Nama Article 18th September 2017
Source: Madhuramuali - Answers and Beyond
On a blessed, beautiful evening, in the serene precincts of Madhura Puri Ashram, Sri Sri Swamiji was singing the Mahamantra Kirtan in his sweetest voice. Some of the devotees gathered there sat around him and repeated the Kirtan. At that time, a young man walked in , his forehead smeared with holy ashes. He came near Swamiji and asked , " Swamiji, God is known by so many different names and his incarnations are also infinite but you are singing only the names of Rama and Krishna". Obviously he was referring to the chanting of Mahamantra. "Why is that so, Swamiji"? Sri Sri Swamiji looked at the young man for a long moment and asked him, " What else do you want me to do?". The man replied, "Why don't you repeat the holy name of Lord Shiva instead"? Sri Swamiji replied, ' By all means, young man" and started chanting, "Shiva,Shiva,Shiva. A devotee who was listening to this conversation came up to Swamiji and asked, " Swamiji, I have a doubt, Our Itihaasas and Puranas have mentioned the power of "Ashtakshari Mantra" repeatedly. Why not chant the name of Lord of Vaikunta then"?. Sri Swamiji replied immediately, " Why not? Let's chant the Ashtakshari and started chanting " Narayana, Narayana, Narayana".
Another person sitting nearby and witnessing the entire exchange came up to Sri Swamiji, confusion writ on his face." Does it mean that DEVI is a lesser God and not to be worshipped? "Can't we not chant her name"? Sri Swamiji replied calmly, " Indeed, yes, we can chant and started chanting "Shakti,Shakti, Shakti" Now there was no end to the confusion of these three people. One of them asked Swamiji, " How can we accept this? How can a name of the God indicate a particular religion or form?? Is HE not common to everybody? Then does not that mean that we can all chant any name we like"? Sri Swamiji replied in his inimitable style. " Yes, Certainly, each name is unique and chanting of each name has its own merits." He went on to elucidate further, " While any name of the God is suitable, Is it not better if we chant a name prescribed in the Vedas ? Moreover, it propitiates not only Rama and Krishna, but one's Ishta Devata also!" Can there be a better name to chant then?" Swamiji asked with a smile. Sri Swamiji continued, " That is why, I chant this Mahamantra without any prejudice. The Mahamatra is prescribed by the Vedas too". The chant of Mahamatra Kirtan in Sri Swamiji's majestic voice soon filled the Madhura Puri Ashram, "Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!!