Nama Mahima - Part 2

17th Jun 2022
Narahari Krishna das

Hare Krisna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Nama Mahima" wherein we saw how Bhishmadev said that chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu is the Supreme dharma. For the people of Kali yuga who cannot chant the thousand names of the Lord, is there any alternate method? There is a nice pastime in the Padma purana about this. This happened thousands of years before the appearance of Lord Rama.

Once Lord Shiva was explaining the glories of Vishnu worship and glories of Lord’s devotees to Mother Parvati. Then Lord Siva advised Mother Parvati to meet the great sage Vamadeva and learn about the method of worshiping Lord Vishnu. Parvati duly approached the sage Vamadeva and the sage explained the method of Vishnu worship. He also gave the thousand names of Vishnu to her. He advised her “O you of an excellent face, having everyday worshipped Vishnu in the morning, repeat the thousand names of Visnu after that.” Parvati returned to her abode of Kailasha and started following this everyday. After a few days, Lord Siva worshipped the Lord on a dvadashi day and then invited Mother Parvati to take food by saying “O ParvatI, who is saluted by the world, come to eat with me.” Mother replied "O God, I shall eat after I repeat the thousand names (of Vishnu). O Lord, you may eat food." Lord Shiva smiled and told her as follows in Bṛhad-viṣṇu-sahasranāma-stotra  Uttara-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa (72.335)

rāma rāmeti rāmeti rame rāme manorame
sahasra-nāmabhis tulyaṁ rāma-nāma varānane

 “O you charming one, I chant 'Rama, Rama, Rama', and take great pleasure in chanting Rama's names. Chanting Rama's name three times is equal to the thousand names (of Visnu), O you of an excellent face.”

Listening to the instruction of Lord Shiva, Mother Parvati recited the name of Rama three times and ate prasadam along with Lord Shiva. Then she asked Lord Shiva “You said Rama's name is equivalent to the thousand names (of Visnu). The enemy of Ravana has other names (also). O lord of Gods, tell them to me. Devotion (for them) has arisen in me.” Lord Shiva then stated a few important names of Lord Rama covering all events in the entire Rama lila and also gave her the following sloka which contained the name of Rama three times.

māya rama bhadrāya rāmachandrāya vedhase
āthāya nāthāya sItāya pataye namah

Obeisances to Lord Rama, Ramabhadra, Ramachandra, the creator, to Raghunatha, to the lord, and the husband of Sita.

Lord Shiva then told her ”Please repeat the above sloka day and night and you will get full absorption in Lord Rama.” Mother Parvati then recited the above sloka which contained the name of Rama three times and became absorbed in the love of Rama. The acharyas explain the great compassion of Lord Shiva in simplifying the process of chanting and they also demonstrate how chanting the name of Rama three times is equivalent to 1000 names of Lord Vishnu.

In case of Sanskrit alphabets we have a series of letters each starting with ka, ta, pa, ya and it is called katapayādhi sankhya. Each of the letters in these are assigned a number. For example in the series starting with ka we have letters like ka, kha, ga, gha and these are assigned numbers like 1 for ka, 2 for kha, 3 for ga 4 for gha etc., Similarly the series starting with ta are also assigned numbers 1, 2 etc in sequence. Like this we have letters starting with pa and ya. The letter ra appears in the sequence starting with ya and it is assigned a number 2. And the letter ‘ma’ appears in the series starting with ‘pa’ and it is assigned the number 5. So the word Rama which is combination of Ra and ma is equal to the number 10 (2*5). And when chanted three times, it has the value 10*10*10 = 1000.

Thus Lord Shiva explained that chanting the names of Rama three times i.e. chanting Rama Rama Rama is equivalent to chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu. And since chanting the thousand names of Vishnu is the highest dharma, it means chanting the names of Rama three times is the highest dharma. For elevated souls like Mother Parvati, it gives absorption in the love of God. At the same time for normal people also, it gives purification by removing all sinful contamination. We will meditate on it in the next offering, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna dasa