Chaitra Shukla paksha Navami (Ninth day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra)
Shri Ram Navami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Shri Ram, the seventh Incarnation of Shri Vishṇu. Ramachandra was born in Ayodhya on this day, during Punarvasu nakshatra (Lunar asterism) at twilight in karka-lagan, when the Sun and five other planets etc. were positioned.
Celebrations of Shri Ram Navami start on the first day of Chaitra (Gudi Padwa) and continue for 9 days. During this period, devotees do periodic readings of Ramayan, recite hymns glorifying Shriram (Ramrakshastotra), sing Holy devotional songs (Bhajan-Kirtan) in His praise and chant His Name.
On the 9th day, in the afternoon, a spiritual discourse on Shriram’s birth is organised.
3. Importance of Shri Ram Navami
Why celebrate any Deity’s festival on a particular tithi?
On a particular tithi (Date according to the Hindu Almanac) related to a Deity, the respective Deity Principle is most active in the entire universe. Due to this, the Deity’s Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) and sattvikta are emitted in a greater proportion.
The Principles of Deities and Incarnations are more active on earth on the day of their birth as per the Hindu lunar calendar. On the day of Shri Ram Navami, Shriram’s Principle is a thousand times more active when compared to other days. On this day, chanting ‘II Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram II’ and worshipping Deity Ram with bhav (spiritual emotion) helps in obtaining maximum benefit of Deity Ram’s Principle.
4. Celebrating Shriram Navami
Shri Ram Navami is called a Holy festival when it is celebrated individually, a religious festival when celebrated collectively and when performed individually with a resolve it becomes a vowed religious observance (known as vrat). Also, unlike most vrats which are celebrated individually, Shri Ram Navami is a vrat celebrated collectively.
Many temples of Shri Ram celebrate this festival for nine days, beginning from the first day of Chaitra (Gudi Padwa). During these nine days, reciting the Rama raksha stotra eleven times daily with a resolve brings the prayer to fruition, yielding benefits such as reduction of speech impairments, other ailments, prosperity etc.
On the ninth day, in the afternoon a spiritual discourse on Shri Ram’s birth is held. At noon, a coconut draped in a hooded cloak is placed in a cradle and the cradle is rocked gently. On this occasion, songs describing the events at Shri Ram’s birth are sung. Then, the Idol of Shriram is worshipped and sauntha (dried ginger powder) is served as prasad. At some places mahaprasad is served along with dried ginger.
This year, in some places due to the corona pandemic, there may be limitations on performing this festival as usual.
However, in this adverse situation, we can worship Shri Ram at home also by chanting ‘II Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram II’ and doing ‘puja’ with other rituals.
Reference: Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy Text ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious’