Chaitra Sud Nom – more commonly referred to as Swaminarayan Jayanti or Ramnavmi marks a double celebration for satsangis in the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It was on this day in the year Vikram Samvat 1837, in which the almighty Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan took birth in the home of Dharmadev and Bhaktimata, at 10.10pm, in the small but now significant village of Chhappaiya near Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
It was not by chance that the almighty Himself was born on this earth – it was planned, with particular goals that were to be established during His 49 years. On this occasion, He wanted to come to earth and leave a legacy that He had never left before.
He wanted to establish a clear path to the ultimate salvation. For this purpose He planned to establish mandirs, shastras and Dharmavanshi acharyas for the generations ahead.
- He wanted people to see him through His murti in these mandirs.
- He wanted people to learn about Him and His teachings through His shashtras.
- He wanted people to witness His walking talking form, for generations to come through the Dharmvanshi acharyas.
These three resolves would become a means to achieving ekantik kalyan. Before the pragatya (incarnation) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, many great sages had gathered to form an assembly in Badrikashram, in front of the Divine presence of Shri Nar Narayan Dev. Amongst the gathering were Bhaktimata, Dharmadev and Uddhavji. They had all collectively come to a conclusion and were discussing the evil that had taken over – in particular the terror the demons and asuras were causing, also that people refused to follow the path of religion and had taken to sinful lives. As they were so engrossed in conversation, they failed to notice the arrival of the great Durvasa Muni. The sage felt extremely insulted by this and he grew enraged. He was so angry that he put a curse on all that were present – cursing each individual to be born onto the earth and suffer from evil. Upon hearing this, Dharmadev and Bhaktimata got up and begun to weep, pleading for forgiveness. This deeply touched Durvasa Muni, and although he was unable to take back his curse, he reassured them that Lords Nar Narayan would incarnate along with the rest of the group, and He will save the world from the suffering they were discussing.
As Bhagwan had said, He would take birth whenever there was evil in the world and His satsangis were suffering, that is why he took birth.
The birth of Ram Bhagwan also falls on this day – chaitra sud nom. He was born in the town of Ayodhya, not so far from Chhappaiya, at midday. Ram Bhagwan also took birth on this earth with a reason for his existence. Lord Vishnu took his seventh avtar as Ram Bhagwan in order to destroy the monstrous king of demons – Ravan. He was extremely powerful and his tyranny knew no bounds. Great sages were unable to perform their religious rituals under his reign. Lord Vishnu took birth as Ram Bhagwan to stop this. He was born to Kaushalya, the first queen of King Dashrath.
Both births are celebrated with immense joy and honour, and murtis of Ram Bhagwan and Swaminarayan Bhagwan are rocked in cradles to reconstruct their births, and songs related to Ram Bhagwan and his life are sung at midday. The Satsangi Jeevan states that murtis of Bhagwan should be dressed in typical clothes worn by Ram Bhagwan, and He should be given a bow and arrow to hold in His hand. Orange cooked rice, ladus made from gram flour, sugar candy, yogurt and milk should be offered to the Gods on this day in cause for celebration.
In addition to this, the birth of Lord Swaminarayan is celebrated in the evening, where a murti of Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj is placed in a cradle and rocked with deep affection. The story of His birth is recited from the Satsangi Jeevan and the moment of the birth is celebrated with chants of “Jay bolo Ghanshyam ki”. Devotional songs describing the scene are sung and devotees sing and dance with great joy and festivity.