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79. The Naming of Shri Rama

The following post is one from the Ramacharitmanas series.  Every week, we move forward in our journey through the Ramayana of Love, as spoken by the great Saint Tulasidas.  The Ramacharitmanas has been described as being similar to a cross between the Bible and Shakespeare. The Ramacharitmanas is like an ocean of love and bliss and the hope is that these posts will provide a sense of the bhava and how one can benefit by way of immersion in its waters.  

Days had quickly passed with nobody realising and it was now the appropriate time for the naming ceremony of the children.  The enlightened sage Vaisishta was summoned forth by King Dassaratha to perform the ceremony. The King prostrated at the sage’s feet and said, “Thank you for coming here my dear teacher, please assign to my children the names which have come to you through your meditation.” Vaishishta replied, “They have unlimited names dear King, in fact, I know for sure that these children are unique. Your eldest child is filled with light; he is an ocean of mercy and an example of bliss for the entire world. For this reason, his name is Rama: The embodiment of bliss and the refuge of the Universe. He is the remover of darkness in all souls. Your second son, who will sustain and support the Universe, who is goodness personified, shall be named Bharata. Your third child, who will be feared by all enemies and exist to serve humanity will be called Satrughuna.  And finally, your fourth child, will be the perfect servant and devotee of his half-brother Shri Rama, he will be called Laxmana.  He will be an abode of good qualities for the world to emulate.”

Vaishishta concluded by saying, “My dear King, the lives of these four children are like the essence of four Vedas themselves. Shri Rama is like the treasure of all of the world’s religions. He has taken form in your home.”

Laxmana, even from the earliest of days became extremely attached to his half-brother Shri Rama. Laxmana lived for his brother alone. A similar relationship existed between Satrughuna and Bharata, who displayed a remarkable example of brotherly love.

The four brothers were an embodiment of compassion, goodness, kindness, charitable feelings, and all other good qualities. Shri Rama is the ocean of bliss. All of the sun’s rays can not provide a speck of warmth in comparison to this child’s smile. Now he lies in the arms of his mother just like any ordinary child.

The unborn, the eternal, the light of the world, in one child? How can this be? He is Brahman without attributes, untainted by the suffering of the world, but now he seeks the shelter of a mother’s love and is conquered by Kaushalya’s love.

The children have been named.  The eldest child has been given the name Rama.  This name is perhaps the most famous name in all of  India.  It is considered a great mantra and one with Rama himself.  Mahatma Gandhi who wrote a book on the name of Rama said:

Ramanama cannot perform the miracle of restoring to you a lost limb. But it can perform the still greater miracle of helping you to enjoy an ineffable peace in spite of the loss while you live and rob death of its sting and the grave its victory at the journey’s end. Since death must come soon or late to everyone, why should one worry over the time? (H, 7-4-1946, p69)

The power of this name is inconceivable.  It is beyond our minds’ comprehension that a name could provide refuge from all human suffering. Maharaji spent most of his time chanting this name and said that by the name of Rama everything is achieved. For devotees of Rama, this name alone is like a steady boat to cross the turbid ocean of mundane existence and suffering. It transforms the world into paradise, for every form you see is now a particle of the bliss that is Rama.

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