The important Hindu festival Sri Rama Navami which is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world was held in Dublin Scientology Community Centre. So many people came to the feast that there were not enough seats in the big hall. Most of the participants are members of the Indian community in Ireland. Annually, the date of the holiday is calculated by astrologers, according to the lunar calendar, it is the ninth day of the rising moon of the Vedic month of Chaytra (March-April).
Understanding who Lord Rama was:
Rama is the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. According to India’s ancient scriptures, God (Vishnu) descends from his heavenly abode in his various incarnations, to show all people in the world the path of truth and righteousness, and ensure that good triumphs over evil. So, Lord Rama is considered as a perfect husband and an ideal king despite his expulsion from the kingdom and separation from his beloved wife Sita. He is the most widely worshipped as a Hindu deity and praised for his unwavering devotion to Dharma.
What is the story of Rama?
According to the epic story Lord Rama was the eldest son of king Dasharatha and Kausalya. He married the King Janaka’s daughter, Sita, by winning her in a ceremony. All grooms of Sita were challenged to string a giant bow. Princes from different kingdoms tried but did not succeed. As Lord Rama was incarnated by Lord Vishnu, he could lift the bow and strings. However, Lord Rama’s stepmother, Kalkeyi wanted her son Bharata to be the king, and so she organised to banish Rama and Sita from Ayodhya. So, Lord Rama along with his wife and brother Lakshman were in exile and lived in a forest.
One day, Lord Rama and Lakshman went away to hunt. At that time Sita was left alone and was abducted by Ravana. Ravana was an evil king with the ten headed ruler of Lanka. He held Sita captive as revenge from Lord Rama. Lord Rama with the aid of his brother attacked Ravana’s army to rescue Sita. After a long battle, he succeeded in killing Ravana and reunited with his wife. So, Rama returned to Ayodhya with his wife and brother and was crowned as the King.
Who was Sita?
Sita was a gifted, powerful and beautiful woman. She was raised by King Janaka but not his natural daughter. Sita accompanied Rama when he went into exile. Though carried away to Lanka by Ravana, she kept herself chaste by concentrating her heart on her husband. On her return she asserted her purity and proved it by voluntarily undergoing an ordeal by fire. However, Rama sent out her to the forest. There she gave birth to their two children, Kusha and Lava. When they reached maturity, Rama acknowledged them as his sons, then she called upon her mother, Earth, to swallow her up.
What do Hindu people do during the Rama Navami festival?
On this day, Hindu believers keep fasting or eating only fruit or specially prepared offerings. They also participate in the continuous reading of the Ramayana consisting of twenty-four thousand verses. In the evenings, crowds of people come to Ramalilah, where the narrators and dancers present the “Ramayana” story. It is customary to stay up all night and devote time to spiritual practices. In addition, believers make generous donations to temples and charities. They prepare buttermilk and lemon drink to treat the guests.