Sri rama rama rameti, rame rame manorame
sahasra-nama tat-tulyam, rama-nama varanane
Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami explains in Chaitanya Charitamrita –
saṅkarṣaṇaḥ kāraṇa-toya-śāyī garbhoda-śāyī ca payo ’bdhi-śāyī
śeṣaś ca yasyāṁśa-kalāḥ sa nityā-nandākhya-rāmaḥ śaraṇaṁ mamāstu – (CC Adi 1.7)
Translation: May Śrī Nityananda Rāma be the object of my constant remembrance. Saṅkarṣaṇa, Śeṣa Nāga and the Viṣṇus who lie on the Kāraṇa Ocean, Garbha Ocean, and ocean of milk are His plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions.
Appearance of Lord Rama
Sri Rama Navami is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Sri Ramachandra, the seventh incarnation of Lord Sri Krishna. Sri Ramachandra appeared in the month of Chaitra (March – April), on the ninth day of the growing moon (Chaitra Masa, Shukla Paksha, Navami Tithi) and this particular day is celebrated as Sri Rama Navami every year.
Sri Ramachandra appeared as the son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, who hailed from the dynasty of Maharaja Ikshvaku (also known as Raghu vamsha). Dasharatha had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra, but he had no children. On the advice of Maharishi Vashishtha, the king performed a Putra Kameshti Yajna. As a result, the three wives conceived sons. Kaushalya gave birth to Rama and Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. Sumitra gave birth to the twins: Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
Pastimes of Lord Rama
In His youth, Lord Rāmacandra went with great sage Viśvāmitra who was greatly disturbed by demons, while performing the sacrifices. Lord Rama and Lakshaman helped Sage Visvamitra by killing many Rākṣasas including Mārīca. After Vishvamitra’s sacrifice was successfully completed, they all decided to visit Mithila where King Janaka was holding a contest for the most beautiful princess Sita Devi. After breaking the stout and strong bow known as Haradhanu, the Lord married mother Sītā.
When Lord Ramacandra was about to be crowned as the future king of Ayodhya, Kaikeyi, out of love for her own son, requested King Dasaratha to enthrone her own son Bharata instead and send Lord Ramachandra to the forest for 14 years. To obey the order of His father, He entered the forest, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā. There the Divine companions had many pastimes and faced many dangers. Lakshmana cut off the nose of Śūrpaṇakhā who was the sister of Ravana and killed many associates of Rāvaṇa, headed by Khara and Dūṣaṇa.
Rāvaṇa’s kidnapping of Sītādevī was the beginning of this demon’s misfortune. When Mārīca assumed the form of a golden deer, Lord Rāmacandra went to bring the deer to please Sītādevī, but in the meantime Rāvaṇa took advantage of the Lord’s absence to kidnap her. When Sītādevī was kidnapped, Lord Rāmacandra, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa, searched for her throughout the forest. In the course of this search, They met Jaṭāyu, the king of vultures who valiantly fought with Ravana and was mortally wounded in that battle. With his last breath he informed Sri Ram of the direction in which Ravana fled with Sita. While searching for Sita, He made an alliance with Sugriva, Nila, and Hanuman, the chiefs of the monkeys. They promised to help Him save Sita from Ravana, who had removed her to his island kingdom of Lanka. After organising the military strength of the monkeys and going with them to the shore of the sea, the Lord awaited the arrival of Samudra, the ocean personified, but when Samudra did not come, the Lord, the master of Samudra, became very angry. Lord Ramacandra glanced angrily over the waters with red-hot eyes, and the ocean became so hot that all the sharks, crocodiles, and other aquatic creatures were in great distress. Then Samudra came to the Lord with great haste and surrendered to Him, wanting to help Him in every way. The Lord then ordered His mighty monkey soldiers to lop off mountain peaks and trees and throw them into the water. By the Lord’s supreme will, they began to float, and the Lord and His army easily crossed the ocean to Lanka. There a ferocious battle ensued between 2 mighty armies. Due to the curse of Mother Sita, demons lost all their good fortune and were quickly defeated.
Then furious Rāvaṇa personally attacked the Lord. Before attacking him, Lord loudly rebuked the demon: “Ravana, you are an abominable, sinful, and shameless dog, for just as a dog steals food from the kitchen when his master is gone, so in My absence you kidnapped My wife, Sita. Today I shall punish you without fail.”
After rebuking Ravana, Lord Ramacandra shot an arrow that pierced his heart like a thunderbolt. Vomiting blood from each of his ten mouths, Ravana fell down dead from his airplane.
After Ravana’s deaths, Mandodarī and other wives lamented for Rāvaṇa, and in accordance with Lord Rāmacandra’s order, Vibhīṣaṇa performed the funeral ceremonies for all the dead in the family. Lord Rāmacandra then gave Vibhīṣaṇa the right to rule Laṅkā and also granted him a long duration of life. The Lord delivered Sītādevī from the Aśoka forest and carried her in a flower airplane to His capital Ayodhyā, where He was received by His brother Bharata. When Lord Rāmacandra entered Ayodhyā, Bharata brought His wooden shoes, Vibhīṣaṇa and Sugrīva held a whisk and fan, Hanumān carried an umbrella, Śatrughna carried the Lord’s bow and two quivers, and Sītādevī carried a water pot containing water from holy places. Aṅgada carried a sword, and Jāmbavān (Ṛkṣarāja) carried a shield. After Lord Rāmacandra, accompanied by Lord Lakṣmaṇa and mother Sītādevī, met all His relatives, the great sage Vasiṣṭha enthroned Him as King.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 27th March 1969.
The Appearance day of Lord Rama – Rama Navami, Hawaii, USA.
“So Ramacandra’s life, God’s activities, pastimes, if we hear, that means we are associating with Ramacandra. There is no difference between His form, His name, His pastimes, and Himself. He’s absolute. Therefore, either you chant the holy name of Rama or you see the statue of Rama or you talk of His pastimes, transcendental pastimes, everything, that means you are associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, we take advantage of these days when the incarnation of God appears or disappears, and we try to associate with Him. By His association we become purified. Our process is purification. Krishna consciousness means simply we are purifying our consciousness. From the birth, as I have explained, everyone is sudra.
Sudra means one who laments. That is called sudra. For a slight loss or slight inconvenience, one who laments, he is called sudra. And brahmana means one who tolerates. A sudra has no toleration. So kalau sudra sambhava. Kalau means… This age is called Kali. So, it is the statement of the sastras that in this age the whole population is sudra. And formerly also, by his birth, everyone was considered sudra, but there was training, samskara. At the present moment, there is no samskara, there is no training. The training is only for earning livelihood. No other training. How one can earn money and enjoy senses—that is the training at the present moment. But actually, to make successful the human life or the mission of human life, the Vedic culture is very nice. And by spreading Krishna consciousness, by adopting the process of Krishna consciousness, you can revive that cultural life, sublime life. If not wholesale, if there are a few people trained up in this line, and they become ideal examples to the society, immense benefit can be derived from their examples of life. What is time?” [break] (kirtana) (end)
Observing Rama Navami
Many temples have Rama katha over the several days prior to Rama Navami. Devotees gather daily to listen to the wonderful pastimes of Sri Sri Sita Rama and Their companions. You can do the same at home and not only for your family, but also invite friends and neighbours to join in the festivities.
On the day, devotees perform worship and chant the name of Rama. You can decorate your home with flowers, do abhishek if you have Sita Ram deities, offer arati, sing bhajans and read stories from Ramayana throughout the day. Most people fast until noon.
The appearance of Sri Rama, indeed, signifies an event worth of remembrance by everyone who cherish the time-honoured sublime values of human culture and civilization. Ram Navami is a festival of celebration and brings its devotees true happiness and joy. It gives them the strength and courage to fight against all odds of life.
Rama means ‘bliss’ and so Lord Rama provides bliss to all those who remember Him and pray to Him. Therefore, let us all remember the activities and instructions of Lord Rama; follow them and achieve real happiness.