RAM NAVAMI:

        Ramnavami or the birthday of Lord Rama is a major Hindu festival celebrated all over the country by devout Hindus, both Vaishnavites and Shaivites. Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu was born on the ninth day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) in Ayodhya, in the Treta Yug or the Second Age Vishnu is the God, who is desireless, formless, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, blissful, the supreme spirit, whose shadow is the world; who incarnates himself as Rama or Krishna and is the guiding force for all activities; who is affectionate to his business; who in his mercy refrains from anger against those whom he loves and knows to be his own. Adi Kavi, Valmiki, in his celebrated Ramayana, describes the advent of Rama:

        Then after the expiry of six seasons and on the completion of the twelfth month, on the ninth lunar day of the month of Chaitra under the star Punarvasu; when the Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were placed at Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer; Kaushilya gave birth to Rama who had mighty arms, rosy eyes and scarlet lips. He became the joy of Dashratha and came to be adored by all people. He bore all auspicious marks on his fair body.

        The Ramayana means the "Ways of Rama". Ramayana receives great reverence as the greatest epic because it embodies the best of human ideals and sums up the character pertaining to Indian reality. As a popular religious epic and great literary work nothing can inspire and enthuse us more than the Ramayana. A verse in the end of Ramcharit Manas reads:

        There is no age a good as the Iron Age (Kaliyug), provide one has faith and devotes himself in praising the spotless virtues of Rama. Then he escapes form the vast sea of birth and death without any trouble. In the Iron Age what is important is that whosoever has received profusely from the blessings of god should practice charity, so that he becomes more prosperous.

        A fair idea of the Ramayana’s immense popularity can be had from the fact that there are about 350 versions of it in Hindi alone, and the name of Rama, as ‘Ram! Ram!’ or ‘Jai Ramji Qui’, is a common form of salutation among the masses.

        The Ramnavami festival offers us an opportunity to imbibe at least some of the ideals enshrined in Rama. On this great day Lord Rama is worshipped, prayers are offered to him and it is the sure way of imbibing his ideals. One who approaches his lotus feet with love, devotion and humility becomes noble, large hearted, pious, peaceful, master of senses and the beloved of the wise. On this sacred day one should observe fast and practice charities. One should visit the temple of Rama early in the morning after bath etc.

        In Ayodhya, the birth place of Shri Rama, grand scale celebrations are organized; the temples are decorated, Ramayana is read and recited and a grand fair is held. At other places also icons of Rama, along with Sita and Hunuman is richly adorned and worshipped and other acts of devotion and piety are observed. Chanting of the holy sankirtan and holding of lectures and discourses of Rama’s life and teaching, for the benefit of the audience, is a common feature of the celebration. On this occasion people take vow to devote themselves more to their spiritual and moral evolution. "Rama nam" is a great magic formula and is like a wish-fulfilling tree (kalpa vriksha) and must be repeated, recited and meditated upon every now and then. Tulsidas has said that if one place the name of Rama on his tongue; like a jeweled lamp placed on the threshold of the door, there will be light, both inside and outside.

        Ramnavami is also celebrated as the Vasant Navratra and the celebration starts from the first lunar day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra and lasts upto Ramnavami. On Ashthami or the eighth day, Durga is worshipped. A fast is observed during the nine days and Durga-saptshati is read and an earthen pitcher filled with water is installed at home and worshipped. Those who wishes to achieve something worthwhile in life, should seek the Mother’s grace and Ramnavami is the proper occasion for it, both Rama and Devi, symbolize the victory of good over the evil.