The appearance of Lord Rama is celebrated as Rama-navami. Rama-navami falls on the ninth day of the waxing fortnight of the month of Chaitra. In Treta-yuga, the Supreme Lord, Sri Ramachandra appeared as the son of the King of Ayodhya, Maharaja Dasharatha. Although He appeared as a man, He is nevertheless the Supreme Lord. Out of kindness to His devotees, He appeared along with His brother Lakshmana, His eternal consort Sita, and others.
This year ISKCON Sri Jagannatha Mandir celebrated the festival on March 25, 2018. The celebrations in the temple began at 10:30 am with the kirtana of Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The abhisheka ceremony of Their Lordships Sri Sri Sita-Rama-Lakshmana started at 11 am, along with the auspicious chanting of prayers from the Brahma-samhita.
Immediately after the abhisheka ceremony, HH Bhakti Prema Swami Maharaja delivered a lecture on the significance of Rama-navami and about the glories and special mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Later, HH Lokanatha Swami Maharaja arrived at the temple to address the devotees with his sweet talk and immerse them in his melodious kirtana, for which he is famous all over the world.
Both Maharajas narrated various pastimes of the Lord Sri Ramachandra. They discussed the meaning of the word Ayodhya, which means the place that can’t be conquered by anyone, because the best of fighters resided in Ayodhya. They also spoke about the wonderful qualities of Lord Rama. Although He had to go to the forest for 14 years because of His stepmother, He never ever spoke anything negative about Kaikeyi.
They also mentioned why Lord Ramachandra is known as maryada-purushottama. It is because Lord Rama showed by His own example how a perfect human being and a king should behave. He even banished His own loving wife Sita (for whom He fought with Ravana, the great demon King of Lanka) just because a washerman was not happy with the decision of the Lord to keep His wife after She had spent an entire year in someone else’s place. So, as a king, the Lord felt that He had a higher duty of keeping the citizens happy in His kingdom. Therefore on the Lord’s request, Mother Sita had to leave the palace.
They also narrated how the service attitude and devotion of Sri Hanuman is unparalleled and we should all aspire to follow him in whatever small way we can.
After the lectures, HH Lokanatha Swami Maharaja sang a very melodious kirtana and concluded the wonderful ceremony.