Rama, is a god in Hinduism, he is the main hero of the famous great Hindu epic of the Ramayana (The Romance of Rama). He is an incarnation of the Supreme Protector, Vishnu. He considered an all-time favourite among Hindu deities. The most popular symbol of chivalry and virtue, Rama, in Swami Vivekananda’s words, is “the embodiment of truth, morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all the ideal king.”
Ram Navami: Rama’s birthday
Ramnavami is one of the most important festivals in Hinduism, particularly for the Vaishnava sect of Hindus. On this day, the devotees repeat the name of Rama with each breath and promise to lead a righteous life. People pray for the final bliss of life through intense devotion to Rama and invoke him for his blessings and protection.
Popularity in India
The prefix “Shri” is used in India to mark something of high and pure status. In the Vedas the name of Rama indicates that Rama is always associated with “Shri”, the essence of the four Vedas. This over time entered Hindi as a way of signalling a status, as in English “Sir” etc. People often greet each other by saying (“Ram! Ram!”), a fairly common way to greet each other. When a person dies, it is usually chanted “Ram Naam Satya Hai!”, “The name is Rama is the truth”, this is sung while they take the deceased to be cremated. This in addition to letting people know that they show respect, it is believed that it invokes Rama and lets the soul of the deceased know to be guided by Rama towards the afterlife.
Hero of the great Indian epic, ‘Ramayana’
One of the two great epics of India, Ramayana is based on the story of Rama. While Rama, his wife and his brother are in exile, living a simple but happy life in the forest, a tragedy strikes them.
From that point on, the plot revolves around the kidnapping of Sita by the demon king Ravana, the ten-headed ruler of Lanka, and Rama’s quest to rescue her, with the help of Lakshmana and the mighty monkey general, Hanuman. Sita is held captive on the island while Ravana tries to persuade her to marry him. Rama gathers an army of allies made up mainly of monkeys under the brave Hanuman. They attack Ravana’s army and, after a fierce battle, manage to kill the demon king and free Sita, reuniting her with Rama.
After defeating the evil Ravana, Rama rules his kingdom Ayodhya for 11,000 years with complete peace and prosperity.
Rama’s victory over Ravana is celebrated in a 10-day festival known as Dussehra, and his return to his kingdom and coronation is celebrated with Diwali, the festival of lights.
This is one of the oldest and most famous love stories of all time.
Visnu’s Avatar as Human
Rama is considered the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, and together with Krishna, he is considered his most important avatar. His being is a symbol of sacrifice, a model of brotherhood, an ideal administrator and a warrior like no other. The term Rama Rajya represents the most exalted concept of a welfare state. Rama was not only divine; he was invested with the highest values of a rich tradition started by Raghu (Indian emperor who brought peace to ancient India). The essence of Rama is, therefore, the essence of excellence in every search.
As an avatar, Rama had to represent his ‘leela’ (his form, his role) in human form. As a child, he let Kaushalya (his mother) enjoy the divine pleasure of treating him like a child, but he wanted her to share a cosmic vision of his real self. It is said that once Kaushalya bathed and fed Rama and placed him in her cradle, she went to prepare prasad. Once ready, she went to the puja hall to offer it to Kuldevata (guardian spirit), between this, she took a look to see if Rama was still sleeping, when she went to check the crib, she saw that he was in the crib, fast asleep. She then he went to complete the puja and found Rama there, eating the prasad.
Kaushalya ran back to the crib to find him asleep. She returned to the puja hall, and he was there, eating prasad. She was dumbfounded. Then Rama revealed to her his swarupa (his actual form) of him, the universe itself, where birth and death, time and space, causality and effect were one perfect. A bewildered Kaushalya prayed that she would be allowed to see Rama as a child and nothing more. Infinitely compassionate, the Lord consented and lived the life of an ordinary yet exemplary human being.
Although he is so well known and many parents call their children Ram, he does not have many temples like Krishna or other gods, that is because he spends most of his life in human form. If you are looking for more information about what Rama is like, I recommend reading the epic Ramayana.