shri ramachandra charanau manasa smaraami
shri ramachandra charanau vachasa gruNaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHirasa namaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHaranam prapadhyae
On Rama’s feet I meditate
With words I praise
With lowered head I pray
At Rama’s feet I seek refuge!
Notes excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag 2007
|| Śri Rām ||
During times of cosmic crisis, Vishnu as Preserver and Caretaker of the Universe adopts various avataars or earthly forms, to save Creation from calamity, and rid humankind of suffering. Rama as a model human, is one of Vishnu’s most popular avataars. Rama is revered as a devoted son, faithful husband and a righteous king. To fulfill his father’s promise, he willingly accepts exile and wanders forests for many years. When his wife Sita is abducted, Rama enlists birds, monkeys and other animals to track her to Lanka – kingdom of the villainous Ravana. After a prolonged battle, Rama slays Ravana and saves the world from terror and torture. Rama’s victory is celebrated during the Vijaya Dashami festival, and culminates in the burning of Ravana in effigy.
During festivals, devotees raise their voice to Rama. Temples ring to countless chants of his name. Uniquely, the mere recitation of Rama’s name is said to bring ananda or bliss.
The reason for this can be traced to the Mahabharata, when Bhisma bestows on the victorious Yudhishtra, the Vishnu Sahasranaam (Thousand names of Vishnu). Noting the long sermon, Devi Parvati asks her beloved Shiva, how an ordinary person can attain the same benefits as reciting the Vishnu Sahasranaam. Shiva assures her that uttering but once the name of Shri Rama is equal to chanting the name of any other God, a thousand times. With these invaluable words from Shiva, mankind has been blessed with an easy path to happiness.
In the Rama Raksha Stotra – hymn asking Rama for protection, which millions of devotees recite with fervor everyday, the opening verse affirms that reciting even a single word from the life of Rama is able to destroy the greatest of our sins. Mahatma Gandhi also urged followers to recite the blessed name of Rama. Prophetically, “Hey Ram” were the last words from his dying lips.
Included above is verse 29 from the Rama Raksha Stotra, which resonates well with the theme of bhakti for Rama. As Sant Tyagaraja has written, simply by asking the virtuous Rama to shower his blessing and compassion assures us of experiencing ananda.
Other posts on Shri Rām:
- Shri Ram: The Holy Name (also about Chanting the name of Ram)
- Celebrating Ram Navami, 2010
- Ram Navami – battle against terror continues to this day
- Agniteertham in Rāmeshwaram