Sri Rama is the epic hero of the Indian epic Ramayanam. Sri Ramachandra is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. The birthday of Sri Rama is celebrated by Hindus as the Sri Rama navami festival. It is celebrated in the Hindu calender month of Panguni/Chitrai on the ninth day of the waxing moon and the day that conjuncts with the punarvasu star.
Rama avathar symbolises how, being born human, one should conduct life on earth. Rama is an embodiment of compassion, righteousness and simple living. He exemplified the perfect son, brother, husband, friend and king all the same.
Special prayers are observed and simple neivedhyams are offered to the Lord. Most people observe a fast and chant the Rama nama or eat frugally on this day. A small puja can be conducted and the neivedhyams offered and partaken later.
Panagam, neer moar, kosumalli are offered as are payasam and vadai along with fruits which are essentially offered during every puja.
1/4 cup of powdered jaggery
1 teaspoon of powdered dry ginger/sukku podi
1 teaspoon of powdered cardamom
1 litre of water
Juice of 1 medium lime
Warm 1/4 litre of water and add the powdered jaggery to it. Dissolve the jaggery in the water.
Strain and remove scums.
Heat this mixture just until the jaggery loses the raw taste. (It is not usually done and the panangam is just scum removed jaggery added to water and other condiments)
Allow this to cool and add the rest of the water.
Add the juice of lime, powdered cardamom and dry ginger.
Offer as neivedhyam and serve chilled.
An essential summer drink, thirst quencher and aid for digestion, all in one is the neer moar.
In small towns and villages in Tamilnadu, tiny shacks appear during summer offering to passers by water chilled in mud pots and sometimes neer moar. For people who go about their everyday routine in the hottest of summer days' sun, it is most comforting drink to quench thirst and boost energy. It is believed that blessed will be those who offer to quench the needs of the thirsty.
Few cups of slightly sour (or even not sour) home set yoghurt mixed with copius amount of water, salted can be a welcome drink when you are thirsting.
Just to make it more flavoursome, we might add few more condiments.
Crush some ginger, curry leaves and salt. Squeeze the juice of a large lime. Mix it to the water added yoghurt and neer moar is ready. Strain them if desired, but can be consumed as such. Store in an eartern pot which automatically chills the contents.
Serve chilled and beat the thirst.
Yet another simple, no cook neivedhyam.
Soak a fist full of split green gram after washing and rinsing thoroughly.
When it is soft, drain the soaked water. Add required salt.
Chop a raw mango and cucumber. Add to the beans. toss them alll together and consume as such.
It is not necessary to add spice to this, however, if desired you may temper with mustard seeds and chopped green chillis.
The vadai and payasam neivedhyam for today's puja will follow in a later post.
Hope you do enjoy the celebrations of Sri Rama navami.