Shriram-navami is celebrated to proclaim the birth of Shriram, the Seventh Incarnation of Shri Vishnu. The Navami (ninth day) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra is called Shriram-navami. This year it is on 13th April. Celebrations of Shriram-navami start on Gudhipadwa, the first day of Chaitra and continue for nine days. During this period, devotees periodically read the Ramayan, recite the Ramraksha Stotra, sing bhajans-kirtans in His praise and chant His Name.
Origin of some Names of Shriram
Ram : This Name was prevalent even before Ram’s birth.
Ramchandra : Ram’s original name is ‘Ram’ only. He belongs to the Sun dynasty. Although He was born at 12 noon, He was not named ‘Rambhanu’, etc. (after the Sun Deity). He was named Ramchandra after an incident when in His early childhood, He insisted on having the moon (Chandra) !
Shriram : After His victory at Lanka, when Ram returned with Seeta to Ayodhya, He began to be addressed as Shriram. ‘Shri’ is denotes the Divine Energy of God. Upon Ram demonstrating His Godhood, everyone started addressing Him as Shriram.
Shriram displays emotions just like humans do. (His melancholy at Seeta’s abduction is an example.) Hence, we feel closer to Him than we feel towards other Deities.
The implied meaning of the Ramayan is as follows.
• Lakshman refers to the focus on the soul, instead of the worldly matters.
• Bharat signifies a seeker engrossed in the worship of radiance.
• Shatrughna is the one who destroys the six foes (Shadripus) of the jiva (Embodied soul).
• Ram, Seeta and Lakshman together stand for spiritual knowledge, devotion and detachment respectively.
• Hanuman is the activated Kundalini .
• Ravan embodies the 6 enemies of a human being – desire, anger, greed, attachment, vanity and envy.
Every Incarnation comes with a specific purpose
The main task of every Incarnation is to destroy evil and establish the ‘Divine Rule’, but the percentage and proportion of this vary in different Yugas. All the activities of the Incarnation are centred around this task.
Killing of Ravan : Though Ravan was a highly learned scholar, Shriram had to destroy him so that He could protect the embodied souls who were performing spiritual practice. Shriram acquired a physical body to help the souls pursue their spiritual aspirations appropriately.
Many embodied souls completed their individual spiritual practice through the Path of Knowledge (Jnanayoga), but since their spiritual practice for the sake of society (Samashti sadhana) was incomplete, their spiritual practice for Final Liberation (Moksha) remained incomplete. In Satyayug, there was no way to perform spiritual practice for the sake of society and as a result, many embodied souls got stuck midway. For their progress and liberation, they were born as monkeys (Vanars) during Shriram’s time. Some Deities who had been cursed were also born during this period as monkeys. To make all these embodied souls practice Spirituality for the sake of society and their spiritual progress, Shriram acquired a physical body.
To set an ideal for the people
Shriram set an ideal example through each action. He explained how an embodied soul can attain Final Liberation by acting in accordance with the Scriptures.
He set an example of the ‘Divine Rule’ (Ramrajya) for the people : When Righteousness (Dharma) manifested in the physical dimension, Unrighteousness (Adharma) also manifested. Many embodied souls disturbed the Sages and others who acted in accordance with the Scriptures. Shriram protected the Sages. He set an example through His own deeds on how the ‘Divine Rule’ should be. Shriram is the ideal of selflessness, free from desire and impartial.
To obtain maximum benefit of Shriram’s Principle, chant ‘ Shriram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram’ on this day.