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“Striving for excellence through unity and harmony”

AUM SAI RAM.

In order to ensure that all sai centres in the region are on the same wavelength, it has been
decided that a guideline document be formulated for each religious festival that is
observed on the sai calendar. The document will be based on the following guidelines: -

SRI RAMA NAVAMI.:

   1. Background to festival. (Why is it celebrated?)
Sri Rama Navami is the day of incarnation of Bhagawan Sri Rama. Sri Rama was born
on the nineth day of the growing phase of the moon, in the month of Chaithra. Number
nine is called Navami in Sanskrit. The Navami day associated with Sri Rama, is known
as, rather, celebrated as “ SRI RAMA NAVAMI.”

In the words of our dear Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, “The Birthday of Rama is
celebrated in order to remind us of the ideals which He stood for.”

Celebration of a Hindu Festival is unique in one respect: It is an occasion to think of God.
A day of contemplation and worship of the Divine.


   2. How should it be celebrated?
As a ritual part of the celebrations, Sri Rama pooja is performed. Rama Astothra is
chanted. In India, Sri Rama Navami falls when the weather is quite warm and hot. On
this day cool water mixed with jaggary and water mixed with yogurt are served as prasad,
in line with the season and the season’s products that are available in plenty. Sri Rama’s
story is recalled by various means, such as reading the book Ramayana, enacting the birth
of Sri Rama, singing the glory of Sri Rama etc. The ritual part varies according to regions
and the practice of the region.

But, according to Swami, the best way to celebrate Sri Rama Navami is: “We have to
ponder over the ideals set before us by Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna and
also by Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. ”
   3. Inner significance & symbolism of festival.
The entire Ramayana, symbolically represents the human life. The festival is a reminder
to us. Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna are the four sons of Dasaratha. Merely
knowing this will not suffice. One should enquire and understand the inner meaning.
Who is Dasaratha? He represents the human body consisting of ten senses (five senses of
perception and five senses of action). Strictly speaking, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and
Satrughna are not the sons of King Dasaratha. Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi are not
Dasarahta’s three wives. The three wifes represent the three Gunas, namely, Thamas,
Rajasic and Satwic. All of us have a combination of these gunas and we are wedded to
our own gunas. The proportion of these gunas makes the difference in our lives. The four
children of Dasaratha are the four Vedas. All the characters of Ramayana, set ideals to
parents, brothers and sisters in every family and to humanity at large. Rama is the very
embodiment of Dharma. The Divinity descended on the earth to demonstrate the way one
should live one’s life. Rama demonstrated to humanity as to how to lead the life and
discharge the responsibilities to others. Ramayana contains teachings for all of us for
different ages and stages. The teachings of Ramayana are valid even today for our daily
living. Ramayana is an epic. It is not just a story of a king. As Bhagawan Baba says, “
My life is my message,” Sri Rama’s life is His message for the entire humanity across all
creed caste and community.

   4. How does it affect us in our spiritual transformation?
According to Bhagawan, Ramayana shines as the beacon-light to every family. How
should the brothers and sisters conduct themselves? In the Ramayana, we find the
demonstration of such great ideals. Merely going through the sacred text of Ramayana is
not enough; one has to emulate the ideals. The Ramayana transcends the barriers of time,
space, caste and religion. In all nations, at all times and under all circumstances, unity is
very essential to find fulfillment in life. Even birds and animals have unity amongst
themselves. They do not have the selfishness of hoarding things. Today we find wicked
tendencies in man, which are not found even in birds and animals. The solution to the
present day problems lie in taking the teachings of this Great Epic, as the daily life
manual. According to the Vedas, the Goals of life are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
The primary duty is adherence to dharma. Then come the worldly possessions earned in
the path of dharma. Then comes, satisfying ones’ own dharmic desires. And finally one
should work for Salvation. This can be achieved by taking the teachings and the ideals set
by Ramayana. The very goal of life is seeking the salvation and what can be better than
adherence to path set by the Divinity itself?




It is important to identify the ideals set by each character of the epic. For example:
RAMA:
  a) Obeying the command of His father as the very declaration of Vedas.
  b) Rama married to Mother Sita and practiced monogamy as a virtue.
  c) Adherence to Righteousness to the exemplary heights.
  d) His duty as King comes first and above Himself and His family.
  e) Justice personification.

Lakshmana:
   a) Embodiment of sacrifice.
   b) Serving the Lord with single pointed devotion.
   c) Character in personal life.

Bharata:
   a) Righteousness
   b) God comes first and for that willing to forgo his own mother.
   c) Not accepting that which did belong to him…the kingdom itself was denied by
       him.
   d) Self sacrifice.
   e) Supreme Love for God.


Like this, on various occasions the duties are very well brought out and illustrated. These
may be taken up for study circle discussions .


   5. What does Swami say about the festival?
Already provided above.

   6. References & prescribed readings on the festivals.
There are various discourses delivered by Swami on Ram Navami days over sixty years.
Sathya Sai Speaks, various volumes, provide the insight into the Ramayana.

   7. Integrated Nature of festival (how does festival apply to seva,
      youth, ladies, ehv wing etc)

   Youth – Dharma of children towards parents – We must bow our heads and follow
   the commands of our parents implicitly – Lord Rama said this to Bharat after Bharat
   pleaded with him to return to festival.
   Ladies – Dharma of a wife - Mother Sita followed her husband into the forest and
   lived a simple life as well as maintained the virtues and sacredness of a woman –
   Mother Sita an ideal for all woman to follow.
   EHV – The model students that the brothers were and lived the lives of hermits while
   under their teachings of the guru. They were the symbol of Human Values
   Seva – There are various acts of service performed by the brothers during this epic.
Service to family, service to Guru, Service to community and service to mankind at large.
We need to pick out these acts and be inspired to live this in our very own lives.




   Emphasize that people must take values out of festival and practice. Only then,
   will festival be a success. – “AN OUNCE OF PRACTICE IS WORTH MORE
   THAN TONS OF PREACHING”

				
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