NAmasankIrtana – Medicine and
• dyAyan krtE yajan yagnaI: trEtAyAm dvAparE arcayan
yadApnOti tadApnOti kalou sankIrtya kesavam
• (The means for liberation in krta yuga is – meditation
(mental) in trEta is – oblations (physically complicated) in
dvApara is – arcana (physically simple) in kali is – nama
• Although the end is fixed the means gets simplified in
successive yugas finally culminating in chanting Bhagavan’s
His holy names
• Medicine is a bitter cure; elixir is a sweet enjoyment that
follows. Milk is a cure as well as delight; so is bhagavan
nAma. It eliminates the pain of material world and absorbs us
Why nAma sankIrtana
• As we realise atman’ s subservience to parmAtma we engage in
various services that please the Master. One of them is nAma
sankIrtana (stavya: stavapriya: stOtram..)
• His nAmas fill the vacuum of His physical absence. He is a 24 ct gold
but His namas are like 22ct gold, fit for ornaments. Even when He is
away His nAmas are close as evident from the episode of draupadi.
Eventhough Krshna was at dvAraka when she called His namAs
blessed her clothes.
• All are eligible to chant nAmAs; a son hates his mother and slaps her,
murmurs ‘amma’ when his hand pains; even to blame an atheist uses
His names. There is no need for any qualification to chant as this is the
• It is not mandatory to know the meaning of each nAma; it works even
without that; fire burns when touched irrespective of whether we know
that it would burn or not.
• The story of ajAmila in Srimad bhagavatam. It is a
misconception that nAma sankIrtana is a recurring
medicine that allows us to repeat mistakes. For
ajAmila, the company of duta bhagavatas
destroyed his papa and so he repented and that
eventually led him to liberation.
• The episode of mudgala and kshatrabandhu
• 1. Kedum idarAyavellam kEsavA enna 2. Vadati
yama:kila tasya karna mUlE …. Naman tamarAl
ArAyappattariyAr kandir..3. kim tvayA nArcitO
dEva: kEsava: klEsa nAsana: 4. kAvalil pulanai..
5. Paccai mA malai..(tondaradippodi azhvar gave
up mOksham for the joy of chanting nAmas)
Sri vishnu sahasranAma
• The cream of Mahabharata is in Gita and sahasranAma. Yudhishthira
requested for the decision of Bhishma about the 1. ultimate reality,
2.human end and 3.the means - bhishma confirmed that only nAma
sankIrtana facilitates bhakti. kimEkam…jagatprabhum..Further he says
that nAmAs are explanatory of the auspicious qualities (yAni nAmAni
• nAmAs explain one of the following .1 His essential nature (kAraNa)
or 2. divine form (puNdarIkAksha) or 3. quality (vatsala) or 4. wealth
(visvamUrtE). Kesava is one nAma which accommodates all four.
• nAma sankIrtana aids in practicing bhakti which in turn is the means
of liberation. This removes fear, cures diseases, clears confusion,
improves wisdom, nurtures bhakti and blesses wealth needed for
service. (vanE raNe.. vEdantagO brahmana: syAt…). Siva’s reply to
Parvati suggests Rama nAma as equal to all the thousand nAmAs.
• We must not trade namAs for low human ends. Chant for the pleasure
of chanting (as an end by itself and not means)