[Mediawiki-l] Centenarian Ram Lila of Navua, Fiji

Satyamns satyamns at connect.com.fj
Sun Oct 8 01:26:22 UTC 2006

                          Centenarian Ram Lila of Navua, Fiji
                                 7th to 16 October, 2006
                                    (Satya Nand sharma)

Shri Ram Lila, the enactment of the Holy Ramayana, is celebrated around Dussehra
in Fiji. When our forefathers came from the great land of Lord Ram and Krishna, from the ancient civilization of festivals and celebrations which form an intrinsic part of the Indian way of life - a golden thread that runs through its cultural fabric, amongst the few valuable possessions they brought was Ram Lila which is still celebrated with great fanfare, pomp and gaiety. Every section of the people participates enthusiastically, zealously and joyfully. 

The origins of the first ever Ram Lila can be traced back to the time of the great sage Balmeeki Muni , writer of Balmeek Ramayan. Millenniums later, it was Baba Tulsidas, the writer of Ramchritramanas who auspiciously conducted the first Ram Lila while his desciple Shri Narayan Dass began the tradition at Chitrakut in Kashi in 1633. 

Centuries later when the Indians were brought to Fiji, it was Navua which had the honour to host Fiji's first ever Ram Lila. The year was 1903 and the head priest was Pandit Tota Ram Sanadhya, a girmitiya. With its humble beginning and punctuated by occasional lapses, Ram Lila of Navua has come a long way.
Babu Ram Chandra (real name Shridhar Balwant Jodhpurkar) who came to Fiji in 1904 and left after twelve years had also organized Ram Lila in Fiji. Later he became an Indian trade unionist and organized the farmers of Oudh to fight against the abuses of landlords.

In Fiji Ram Lila provides an excellent opportunity for the promotion of our social and cultural values like love, forgiveness, truthfulness, justice, compassion, devotion, sacrifice, righteousness and service to others. These universal values are enshrined in the Holy Ramayana - the crown of world's literature - and echoed in the Ram Lila inspiring other to do one's duty to self, to God, to one's family and to one's community.
Ram Lila has also been a perfect training field for our public speakers, artists and the social workers at community level. 
May the immortal story of Rama and Sita, the tears of Bharata, the devotion of Lakshamana, the perfection of Hanuman - the jewel in the garland of the story of Rama - and various other captivating episodes including that of the rishis , Sabri, Kewat Samwaad and Ram Bharat milap inspire and elevate our souls.

The centenarian Ram Lila of Navua is currently organized by Vashist Muni Institute which is the controlling authority of Vashist Muni Kindergarten, Primary, College and Vocassional Educational Centre. The venue is its primary wing. The funds thus raised are used to upgrade the facilities of the Institute.

Navuans are proud of the legacy and wish to leave a richer heritage - "socially, culturally and spiritually" for our multiracial community.

Satya Nand Sharma

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