Guru Ravidas (1377-1527 C.E.) was a famous saint of the Bhakti Movement. His devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the Bhakti Movement. Guru Ravidas is also known as Raidas, Rohidas and Ruhidas.
According to historians Guru Ravidas was born during 1377 C.E. at Mandhuadhe in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. There is controversy on the exact birth date of Ravidas. According to some scholars it was year 1399 when Guru Ravidas was born. As per Hindu calendar Guru Ravidas was born on Magha Purnima. Hence his birth anniversary is celebrated on Magha Purnima as per Hindu lunar calendar.
His belief in one God and his unbiased religious poems won him numerous followers. In fact, around 41 of his poems were included in the religious text of the Sikhs, “Adi Granth” or “Guru Granth Sahib”. Those poems were compiled by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev. The Sant was a thinker, a socio-cultural reformer, a traveller, a spiritual figure, and, most important, a humanist who dedicated his whole life to the banishment of a treacherous caste-system. He openly denounced the notion of a Brahminical society (where Brahmins are perceived as supreme beings) and even established Begumpura, a state sans any hierarchical system of caste or creed. Guru Ravidas said, “If God actually resides in every human being, then it’s quite futile to segregate persons on the basis of caste, creed and other such hierarchical social orders.” He opposed the myth that caste plays a very important role in establishing a relation with God. He was of the belief that God is omnipresent, and anyone with a clear conscience and “bhakti” can reach God through simple prayers.
Widely known as Raidas, Guru Ravidas was an eminent figure in the Bhakti Movement which started in North India around the 15th century. His birthplace is now known as Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan and it is a major place of pilgrimage for the followers of Guru Ravidas.
Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati was the legendary catalyst who changed the tide of times. He is heralded as the grandfather of Indian Freedom Movement giving birth to the concept of ‘Swadesh‘. His call for ‘Back to the Vedas’ in late nineteenth century ushered in a widespread social and moral transformation worldwide which continues till today.
Tankara, a town in Saurashtra of the present Gujarat State, There lived a wealthy brahmin, Karshanji Laiji Tiwari by name; he was also the tahsildar of Tankara. His wife, Amrith bai, was a beautiful and virtuous woman. She was like a mother to all the villagers. In 1824, a son was born to the couple. They named. him Moolashankar. According to the custom of the place, he was also called Dayaram. This child was to become famous as Maharshi Dayananda. When he attained the age of five, Moolashankar’s education started. At the age of eight, his Upanayana Samskara (being invested with the holy thread) was performed. The boy used to perform religious rites like ‘Sandhyavan dana’ with devotion. He had a very good memory. By the time he was fourteen he had learnt by heart the Yajurveda, the scriptures and the upanishads.
Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati authored more than 70 works in all, including a 14 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, 9 volumes of Rigveda Bhasya and 4 volumes of Yajurved Bhasya. His most important and referred works are Satyarth Prakash, Sanskarvidhi, Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2) and Yajurved Bhashyam.
Maharshi completed his vedic studies under Swami Virjanand in 1864. Thereafter, he travelled across India till 1874 AD for Vedic propagation and learning. Maharshi’s first major authorship was Panchmahayajya Vidhi in 1874 AD. The Paropkarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts in 1882.
Maharshi passed away in 1883; at that time his Rig Veda Bhasyam was only more than half way. But within his short span of 10 years of work, he created a vast, deep and research based literature on the Vedic lore.
Shivaratri is great festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.
According to one story from Puranas, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This made his throat turn blue, and he was given the name Neelakantha, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.
According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu, were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. But light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness. At this, the angry Shiva revealed his true form. He punished Brahma for telling a lie, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.
At Maha Shivratri, People keep fast of whole day and night and all the Shiv temples e.g. Kashi Vishwanath temple gets congregated by the young and old devotees from the very early morning. They come to the temple to perform the puja of traditional Shivalingam and hope to get what they have prayed to the god. They take bath in the holy water of the Ganga (Symbol of the purity) early in the morning before sunrise and wear a clean clothe after the sacred bath.
Ramakrishna (1836-1886 C.E.) was a famous Saint in the 19th century in India. He was born on 18 February 1836 into a very poor but devoutly religious Brahmin family in the village of Kamarpukur, Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali and located near Calcutta on the Ganges River. He is famously known as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa among his devotees.
Young Ramakrishna was prone to experiences of spiritual reverie and temporary loss of consciousness. His early spiritual experiences included going into a state of rapture while watching the flight of cranes, and loosing consciousness of the outer world while playing the role of the god Shiva in a school play.
At one point he became frustrated, feeling he could not live any longer without seeing Kali. He demanded that the goddess appear to him. He threatened to take his own life with a ritual dagger (normally held in the hand of the Kali statue). Ramakrishna’s behavior became more erratic as time passed and began to worry his family and employer. He would take on ritual and mythical roles identifying with figures from the Puranas (medieval Indian holy books describing the adventures of gods). The group of respected religious leaders concluded that this was a case of divine madness similar in nature to that of other famous saints such as Caitanya (a fifteenth century Bengali saint). From this point on, people began to treat Ramakrishna with more respect though his unusual behavior in worship and meditation continued. A Yogi named Totapuri then became Ramakrishna’s mentor. Ramakrishna adopted the role of renunciant and learned a nondualist form of Vedanta philosophy from him. In this system, God is understood to be the formless unmanifest energy that supports the cosmos. Ramakrishna experienced a deep form of trance (nirvikalpa samadhi) under the guidance of this teacher. This state can be described as complete absorption of the soul into the divine ocean of consciousness. Ramakrishna also appealed to those with an interest in yoga and esoteric practices by practicing a non-dual form of meditation prescribed by Totapuri which seeks samadhi.
He was married to Sarada Devi who later became his spiritual counterpart and was considered a saint in her own right to take charge of his disciples and carry on his message. Swami Vivekananda was one of his famous disciples. In honor of his Guru, Swami Vivekananda founded Ramakrishna Math which works for the welfare of others and spread the spiritual movement known as Ramakrishna Movement worldwide. Belur Math is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
According to Hindu lunar calendar it was Dwitiya, Phalguna, Shukla Paksha, Vikram Samvat 1892 when Shri Ramakrishna was born. Each year the birth anniversary of Ramakrishna is celebrated as per Hindu lunar calendar across all Ramakrishna Maths.
According to Hindu scriptures Holika Dahan, which is also known as Holika Deepak or Chhoti Holi, should be done during Pradosh Kaal (which starts after sunset) while Purnimasi Tithi is prevailing. Bhadra prevails during first half of Purnimasi Tithi and all good work should be avoided when Bhadra prevails.
There are many mythological, spiritual and social tales associated with Holika; the most popular of all being that of Prahlad and Hirnakashyap. Demon king Hirnakashyap was so haughty and immoral that he barred the people of his kingdom from praying to the lord. In order to become immortal, he started performing hard penance to please Lord Brahma. Brahma gave Hirnakashyap the following five boons: neither a human nor an animal would be able to kill him; neither he would be killed inside the door nor outside the door, neither he would be killed during the day nor at night, neither he would be killed by any Astra nor by any Shastra, neither he would be killed on the land nor in the water or in the air. After getting this boon, the demon thought himself to be nothing less than the almighty but the son born to this devil, Prahlad, was an advent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He became very angry and decided to kill his son. After a lot of attempts failed, he took helps from his sister, Holika. Hirnakashyap’s sister, Holika, was once blessed by Brahma that she will not be harmed by fore ever in her life. She had a shawl, which would protect her. She was asked by her brother to be seated in the flames with Prahlad but when the fire soared, the blessed shawl of Holika fluttered away to cover Prahlad. In this way, Prahlad lived and Holika burnt and died. This story contains a universal message – triumph of good over evil.
A day before Holi, lots of wooden sticks are gathered in the ground, and are worshiped. A thread is tied around a small piece of bread and placed on the fire. It is believed that even though the bread burns, the thread remains clean. This is a memorial of how the evil (the bread) is destroyed, while the thread (the soul ) is eternal.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1534 C.E.) was a great spiritual teacher and the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. The followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are known as Gaudiya Vaishnava(s). He was born as Vishvambhar Mishra on 18 February 1486 in present-day Nadia, West Bengal, India, into a Brahmin family, to Jagannath Mishra and his wife Sachi Devi. He was their tenth child and his childhood nickname was Nimai. His mother’s father, Pandita Nilambara Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child was destined for greatness in future.
He grew up to be a bright child and developed an early interest in religious pursuits. He entered the Gurukula of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara when he was eight years old. A brilliant student, he excelled in his studies and became a scholar in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric at a young age. He went to Gaya as a teenager and it was here that he met the ascetic Ishvara Puri who would become his guru. Nimai received initiation with the Gopala Krishna mantra from his guru. Upon his return to Bengal he became a prominent religious preacher and before long was considered the eminent leader of the Vaishnava group within Nadia. He soon received entrance into the sannyasa order by Keshava Bharati. After becoming a sannyasi he travelled throughout India, visiting many places, spreading the name of the Lord Krishna.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as a devotee of Krishna in Mayapur, West Bengal, India in the late fifteenth century. He introduced sankirtan, widespread congregational chanting of the Supreme Person’s names, as the most effective means by which anyone can achieve spiritual perfection. By His influence, many of India’s leading religious scholars and their followers became devotees of Krishna themselves. In His youth, Mahaprabhu started a Sanskrit academy in Navadvipa—one of India’s top centers of learning at the time—and earned a reputation as an excellent scholar. But at age twenty-four he renounced everything to travel the subcontinent, encouraging everyone he met to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON, is a continuation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement.
As per Hindu lunar calendar, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born during Phalguna Purnima in the year 1542 of Vikram Samvat. Hence, followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, observe Phalguna Purnima as Gaura Purnima and it is observed as the birth anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
As per Julian calendar, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born on February 18, 1486 C.E. At the time of his birth Gregorian calendar was not invented. In proleptic Gregorian calendar it was Saturday, February 27, 1486 C.E. when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born.
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March every year. Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Holi is considered as second biggest festival on Hindu calendar after Diwali. Holi is also known as festival of Colors.
Holi was originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, but is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend Prahlad from Hindu Mythology.
The festival is also associated with the eternal love of Krishna and Radha, and hence, Holi is spread over 16 days in Braj region. Places related to life of Lord Krishna are known as Braj regions. Holi rituals in Braj regions – Mathura, Vrindavan, Gowardhan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana – are the most famous one. The Lathmar Holi – the traditional Holi festivity in Barsana is world famous.
In most regions Holi festival is celebrated for two days. The first day is known as Jalanewali Holi – the day when Holi bonfire is done. This day is also known as Chhoti Holi and Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan is referred to Kama Dahanam in South India. The second day is known as Rangwali Holi – the day when people play with colored powder and colored water. Rangwali Holi which is main Holi day is also known as Dhulandi or Dhulendi. The other less popular pronunciations of Dhulandi are Dhuleti,Dhulheti.
On first day bonfires are lit after sunset at Right Holika Dahan Muhurta. Main Holi day when people play with colors is always next day of Holika Dahan or Holi bonfire. Next day in the morning people play Holi with dry and wet colors. People play Holi with dry colored powders which are known as Gulal. Wet color is applied on the face and is made on the spot by mixing little amount of water with dry colored powder. More enthusiastic Holi folk mix dry colored powder in full bucket of water to drench complete body in wet color. Holi is marked by colourful parades accompanied by folk songs, dances and a general sense of relaxed fun. On the occasion of Holi morning, the streets fill with people running, shouting, giggling and splashing.
Parsis follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest known monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zarathustra in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. It was one of the ancient world’s most important religions for over 1000 years and was the official religion of Persia (now Iran) from 650 BCE until the rise of Islam in the 7th century. When the Islamic armies invaded Persia, many Zoroastrians migrated, to places such as Gujarat in India and Pakistan. Nowadays there are an estimated 2.6 million Zoroastrians worldwide, with the Parsis (‘Parsi’ being Gujarati for Persian) in India being the largest single group.
Parsi New Year, also known as ‘Jamshedi Navroz’ after the legendary King of Persia, Jamshed who started the Parsi Calendar, is celebrated Worldwide on the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar’s first month. Navroze, this day marks the first day of the spring equinox and is therefore celebrated between March 19th and March 22nd. In India, on the other hand, the Shahanshahi calendar is followed, which means the New Year celebration happens in the later months of the year. Delicious lunch and sweets are an integral part of Nowruz celebrations. Parsi New Year is a regional holiday in states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in the country. Delicacies for the special day include moong dal, dhansak, farcha, prawns, pulav, and sali boti. Zoroastrianism celebrates numerous festivals and holy days around the year following the Zoroastrian calendar. Parsi New Year or Pateti is celebrated on August 17 by the Parsi community. Iranians celebrate the Persian New Year on the spring equinox based on their calendar while Indians and Pakistanis celebrate the day based on Shahenshahi calendar.
Shivaji Bhonsle (1630-1680 C.E.) was a great warrior King of Marathas who established the Maratha Empire. He was born in 1630 to Shahaji Bhonsle and Jijabai near the city of Junnar in Pune district, Maharashtra. Shivaji Bhonsle is popularly known as Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Shivaji was the son of Shahaji Raje Bhosale and Jijabai. Shahaji worked for the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur at that time. Shivaji was named after the goddess Shivai. The young Shivaji was brought up under the watchful eye and tutelage of his mother. She told him stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat and kindled the flame of freedom in the young Shivba. She taught him politics and religion, at the same time trained him in the art of fighting by wielding the stick and dandpatta (a kind of sword with protective armour for the arm). Shivba became a skilled swordsman and a horse rider too. Shivaji who was a secular ruler had many Muslim soldiers in his army. His sole aim was to overthrow Mughal empire and establish Maratha rule in the state. He was called the ‘Father of Indian Navy’ for his strategic plan to protect the coastline from other rulers. He established the navy, which no other Indian ruler ever did.
Shivaji knew that “He who has control of fort, has control of territory” and he decided to capture the Torna fort. Shivaji and his friends made a plan and attacked Torna in late night hours. Even before Adilshahi forces on Torna could realize that the fort has been attacked, Shivaji had captured it when he was just 16. After Torna, many other forts like Rajgad fort, Chakan fort, Kondhana fort, Purandar fort were captured.
His combat with Afzal Khan is very popular. He defeated the veteran with a single strike when they had met in a hut where they were allowed to carry a single sword. In 1659, Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, an experienced and veteran general to destroy Shivaji in an effort to put down what he saw as a regional revolt. Afzal Khan desecrated Hindu temples at Tuljapur and Pandharpur, hoping to draw Shivaji to the plains where the superior Bijapuri army could destroy him. Shivaji sent a letter to Afzal Khan requesting a meeting to negotiate and pretending that he was afraid of the mighty general and so they meet at Pratapgad foothills. The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by a follower. Shivaji, as a protection, wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal “tiger claw”) on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand. As predicted by Shivaji, the meeting turned to be a fight. In the fight, Afzal Khan’s dagger was stopped by Shivaji’s armour, and Shivaji’s weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general.
In his rule, any crime against women was a punishable offence. By order, in his kingdom, no one was allowed to harm women. Strict punishments were meted out to people who harassed women. He is accredited for reviving Hindu traditions and promoting usage of Marathi and Sanskrit. His legacy increased with the emergence of Indian independence movement which people hailing him as a nationalist.
Scholars have two different opinions on the exact date of his birth. The one group propose February 19, 1630 and the other proposes April 6, 1627 as the birth date of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The date of February 19, 1630 has been accepted as the birth anniversary of Shivaji Jayanti by the government of Maharashtra. However, very few people realize that this date is marked on Julian calendar and not on the Gregorian calendar currently used throughout the world.
When consider the first date which has been proposed by the committee of eminent scholars. On converting February 19, 1630 from Julian calendar to Hindu lunar calendar (as per Amanta lunar calendar followed in Maharashtra) and marks Krishna Paksha Tritiya during Phalguna month as birth anniversary of Shivaji. The same Hindu date has been proposed by the eminent scholars of the committee.
Maharashtra government is all set to build the tallest statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea and have increased the size from 192 metres to 210 metres after the state government got the approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). In December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the memorial by performing the ‘jal-poojan’. The increase in height of the statue will make it the tallest in the world and in process will overtake the height of the Spring Temple Buddha in Zhaocun township of Lushan County in Henan, China.
Gudi Padwa is the Hindu festival which marks the beginning of New Year as per a Shalivahan Shaka. The festival is celebrated with utmost fanfare and grandeur in not only Maharashtra but also in other parts of India, particularly in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Ugadi in Andhra and Yugadi in Karnataka are the same festival but observed in different names. Gudi Padwa or Samvatsar Padvo is celebrated as the first day of the year by Maharashtrians and Konkanis. On this day new Samvatsara, which is cycle of sixty years, starts. All sixty Samvatsara are identified by unique name.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated as Ugadi by the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Both Gudi Padwa and Ugadi are celebrated on the same day.
The day is considered extremely auspicious as it is believed that on this very day Lord Brahma had created the universe. As the universe was created this day it marked the beginning of the Satyayug. The day also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, that lead up to Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birthday to be celebrated on the ninth day. Practically the celebrations are often linked to the change in season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. This day marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one.
Gudi Padwa is Marathi New Year according to Luni-Solar calendar. Luni-Solar calendars consider the position of the Moon and the position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days. The counter-part of Luni-Solar calendar is Solar calendar which considers only position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days. Because of that Hindu New Year is celebrated twice in the year with different names and at two different times of the year. The Hindu New Year based on Solar calendar is known as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Naba Barsha in West Bengal.
The day begins with ritual oil-bath followed by prayers. Oil bath and eating Neem leaves are must rituals suggested by scriptures. North Indians don’t celebrate Gudi Padwa but start nine days Chaitra Navratri Puja on the same day and also eat Neem with Mishri on the very first day of Navratri.
The day is also believed to be auspicious for ‘vaastu puja’ and for beginning new business ventures. On this day, several processions are also taken out.
Birth anniversary of Ishtadeva Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal, is celebrated as Cheti Chand on the second day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha of Hindu calendar. The exact year of the birth of Saint Jhulelal is not known but he was born during the 10thcentury in Sindh. This was the time when Sindh came under the rule of Sumras. Sumras were tolerant to all other religions. However a tyrant named Mirkshah was threatening Sindhi Hindus to either convert to Islam or face the death.
Sindhi Samaj has a very rich tradition and history of being a community with a strong religious faith. Basically Sindhis are the followers of Hindu life style of Indus Valley civilization. Along with Punjabi community Sindhis are the most affected community of partition of India in the year 1947. Many of Sindhis who didn’t migrated to India from Pakistan have converted.
Traditionally Sindhis have a very close touch with Punjabis and Sikhs hence Adi Guru Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji are the prime deity of Sindhis along with Jal Devata [Water God] “Jhulelal” . It is normal routine of many Sindhis to go Gurudwara, in Sindhis language pronounced as Darbar being looked by Jagyasi & Udasi [Sadh] families and recite the Banis from Living God Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Cheti Chand is an important festival celebrated by Sindhi people of Pakistan and India. However date of Cheti Chand is decided based on Hindu calendar. According to Hindu calendar, Cheti Chand is celebrated on the second day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha. Most of the times, it is celebrated one day after Ugadi and Gudi Padwa. It is the day when the New Moon becomes visible after no moon day. Due to the first appearance of the moon during the Cheti month, this day is known as Cheti Chand. The Sindhi community celebrates the festival of Cheti Chand to commemorate the birth anniversary of Ishtadeva Uderolal which is popularly known as Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis.
Sindhis prayed to the river God to protect them from the forced conversion. It is stated that their prayers were heard after forty days of worship. River God promised them that the divine child would be born in Nasarpur to save them from the tyrant. The child was known as Saint Jhulelal.
This day is considered highly auspicious and is celebrated with much fanfare. The water which is the elixir of life is worshipped on this day.
The birthday of Lord Rama, the celebrated hero of the famous epic, ‘Ramayana’, is enthusiastically celebrated on the ninth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra, all over India. Lord Vishnu is worshiped in his human incarnation as Rama, the divine ruler of Ayodhya. Lord Rama was born on Navami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. Each year this day is celebrated as birthday of Lord Rama. Lord Rama was born during Madhyahna period which is middle of Hindu day. Madhyahna which prevails for six Ghatis (approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes) is the most auspicious time to perform Rama Navami Puja rituals. The mid-point of Madhyahna marks the moment when Shri Rama was born and temples symbolize this moment as birth moment of Lord Rama. The chanting of Shri Rama and celebration reaches its peak during this time.
Due to widespread use of western clock and Gregorian calendar people assume 12 p.m. as Madhyahna moment. This could have been correct if sunrise and sunset occur exactly at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. respectively but at most places sunrise and sunset timings are different from six O’clock. Hence the exact time to celebrate birthday of Lord Rama falls between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for most Indian cities.
The festival of Ramnavami is celebrated with great devotion across the nation and every region has its own regional significance behind the celebration. Ayodhya is the focus of great celebrations. A huge fair is organized for two days. Ratha yatras or ‘chariot processions’ of Rama and his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out from many temples. In the south of India the “Sri Ramnavami Utsavam” is celebrated for nine days with great fervor and devotion.
Lord Rama was the prince of the Ikshvaku race. He was virtuous and of manly strength. He was the Lord of the mind and the senses. Brave and valiant, He was yet gentle and modest. He was a sage in counsel, kind and sweet in speech, and most courteous and handsome in appearance. He was the master of all the divine weapons, and a great warrior. Ever devoted to the good and prosperity of His kingdom and His subjects, He was a defender of the weak and the protector of the righteous. Endowed with numerous wondrous powers of the mind, He was well versed in all sciences—in military science as well as the science of the Self. Ayodhya is birthplace of Lord Rama and Rama Navami celebrations in Ayodhya are remarkable. Devotees come to Ayodhya from far-flung places. After taking holy dip into river Sarayu Devotees visit Rama temple to participate in birthday celebrations.