Fiji's Hindus, many of them hit by the recent bad weather, today celebrated Ram Navami, the festival marking the birth of Lord Rama, and prayed for those suffering in the West of the country.
Many temples and residences where Ram Navami prayers were conducted in the Western Division were shut in the wake of flooding on Thursday and Hindus today got together at the various evacuation centres and prayed for their safety while waiting for midday, the time around which Lord Rama was born in the city of Ayodhya in India to King Dhasrath and Queen Kaushalya.
While temples and residences in the capital Suva were full with devotees, many in the Western Division were sheltering in evacuation centres.
Anita Prakash, a devotee in Suva, said while the occasion was a happy one for many; she took time out to pray for the safety and well-being of those affected by flooding in the West.
“We have to follow the teachings of Lord Rama and should care for mankind. I prayed for all my brothers and sisters in the Western Division and so did the members of our temple,” she said.
“We can only pray for their well-being for now and once water levels go down then most of our members will raise funds and collect belongings for the affected people.”
Commenting on the importance of the festival, Prakash said Lord Rama was born to conquer evil and bring about peace and prosperity in the world and his teachings and way of life should be followed by our young generations.
Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born during Treta Yug and is known for his exemplary sense of duty towards dharma.
The festival which is celebrated for nine days was extended by a day this year as the Panchami Tithi (eclipse) in the Hindu calendar spanned two days.