Ram Navami is a festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Ram. Ram is the 7th incarnation of Vishnu and the king of Ayodhya, known for his valour and righteousness. The story of his greatness, chronicled in one of India’s biggest epic, the Ramayana, speaks in detail about his extraordinary qualities and attributes. Almost every Indian knows about it and the epic, written by Sage Valmiki is known the world over. The temples of Bali showcase the stories of Ramayana in their own style, and the Ramayana has over a thousand version not only in India but in Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Indonesia, etc.
For most, Ram is a God and is worshipped accordingly. There are a thousand temples of him around the world, and his idols represent the divine for most. For me, Hinduism is not just about idol worship. The idols of God are just representations of his divine spirit, God for me is the very energy of creation, sustenance (life) and destruction (recreation). Here are a few extracts of the Ramayana that speak greatly about the spirit of God.
Ram lies on the path of righteousness
Ram is known for being a great warrior, a great king and a great husband (for he was one of the first men to accept monogamy and love only one woman). But Ram’s true greatness lies in his conviction to always walk the path of righteousness. In circumstances where mortal men would falter, Ram was austere and rigid in following the right path. Take the example of his banishment, Ram accepted it wholeheartedly. Also, when Bharat came to convince him to come back to Ayodhya and accept his crown, Ram stayed rigid with his promise. Thus, the divinity of Ram is his righteous nature.
If a situation arises where you are left to choose between me (Ram) and dharma (not religion but righteousness), then I say you should opt for dharma.
So much so, that Ram also goes on to say, “If a situation arises where you are left to choose between me (Ram) and dharma (not religion but righteousness), then I say you should opt for dharma.”
Even God goes wrong at time
Ram was accused of attacking Vali from behind, out of his view which goes against Kshatriya Dharma. Ram retorted by telling Vali how he performed a greater sin, by taking his brother’s wife and kingdom forcefully. This example signifies that God sometimes does break his own rules to achieve a greater good.
Sometimes, even the path of dharma can be misleading and even great souls fall for the trap
One can also say Ram was wrong in asking Sita to go through “Agni Pariksha” to prove her chastity. All this trouble for his dear wife because someone in his kingdom (most say it was a dhobi) raised a question on Goddess Sita’s chastity. Ram followed his dharma as a king and went against his will to make Sita go through the test of going through a fire. He chose his dharma over his feelings, but in doing so, did great injustice This signifies sometimes, even the path of dharma can be misleading and even great souls fall for the trap. Ram’s greatness lies in the fact that he never once doubted his beloved wife, and probably made her go through the whole episode because he knew his wife was truthful to him. It was only to prove those who were doubtful.
Ram lies within us
Divinity lies within us. Ram lies within us, and he manifests each time we walk the path of righteousness. Ram is divinity through righteousness.
In the episode where Ram was rewarding all who helped him, he gave the greatest honour to his greatest disciple, Hanuman. Hanuman, however, rejected it all, saying all he wanted was to be near the feet of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita. Sita insisted the he be given something and gave him her precious necklace. Hanuman bites it, takes it apart and peers into each stone. On questioning, he tells he was making sure Ram and Sita are in them. One being mocked for his extreme reverence, Hanumans tears open his chest to reveal Sita and Ram engraved on his heart. This signifies something very special, telling that divinity lies within us. Ram lies within us, and he manifests each time we walk the path of righteousness. Ram is divinity through righteousness.