Sri Ram Navami (Rama’s Birthday)

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Rama, the embodiment of righteousness, is said to be the solar incarnation of Vishnu. Rama was the King of Ayodhya in the second age of mankind, Treta Yuga, where he reestablished a Golden Age of justice and happiness. He incarnated to rid the world of vices and the wicked. He destroyed the demon king, Ravana, and the rest of the rakshasa army. As a result, the Brahmins were able to perform their oblations without interference, everyone excelled spiritually, and all of life was full of abundance.

We celebrate the birth of Lord Rama in the period of new moon day to full moon day (Shukla Paksha), on the ninth day (Navami) of the Vedic month of Chaitra. Since Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, temples are elaborately decorated and traditional prayers are chanted by all devotees. Special yagnas are performed, along with Vedic mantras.

On Rama’s birthday, we perform Sita Rama Kalyanam. Panakam, a sweet drink with jaggery and pepper, is prepared on this day. Celebrating Ram Navami and finding Rama in one’s heart, brings a person to Atmic bliss (bliss of the soul).

Rama is the indweller in everybody. His blessings upsurge from that inner spring that confers peace and bliss. He is the very embodiment of dharma, of all the codes of morality that hold mankind together in love and unity.

You could look at Consciousness like it is the sun. The sun is the source of everything. When you think of the sun, in one regard you can see it as having two components. Imagine the sun hitting the earth. One component of the sun is the nourisher. It feeds everything. Without the sun, nothing is sustained, nothing is maintained. When it touches something, it gives it such a glow. Think of the springtime. The plants are just resplendent from the nourishment of the Sun. That is Rama.

Concurrently, the sun does something else. It transforms. Traditionally, you would say it is the destroyer. The idea is that in order for the bud to turn into a blossom, the bud has to be destroyed or transformed. The transformer component is Shiva.

So, you could say Rama is the sun and Shiva is also the sun, but it is like two different qualities or operations performed by the sun. You could say they are both attributes of the sun, but the qualities you relate to depend upon your perspective.

You could say that Rama is the life force within. The nourisher. The awakening of the Transcendent. The force that keeps that Transcendental value alive, fed, and nourished. Shiva, you might say, is the one that destroys your identities, annihilates your limitations. That’s Shiva Ram.

The mutual admiration between Shiva and Rama cannot be overstated. It’s like the yin and yang of a yin-yang symbol. They are so related and intimately intertwined. Shiva bottom-lines all relativity and gives you the Transcendent. It is all Shiva cares about. He is the Transcendent. When you are awake to the Transcendent, you are awake to the sun, the effervescent glow that nurtures all of life, Rama. With the sun and those nourishing rays feeding the whole universe, what would Rama most appreciate? The quality that frees people from identity so they can find Rama. That is Shiva.

Sri Ram Navami Puja, April 15, 2016

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