Today marks the Appearance Day of Lord Ramacandra. We honor it with a fast until sunset, followed by a nice vegetarian feast, and with reading and chanting throughout the day.
We share with you a lecture given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, explaining the Lords activities and glories.
The following is the transcription… but you can also listen by clicking on following link; Śrī Rāma-Navamī, Lord Rāmacandra’s Appearance Day
The Nine Processes of Devotional Service
The Nine Processes of Devotional Service are described by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, chapter 5, text 24-25. The great personalities who attained perfection by practice of the nine processes are listed below, followed by the complete text and purport, describing in full these nine processes. If I am not mistaken, this purport to text 24-25 from the seventh canto, chapter five, is one of the longest in the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. Stressing the importance of the verse.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge. (SB 7.5.24-25)
- HEARING (sravanam)
Maharaja Pariksit(the last seven days of his life, he constantly heard the Srimad Bhagavatam).
- CHANTING (kirtanam)
Sukadeva Goswami(spoke the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit)
- REMEMBERING (visnu smaranam)
Prahlada Maharaja(never forgot Krsna despite constant tortures from his father- Hiranyakashipu)
- SERVING THE LORD’S LOTUS FEET (pada sevanam)
Laxmi, the Goddess of Fortune, is always engaged in serving the lotus feet of the Lord.
- DEITY-WORSHIP (arcanam)
Maharaja Prthu used all of his royal possessions in order to offer them in pure devotion to the Lord.
- PRAYING (vandanam)
Akura offered prayers to Krsna when he was traveling to Vrndavana in order to see Krsna.
- EXECUTING ORDERS (dasyam)
Hanuman, the intimate servant of Ramacandra executed all of Sri Ramacandra’s orders despite all kinds of difficulties.
- SERVING AS A FRIEND (sakhyam)
Arjuna was so close to Krsna, that the Lord offered Himself to become his chariot driver and serve Arjuna and his brothers in various ways.
- COMPLETE SURRENDER (atma nivedanam)
Bali Maharaja gave Sri Vamanadeva his entire kingdom, his possessions as well as his own body, although his own spiritual master was against it.
All these great devotees served the Lord according to a particular process, but every one of them attained salvation and became eligible to return home, back to Godhead
Full Text and purport follows
Today we are celebrating Śrī Rāma-Navamī, Lord Rāmacandra’s Appearance Day. We are honoring it with a fast until sunset, followed by a nice vegetarian feast.
Rama Navami (Devanāgarī: राम नवमी) also known as Sri Rama Navami ( IAST SriRāma-navamī ). Sri Ram Navami is a great festival in India, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Rama is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu. The festival falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
When Lord Ramachandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the King of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it. All these facilities existed because of Lord Ramachandra’s presence as the King of the entire world. A similar situation could be introduced immediately, even in this age called Kali, the worst of all ages. It is said, kali-kale nama-rupe Krishna-avatara: Krishna descends in this Kali-yuga in the form of His holy name—Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. If we chant offenselessly, Rama and Krishna are still present in this age. The kingdom of Rama was immensely popular and beneficial, and the spreading of this Hare Krishna movement can immediately introduce a similar situation, even in this Kali-yuga.
Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day
Today marks the auspicious appearance of Lord Balaram. We honor it with a half day fast and celebration.
Lord Balarama is Krishna’s elder brother and His appearance day takes place on the full moon day (purnima), two weeks before Krishna Janmashtami. Krishna and Balarama were the darlings of Vrindavan/ Vraja. Together They would spend the day enjoying the company of the cowherd boys in the forests of Vraja. Their wonderful pastimes are related in the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which Srila Prabhupada also translated as The Krishna Book. Lord Balarama is also considered the original spiritual master and His worship is therefore most important for Vaishnavas.
Lord Balarāma has two weapons, a plow and a club, from which He takes service when they are required.
(from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 65 Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana)
…In the Upaniṣads it is stated, nāyam ātmā bala-hīnena labhyaḥ. The purport is that one cannot attain the supreme platform of self-realization without being sufficiently favored by Balarāma. Bala does not mean physical strength. No one can attain spiritual perfection by physical strength. One must have the spiritual strength which is infused by Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa. Ananta, or Śeṣa, is the source of the power which sustains all the planets in their different positions. Materially this sustaining power is known as the law of gravitation, but actually it is a display of the potency of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa, is the source of spiritual power, or the original spiritual master. Therefore Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, who is also the incarnation of Balarāma, is the original spiritual master. And the spiritual master is the representative of Balarāma, the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who supplies spiritual strength. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is confirmed that the spiritual master is the manifestation of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. (from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)