This is the birthday of Lord Ram which Hindus celebrate in March or April (Chaitra in Hindu Calendar). The word Navami refers to the 9th day of the Shukla Paksh. Ram was born in the famous Raghu dynasty of kings in the city of Ayodhya. Currently, his birth place is a hot political issue in India causing riots between Hindus and Muslims. It is believed that in the year 1528 A.D the Muslim zealots demolished the temple which stood on the site where Ram was born, and erected a Mosque on its site. Some Hindu organizations, supported by a political party, want to reconstruct the temple. The year of Ram’s birth has also fueled a fierce debate among historians, scholars and Hindu theologians. Some believe he was born in the 8th century B.C. while others push the time of his birth to long before 3000 B.C. This subject is beyond the scope of this work. However, the story of Ram briefly narrated in another chapter is called Ramayan meaning The ways of Ram.
Most Hindus worship Ram as the 7th incarnation of God while many adore him as a great God-like personality. However, all Hindus revere Ram as a personification of all that is good and great in human character. He represents every conceivable ideal in the human behaviour. He is an embodiment of the most perfect human values and familial relationships. He was not only a model king and a brave warrior, but also an ideal friend, husband, brother and son. For centuries, Ram’s name has echoed streets, homes and temples in India as Hindus believe that even repeating his name alone purifies the soul. The idols and pictures of Lord Ram adorn Hindu homes and temples around the world. Hindus name their children after Ram hoping it will encourage them to be like him. A Hindu who is devoid of good character or behaviour is often told, “There is no Ram in you.”
On the Ram Navami day, Hindus worship Ram at home and visit the local temple. Like Christmas, this is the day for family get together and feasting. The temples in Canada organize special programs of devotional music, drama and the recital of Ramayan. The festival of Ram Navami is a reminder to Hindus that they should imbibe some of the ideals Ram represents. Considering the rapid erosion of traditional moral and family values, the legacy of Ram is more relevant today than ever before.
Book: Hindus of Canada
Author: Ajit Adhopia