The importance of Nama japa
Though the scriptures relate that there will be a decline in dharma in this
Kali era, man can take heart from the fact that it is in this age that the method for realising God is easy. Even the performance
of one's duties fetches the maximum benefit (Punya) and the lapses for not following them properly do not result in grave
sins. The code of conduct (dharma) prescribed by the scriptures varies according to the age.
Chanting the Divine
name has been mentioned as the best antidote for all the sins of man. Easy to adopt by anyone it does not have any restriction
in the manner, time or place for its recitation. There are different methods in which the Divine names can be handled, Nama
japa, Nama sankirtana, Bhajana and recitation of Stotras, being some of the popular methods followed according to one's preference.
Harikatha like Nama sankirtana is another method in which the glory of God is narrated through the medium of classical
music. The songs composed by the great masters lend themselves well to embellish the Puranic episodes handled in Harikatha,
since they testify to the mystic experiences of these saints who have realised God through chanting the Divine name.
Listening to the glory of God (Sravanam) is as important as chanting His names. The Ramayana and the Vishnu Sahasranama
were very important traditionally because they were recited before the Lord Himself in His incarnations as Rama and Krishna
respectively, said Kalyanapuram R. Aravamudan in his Harikatha. The Bhagavata Purana which was narrated to Pareekshit mentions
in the Gopika Gita, ``Munificent are those men who extensively recite on earth Your nectar-like story, which is life-giving
to the afflicted, has been celebrated by the wise, eradicates all sins and is auspicious to hear.''
While the 1000
names in the Sahasranama were selected and strung together by Bhishma, the name Rama selected by Sage Vasishta for the Lord
attests to its importance. It is besides being a name of the Supreme Being, also a mantra capable of delivering man from bondage.
Here are links to religious organizations and Miscellaneous informations:
Festivals Orissa (click)
Vaishnava cult (CLICK HERE)