Sri Rama Rama Rama

Question

Why does Isvara tell pArvati ‘Sri rAma rAma rAma iti rame rAme manorame sahasra nAma tatulyam rAma nAma varAnane”.

Answer

When pArvati questions iSvara, if there is any simpler way to recite the sahasra nAma of Vishnu, iSvara answers in the above way. Often people translate, interpret this sloka in the way they wish.

First, let’s be clear that Vishnu Sahasra nAma does not have 1000 ‘distinct’ names of Vishnu, contrary to popular belief. Though it is called Sahasra Nama in fact it contains only 901 distinct sounding names. Eight hundred and fifteen names are repeated once, Seventy-five of these names are repeated twice, nine of these names thrice and two of these names four times. Sahasra, in my view, is more like ‘numerous/in thousands/in hundreds etc’ than precisely thousand. Interpretations that are based on the assumption of ‘thousand’ names are not valid for this reason.

This sloka means

“Sri rAma rAma rAma iti (thus) (is)

rame (the one that is enjoyed)

rAme (the one who is the enjoyer)

manorame (the manas that enjoys).

tat(Those) Sahasra nAma ( innumerous names)

are equal (tulyam)

rAma nAma (to the name of rAma)

vara anane (living suitor – better half)”

The words rAma, rAma, rAma is equal to the innumerous names of vishnu, because, rAma rAma rAma means the one that is enjoyed (rame), the physical enjoyer (rAme) and mind enjoyer (manorame).

rAma is the enjoyer. balarAma means one who enjoys his strength. parasurAma means one who enjoys playing/handling the parasu. sappatu rAma means one who enjoys the food.

Vishnu is the one that is enjoyed,Vishnu is the physical enjoyer and the mind-enjoyer. This is also said by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Krishna (Vishnu) is the player, playground and the observer, all the three.

So the words rame, rAme, manorame are critical to the understanding of the sloka.
By saying rAma, rAma, rAma we are remembering the Vishnu as the one that is enjoyed, as the physical enjoyer as ourselves and the manas/Atmanas in us that enjoys. This is the Crux of Vishnu Sashara nAma.

It is upto us to see that ‘rAma’ as ‘dasaratha rAma’ or not. But we should see the rAma as name of Vishnu, symbolizing Vishnu being the enjoyer.

Dasaratha named his sons ‘rAma’ (the enjoyer/ruler), ‘lakSmana’ (the emblem/insignia/mark), ‘bharata’ (bearer/sustainer), ‘shatrugna’ (slayer of enemies).

rAma as the first born, was born to rule/enjoy. Hence he is the enjoyer (rAma).
lakSmana as the second born was the ‘mark/emblem’ of rAma, shadowing him wherever he is. Hence second son is ‘laksh’mana.
bharata as the third born is the bearer or sustainer of kingdom, defends/maintains the Kingdom against onslaughts. Hence the third son is ‘bharat’a
shatrugna as the last born was the ferocious slayer of enemies, the one who goes on offensive against others. Hence the fourth son is shatrughna.

-TBT

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