Ram Ram !

Bhagawan Shri Rama and Mother Sita flanked by brothers, rishis and devatas...Courtesy: Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, the Tamil monthly magazine from Chennai Ramkrishna Math
Bhagawan Shri Rama and Mother Sita flanked by brothers, rishis and devatas…Courtesy: Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam, the Tamil monthly magazine from Chennai Ramakrishna Math

Ram Ram!” is a religious way of greeting one another generally among the Hindus in all the Hindi-speaking areas in India.  I noticed this when I was living in Kanpur and also while travelling in many places of North India. In this country too, our South African devotees have a way of greeting one another with “Aum Namo Narayanaya!“.

Taking the name of the Lord at the start of every aspect of our activity is indeed a spiritual method well recognised and advocated by our sages and saints. We, as devotees, in spite of our good intentions tend to forget His name. It is in this context that we are advised to utilise the naama as a tool to further our quality of spiritual life. Some reflections here!

On this auspicious Shri Rama Navami period beginning from 31st March to 8th April, my hearty greetings to every one of you : ‘Ram Ram!

Verve and vigour

Yesterday the Rama Navami parv began with all solemnity at the ashram and its branches. The celebration generally continues from the first day that is this year from 31st March and completes on 8th April on the holy navami tithi.

Satsangs here have a definite pattern. Every evening a large number of devotees attend who sing bhajans and kirtans. Selected passages from Sri Ramcharitamanas are recited every day. The temple altar stands decorated beautifully. The devotion of the devotees is worth noting; what a verve and vigour in singing bhajans! And faith and fervour in performing worship! And the day-long fasting and sitting in the temple for such long hours – absolutely maintaining utmost discipline – no chitchat, no gossip and all are tuned to the discourses and songs.

Tale of Two letters!

In my first-day discourse at the Glen Anil temple the point that such a short two-syllable name ‘Raa Ma‘ has in due course of time acquired a powerful connotation came up for discussion. Speaking on the subject “Ramayana – the Scripture Par excellence”, I explained how the famous saint Tyagaraja has remarkably pointed out the significance of the name “Rama“.

Saint Tyagaraja's love of Lord Rama
Saint Tyagaraja’s love of Lord Rama

In one of his divine songs he says that :

shiva mantramunaku ma-jivamu ; maadhava mantramunaku ra-jivamu

Ma” is the very life of the Shiva mantra,”Ra” is the very life of Vishnu mantra. The Shiva mantra refers to the famous one called panchaakshari (five-lettered) mantra : Aum namasshivaaya. The Vishnu mantra refers to ashtaakshari (eight-lettered) mantra : Aum namo narayanaya. If we think deeply it will be clear that without these two syllables the two respective mantras loose all meaning.

Take out “Ma” – the mantra will read now na shivaaya – nothing auspicious! Take out “Ra” – the mantra will read na ayanaaya – no royal road!

Hence these two syllables “Ra” and “Ma” become the life force of these mantras. They are called beeja (seed) and hence by constantly repeating any of these holy mantras, the beeja would one day start sprouting, which means to say that the significance of the mantra would become clear like daylight. The word ‘Rama‘ therefore represents the power of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu together! Saint Tyagaraja takes delight in telling us that he would salute those great men who understand this detail !

Less is equal to more!

There is another way of looking at the glory of the name Rama. The single word is equal to one thousand names of Lord Vishnu!

Lord Shiva tells Parvati :

Sri Raama Raama Raameti, Rame Raame Manorame |
Sahasranaama tattulyam, Raama Naama Varaanane ||

This verse is explained thus:

“O Varaanana (lovely-faced woman), I chant the holy name of Rama, Rama, Rama and thus constantly enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Ramachandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Vishnu.”

Worthy name without love?

Sri Ramakrishna advises that the name of the Lord is no doubt highly proficient capable of providing Divine realisation. But Master asks, “is it sufficient without Love?”. Master continues, “the soul must hunger for God. What will it avail if I repeat His ‘name’ while I allow my mind to be attached to ‘woman and gold’? Mere muttering of magic incantations will not heal up a scorpion-sting. You must also apply the smoke of burning cow-dung.”

|| Aum Shri Ramakrishnarpanamastu ||

20 comments

  1. Loving regards for Vimokshanandaji.
    Swami Vivekananda wrote “Thy name, ending in ‘shna‘ (RAMAKRISHNA) pure and auspicious, converts sinfulness to purity”. To the best of our humble understanding, this expression ‘converts sinfulness to purity’ is a new contribution of Swami Vivekananda for the world-wide devotees of God…!

    “O Thou, dispeller of illusion, Thy name, ending in ‘shna’ pure and auspicious, converts sinfulness to purity. Because, O Thou the only goal of all beings, shelter have I none, Thou art, O friend of the lowly, my only refuge”. – SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
    (From the book ‘Hymns and Prayers’, published by Advaita Ashrama. Page: 159)

    Swamiji also mentioned Sri Ramakrishna as “Mochana agha dushana
    Love always
    Swami Pareshananda
    Bounes Aires, Argentina

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Revered maharaj
      I am grateful indeed maharaj for giving a quote from the famous evening service hymn. That glorifies the effect of taking the name of the Lord.
      May the blessings of Master be with you, Maharaj!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  2. Respected Maharaj,
    Thank you so much for such a wonderful explanation of Holy Name of ‘Rama‘…
    I learnt it today for the first time.
    With Regards,
    Debanjan
    Kolkata

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Debanjan
      Thanks for your visit to this blog! Is there any end to learning?
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  3. Revered Maharaj,
    My respectful pranam to you!
    This is an excellent presentation of the significance of the name of Sri Rama, and of Ramanavami itself. Excellent writing. Respectful pranam.
    Swami Sunirmalananda
    Camp: Gretz, France

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Sunirmalananda
      Thanks for your appreciative words, brother!
      Its a small seva through this eMedium that Master has allowed me to perform.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  4. Revered Maharaj,
    Please accept my pranam.
    I am glad to read your article Ram Ram!
    We are grateful to you for highlighting the importance of Ramanama and the Ramanavami. This is the first time that I have read special meaning of Rama by Sri Tyagaraja.
    Special gratitude to you.
    Earlier we have read about the explanation given by Purundaradasa about the importance of two lettered Ra-Ma through a famous song which is given in the Keerthan Sangraha published by Bangalore Ashrama. Revered Swami Purushottamanandaji used to sing this song melodiously.
    With regards,
    Affectionately yours,
    Swami Bodhaswarupananda
    Ramakrishna Saradashrama, Ponnampet,
    Karnataka, India

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Bodhaswarupananda
      Thanks for your appreciative words!
      Regarding Saint Purandaradasa‘s kriti, I must admit I have not heard it.
      Would it be feasible for you to send the lyric with English translation? I would exceedingly be grateful if you can send me the .mp3 recording of Revered Purushottamanandaji‘s singing too.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

      1. Revered Maharaj,
        Please accept my pranam.
        Please find the song written by Sri Purundara Dasa and sung by Swami Purushottamanandaji on greatness of two lettered Ra Ma.
        I shall send the transcript in due course.
        With regards,
        Affectionately yours,
        Swami Bodhaswarupananda
        Adhyaksha
        Sri Ramakrishna Sharadashrama
        Ponnampet – 571216

        Like

        1. ||AUM Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
          Dear brother
          Trust by His grace this finds you all hale and hearty.
          Many thanks for sending me the audio clip of Revered Purushottamanandaji.
          The music was indeed enjoyable listening. The song though written in Kannada has plenty of Sanskrit words and hence I could grasp the meaning to a great extent.
          With love, best wishes and prayers
          Swami Vimokshananda

          Like

  5. Revered Maharaj,
    Please accept my heartfelt pranam!
    Getting new meanings out of the every so enchanting name of Sri Rama gave me a lot of joy today. As I sit pondering on beauty of the name of Lord, and the eloquence with which Master explains the significance of love for the name, I can’t help but feel ever so thankful to you to assemblage all the beautiful learning under one short passage.
    In Vaishnava scriptures, the holy name which is often referred to as ‘Mahamantra’ or ‘Taraka-Brahma’ is said to be Lord himself, and that only by chanting can one conquer all the stages of spirituality.
    As we are discussing the subject matter of ‘Nama’, I can’t help but share with you an anecdote happening in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life. As he would go for his nature’s call every morning, he would hold his tongue so that it would not start repeating the name while in the act. A small boy, Gopala was standing on the way seeing the Lord pass-by holding his tongue. When he asked the Lord why is he doing so, the Lord said, “Well, I have been in such a state that my tongue automatically keeps repeating the name. But chanting it during this un-purified state would certainly be a grave offence”.
    With this, Gopala burst into peals of laughter and said, “My Lord, how can the name which is repeated once, can undo every single sin we have committed, be unpurified by any action?” The Golden Lord stopped in his tracks, bowed down to Gopala and proclaimed that he did imbibe a great learning that day, and appraised Gopala with the title of Guru.
    Have a blessed Rama-Navami!
    I am at the shelter of your blessings,
    Sabuj
    New Delhi, India

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Sabuj
      Thanks for your appreciative words about the post!
      The incident that happened in the inspiring life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is unforgettable. Thank you brother for providing it here for the benefit of our spiritual sisters and brothers. It made a deep impression so much so that it brought instantly to my mind the incident that happened in the life of Krishna Kishore (whose ekadashi of course, was made famous by our dear Master!) who had such a tremendous faith in the name of God.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  6. Revered Maharaj,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful explanation; it adds more meaning and zest to our daily satsangs during this auspicious period leading to Ramanavmi.
    with humble pranaam
    Veena
    Durban, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Veena
      Indeed your expressed feelings brought joy to my mind.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  7. Revered Maharaj
    Aum Namo narayanaya!
    What an inspiring and uplifting article!
    It certainly casts an entirely different dimension to this beautiful and auspicious period.
    Humble greetings
    Navilla
    Bloemfontein, SA

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Navilla
      Indeed your expressed feelings brought joy to my mind.
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

  8. Revered Maharaj
    Thank you for sharing a beautiful and inspiring explanation.
    with humble pronaam
    Amitav and Sharmistha
    Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India

    Like

    1. ||Aum Sri Ramakrishna sharanam||
      Dear Sharmishta and Amitav
      Thanks for your visit to this site!
      May the blessings of Master be with you!
      Swami Vimokshananda

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s