symbolizes the virtues a person should possess irrespective of the status or stature in one’s life. Though Sri Rama was born as a King, He had accepted His father’s words and was prepared to live in the forest. Sri Sita Devi, though born to a king and married into Royal family, had accompanied Her husband in His sojourn in the forest foregoing all the Royal comforts.
Sri Lakshmana was absolutely selfless in being in the service of His elder brother. Sri Bharath and Sri Shathrugna were pious and steadfast in looking after the three mothers and the people when Sri Ram was in exile.
Sri Guha, Sri Sugreeva and Sri Hanuman were exemplary in their selfless soulful service to Sri Rama.
Though Ravan had so much of knowledge, talent, valor, wealth and wisdom he was defeated at the end.
In the war between virtues and valor, virtues always win.
Sri Rama Navami is observed by way of special poojas at homes. Chanting of Rama Nama Manthra, observing Vrat (fasting), reading Ramayana, listening to Rama Keerthanas and devotional songs mark the festival. Buttermilk, jaggery water and soaked moongdal are offered to the Deity as Neivedyam and distributed to all as prasadam. All the Vishnu temples and Anjaneya temples celebrate Sri Rama Navami for 7 to 10 days.
Sri Rama was born in Raghu Kula. Raghu Kula is ascribed to Lord Surya. Hence, Sri Rama Navami is also celebrated by initially offering Salutations to Surya. At the water bodies, people take holy bath, cup the water in their hands and offer to Sun God.
At the places which are mentioned in Ramayana such as Ayodhya, Sita Samahit Sthal (Uttar Pradesh), Sita Marhi (Bihar), Janakpurdham (Nepal), Bhadrachalam (Andhra), Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) etc., the festival is celebrated in a very grand scale.
Though the festival marks the birth of Sri Rama, Sri Sita Devi is also worshipped on this day. In some places, Rama Sita Kalyanam is observed. In some temples, rath yatras are also conducted to celebrate the festival.
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated with emotional bond to Lord Sri Rama. It is believed that giving donations / contribution to the poor and needy on this occasion is auspicious.