Today, the ninth day (Navami) of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the first month (Chaitra) of new year Vicari Nama Somvatsara, on Hindu Calendars, is celebrated as Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Ram.
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ram is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. He took birth on the earth to end the evil in the form of Ravan, the demon king, who was a threat to moral values in Tretayug.
Every child in India grows up listening, watching and enacting events from Ramayana, the life story of Ram, in one form or the other. Episodes from his life are etched in the consciousness of pretty much everyone. His story has been retold in various forms and permutations in the past, being done so in the present, and this will continue in the future as well. The main reason for this never ending interest in Ramayana stories lies in the eternal human sentiments ingrained in it.
Ram is worshipped as God, but lived a life of human being, and went through all kinds of sufferings that normal human beings encounter in life. The situations that compelled him to abandon the throne, go into a 14-year exile in forest, chase the illusory golden deer for is wife Sita well against his own wisdom, wander in search of Sita after she got abducted by Ravan, the demon king, get into war with Ravan to get back his wife, get into a fight with his own children who come in the way of his kingdom’s expansion bid… all these not just make riveting story telling but exude loads of insights into functioning of human minds.
The purpose of Ramayana is to show how Ram did the right thing in every single situation and became the most honoured person (Maryada Purushottam) of the human kind.
For devotees, the word “Rama” has the power to lift the man from darkness (suffering and misery). Rama is combination two syllables Ra+Ma and three root sounds (bijakshara) Ra, which represents the sun god, Aa, which represents the fire god, and Ma, which stands for the moon god. Hence, repeating “Rama” helps invoke the elements of light, energy and peace.
In this era of social media, greeting one another on the occasion of every festival on virtual platforms has become a norm. And people put out greetings wishing that the festival bring joy, peace, and prosperity. But few factor in the unique features associated with each festival. On the birthday of Lord Ram, let us contemplate on the values epitomised by Him, viz truth, righteousness, courtesy, honour, and love.