Five Names That Rama Is Known By

[Rama riding home on the pushpaka]“O King Parikshit, as the Lord sat on His airplane of flowers, with women offering Him prayers and reciters chanting about His characteristics, He appeared like the moon with the stars and planets.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 9.10.44)

puṣpaka-stho nutaḥ strībhiḥ

stūyamānaś ca vandibhiḥ

vireje bhagavān rājan

grahaiś candra ivoditaḥ

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The maha-mantra contains sixteen words, three of them distinct. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” is the peace formula to cure the quarrel and hypocrisy of the age of Kali. Actually, the recitation of this sacred sound has the same benefit in any time period and in any area, but it is especially needed today due to the increased distractions. There are so many things to divert the mind from the real goal of life: consciousness of God.

krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ

sammohāt smṛti-vibhramaḥ

smṛti-bhraṁśād buddhi-nāśo

buddhi-nāśāt praṇaśyati

“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)

What is wrong with distractions? Don’t they help to pass the time? From the Bhagavad-gita we learn that the cause of anger is lust. Basically, when you really want something for your personal enjoyment, you’re guaranteed to get angry at some point. This is because frustration is inevitable. Even if I purchase the car I’ve had my eye on for some time, if one day something happens to that car, there is frustration. From anger comes bewilderment of memory, which then leads to loss of intelligence. We have intelligence for a reason, and to lose it is therefore not good.

The potency of the maha-mantra is due to the holy names themselves. Krishna means “all-attractive” and Rama means “the one who has all transcendental pleasure.” Krishna and Rama reference the same person and Hare refers to the energy of that person. Rama also can refer to the Supreme Lord in an incarnation famously described in the Ramayana. That Rama has other names by which He goes as well.

1. Ramachandra

This is the full name used to distinguish the Rama of the Ramayana from others with the same name. The name Krishna references the Supreme Personality of Godhead who famously appeared in Vrindavana some five thousand years ago. Krishna’s elder brother during that descent was named Balarama, who also went by the name Rama. The name Ramachandra helps to distinguish the two.

[Shri Rama]This name of the Lord means the moonlike personality who has all transcendental pleasure. His beauty is also moonlike. It is an interesting name considering that Rama appeared in the solar dynasty. When we take into account that Rama is non-different from God, the contradiction ceases. Only God can be both the sun and the moon at the same time.

2. Raghuvira

This name sometimes has different spellings, like Raghuvir and Raghubir, but the meaning is the same. It refers to Rama as the hero of the Raghu dynasty. Vira also means strength, so Rama is the strength of that dynasty as well. King Raghu was one of the famous rulers in the solar dynasty, and so he became the reference point for kings succeeding him in that line. Rama is the hero of that dynasty. This name is significant since the entire dynasty featured heroic kings. Rama is like the best of the best. This is another way to understand God. He is the most heroic person you can think of.

3. Janakinatha

One of the heroic things Rama did during His earthly pastimes was lift an amazingly heavy bow as part of a contest. Rama was not eager to participate nor was He consumed by desire for the prize, the hand in marriage of the daughter of King Janaka. That daughter was named Sita by the father, and due to her relationship to him she was also known as Janaki.

After so many valiant princes from around the world had failed to even move Lord Shiva’s bow set in the middle of the assembly, the sage Vishvamitra asked Janaka if Rama could give it a try. Rama proceeded to lift the bow easily and then break it while drawing string to it. He then became Janakinatha, or the husband of Janaki.

4. Ikshvakunandana

The solar dynasty started from Vivasvan, the sun god. Manu, the father of mankind, succeeded him. Ikshvaku followed, and he was known as a saintly king. This chain of succession is described in the Bhagavad-gita by Krishna, who is the same Rama.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ

proktavān aham avyayam

vivasvān manave prāha

manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt

“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.1)

[disciplic succession of Bhagavad-gita]Rama appeared many kings down the line, but He was the most noteworthy of them. He gave delight to the entire dynasty through His appearance. God is the greatest light; His natural illumination brightens every area where He appears. Rama is the delight of that famous dynasty because of His heroic exploits. He won Sita’s hand in marriage through lifting the incredibly heavy bow, and He followed that by ridding the world of the formidable, demoniac foe of the pious named Ravana.

5. Dasharathi

Dasharatha was the ruler in the Ikshvaku dynasty immediately preceding Rama. Dasharatha was special in his own right. In his previous birth he was a pious soul who regularly observed rituals of the Vedic tradition. In his next birth he appeared as the protector of the pious. He could fight so well that the demigods regularly called on him in their conflicts with the asuras, or those who are against God. Dasharatha got his name from his ability to fight against chariots coming from the ten directions simultaneously.

The name Dasharathi references Rama’s relationship to this great soul. It is a tremendous honor for Dasharatha, as he was specifically chosen to play the role of father. God is aja, or unborn. No one comes before Him. He is the beginning of the beginning. He is also ananta, or endless. Still, He is so kind that He increases the fame and honor of the devoted souls by assigning them significant roles during His lila, or pastimes.

In Closing:

Rama also as Dasharati known,

Appearing in affectionate father’s home.

Janakinatha, protector of king’s daughter,

Won contest drawn up by the father.

Ramachandra like the moon so bright,

To Ikshvaku dynasty giving delight.

Hero of Raghu clan appearing,

From world Rakshasa influence clearing.



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