When was Rama born?
We are celebrating Rama Navami, the Birthday of Rama today. When we say, we celebrate His birthday, does it mean that He was born on this earth? If He was born on this earth, can we specifically say on what date in the English Calendar He was born?
To answer this question we need to look at the source text, namely Valmiki Ramayana. This text Valmiki Ramayana is called Itihasa. Itihasa comes from ‘Iti+ha+asa’ meaning ‘it thus happened’. Thus, the very terminology Itihasa means it is a Historical Text. In Valmiki Ramayana, the star position of the birth of Rama is clearly given by Verse No. 1.18.8, 9
Rama was born on the Navami tithi of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra masa (9thday of the increasing phase of the moon in the lunar month of Chaitra). At that time, the Nakshatra or star was Punarvasu and Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were in Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer and Pisces respectively. The Lagna was Cancer and Jupiter and moon were shining together.
By searching the skies of the past for the configuration of planets as indicated by the sloka, one can arrive at the date in the English calendar for that configuration using the planetarium software. Late Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar took up this daunting task of searching the skies and identifying such a star position and the date when that occurred.
1. Sun in Aries 2. Saturn in Libra 3. Jupiter in Cancer 4. Venus in Pisces 5. Mars in Capricorn 6. Lunar month of Chaitra 7. 9th day after New moon (Navami tithi, Shukla Paksh) 8. Moon near Punarvasu nakshatra 9. Cancer as lagna Cancer constellation rising in the east 10. Jupiter above the horizon
With this clear data of the star positions in the sky, the date and time of Rama’s birth has been arrived as 12:30 pm on 10th January 5114 BCE.
If Rama was born on 10th January in 5114 BCE, you may wonder as to why we usually celebrate Rama Navami around March end- April mid.
The reason for this is the concept of precision of equinox where 1 day is to be adjusted for every 72 years. Thus over a 7200 year period, it works to around 100 days between January 10th and April 15th.
This year on 8th April, 2014, we will be celebrating 7128th Birthday of Rama.