The auspicious Shukla Navami of the Chaitra month, observed as the appearance day of Lord Ram, is celebrated in Krishna Balaram temple in Shridham Vrindavan as the most glorious day when their divine lordships Shri Shri Gaur Nitai, Krishna Balaram and Radha Shyamsundar were installed, 43 years ago, personally by Srila Prabhupad, the deliverer of the entire world. On this very day, the Pran Pratishta ceremony of the lords was performed and from this day forth, 43 years ago, the supreme personality of Godhead started accepting the services of his dear devotees, from all over the world, in the form of the deities, and the services have continued through the years, always increasing in their grandeur. Mercifully casting their benevolent glances on all the devotees and trapping the devotees minds in their curly locks of hair, the most gorgeous lords, filled with utmost sweetness, not to be found anywhere else in entire world, accept the loving services of the vaishnavas and bestow upon them all auspiciousness. To celebrate the most wonderfull installation day of the deities, which is the very day from when Shyamsundar manifested his deity form for the benefit of all the devotees, the entire temple congregation makes extensive preparations for the pleasure of the lords.
A grand procession with all the Lords seated on beautifully decorated palanquins is held on the day before Ram navami. Blissfully riding the shoulders of their bhaktas, accompanied by uproarious ecstatic kirtan with numerous mridanga and kartal players, the lords visit various places inside and around the temple compound where they are offered arati and lots of palatable dishes prepared with love and devotion by the devotees. It is said that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach and the devotees surely take this saying very seriously and make numerous preparations with the hope to give pleasure to the Lords by feeding them various delicious delicacies. After having visited Samadhi, Gurukul, Guest house, Russian building and Bliss department, the lords proceed to the MVT grounds with numerous devotees following them in the procession, where they are welcomed with beautiful rangolis and a walkway lined with rose petals. There, in the beautiful ground surrounded by champa and other trees and plants, the Lords ascend the stage prepared for them, where They preside with great splendor, receiving many offerings and an arati. The devotees blissfully sing Jaya Radhe Jaya Krishna and loose themselves in the memories of Goloka Vrindavan, where Shyamsundar performs his eternal pastimes with all his associated. Thereafter the Gaura arati is performed for the Lords, after which they proceed back to the temple for yet another offering, the Shayan bhoga and arati.
The next day brings with it great festivities as all the devotees gather for the Mangal arati and drink the nectar of the beautiful forms of the Deities dressed in a new night dress, their forms and bends beautifully visible through the less jewellery and flowers. After mangal arati, the devotees perform Tulasi arati and chant japa. In the meanwhile, the pujaris inside the altars change the dress of the Lords and offer an exquisite new outfit for their pleasure, after which they carefully select matching ornaments and start decorating the Lords. They decorate the Lords with beautiful earrings dangling from their ears, which are extremely attractive. The thin waists of the Lords, which enchant cupid himself, are adorned with graceful belts made of pearls, beautifully fashioned by the devotees. Gorgeous necklaces are then placed on the broad chests of the Lords which are the resting places of millions of Goddesses of Fortune. The Gopis long braids which are like thick black serpents, and which captivate the mind of Shyamsundar himself, are braided and decorated with various jewels and flowers. Their wrists are bedecked with jewel studded bracelets, and their ankles with tinkling anklets. After making a beautiful turban on the Lords heads and placing various mukut pieces on them, the pujaris start garlanding the Lords and decorating them with the beautiful flower ornaments prepared by the vaishnavis and with various colorful flowers. The true treasure of Shri Vrindavan Dham is in its flowers, as it is famous for its Madhurya, where the Aishwarya, although present to the fullest extent is hidden by the Madhurya for the pleasure of the Lords. After being thus dressed and decorated by the expert pujaris, who are most fortunate to intimately serve the lords with their own hands, touching heir divine forms and performing various services, the doors of the altars open and the Deities give their beautiful darshan to all the assembles devotees. Thereafter, the devotees engage in discussing transcendental subject matters about the Lords and in glorifying the name, forms, qualities and activities of the Supreme Lord. Following this starts the grand Abhishek ceremony of all the Lords in the temple on all the three altars, with the auspicious sounds of conckshells blowing and enthused singing of the mahamantra by all the assembled vaishnavas. The devotees blissfully watch the bathing ceremony of the Lords, hoping to be sprinkeled by a few droplets falling from the abhishek and simultaneously participating in the kirtan being led by expert kirtaniyas, singing in the choicest tunes for the pleasure of the Lord. Thereafter, the lords are offered a sumptuous bhoga offering prepared by matajis cooking since the day before with great love and devotion, using the perfect spicing and making a wide range of delicacies to please the Lords. The numerous dishes cooked and baked fill the entire surrounding with a beautiful aroma and are so great in number that all the altars are full with bhoga preapartions. After being fed sumptuously, the Deities are offered the noon arati, after witnessing which, the devotees proceed to honour Prasad, after having fasted half day.
The festivities however do not finish with the feast; the afternnon darshan is yet another treat for the eyes of the devotees, as the Lords done the artistically prepared flower outfit, that the vaishnvais prepare by placing various colored flowers to create a splendid design on the dress. The Deities are covered with hundreds and thousands of flowers in the form of the flower dress, flower ornaments and loose flowers. In this way they appear most attractive and immediately pull towards themselves the honey bee like eyes of the on looking devotees and visitors. The festival then continues with a beautiful drama in the evening in Krishna hall, glorifying the amazing and awe inspiring pastimes of Lord Ram. The way he blessed the entire universe by appearing in the house of Maharaj Dashrath, and being an ideal son he went with the sage Vishwamitra to protect the sacrifice of the sage on the order of his father. After breaking into two the bow of Lord Shiva and marrying Devi Sita, who is his eternal consort, he was about to be crowned as the king of Ayodhya, when, in order to fulfill his father’s promises, he went to the forest to live as a hemit for 14 years, during which time the evil Rakshas Ravan kidnapped his wife and took her to Lanka, where the great battle ensued between Lord Ram and Ravan, in which Lord Ram slew the great demon and his associates to free his beloved wife Sita. In this way the various partimes are elaborately depicted in the drama, which all the devotees come and watch with rapt attention and great interest.
In this way the glorious festival of Ram Navami is celebrated, and on this day we pray to the Lords to be merciful upon us and keep us all always engaged in his service.