for Sindh Today on March 26, 2010
Ram Navami, the birth of Lord Ram, was celebrated with enthusiasm and religious fervor in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday the 24th.
One of the main functions in Mumbai was held at the famous International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple, where celebrities, film stars and others gathered for the colorful morning ‘abhishek’ (ceremonial bath) of the deity Lord Ram.
A temple spokesperson, Parijata Dasi, said that over 200,000 devotees witnessed the ‘abhishek’ ceremony this morning in the temple precincts at Juhu.
“Around a 1,000 devotees performed the ‘abhishek’ using silver water pots (kalash) amidst discourse from the Ramayana, chanting of bhajans and kirtans and blowing of conches,” said Parijata.
Later, the gathering participated in a ‘maha-aarti’ in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum.
“Ram Navami celebrates not just the birth of Lord Ram, but represents the birth of justice, establishment of the rule of law and places an emphasis on family duties,” explained Braja Hari Dasa, president of ISKCON’s Juhu branch.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the ISCKCON movement, had stressed the celebration of festivals such as Ram Navami to increase spiritual awareness and promote better moral values in society, he said.
Nearly half a million devotees congregated for the colorful evening boat event in the temple courtyard.
The devotees filled the entire temple courtyard with bluish water and decorate it with lotus and lily flowers, floating oil lamps and garlands. The deities of Lord Ram and his consort Sita were placed in a two-meter long boat decorated with flowers.
Similar celebrations were held in scores of other big and small temples dedicated to Lord Ram in Mumbai,Shirdi, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Nagpur and other parts of the state.