Nama Japa, the constant repetition of the Name of the Lord, is the best antidote to all ills of samsara. It is the most adoptable among all spiritual practices. It generates powerful vibrations that purifies and strengthens the reciter. It has been aptly hailed by our saints as the raft to cross the ocean of life. Among all spiritual practices, it is considered the most simple and easiest.
Even ordinary people benefit from japa. Lord Vishnu illustrates this fact through one of His leelas with Narada. Narada, who chants the ‘Narayana’ nama incessantly, once asks Lord Vishnu about the significance of His name. The Lord tells him that it would be better to see it for himself and instructs him to chant the divine name of ‘Narayana’ to a worm (which is considered a lowly creature) in the Bhooloka (earth). When Narada utters the nama ‘Narayana’, the worm dies. Narada is shocked and returns to the Lord, who then shows Narada a new born calf and instructs him to do the same, with this calf. Narada hesitantly utters ‘Narayana’ to the calf and the calf too immediately dies.
Narada is aggrieved thinking, though he was simply doing as instructed, he is now somehow responsible for these deaths. As he returns to Shrivaikuntha, Lord Vishnu says ‘I see that you have still not grasped the significance of My name’ and shows to Narada, a king’s son – the baby has just been born and everyone in the palace are rejoicing. Narada knows what is coming next and is petrified. He begs the Lord to not instruct him to do the same with the baby. But, the Lord merely smiles and says it is essential that he goes to the baby right away. Narada, standing next to the baby, observes all the auspicious symbols on him. While he is wondering what is to be done, the baby starts talking – ‘Oh Narada! Why do you hesitate? I have been waiting for you. I was the one who was born as the lowly worm, and by hearing the divine name from a sathguru like you, was freed of all the karmas of a worm. I also accrued enough punyas that I was born as a calf next. By the grace of Lord, you once again approached me and I am now born as a king’s son. Oh Sathguru! Please give me the upadesha of ‘Narayana’ nama in this human birth too, so that I can do Japa in this birth and and attain the Lord’s feet.’
Sri Guruji chanting
‘Krishna Hare Jaya’
‘Sri Rama Jaya Rama’
‘Narayana Narayana Jaya’