It’s another hot, “nice” day here in Mumbai. The summer has really started to set in here. And it’s another festival… Before I moved to India, I knew that there are quite a few festivals here, but I had no idea it was this many. But with 300 million Gods in the Hinduism, it is maybe not so strange that it is many festivals. And you should know that a festival does not mean that everyone takes the day of or anything like that. Different people believe in different Gods and celebrate different festivals.
The festival today is called the Ram Navami, and is the birthday of Lord Ram. Rama is one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, and one of the two most popular, along with Krishna. Consequently, Rama Navami is widely celebrated, though not on the scale of festivals like Diwali or Dussehra. It is believed that listening to the story of Rama cleanses the soul. Meditating on the noble Rama and chanting his name is believed to ease the pains of life and lead one to moksha, or liberation. It is also common practice to chant the name of Rama while rocking babies to sleep.
Since Rama is also one of the most sung-about deities in Indian classical music and literature, week-long (and sometimes, month-long) musical programs are organized. I’m not really sure if this is what that happened in the building where I live, but on Sunday my neighbors had some kind of music festival. There were a lot of people in their flat, and all of them were playing some instrument and singing songs. It was actually quite nice to listen to.
In one area outside where I live there is also put up something that look like a kind of altar. Here there is put a picture of Lord Ram and candles are burning here all the time. Yesterday evening there were a few kids that played around here, and some of them just sat there and looked at the picture. Even this morning there were kids around the altar. I’m not sure about what they were doing, but this might be one way that the stories in the religion are passed by to the next generation.
Talk to you soon!