Ram Navami – Brahmotsava

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Shrila Prabhupad and our previous acharyas have mentioned three Purushottams(best amongst the men), namely Lord Ram, who is Maryada Purushottam, Lord Krishna, who is Lila Purushottam, and Lord Gauranga, who is Prem Purushottam. In Gaurnaga lila, after Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya realized the true identity of Mahaprabhu as the supreme personality of godhead Brajendranandan Krishna himself, lord Gaurahari then mercifully revealed to him his Shadbhuj roop(six armed form), with two hands holding a stick and kamandalu, two hands holding a flute and two hands holding a bow and arrow, thus showing the importance of the three Purushottams. Lord Ram being the Maryada Purushottam, played the role of an ordinary human being and displayed through his own pristine character and conduct, how one should follow dharma and lead a life of righteousness.

In ISKCON Vrindavan Ram Navami is not only celebrated as the divine appearance day of Lord Ram but also as the auspicious day on which our Spiritual Master and ever well-wisher Srila Prabhupad established the worship of their lordships, Shri Shri Gaur Nitai, Shri Shri Krishna Balaram and Shri Shri Radha Shyamsundar and Lilita Vishakha, for the benefit all his devotees, so that we may serve them in devotion and make spiritual progress on our path back home to the transcendental realm of Golok Vrindavan. This occasion of the installation of the deities is known as Brahmotsav and is of equal import as Janamashtami, Radhashtami and other appearance days of the Lords, indeed it is a combination of all this festivals, for it was on this day that the Lords themselves manifested in the form of the deities.

With the rising of the sun on the auspicious day of Ramnavami, the hearts of the devotees start overflowing with joy in anticipation of the upcoming festivities. After Mangal arati and Guru puja, the curtains to the altars open and the vaishnavas are drenched in the nectar flowing from the magnificently beautiful Lords dressed in a new outfit, bedecked with beautiful jewellery and flower ornaments and with intricate designs painted on their divine forms. Thereafter, all the devotees assemble for the morning class glorifying Lord Ram and the opening of the temple by Shrila Prabhupad. Shortly after which the Abhishek of all the Lords starts and with it starts an uproarious kirtan, going deep into everyone’s heart and transforming it with endless waves of spiritual ecstacy. After the Abhishek, their Lordships are offered a sumptuous offering comprising of hundreds of varieties of delicacies prepared by the devotees with hearts full of love for the Lords. But the festival doesn’t end here, in the afternoon the deities give darshan in yet another new dress. On this most auspicious occasion, the Lords are thus offered three new outfits, one for Mangalarati, one for Darshan arati and one for afternoon Utthan Arati.

This year due to the Lockdown, the festivities have been scaled down a bit but the bliss of the festival still enlivens all the devotees. And in this way, singing the holy names of the Lord and engaging in various services, the festival of Ram Navami is being celebrated with great enthusiasm in ISKCON Vrindavan.