Shree Ram Navami - how to celebrate?
Shrī Rāmnavamī is celebrated to proclaim the birth of Shrīrām, the seventh incarnation of Shrīvishṇu. (To know more about Shriram please visit the Understanding section of this website). Celebrations of Shri Ramnavami start on the first day of Chaitra (Gudhi Padwa, Ugadi) and continue for 9 days. During this period, devotees do periodic readings (pārāyaṇas) of the Hindu Holy text - Rāmāyaṇ recite hymns glorifying Shriram (Rāmrakshā-stotra), sing Holy devotional songs (bhajans-Krītans) in His praise and chant His name.
On the ninth day, in the afternoon, a spiritual discourse on Shriram's birth is held. At noon, a coconut draped in a hooded cloak is placed in a cradle and the cradle is rocked. Devotees shower a red, fragrant powder (gulaal) and flowers onto the cradle.
2. Worship of Shriram
Once the stage of worship of the Divine Principle or Deity according to one's religion (that of the family Deity for Hindus) is completed, the spiritual practice (worship) of Shriram is useful for many seekers. It helps one to go from many to One. This is because of Shriram's attributes of being true to His word, devoted to only one wife and attaining His target with just one arrow.
2.1 Ritualistic Worship (pūjā):
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.
3. Celebration of Shri Ramnavami
Shri Ramnavami is called a Holy festival (sun) when it is celebrated individually, a religious festival (utsav) when celebrated collectively and when performed individually with a resolve (sankalp) it becomes a vowed observance (vrat). Also, unlike most vowed religious observances which are practiced individually, Shri Ramnavami is a vowed religious observance undertaken by a group.
Several temples of Shriram celebrate this festival for nine days, beginning from the first day (Pratipadā) of the Hindu month of Chaitra (Gudhi Padwa, Ugadi). It is celebrated by periodic readings (parayans) of the Ramayan, organising and attending spiritual discourses (kirtans) and embellishing Shriram's idol beautifully. During these nine days, reciting the Ramaraksha prayer (stotra) eleven times daily with a resolve (sankalp) brings the prayer to fruition, yielding benefits like reduction of speech impairments, other ailments, gaining prosperity, etc. On the ninth day, that is, on Shri Ramnavami a spiritual discourse on Shriram's birth is held in the afternoon. At noon, a coconut, draped in a hooded cloak is placed in a cradle and rocked. The coconut signifies the baby Shriram. A red, fragrant powder (gulaal) and flowers are showered onto it. Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Shri Ramnavami.
4. Spiritual experiences of seekers related to the Shri Ramnavami celebration
1. Feeling of blue light oozing from the body, while chanting, three days prior to Shri Ramnavami:
Shri Ramnavami was to be celebrated on April 18th, 2005. Three days prior to that I could feel blue light in front of my eyes while sitting for chanting. I could feel that it was oozing from my body. At that time my chanting of Shriram's name was taking place from very deep within.
-A Seeker, Miraj, India.
2. Spontaneous starting of Shriram's chant instead of Deity Shiva and later realising that Shri Ramnavami is approaching:
I was chanting 'Om Namah Shivay' for the removal of distress due to negative energies on the night of April 10th, 2004. But Shriram's chant would start in-between, unknowingly. Even with repeated attempts to chant Shiva's Name, the chant of Shriram would start spontaneously. Later on I came to know, that this was happening because Shri Ramnavami was approaching near, it was on the 11th.
- A Seeker, Dubai, UAE
(When a time period in connection with a particular Deity approaches nearer, the pavitrak (pure particles) of that Deity descend to earth on a large scale. Hence the occurrence of such spiritual experiences -Compiler)
3. Perceiving the presence of Shriram in all the objects of the Ashram while chanting; having His vision within one's heart; and feeling that God has incarnated while blowing the conch:
Shri Ramnavami was to be celebrated on April 18th, 2005. I was perceiving a blue light throughout the Ashram while chanting between 11.45 a.m. and 12.00 noon. Thereafter I saw Shriram sitting on a golden throne. At that time I was perceiving the presence of Shriram in all the objects of the Ashram. I was having his vision both within and outside my body. I was experiencing tremendous bliss. Thereafter, while blowing the conch, I felt that God has taken incarnation.
- A Seeker, Miraj, India.
4. Feeling that the Ashram itself is the city of Ayodhya and that all the seekers are going to go and bring Him to the Ashram:
On 9th April 2005, that is on the morning of Gudhi Padwa (the first day of Hindu lunar calendar), after hoisting the Gudhi (flag or Dharma-dhwaj), we were singing the Āratī (a ritual of waving a lit lamp in front of a Deity (also Saints or ordinary humans), accompanied by singing of hymns) of Shriram. At that time while singing the line 'म्हणुनी येणे झाले अयोध्ये रघुनाथा ।' (Meaning: Therefore Shri Raghunath is arriving at Ayodhya), I felt that the Ashram itself is the city of Ayodhya and that all seekers are going to go and bring Him to Ashram.
- A Seeker, Dharul, India.
5. Having a vision of Shriram and H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale while performing manas pādyapūjā (mental ritualistic worship of a Deity's or Guru's Holy feet) and feeling that Shriram Himself is H.H. Doctor:
Shri Ramnavami was to be celebrated on 18th April 2005. My chanting of Shriram was completed between 7.30 a.m.to 8.00 a.m. It was full of spiritual emotion. At that time while performing manas padyapuja I had a vision of Shriram and H.H. Dr. Athavale alternating with each other. I was feeling that Shriram himself is H.H. Dr. Athavle. I felt gratitude towards H.H. Dr. Athavale at that time.
- A Seeker, Miraj, India.
- Ganesh Jayanti: a spiritual celebration
- Hindu New Year - how to celebrate?
- Saadhanaa per Gurukrupaayoga
- Significance of Gudhi Padwa
- Shri Ramnavami
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