New York, March 26:- The birth or appearance of Lord Rama was celebrated on Sunday and Monday on March 25 and 26 in New York by the large Indo-Caribbean Hindu community. Lord Rama appeared on earth several thousands of years ago. In Hinduism, the Lord descends in various incarnations on earth to illustrate to people how to live and to right the wrongs committed on them as when Rama put away the evil Rawan.
Ram Naumi is a national holiday in India.
Rama is the seventh avatar or reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram Naumi is celebrated in the spring Navratri. In the Fall Navratri Lord Rama kills Rawan. Ram Naumi falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra which is the new month of the Hindu calendar. This typically occurs in the Gregorian months of late March or early April every year.
Some Hindus observed Ram Naumi on the 25 of March and others on the 26 because of the temple pandit reading of the patra on the position of the sun and moon. The celebration of the birth of Lord Rama culminated nine days of fasting or observance by Hindus during the Navratri festival. Navratri is nine nights of worshipping Mother Durga and her two incarnations, Goddess Saraswati and Laxmi from March 18 thru 26.
Temples were packed to capacity on Ram Naumi. Navratri is one of the most auspicious time in the Hindu calendar and during this time the feminine aspects of God are worshipped. Most temples also conducted nightly services during the nine nights of Navratri. At the Shiva temple in Elmhurst, Pandit Ravi Bharati of Trinidad conducted nine nights of services. Pt. Bharati studied Hinduism for seven years at an Ashram in India. Sri Ravi Bharati studied Sanskrit, music and Hindi in Varanasi (Banaras, Kashi).He studied the Upanishaads in Mumbai and the Geeta at the Chinmaya Ashram. He has established his own ashram in Trinidad called Param Dhaama Aashraam or highest abode of the lord.
Navratri and Ram Naumi are very auspicious times to conduct poojas at home. Hindus normally hold special prayers in the mornings and in the evenings to pay obeisance to the universal mother and or to Shri Ram. Pandits are often invited to conduct special Pooja at the home. It is also an auspicious time to conduct to get married. For the festival, temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama was richly adorned. A "havan" or sacred fire ceremony was also performed. The holy 'Ramayana' was read in the temples. Devotees greet one another with "Sri Ram" or "Jai Ram-ji-ki".
It is the tradition among Indo-Caribbean Hindus to offer jaal or dhar which is a mixture of curd, milk, honey, sugar, neem, cloves, hardi, tills, and other sweet spices. Worshippers make offerings of prasadam, flowers, fruits, neem and bail leaves, other paraphernalia such as sandal paste, and chandan, and burn incenses (agarbati, gugul, cloves, camphor, Kasturi) at the feet of the universal mother and Lord Rama. On the last evening of navratri, devotees make offerings to Shri Ram in a symbolic rocking hammock (in baby form). Young ladies (kumaris) are also honored with gifts (called Devi or kanyakumari puja).
Almost all of the temples in New York City conducted Devi pujas and celebrated Ram Naumi. The poojas were accompanied by bhajan and kirtan singing. This was followed by bhojan. But as pandits and speakers emphasize it is not enough to celebrate navratri twice a year. People must see every female as the manifestation of the attributes of the universal mother and reflect on them daily.