Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Priyadharshan Shri Rama (Article from Speaking Tree TOI)

Rama nama contains the power of all mantras. Just uttering the syllable Ra can purge us of all sin. The following syllable Ma ensures that expunged sins do not return to plague us.

The Rama nama mantra stands for Supreme Reality. Chanting Rama's name produces a rhythmic sound that soothes and relaxes the mental and physical system. Mental recitations are equally, if not more, effective. 'Ra' is taken from the Astakshari Mantra Om Namo Narayanaya and 'Ma', from Panchakshari Mantra, Namah Shivaya. The word Rama stands for one who is always present in the hearts of yogis and makes them feel happy. Rama nama liberates from ego and desires. If you are depressed, the mantra will lift your spirits.

Adi Shankaracharya praised the Rama mantra and said that Lord Shankara, knowing the sweetness of it, initiated his beloved Parvati to it. He tells her: Sree Rama Rama Ramethi Rame Raame Manorame Sahasranama Tat Thul-yam Rama Nama Varanane meaning it is only Rama nama which is equal to a thousand names of Vishnu. This mantra can be chanted anywhere, anytime and by anyone. Rama nama has the power of intercession for the dead. The pall bearers repeat: Ram naam satya hai (the name of Rama is absolute truth).

Tulsidas, Ramdas, Kabirdas and Mahatma Gandhi are among those who thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness of this mantra. Tulsidas said that if one repeats the mantra unconsciously, he is taken from hell to paradise. He said that he is as eager to repeat the mantra as a Chataka bird is to drink rain drops, the only source of its survival. Kabirdas believed that the benefits of Rama nama cannot be destroyed or robbed. Meera Bai repeated the name of Rama day in and day out. According to her, it is like nectar in a gold cup which none can resist. Purandaradasa and Thyagaraja have immortalised the Rama nama in their beautiful compositions. Thyagaraja, the saint-poet, is said to have obtained the darshan of Rama with Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman after having recited the Rama nama 950 million times in 38 years on the advice of his guru. It is even said that Rama nama is mightier than Rama himself.

By chanting the Rama nama, a notorious bandit Ratnakara got liberated of all his past sins and as Val-miki, went on to author the Ramayana. The Ramayana is not just a great epic; it is philosophy, history, mytho-logy and spirituality all rolled into one. Valmiki describes Rama as having 16 great attributes — Rama stood for truth, he was a believer of truth, he was a good son and brother, he was an ideal king and was a symbol of moral excellence.

A great king of the Ikshavaku dynasty, Rama is the most popular and revered incarnation of Maha Vishnu. Rama's coronation was organised by Sage Vasishta. While tying the sacred thread (kankana) on Rama's wrist, sage Vasishta was so mesmeri-sed by Rama's personality that he is said to have missed the auspicious moment. Some even attribute Rama's exile and consequent troubles to this.

Sage Vishwamitra composed the Suprabhata in praise of Kaushalya's good fortune in giving birth to an illustrious child like Rama. The Valmiki Ramayana contains 24,000 verses of seven khandas (chapters). The number seven has special significance in the Ramayana — Ra is the second consonant in the ya-ra-la-va series in Sanskrit and Ma is fifth of the pa-pha-ba-bha-ma series, adding up to seven. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Rama and Ravana fought for seven days.

Rama was born on the ninth day of first half (Shukla Paksha) of Chaitra (first month of the Hindu calendar). The day of his birth is celebrated as Rama Navami.

P.T Sreeram,

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