Lord Rama with Sita and Laksmana; Hanuman kneels at his feet.
Rama means the One who delights. He is also known as Ramachandra, Raghu, Sethu, Raghava, Sita Pathe, Sitaram, Janakiram.
Lord Rama (var. Ram) is regarded as the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rama is the symbol of courtesy and virtue, a man of values and morals. Rama is also known as Maryada Purushottama, which means the perfect man. Rama is an example of idealism; he has been the ideal man, the ideal son, the ideal brother and the ideal husband. Rama took birth on this earth (along with his brothers Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna) with the aim to eradicate the wicked forces of the age, personified by Ravana, the ruler of Lanka. The Ram Naam (Name of Rama) in itself is a divine mantra or prayer. It is believed that chanting the name "Ram" helps one to attain salvation. The Mantra of Sri Ram forms the part of prayers offered to the Lord. Lord Rama Mantra / Ram Mantra is as follows: Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama, Jaya, Jaya Rama
Rama is not to be identified with the hero of the Ramayana, the Divine offspring of Emperor Dasaratha. He was named Rama by the court Preceptor because it was a name already in current use. Sage Vashishta, the preceptor, said that he had chosen that name since it meant He who pleases. The Atma (soul) that confers bliss is also known as Rama. Atma and Atmarama mean one and the same. The name Rama symbolises the universal attributes of the Divine such as omniscience, omnipotence and omnifelicity.
It is often said that Rama followed Dharma at all times. This is not the correct way of describing him. He did not follow Dharma, He was Dharma. What he thought, spoke and did was Dharma, it is the Dharma forever.
Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took form to eradicate evil and re-establish dharma, an avataric task called dharmasamstaphana. The essence of the religion of the Bharatiyas as proclaimed in the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana Vedas is the attainment of the unity of the individual with the Divine by the recognition of the inherent divinity. The Avatars come to teach humanity this principle of oneness so that they may get rid of the idea of diversity and manifest their inherent divinity, realising their basic spiritual nature.
The descent of the Avatar manes the Divine coming down to the level of the human. No blemish attaches to the Divine as a result of this descent. There is no diminution of His puissance. There is the example of a child playing on the ground. If the mother feels it is beneath her dignity to bend and calls upon the child to leap into her harms, the child cannot do so. But out of her love for the child, the mother herself stoops and picks up the baby. By bending down to take the child, does the mother bow to the child? Likewise, the Avatar descends to the level of the human to bless and rescue those who cannot rise to the level of the Divine. The Divine manifest His powers according to the needs, the circumstances and the conditions prevailing at the particular time or place.
Rama is closest to mankind. Where they may be, to whatever land or clime they may belong, people everywhere have to understand the Rama principle. Rama was an ideal son. Every family requires an ideal son. On the eve of the coronation he chose to go to the forest as an exile in accordance with the command of his royal father. In carrying out the injunctions of the father, Rama stands out as the supreme exemplar.
Rama, moreover, was an ideal brother. He exemplified harmony and love among brothers. He treated his brothers as his own life-breath and showered his love equally on all of them. Thus Rama is an example of fraternal love for every family.
Rama was an ideal husband. Rama's adherence to the principle of monogamy has to be properly understood. Valmiki understood it very well. One word, one arrow, one wife was the rule for Rama. What is the reason? In the body there are many organs. But all of them are animated, nourished and sustained by the heart alone. In th esame manner the wife, for the husband is only one and the husband for the wife is only one. To demonstrate this ideal of monogamy to the world, Rama set the example.
Rama was an ideal friend. There cannot be a greater friend than Rama. There are in the world fair weather friends who display their friendship when one is wealthy or wielding power. But if wealth and position are gone, not a single friend will show his face. Rama, however, was not such a friend. He was loving, considerate, and affectionate equally in weal or woe, in times of joy or sorrow. Guha was an ordinary boatman. Rama hailed him as his fourth brother and showered his love on Guha. In the same friendly spirit, Rama treated everyone who came to him for help or to find asylum. Thus he stood out to the world as an ideal friend.
Rama was not only an ideal friend, he was also an ideal enemy. In the world it is common to see men resorting to all kinds of deceitful devices to foil their enemies. For example, when Rama was engaged in battle with Ravana, Ravana could not stand up to the arrows of Rama. All the weapons of Ravana were destroyed. Rama noticed that Ravan was tired and weapon-less. In such a situation it was not proper to kill the enemy. There is no heroism in a weak or powerless man. The enemy should be destroyed when he is strong and powerful. Recognising the plight of Ravana, Rama laid down his arms and told Ravana, "O, Ravana! You are tired and without weapons. You are not in a fit condition to carry on the fight. Go home, take rest and return to battle tomorrow. We shall resume the fight tomorrow." By displaying this kind of magnanimity to Ravana, Rama demonstrated that he was an ideal enemy.
Rama was, first of all, an ideal son. In any country, anywhere in teh world, every family needs an ideal son. Hence, Rama's story does not have a message fro the Bharathiyas alone. It is a lesson for all countries and all mankind.
Rama was an ideal husband. When Sita was abducted, Rama felt the loss as if he had lost half his body. He looked on his wife as ardhangini, one half of himself. When Rama appeared grief-stricken over the absence of Sita, he merely wanted to show the world what the loss of a wife means. He never thought of a second wife. Rama felt, "It is my duty to protect my wife". Every husband in the world should have a similar conviction.
The life of Lord Rama forms the great Hindu epic of Ramayana or The Holy Lake of the Acts of Rama, written by the ancient Sanskrit poet Valmiki. According to the Hindus belief, Rama lived in the Treta Yuga. Although historians are of the conviction that Rama was not particularly deified until the 11th century AD, it was Tulsidas' translation of the Sanskrit epic "Ramayana" into "Ramcharitmanas" which greatly enhanced the popularity of Rama as a Hindu God and gave rise to various devotional groups.
The most devoted follower of Lord Rama is Sri Hanuman who is always shown in the picture of Lord Rama, along with Lakshmana and Sita. The Birthday of Lord Rama is called Rama Navami and is celebrated every year on ninth day of Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami. It is celebrated to mark the birth and marriage of Sri Ram to Sita. The most popular of Hindu festivals, Dusshera (Dassera) and Diwali (Deepavali) are associated with Lord Sri Rama. Dusshera is celebrated as the day the Lord exterminated the evil demon Lord Ravana and Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, his home, after an exile of fourteen years. Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram are considered the prime places of pilgrimage by the followers of Sri Rama.
That is the Rama principle, without which the cosmos will become chaos. Hence, the axiom: If there be no Rama, there will be no Panorama (Universe).
Gayatri Mantra is known to be the greatest mantra. The Rishis of the yore composed different Mantras on the same meter as that of Gayatri on different manifestations of God. Many Hindu devas have their own mantras, including a Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered Sanskrit mantra with origins in the Vedas. It is a verse in the vedic Gayatri metre (whence the mantra's name), consting of 24 syllables,
Tanno Rama Prachodayat
Oh! Son of Dasaratha, beloved of Sita, we pray you guide our intellect and illumine us.