Seeing Through The Name

[Lord Rama]“Since with intelligence I have always been speaking the words ‘Rama’ ‘Rama’ and thinking of Him, in that manner I am seeing and hearing His story corresponding to that.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.11)

rāmeti rāmeti sadaiva buddhyā vicintyā vācā bruvatī tameva |
tasyānurūpaṃ ca kathāṃ tadarthā mevaṃ prapaśyāmi tathā śṛṇomi ||

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If you run into a bhakti-yoga teacher, they will surely present a lot of philosophy to you. Most of the points you’ve likely never heard before.

  1. You are spirit soul.
  2. You are not the body.
  3. The aim of human life is to be God conscious. The others species don’t have this chance, which means that the humans shouldn’t imitate the animals.
  4. The world came into existence due to the desire to compete with God. Once that desire is gone, you leave this temporary and miserable place.

Though familiarity with such facts is important for accepting the path of devotion with faith and steadiness, the devotion itself is what matters most. You can lack all knowledge even, not knowing how to read or write, and you can still find perfection in life. The teacher will tell you that above all else you should chant the name of God. There are many names to choose from, and in this verse from the Ramayana Sita Devi shows us the power in chanting that name.

[Lord Krishna]The two names of choice in the bhakti tradition are “Krishna” and “Rama.” Krishna means “all-attractive” and Rama means “the source of all transcendental pleasure.” As these are Sanskrit words they can be used as names for any person. You can name your child Krishna or Rama and thus remember the name of choice easily. These names also address real, historical personalities. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To distinguish Him from others with the same name, He is also known as Yashodanandana, or the son of mother of Yashoda. He is Gokulananda, or the person who gives bliss to the residents of Gokula.

Rama can refer to Krishna’s older brother Balarama. He too lives in the area of Gokula, pleasing the same residents. Rama is a short form address for Balarama. Rama also refers to Shri Ramachandra, the prince of the Ikshvaku dynasty. This Rama is the same Krishna, just appearing differently on earth due to the time and circumstance. To distinguish Him from others with the same name, Rama is also known as Sitapati. He is the husband of the goddess of fortune, Sita Devi, who is the daughter of King Janaka.

The word “Hare” means a call out to the Lord’s pleasure potency. Hari is another name for the same Krishna and Rama. That which belongs to Hari is the pleasure potency, who is a personality. With Krishna, Hare is Radharani. With Rama, Hare is Sita. One of the best ways to always chant the name of God is to repeat the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

The recommendation is to chant this mantra as often as possible. You’re advised to make a routine out of it, for through routine you build strength and hopefully ability. If I practice something the wrong way, it doesn’t matter how much I repeat the same action, I won’t get the desired result. If I practice the correct way, then after a while that which was previously difficult becomes much easier. It sort of works the same with chanting the maha-mantra. The more you practice correctly, concentrating on hearing the names, then the more benefit you get out of it.

And what is that benefit? You will see God and you will hear others talking about Him. This fact is confirmed by Sita Devi in this verse from the Ramayana. Though her words are humorous in a sense, they confirm this timeless principle of Vedic philosophy. She considers that she is miraculously seeing Rama and hearing about Him from above, through some hallucination perhaps. She feels this way because she is in so much distress, awaiting a death sentence from the King of Lanka for not giving in to his amorous desires.

She says that she has always been thinking of Rama. This makes sense because she loves Him so much. He is her beloved husband, so why wouldn’t she think of Him? She has also been saying His name over and over. The result was that Hanuman, Rama’s messenger, came to the Ashoka grove and introduced himself while hiding in a tree branch above. The introduction came through a speech about the glories of Rama and His family.

[Sita and Rama]Sita is always with Rama, thus she does not need to explicitly practice anything to get this benefit. Simply from her mind she can recite perfect and beautiful Hari-katha, or discussions about the Supreme Lord. She sees Rama always because she never stops thinking of Him. Still, this verse teaches us so much. There is indeed a way to see God. There is a way to hear about Him, also, which is even better. The high philosophy or strict austerity is not necessary. The name itself is powerful enough to deliver the presence of the Divine. The name is identical to that person, though we have a difficult time believing it. From Sita’s words, we should know it to be true.

In Closing:

By Rama’s name always to say,

Lord now to her making His way.


Through sound is that approach,

Just in time, after giving Ravana reproach.


Not required knowledge or renunciation,

Through name alone with proper pronunciation.


Rama seeing through sound of hearing,

Sita’s example our doubts now clearing.

Categories: spotting hanuman

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