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Beach 1: The First Prostration
Wave 2: Names ad infinitum for the nameless
Drop 10: The tAraka nAma, rAma
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The derivation of words from their root syllables each of which is the root of a verb signifying an action, is, in the Sanskrit language a very instructive excercise. Hindu religious literature is replete with such derivations for almost every word that it uses. Each of the names of God like Rama, Krishna, Siva , Narayana, etc. -- in fact, each one of the names of God in the various lists of thousand names of God (= sahasra-naamas) has been assigned several derivations from their root syllables. 'The one in whose memory yogis revel in the bliss of brahman' -- is the meaning of the word Rama. ramante yogino-nante brahmaanande chidaatmani -- is the declaration in the Padma-purana. 'ramante' (they revel, enjoy) is the action which forms the root verb for 'Rama'. The greatness of the word 'Rama' is not just because what the son of Dasaratha did what he did. Preceptor Vasishta hit upon the name for the child of Dasaratha because he knew that it was already a 'taaraka-mantra' -- that is, the mantra which takes you across the ocean of samsaara.
And that is why the name Rama has been isolated
and earmarked to be equivalent to
the whole of Vishnu
There are only two
in the whole of Hindu religious tradition,
which get the epithet
'taaraka' (that which can ferry you across);
and these are the syllable
OM, and the name Rama.
This single fact epitomises the importance associated with Rama,
the name as well as the Godhead, in the entire Hindu cultural milieu.
The sage Valmiki before he became a Maharshi,
recited the name of Rama, several thousands of years
and attained the status of a maharshi.

The syllable
'ra' comes from the eight-lettered mantra of Narayana
and the syllable
'ma' comes from the five lettered mantra of Siva.
Both are the life-giving letters (=
jiiva-aksharas) of the respective mantras;
because without them the two
mantras become a curse.
Without these letters, the
mantra naraayanaaya becomes
na ayanaaya - meaning, not for good;
namas-sivaaya becomes
na sivaaya
- meaning, again, not for good.
Thus the word Rama combines in itself the life-giving letters
of the two most important
mantras of the Hindu religion .
The syllable '
ra' the moment it comes out of the tongue
purifies you from all the sins by the very fact that
it comes from the
mantra of the protector, Naaraayana.
On the other hand,
the syllable '
ma' burns all the sins by the very fact that
it comes from the
mantra of Siva, the destroyer.
This is therefore the King of all
the holy jewel of
as is rightly sung by Saint Thiagaraja,
who is one of the most famous recent historical examples of persons
who attained the
jivan-miukti stage
- the released stage even while alive -
by the sheer repetition of the Rama name.
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February 27, 1999
Copyright V. Krishnamurthy