Which is the Most Powerful Mantra?
The same question was asked by Parvati to her husband Shiva, says Padma Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas. Shiva gave an instant reply: “Rama!”
He said: “O, Parvati Devi, just upon hearing the names starting with ‘Ra-‘ my heart gets pleased out of hint of Rama’s name!” His heart is filled with the eternal love for the name “Rama”.
“Sri Rama Rama Rameti Rame Rame Manorama; Sahasranama Tattulyam Rama Nama Varanane,” Shiva told Parvati. Chanting the name of Sri Rama just three times is equivalent to reciting the entire list of the Lord’s thousand names.
This sentence is emphasized in Vishnu Sahasranamam.
Incidentally, Rama was a devotee of Shiva.
Shiva said the two syllable mantra is even more powerful than the combined power of 100 crores (1 billion) of Mantra. “O, Parvati Devi, you should always chant the name of Rama. Whoever utters this name Rama becomes free of life-cycles and gets Moksha (liberation),” Shiva said (Skanda Purana, Nagarkhanda).
Lord Shiva tells the same to sage Narada (in Shiva Purana): “O, Sage Narada, the name ‘Rama’ is the God of all Gods, the primeval God of the universe.”
Later, Narada advised a tribal robber about Rama. It is an irony that existence chose a contemporary of Rama, a tribal robber called Ratnakar, to pen down history of Rama (Both were contemporaries). When he was confronted by the wayward dacoit, Ratnakar, Narada opened the dacoit’s eyes to the deceitful life he was leading and told him, “The sacred name of Rama will wash all your bad karma away, and you will begin a new life.” Transformed and chastened, the dacoit went into a trance, and began to utter the name that was given to him. He was lost to all sense of this world. That was how the dacoit Ratnakar became Sage Valmiki. His life was touched with divine grace, thanks to the mantra.
Krishna once told Arjuna that with full reverence and great love, all time, he chants Rama Naam. Rama is Jagatguru (Guru of the universe). “Not for a single moment, I miss chanting Rama’s name,” said Krishna.
Harita Smriti, one of the Dharma Shastras, says out of infinite names of the supreme lord, none is equal to or greater than Rama. The Sanskrit Grammar (Panini-Vykaran) says: “Only Rama’s name among all names of the supreme lord is same as “om” (Aum).
“What’s the inner meaning of Rama?”
The first syllable “Ra” represents sun in most of the ancient literature, whether it is Sanskrit (Ravi=Sun) or Egyptian (Ra = Sun god). And of course, it is clearly said Rama is a descendant of Sun (Solar dynasty or Surya Vamsa). So the syllable represents light or fire. This is not just the light of energy but also of knowledge, of enlightenment.
The second syllable “Ma”, according to some experts represents “mother” and ‘Mind’ (manas). However, it is about the self (mama or within me) and goes down to Man. You can also interpret it as matter or body.
In short, RA MA – the self (man) seeking light, enlightenment. So when you are continuously chanting this word, you are in the path of enlightenment.Enlightened people will realize that it is the same energy everywhere – from sub-atomic particle to entire universe. Hence is the Hindi phrase: “Kan Kan me RAM hai”. It means every atom has energy.
A section of Sanskrit scholars say that since “Ra” signifies fire, it should be a fire which can burn all – There is only one such fire in the universe and it is Rudra (Shiva). The “Ma” is universal mother which has kindness, love and compassion when a person chants. It signifies AdiShakti. So RAMA = Shiva+Parvati.
However, when you come to Puranic Sanskrit, Rama is the Man of the Sun. (He is a Suryavamshi). He is perfected by the universe as a module of ‘Perfect man’ (Purushothama). Hence he reached the cosmic consciousness or Paramatma (represented by Vishnu). So he is considered as an Avatar of Vishnu. The path he has undertaken is explained in Ramayana. Yana=way. Hence Rama Yana = Way of Rama.
The root verb of the word is “ram”. In Sanskrit, ram means “delight”, “to rejoice”. Ram is a root verb, not a word. The root verb ram plus the suffix makes the word “Ráma”. “Ráma” means “source of delight”. In other words Rama means the object from which a seeker gets ecstasy happiness.
“Who is the number one devotee of Rama?”
You would immediately answer, “Hanuman”. But there were other equally prominent devotees and among them was Ravana, his arch-enemy.
Ravana had “Ripu” (enemy) Bhakti (devotion) towards Rama which is evident from the choice of words he used to describe Rama to Sita. Prima facie, the words would appear like abuse to Rama. But each word was extreme praise of a faithful devotee. After all, Ravan’s birth aim was to reach Vaikunta (abode of the Lord Vishnu) as a doorman. Ravana takes Ram’s name before dies.
The Monkey King Vali who was shot by Rama was another devotee. Before death he says: “I am the most blessed person in the entire universe. No one else has got the divine fortune to die in the lap of Lord Rama.” (See http://www.udaypai.in/wasnt-it-wrong-ram-striking-from-behind-to-kill-vali/)
Sita, Rama’s wife was another great devotee of Rama. You may say it is natural as she was his wife. But which wife will tell: “When you walk in the forest, I shall go in front of you and make smooth the path by crushing the thorns under my feet.” The bond between Rama and Sita is an unparalleled love story too (See http://www.udaypai.in/why-did-rama-abandon-sita-in-the-forest-the-secret/).
Hanuman is considered as the most powerful among all Hindu Gods. Hanuman is destined to be 9th Brahma. Present brahma is 7th and he is Shatanand (Brahma is the ancestor of human kind – he is the writer of the DNA. Even he will after his time period). So, Hanuman is the most important devata, but his sole wish was to live just as a slave of Rama. Instead, Rama chose him as a friend.
“Yatra yatra raghunatha keertanam tatra tatra kruthamasthakanjalem. Bashpavari paripurna lochanam maruthim namatha rakshasanthagam”
Hanuman stands with his palms folded above his forehead, with a torrent of tears flowing down his eyes wherever the names of Lord Rama are sung. So when you recite the name of Rama, with hands held over his bowed head in salutation, and eyes filled with joyous tears, Maruti (Hanuman) is present – what more protection you want in this universe?
At the end of Dvapara-Yuga or Third Age (Yuga in Hinduism is an epoch or era within a four-age cycle), Narada went to Brahma and asked: “O Lord, how shall I, roaming over the earth, be able to get across Kali?” To which Brahma thus replied: “The mundane world will be ruled by Kali or such powers. To escape the evil effects of Kali you can utter a specific name of the Lord Vishnu, who is the primeval Purusha”.
Again Narada asked Brahma: “What is the name?” To which Brahma replied thus: “Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare”
Personally, my experience (personal experience is NOT empirical evidence in science) is that whenever I come across any untoward or hostile situation in life that causes extreme stress, tension, anxiety and fear, I think of Rama. The Rama of the original Valmiki Ramayana.
Why? Despite being the Avatar of cosmos, he chose a life of an ordinary man – with miseries, struggle and hardships. If you go through Rama’s history, you will see that he didn’t live happily (as per concept of ordinary man) even for a year. And it was not a “happily ever after” life for him. So, compared to Rama, the miseries, struggles or hardship I face becomes minuscule.
Hence, the moment Rama’s delightful physical form comes to my mind, I feel happy and relaxed. The entire earth has become pious and blessed because Rama’s foot has touched it. I have got an opportunity to live in this earth which is cleansed by Rama’s foot.
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