Nama Mahima - Part 3

18th Jun 2022
Narahari Krishna das

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

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Nama Mahima" wherein we saw how

1) Bhishmadev said that chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu is the Supreme dharma.
2) Lord Shiva told Mother Parvati that chanting the name of Lord Rama three times is equivalent to chanting the thousand names of Vishnu.

Now we will see how chanting the names of Rama removes all material contamination. So in addition to devotees, people following the path of Vedic rituals also chant the names of Lord Rama to get rid of our material contamination. There is a nice sloka from smriti sastrAs chanted in all Vedic rituals. After chanting this sloka people recite the name of Rama three times as Sri Rama Rama Rama.

mānasam vācikam pāpam karmaā samupārjitam
śrī rāma-smaranenaiva vyapohati na samaya

All sins committed and accrued by mind, speech and deeds are indeed annihilated by chanting the name of Lord Sri Rama nāma and let there be no doubt.

Every conditioned soul commits sin by body, mind and words and when one chants the name of Rama three times (one time for body, one time for mind and one time for deeds), these sins are removed in proportion to the sincerity of the chanter. 

There is a beautiful incident which happened around 350 years back in life of a great saint Bhagavan Nāma Bodhendra. He was a great sanyasi and acharya in the line of Sripada Shankaracharya and he dedicated his life to preach the holy name of Lord Rama. His spiritual master by name Atma Bodhendra instructed him, ”You should establish the glory of holy name of Rama based on scriptures so that even great scholars will be attracted to chanting it. For that you need to refer a book called Bhagavan Nāma Kaumudi written by a saint called Lakshmidhara kavi. Please go to Jagannath Puri and meet him in his house and get the book”. Swami Bodhendra set to Puri and reached the home of Lakshmidhara kavi and it was night. So he did not want to disturb them and rested in the veranda outside the house.

Prior to this, a brahmana from the south travelled to the North on pilgrimage with his beautiful wife. In a village where he was resting, his wife was taken away by the Muslim ruler when he was asleep. As none came to his help, he could not save his wife and continued with his pilgrimage. He returned to the same place after finishing his pilgrimage to Kashi. While he was doing his daily rituals, a lady came to him in a islamic attire and started crying. She was his wife. She narrated her story of being made a sexual slave by the kidnappers. She begged her husband to release her from the bondage even, if he can't take her back as his wife. The brahmana took pity on her and told her that what happened to her was against her wishes and therefore she is blemish-less and promised to enquire with the erudite scholars whether any atonement can be done so that he can take her back as his wife. When he enquired the local people for an erudite scholar on shastras nearby, they pointed him to Sri Lakshmidhara Kavi near Puri.

The couple reached Sri Lakshmidhara Kavi's place around midnight on the day where Swami Bodhendra was also resting outside the house. The couple knocked the door and explained their predicament. At that time, Lakshmidhara Kavi ‘s son, Jagannatha Kavi came and informed that as their father was out of town, he could help them - based on the knowledge bestowed by his father. Sri Jagannatha Kavi gave a solution to their plight immediately - he asked her to chant "Rama Rama Rama" (thrice) and asked her husband to treat her as his wife as before, since chanting the Rama Nama thrice had dissolved all the sins. Jagannatha Kavi's mother came out and asked him why he was asking her to chant thrice when chanting once itself is sufficient to wash away all the sins. Jaganatha kavi replied that he is just repeating what the dharma sastras are saying (i.e. to chant three times name of Rama) and what was explained in the book "Bhagavan Nama Kaumudi" written by his father.

Seeing this Bodhendra Swami who was resting in the veranda of Jagannatha Kavi's house was pleased. To prove that chanting Rama Nama thrice absolves one of all sins. He asked the couple to come to the tank of Puri Jagannath temple next day and asked the lady to bathe in the tank by chanting Rama nama thrice. When she immersed herself and came out of the water, she appeared with turmeric and kumkum on her head along with a holy attire (which was her attire before she was abducted). Everyone was astonished to see this and the entire society saw the purifying potency of chanting Rama nama thrice and they accepted the lady as purified of all contamination due to abduction etc. Sri Bodhendra Swami further confirmed her purity by asking her to cook for him that day and took food from her. (A sannyasi will take food from women only when they are of pure nature). After this, Swami received the copy of the book Bhagavan Nama kaumudi from Jagannatha Kavi and spread the glories of the holy name based on this book.

Thus chanting Rama Rama Rama absolves us of all sins, purifies our consciousness and results in complete absorption in love of God. And we saw examples of individuals who attained purification (the brahmana’s wife) and absorption (Mother Parvati). During reign of Lord Rama, His entire kingdom was absorbed in Lord Rama and we shall meditate on it in the next concluding offering.

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