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Rama Navami
Date: Tue Apr 22 1997 - 10:44:54 PDT

Though a little late, I would like to share with all the celebrations of
Rama Navami in the Chicago Temple.  Chicago, is blessed with two
excellent temples.  One with Rama, Sita and Lakshmana as the main deity
and the other has Venkateshwara Swami as the deity.  

The celebrations for the Rama Navami were mainly done on 19th April.
This being a Saturday.  Unfortunately, we could not go very early in the
morning, but from what I have seen the last year, I can say that the
celebrations started at 10 in the morning.  Going through the most
important phases of Sri Rama.  Rama Janana, Sita- Rama Kalyanam (we
made it by this time), then Rama pattabhishekam.  These were performed
with immense devotion.  One of the local families sponsored the anna daanam.

Shri U Srinivas was scheduled for a Mandolin recital, but he could
not make it.  Another gentleman Ravi Kiran gave a Chitra Veena 
COncert, marking the celebration of Sri Rama Navami.

The Other temple(ramalayam) on the other hand started the Akhanda Ramayana
Parayanam,  this was very exhilerating, because this is one of the traditions
in my house  that was and is practiced as IO was growing up.  Not to go off
on a tangent, but as we were growing up, my dad and all of us would site and 
read the Akhanda Ramayana while my mom would make the traditional Rama navami
dishes (Vada pappu and panakam).  This tratdition I carry now with my
husband as a support.  Going back to the temple.. We sat through it completely
till the morning of the 20th when the  akhanda bhogam was done.  During
this time, I got the opportunity to read the Ramayanam as well.  This was
a great experience, since during our drive back to Milwaukee on Sunday,
we were neither sleepy nor tired(such is the Lord's Maya).  The
only thing we could talk about was the Ramayana and also we sang the
main doha sung after every caupai(stanza).  "Mangal Bhavan Amangal
Hari, Dravau so Dasharath Ajir Bihari".  The sad part is, though I read the
ramayana I am still not clear on the meanings of each of the dohas.

This is how Rama Navami was celebrated at our end of the town.  Following
this I would like to ask people  like Sri V. Sadagopan, Sri Bharadwaj,
to please take time out of their busy schedules to explain the meaning of 
the most prominent dohas of Ramayana.  

I am positive, a lot of us will benefit from it.  I am 100% sure that I will
benefit from it.  I hope that the scholars of this group will take sometime
and explain the dohas.  Maybe by next Rama Navami, we can have a small
booklet with the meanings.

Manjula Sriram 
N. Sriram