What is Rama Navami?
This article describes the significance of Sri Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama, based on the divine discourses of Sathya Sai Baba and the Ramakatha Rasavahini, the story of Rama (Ramayana), written by Baba.
Sri Rama Navami or the birthday of Lord Rama falls on the 9th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (March-April). Thus, it is named as Chaitra Masa (month) Suklapaksha (waxing moon period) Navami. Lord Rama is also addressed by various names such as Dhanurdhara (One with a bow in hand), Raghava (Descendent of Raghu Dynasty) and Ramachandra (Sri Rama as gentle as the moon).
The Inner Significance of Ramayana
Our beloved Divine teacher Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says the following about Lord Rama.
“Rama Navami, the birth of Sri Rama is celebrated in all lands. Rama had deed, word and thought, body, speech and mind, ever pure and totally free from blemish. Really speaking, one ought to revere the story of Rama as a profound allegory. Every act and actor in that story attracts attention and gets imprinted on the memory because the allegory is personal to each of us... It is often said that Rama followed dharma at all times. This is not the correct way of describing him. He did not follow dharma, he was dharma. What he thought, spoke, and did was dharma and is dharma forever.”
Sathya Sai Baba, 18th April 1986
In Ramakatha Rasavahini, the inner meaning, important characters of the Ramayana and what they represent are explained beautifully by Sathya Sai Baba. Rama is the in-dweller in everybody. He is the Source of Bliss (Atma-Rama), the Rama in every individual. His blessings confer peace and bliss. He is the very embodiment of dharma, showing through His life, how to discharge one’s duties as a King, husband, son, brother, friend and a redeemer of all. The Ramayana, the Rama story, teaches two lessons: the value of detachment and the need to become aware of divinity in every being. Faith in God and detachment from objective pursuits are the keys for human liberation. Give up sense objects, and you gain Rama. Sita gave up the luxuries of Ayodhya so she could be with Rama during His exile. When she cast longing eyes on the golden deer and craved it, she lost Rama's presence. Where Rama is there, Kama (desire) does not exist; and where there is Kama (desire), Rama does not exist – so Rama and Kama do not go together.
Renunciation leads to joy; attachment brings grief. Rama's brothers, comrades, companions, and collaborators are all examples of people who lived dharmic lives. Dasaratha is the representative of the physical body, with the ten senses. The three qualities (gunas) serenity, passion, sloth (sathwa, rajas, thamas) are represented by the three queens. The four goals of life (purusharthas)–Dharma (Right Conduct), Artha (Wealth), Kama (Desire) and Moksha (Liberation)–are represented by the four sons. Lakshmana is the intellect; Sugriva is discrimination (viveka). Vali is despair. Hanuman is the embodiment of courage. The bridge is built over the ocean of delusion. The three demon (rakshasa) chiefs Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Vibhishana are personifications of the passionate, slothful, and serene (rajasic, thamasic, and sathwic) qualities. Sita is the awareness of the Universal Absolute (Brahmajnana), which the individual must acquire and regain while undergoing travails in the crucible of life. Make your heart pure and strong, contemplating the grandeur of the Ramayana. Be established in the faith that Rama is the reality of your existence.
Sri Rama – Sai Rama
In Prasanthi Nilayam, Rama Navami is celebrated with great fervor in the Divine presence of our Lord, Sai Rama. All over India and abroad devotees of the Lord sing bhajans (devotional songs), recite religious hymns and hold kirtans (to celebrate this festival. People also read the epic “Ramayana,” which is the story of Lord Rama, on this day.
Swami Installed the Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman idols in the Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam in 1999. During the installation ceremony, Bhagawan Baba created a small “Lingam “which was inserted in the small pit wherein the idol of Rama was later installed. Swami mentioned that it is ‘Rama Lingam” which will consecrate the Prasanthi Nilayam complex and bless the devotees.
Let us sanctify this auspicious day by chanting the holy name of Sri Rama and remember His stories and glories and make His life our message by practicing His teachings.
- Ms. Vinitha & Mr. Mohan Rao, Abu Dhabi, UAE