CREDOS: Lord Ram - IV

Shoba Narayan:

The last of those characters is steadfast: Ram is a symbol of enduring love, enduring justice, and enduring popularity. For these nine reasons, the Ram Navami festival is celebrated with great pomp and circumstance, particularly in the war-torn city of Ayodhya in North India. Thousands of devotees gather at temples for chariot processions with four people dressed as Ram, Lakshmana, Sita, and Ram’s devotee, the monkey Hanuman.

Sita is venerated by Hindu women for her unswerving loyalty to her husband, particularly poignant in an era when divorces are becoming common. Sita is also revered as the chaste wife, who scorned the advances of Ravana, in spite of his offer to make her his queen. Lakshmana is revered for being a faithful younger brother, following Ram from kingdom to forest and back again. Hanuman is among the most popular and revered figures. People want their sons to be as strong, brave, and devoted as Hanuman.

Many devotees fast or subsist on fruits and milk during that week. They greet each other on the street by saying, “Ram Ram,” a custom that persists in North India to this day. The morning of Sri Ram Navami dawns with a prayer to the sun. Ram’s dynasty is said to have descended from the sun god and was therefore called the Raghu-vamsa.

It is interesting that the prefix “Ra” denotes the sun in many civilisations including the ancient Egyptians, leading Indian historians and spiritualists to speculate that the Sri Ram Navami festival predates Lord Ram and was in fact a celebration to honor the sun. According to this theory, Lord Ram was tagged on to the festival when he was deified. —, concluded