Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Ram Navami – A Reflection
By Premanjana Das   |  Apr 09, 2022
nw

The auspicious festival of Ram Navami (the divine appearance of Lord Ram on this earth) is celebrated on 10th April 2022. I personally don’t recall celebrating this festival as a child or teenager. The fondness and memory of any particular festival would be based on if it is ‘powerful’ enough to award a school holiday or can it inspire the family to go shopping.

Even today, I thought, that even though I am in the association of devotees and we have a festival to celebrate in the temple, have I truly reflected on its significance? I am aware of this occasion, but there is much more to this holiday,  and on the consistent push of a dear friend, I am attempting to write a small reflection on this festival.

Festivals are meant to bring us together around a common cause or celebration. Sadly, more often, ‘religious’ festivals often appear to divide people of different faiths. I think that’s not because of religion, but because of a lack of depth or not understanding of religion in its spirit and true meaning. What will it take to make this festival relevant and interesting? Nothing new or extraordinary; if the story of Ramayana can be presented without any adulteration or change, that story itself can captivate the heart and mind of any listener. Who doesn’t like epic stories?

Human society has not witnessed a finer portrayal of relationships, mellows, and deep emotions than by Sri Valmiki in Ramayana. What makes it even more special and worthy is that they are centered around Lord Ram, thus making it transcendentally ever fresh. One can read Ramayana hundreds of times and never be bored.

One can find love, duty, hatred, devotion, envy, valor, diplomacy, philosophy, ethical dilemma, temptations, leadership, and even grief in these narrations.

Be it the influence of association on Kaikeyi, the dutifulness of Lord Ram, devotion and chastity of mother Sita, the lust of Ravana, the integrity of Dasarath, the sacrifice of Jatayu, or the servitude of Hanuman, each narration is full of anticipation and amazement. Two incidents particularly stand out apart for me:

 

  • The integrity of Bharata: Lord Ram was sent into exile in the forest for fourteen years in the absence of Bharata. Bharata had no idea that his mother, Kaikeyi, had sent his elder brother Lord Ram to the forest. He was in fact called by ministers to perform the cremation of his father Dasarath, who passed away in the grief of separation from Lord Ram. Upon reaching back to Ayodhya, every single person treated him with the attitude of anger, disdain, and condemnation thinking him to be the cause of Lord Rama’s exile. His nearest and dearest relatives – Kaushalya, Laxmana, Vasishta, and in fact the entire kingdom saw him as someone hungry for power, selfish, insensitive, and cruel. How did he respond? His heart was pierced with each remark and yet his focus was on bringing Lord Ram back. Even when Lord Ram refused and requested him to accept the responsibility, he never sat on the throne but ruled the kingdom from an outer village on behalf of Lord Ram. He didn’t accept the dress and food of the royal court. He never slept on the bed thinking how Ram was sleeping on the floor. It is said that the greatness of a person has to be estimated by their capacity to tolerate provoking situations. The tolerance of Bharat amidst misunderstanding and false accusations by everyone around him gives a glimpse of his greatness. What can be more heart-wrenching than when those false accusations come at a time when his heart was sinking? Mostly because he just lost his father, and his dearmost brothers and was held responsible for the entire conspiracy.

 

  • The victory of the monkey’s army: There is no way to compare Ravana’s army to that of the Monkey army fighting for the side of Lord Ram. Ravana’s army was equipped with all the modern technology of the time, skilled, trained, and professional whereas monkeys only knew how to throw stones, mountain peaks, and trees. Yet because they were fighting from the side of Lord Ram and divine love, they emerged victoriously. Strength received from transcendence far excels the strength of one’s own mind and physical body. One needs to not only fully utilize one’s strengths and skills for a cause, but at the same time, be completely dependent upon the mercy of the Supreme Lord.  In the Bhagavad-gita 8.7, Krishna says to Arjuna in mäm anusmara yudhya ca: “Think of Me and fight.”

 

There are innumerable stories and narrations in Ramayana in which one can meditate, reflect, and seek inspiration.

Hearing these stories can nourish our minds, hearts, and souls. The festival of Ram Navami is thus a festival of quenching the thirst of the soul. This thirst can be satisfied only by an unlimited source of love. This festival is a festival of imbibing the spirit of service that we see in Ramayana in multiple personalities. This festival is a festival of giving; to experience the love, shelter, and security of Lord Ram through his life and teachings. And then to become an instrument through which this pure love of Lord Ram can flow to others. Can our lives show others the love that Lord Ram has towards us?

What is the one thing that you can do today to become an instrument of the Lord’s love?

 

More Topic
Join Our Newsletter