In a remarkable alignment of prophecy and reality, the consecration of the idol of Shri Ram Lalla in the grand temple of Ayodhya took place on January 22, precisely as foretold by our ancestors 150 years ago. Our ancestors predicted that the consecration of the idol in the Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya would take place between the eleventh and thirteenth days of the Shukla Paksha. It’s remarkable that our festival also falls on the same date, and the consecration of Shri Ram Lalla’s idol in the grand temple coincides at this time. It is unknown what significance the pundits are attributing to this date, but our ancestors had also mentioned it. Only Lord Rama will reveal the truth, said Gularaam Ramnami, a Ramnami devotee, during Jaijaipur festival. Gularaam and his companions express great joy at the fulfilment of their ancestors’ predictions.
Speaking about the Ramnavmi Fair, Manharan Ramnaami from Khamhariya mentioned that the fair is annually organised on the same date, alternating between the opposite banks of the Mahanadi river. For 150 years, they have been singing devotional songs, starting with shorter hymns and transitioning to longer ones 15 years ago. Sejwana, from Sarsakela, shared that she has been singing devotional songs since childhood and has been dedicated to chanting the name of Ram for seven years. She belongs to the fourth generation in this tradition, and the timeless glory of Ram’s name is inscribed in their surroundings, homes, and clothes. Ramnaamis, devotees of Lord Ram, emphasise worshipping Ram in any form, be it in saffron robes or with a shaved head, without discrimination or deception. This, they say, is their message.
Within a radius of three kilometres from the fairground, Gularam explains that the consumption of meat and alcohol is prohibited. Just as people leave their shoes outside the temple, they believe that the abode of Ram is within their hearts. With the name of Ram inscribed in every part of their bodies, they have resolved not to defile their bodies. Hence, they refrain from consuming meat and alcohol. Additionally, they distance themselves from deceit and deception. Gularam emphasises that Ram transcends all castes and religions.
“Ram ko Bhaje So Ram ka Hoyi” – Devotional songs are resonating in Jaijaipur. The Ramnaamis are engrossed in singing, with the belief that one who worships Ram becomes truly his own. Listening to them brings to mind the devotional song of praise of Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, “Bhaje Hari Ko, Sohi Param Pad Payega” – Those who worship the Lord will attain the highest state. Ramnaami incorporates verses from the works of Sant Kabir or Manas in their every discourse. They express that they have dedicated everything to their Ram.
They have thousands of stories related to the name of Ram. Narrating one such story, Manharan explains that once there was a massive flood in the Mahanadi River. Some were devotees of Ram, and others were ordinary people. The current became extremely strong. A boatman advised everyone to remember the name of Ram, as it was time to seek divine intervention. Subsequently, they chanted the devotional song of Ram’s name. The flow of the water reduced, and everyone safely returned to the shores. This incident dates back to the year 1911. They share this story with everyone, and it marks the beginning of the tradition of filling the fair from that day onwards.