The names ‘Rama’ or ‘Krishna’ are powerful mantras that
can alleviate the suferings of humanity. When Vasishta in
Ayodhya and Gargi in Ayarpadi are entrusted the privilege to name the divine incarnations of the Lord, they are
overwhelmed by the impossibility of this task, said Srimati
Jaya Srinivasan in a discourse.
How could one name the One who is indescribable and
whose names are infinite? Rama Nama is called ‘Taraka
mantra’ as it is the very cure for the disease of samsara. It is derived from the roots of the two great mantras, the
Asktakshara, ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ and the Panchakshara,
‘Nama Sivaya.’ The Stala Purana of Kasi states that Siva
whispers the Rama Mantra in the ears of all those who
breathe their last in this sacred place.
In the Kamba Ramayana, when Vali is slain by Rama, he
accuses Him of gross injustice in the way he is killed. But
Vali also experiences the moment of realisation when he
extols Rama as the very Supreme Lord incarnate who is
willing to give Himself to His devotees.
Parikshit asks Suka the very pertinent question, how one
can redeem oneself from the suferings that one’s karma
brings along with it. Is it possible through the acts of
redemption prescribed in the sastras? How efective are
these anyway? Suka then explains the eicacy of uttering the
Lord’s divine name through the story of Ajamila. There is
hope for even the sinful to be redeemed from their
propensity to commit sins. Though sastras prescribe acts of
atonement to eliminate the effects of particular sinful acts,
these cannot purge the sinful tendencies. Only by invoking
the grace of the Lord by chanting His names can one hope to purify oneself in thought, word and deed.