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Rama Navami Celebrations: The Spiritual Significance

Rama Navami is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Rama. This year it falls on the 28th of March 2015.

As described by the Sanskrit scriptures, the world goes through cycles of yughas (eons) with Kali Yugha being the last of the four stages. The cycle started with Kritha Yugha, followed by Thretha Yugha, then Dwapara Yugha and finally by the current Kali Yugha. Whilst we are enjoying the advent of our beloved Lord Sri Sathya Sai Baba who will be attaining His 90th year of advent very soon, we cannot forget the birth of other Avathars (Incarnations) of the Divine Cosmic energy in human form to establish Dharma (Righteousness) and to lead mankind to realise their innate divinity.

In the Thretha Yugha, the Incarnation, Lord Rama was born to King Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya in the city of Ayodhya (currently located in Uttar Pradesh). The sole purpose of His birth was to restore Dharma (Righteousness) which was in the decline brought about by the ruler of Lanka, King Ravana, the all-powerful demon (asura). Righteousness connotes harmony of thought, word and deed; it calls for sacrificing one’s bad thoughts, feelings and actions. According to Hinduism, Lord Vishnu, one of the Gods’ took birth in human form as Lord Rama to vanquish King Ravana and restore Dharma to its pristine.

It is this same cosmic energy that took a human form in Dwapara Yugha as Lord Krishna and in Kali Yugha as Sathya Sai Baba. During His milestone divine discourse on the occasion of His Birthday on 23rd November 1968, Baba revealed,

“Every step in the career of the Avathar is predetermined. Rama came to feed the roots of Truth (Sathya) and Righteousness (Dharma). Krishna came to foster Peace (Shanthi) and Love (Prema). Now (in Kali Yugha) all these four human values are in danger of being dried up. That is why the present Avathar has come. The righteousness that has fled to the forest has to be brought back in to the villages and towns. All actions against righteousness that is ruining the villages and town must be driven back in to the jungles”

Since His birth in 1926 and His epic declaration in October 1940 on the purpose of His Divine Mission, Baba has relentlessly worked to transform mankind to the Divine by infusing wisdom and raising human consciousness. He has inspired millions all over the globe by His example to practise human values of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence.

Continuing on His earlier Divine Discourse, Baba added,

“Avatars like Rama and Krishna had to kill one or more individuals who could be identified as enemies of Righteousness or Dharmic way of life and thus restore the practice of virtue. But now (in Kali Yugha) there is no one fully good, so who deserves the divine protection? All are tainted by wickedness, so who will survive if the Avatar decided to uproot? Therefore I have come to correct the intelligence (buddhi) of mankind by various means. I have come to counsel, help, command, condemn and stand by as a friend and be a well wisher to all, so that they may give up evil propensities and recognising the straight path, tread it and reach their goal (of self realisation)”
On the occasion of Rama Navami on 11th March 2003, Baba elaborated on the Ramayana, the epic poem that describes the story of Rama –

“One may have desires, but they should be under a limit. They should be based on Truth and Righteousness. Do not eat whatever you get. Do not speak whatever comes to your mind. You should speak only after proper enquiry. These are some of the lessons that the Ramayana teaches mankind. “

“The Ramayana teaches the principles of Dharma and the path of duty to every individual. Though ages and aeons have passed by, Ramayana remains ever fresh and guiding humanity on the path of Truth and Righteousness. As a result, even today we think of the various characters of Ramayana with respect and reverence. There is no morality higher than what is depicted in Ramayana to the extent that Ramayana should be a subject of our Parayana (worship). All of you must install these principles of Ramayana in your hearts and experience bliss.”

“The Ramayana, the Rama story, teaches two lessons: the value of
detachment, and the need to become aware of the Divine in every being. Faith in God and detachment from objective pursuits are the keys for human liberation. Give up sense objects; you gain Rama. Sita gave up the luxuries of Ayodhya and so, she could be with Rama, in the period of ‘exile’. When she cast longing eyes on the golden deer and craved for it, she lost the Presence of Rama. Renunciation leads to joy. Attachment brings about grief. Be in the world, but not of it.”

Every character depicted in the Ramayana has a lesson for humanity. For instance, Hanuman was a perfect example of devotion.

“Once Lord Rama asked Hanuman, “How do you contemplate on Me?” “At the physical level, You are my Master and I am Your servant. At the mental level, I am a spark of thy Divine Self. At the Atmic level, You and I are one”, said Hanuman.
BharaSathya Sai Speaks/ volume 34/05

Bharata was prepared to sacrifice his family ties to uphold righteous values.

“This was the ideal set by Bharata in the Ramayana. Rama, being the eldest, was the legal heir to the throne of Ayodhya, but Kaikeyi sent Him to the forest, as she wanted her son Bharata to become the king. When Bharata came to know of this, he became very furious. He even did not like to look at his mother and set off to the forest immediately to bring back Rama.”
Sathya Sai Speaks/ volume 32/01

On such a sacred day of Rama Navami, one should resolve to follow the teachings of Lord Rama.

Raj Selvakumar - Region 1

Please click for the video link Sri Ramanavami Divine Discourse