Janaki Navami and its significance
Er. Prabhat Kishore
‘Bhai Pragat Kumari Bhumi-VidariJan Hitkari Bhayahari.
Atulit Chhabi Bhari Muni-Manhari Janak Dulari Sukumari.
Sundar Sinhasan TehiPar Aasan Koti Hutasan Dyutikari.
Sir Chhatra Birajai SakhiS ang Bhajai Nij-NijKaraj Kardhari.
Sur SiddhSujana Hanai Nishana Chadhe Bimana Samudai,
Barsahin Bahuphula Mangal Moola Anukoola Siya Gun Gai.”
Janaki Navami or Sita Navami has great significance in Sanatan Dharma and Indian culture. JanakNandini and spouse of Bhagwan Ram was born or revealed on the Navami Tithi of Shukla Paksha of Vaishakh month. This day falls exactly one month after Sri Ram Navami and is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety all over the Indian Sub-continent.
Maa Sita was the adopted daughter of Raja Janak, the king of Mithila (also called Videh), hence she is also termed as Janaki or JanakNandini. According to Sanatan Dharma mythology, Raja Janak was ploughing the land during a Yagya ritual at present day Sitamarhi in Bihar, the border district of Nepal.
He found a baby within a golden casket in the furrow of the field, whom the childless king accepted as the divine gift as his beloved daughter. Sri Ram was the Avtar of Bhagwan Vishnu and MaaSita is regarded as the embodiment of his wife Devi Lakshmi. She is also called Bhumija as she appeared from the Bhumi i.e. the earth.
Prabhu Sri Ram and MaaSita is considered as an ideal couple. Although several hurdles had come in their way, they were firm about their relationship. The character of MaaSita is the epitome of an ideal woman in the human world and almost all families have the ambition for a daughter, a spouse, a daughter-in-laws, or a mother like Sita. She is known for her dedication, sincerity, courage, purity and self-sacrifice.
She was a princess, but she accompanied her husband as a Pativrata Stree (devoted wife) during his exile. She loved Lakshman and Hanuman as her brother and son. She followed the traditions of helping the poor and Sant by providing Bhiksha to Ravan, who was disguised as Sadhu. She was intelligent and had the presence of mind to throw her jewels to the monkeys, which later helped Sri Ram-Sena to trace the abducted route. After her kidnapping, she warned Ravan for the debacle of his generation due to his misdeeds.
Sita was unhappy with her separation or informal divorce during her pregnancy, but she was courageous. She decided to give birth to children and equip them with all virtues. She lived as a single mother in the later part of her life. She didn’t consider herself a victim and did not go back to Ayodhya to demand equal rights. She understood Sri Ram’s internal struggle to choose the role between a king and a husband.
She performed her duty as the beloved daughter of Raja Janak’s family, the daughter-in-law of Dashrath’s family, the spouse of Prabhu Ram, and lastly the mother of Maharaj Luv and Kush. When Luv and Kush were accepted by the Praja of Ayodhya and father Ram, her last role as mother was also completed and she returned to the womb of Dharati Mata (the earth) to seek solace from the cruel world, where purity needs proof from women.
On the auspicious day of Janaki Navami, the married women observe Upwas (a day-long fast) for the longevity and success of their husbands and worship Sri Ram and MaaSita to seek their blessings.
Along with deities of Ram, Sita and Lakshman, the plow representing DhartiMata (Earth) is also worshipped with proper Puja-vidhi. Devotees chant the slok of Rigveda (4.57.6) – “ArvachiSubhage Bhava Site VandamaheTva. Yatha Nah SubhagasasiYathah Nah Sufalasasi.” (O Maa Site, come infront of us. We bow before you. O Goddess, enriched with supreme treasure and vibes,please show your kindness and generosity and be the harbinger of auspicious outcomes for us).
Maa Sita, her character and struggle life is part and parcel of the enriched culture of the Indian Sub-continent. It is believed that by performing the Puja rituals and Vrat on Janaki Navami bestows virtues like modesty, motherhood, sacrifice and dedication and blesses a joyful and prosperous married life.
(The author is a technocrat and an academician. He hails from Patna, Bihar)