“Then, in the thirteenth year the king along with his teachers prepared for the ceremony of handing over the kingdom to Rama, the delight of the Ikshvaku dynasty.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 33.18)
tataḥ trayodaśe varṣe rājyena ikṣvāku nandanam ||
abhiṣecayitum rājā sa upādhyāyaḥ pracakrame |
Of all names, the holy name is the most significant. It is the preferred mechanism for connecting with the Supreme Lord, the original proprietor of everything, the person who is ultimately in charge of the forces that govern. The holy name is powerful because it creates the presence of the person addressed through the use of sound. We can say “water” over and over again, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll get water. We can also call out to our beloved, but sound alone will not bring their presence. Not so with the holy name; hence its significance.
Which name should you choose? What if you don’t really know what God is? Where does He live? What does He look like? The Vedic tradition often depicts Him as blue, but why is that? Why does He sometimes carry around a flute and other times hold a bow in His hand?
One of the properties belonging to God is infiniteness. In math we learn about greater than and less than. The number two is greater than one. One is less than two. If you want to find a number that is greater than all numbers, you’ll fail. The word “infinity” is used to describe this situation. That which is infinite is without measure. It is the greatest, but there is no way to quantify it.
The holy name describes God. Since He is infinite, so too the descriptions of Him are without end. This means that there is an endless amount of names. Some are more important than others, as they are better at bringing the complete picture to the mind. Think of it like remembering someone by their clothes versus thinking of them by their character and nature. So many names only vaguely describe God, while others are more specific and highlight His transcendental qualities of importance to the yogis, those who are looking to transcend the dualities of the material nature.
Many of the more significant names have the suffix “nandana” in them. This Sanskrit word means “one who delights.” “Son” is another meaning, but in fact there is no difference, as the son is meant to give delight to the parents. Pick any of the names that include this suffix and you’ll get plenty to think about. You’ll get a host of memories arriving in your mind, waiting to settle in and stay for the long haul.
Likely the most famous of these names is Yashodanandana. With this name, we find out that God gives delight to Yashoda, who is a mother in Vrindavana. God in this form is known as Krishna, since He is all-attractive. Yashoda plays the role of a foster mother, but in fact no one can be the mother or father of Krishna. He is the original person, so when there is a relationship to a mother, it is only to give her delight.
Krishna gives delight to mother Yashoda by being an adorable son. He plays in her courtyard. He drinks the milk that she provides. He eats the butter she churns with her own hands. He plays out in the fields with His friends during the day and then returns home at night to eat the wonderful preparations that Yashoda makes. She loves Him so much, and He is there to accept that love. In every way, Krishna delights Yashoda.
The same Krishna is also known as Yadunandana. In this role He gives delight to the Yadu dynasty of kings. So many pious kings appeared in this line, but Krishna is the one who stands out. He made that dynasty truly famous, delivering the Bhagavad-gita on the battlefield of Kurukshetra to Arjuna, who played the role of His cousin.
From the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, we get the name Ikshvakunandana. This has a similar meaning, except it refers to God in His role as Rama, the son of King Dasharatha. The dynasty here is the Ikshvaku, and it descends from the deity that is the sun. The Yadu dynasty is from the moon deity.
“The family in which Krishna appeared is called the Yadu dynasty. This Yadu dynasty belongs to the family descending from Soma, the god in the moon planet. There are two different kshatriya families of the royal order, one descending from the king of the moon planet and the other descending from the king of the sun planet. Whenever the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, He generally appears in a kshatriya family because He has to establish religious principles or the life of righteousness.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Introduction)
The person speaking here is Sita Devi, the wife of Rama. She is explaining to Shri Hanuman about her previous circumstances. She lived with Rama in Ayodhya for twelve years. In the thirteenth year, it was time for the name Ikshvakunandana to earn its true meaning. Without being a king in that line, how would Rama delight it? Therefore Dasharatha and his teachers, the royal priests, started preparing for the ceremony to hand the throne over to Rama.
Ikshvakunandana’s coronation would have to wait, as He had other things to take care of first. He would delight the dynasty in many ways, such as by defeating the evil king Ravana and rescuing Sita. Hanuman’s brave journey to Lanka and successful search for Sita is an extension of Rama’s might. This means that Hanuman delights that dynasty as well. So many good people and glorious events come to mind from a single name; such is the power of the sound that addresses the Supreme Lord.
Appearing in dynasty of sun so bright,
Rama to Ikshvakus giving delight.
So significant is just one holy name,
Its sound bringing Lord’s presence the same.
Though coronation for Rama set and ready,
Plans changed, through it Lord remained steady.
Delight to come to family line in many ways,
Like rescuing Sita by arrows released in a blaze.
Categories: sita and hanuman