7.3 THE NAME
WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS
Faithful believers! Revere God with due reverence, and do not die without conscious submission to God. And hold fast to the rope of God all of you, and do not split up. And remember God's kindness to you: for you were enemies, and God joined your hearts; and you became brethren by the grace of God. And you were on the brink of a pit of fire, and God rescued you from it. Thus does God make evident the signs of God for you, so that you may be guided." Mohammed
"God is the only God, to whom belong the most beautiful names." Mohammed
"Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of Your name, the name you gave Me, so that they may be one just as You and I are One. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of Your name, the name You gave Me." Jesus Christ
DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA
WORDS HAVE GREAT POWER
Nowadays, people laugh at the idea of repeating the name of God (namasmarana) and singing the name of God together. They ask, what is in a Name? It is just an assortment of sounds. My words too are assortments of sound, but, when they enter your hearts, you feel content, you feel encouraged, is it not? Words have tremendous power; they can arouse emotions and they can calm them. They direct, they infuriate, they reveal, they confuse; they are potent forces that bring up great reserves of strength and wisdom. Therefore have faith in the Name and repeat it whenever you get the chance. (121264)
Man must seek answers to four fundamental questions: (1) Who am I? (2) Where have I come from? (3) Wither am I going? (4) And how long will I stay? The four Vedas are devoted to the discovery of answers to these very questions. These answers can be reached through Knowledge, Devotion or Dedicated Action; but the Lord's grace, if drawn through repeating the name of God, will reveal them to the aspirant in a trice!
Start now with the first step, namely, repeating the Name of the Lord, the Universal Indweller. That will lead you on to the further steps. March on until the goal is reached. Keep the outer-faced senses closed to the influences that attract. Instead concentrate on the Name of the Lord, its sweetness and beauty. Develop qualities of Divinity like universal love, absence of attachment etc. Then you will be entitled to assert "I am the pure omnipresent universal consciousness". But, with the Lord's grace, you may not have to assert it at all, because there will be no 'I' feeling in you then.
For repeating the name of the Lord is the chief among the spiritual practices for removing the taints of 'I' and 'Mine'. When you dwell on the Names of the Lord, His Majesty, His Grace, His Potence, His All-pervasiveness etc, these get fixed in your consciousness and your own capacities and capabilities get eclipsed in the Divine. So, humility develops and a spirit of surrender sprouts in the heart. This takes the devotee nearer to God and prepares him to merge in His glory. The mind is gradually liberated from all its distracting thoughts, desires and imagery, from giving free play to the senses. All accumulated impurities which veil the bliss within are removed and the Divinity latent manifests itself. When we attain the grace of God who is being, full existence (Sat), which is ever the same without change, true and pure awareness, (Chit), this knowledge itself has bliss (Ananda) as it is perfect and ever full. That is how repeating the name of God serves for us as the best means to liberate ourselves fromthe limitations, ignorance, misery and death. That is why, again, in the Bhagavad Gita the Lord has declared that He is the offering in which the sacrificial heart of ignorance itself is offered in the fire of the practice of repeating the name of God (Namasmarana 28)
NAME CAN REPLACE ALL SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
The Name is enough to give you all the results of every type of spiritual practice. This is accepted by all the Scriptures and all the aspirants who have left accounts of their struggle and success. Moreover, the Name is capable of being recited and meditated upon by all, equally. Of course the Name is a limitation of the Universal; it identifies the un-identifiable, through one of its aspects. Take the vehicle as a means of saving yourself; take it as a boat that will take you across the sea of birth and death.
When you repeat the Name, all the sweetness of the Form and its associated glory must come to memory and just as your mouth waters when you remember some sweet dish you relish, your mind must 'water' when you contemplate it. Choose the Name that captivates your heart. Why run after riches when all the pleasure and satisfaction that riches can offer and even a hundredfold, can be got by dwelling on the Name? The Lord has said that where His Name is sung, "there I sit". He establishes Himself there! He will not move from the place. So, the tongue is enough to win Him, the tongue that speaks the language of the pure mind.
Keep the Name lit on the tongue; it will illumine your interior and also the exterior. It will cleanse your mind, as well as the minds of those who hear the Name when you recite it. Keeping it on the tongue is like keeping a lamp lit on the doorstep at the entrance to your house.
Repeating the name of the Lord is the best spiritual practice; it is the most beneficial eternal practice. That is the highest repetition, the most profitable disciplined practice. Kuchela won the grace of the Lord through the same means. Fill the Name with your love, whenever you repeat it; saturate it with devotion. That is the easiest path for all of you. (290463)
There was a shop-keeper once who was inspired by that tale of Ajamila. He decided to remember the Name with his last breath, by a short cut; he Named his sons after the various avatars, for he knew that he was bound to call them when he was about to die. The moment came at last and as expected, he called on all his sons by name, one by one. There were six of them and so he called the Lord by proxy six times in all. The boys came and stood round his cot and as he surveyed the group, the thought that came to the dying man's mind, just when he was about to die was, "Alas! they have all come away; who will look after the shop now?" You see, his shop was his very breath all through life and he could not switch it on to God at short notice. The purificatory ritual will have its say, whatever you may wish. It is no mean achievement to get the Name of the Lord on one's tongue at the last moment. It needs the practice of many years, based on a deep-seated faith. It needs a strong character, without hatred or malice; or the thought of God cannot survive in a climate of pride and greed. And how do you know which moment is the last? Yama, the God of Death, does not give notice of his arrival to take hold of you. He is like the man with the camera taking snapshots; he does not warn, "Ready? I am clicking." If you wish your portrait to hang on the walls of Heaven, it must be attractive; your stance, your pose, your smile must all be nice, it is not? So it is best to be ready for the click, night and day, with the Name ever tripping on the tongue and the glory always radiant in the mind. Then, whenever shot, your photo will be fine. (231160)
NAME MAKES YOU FREE
Whatever might be the tangle in which men are caught, if they get immersed in the Lord's Name, it will make them free; besides, by this means, they can realise without fail the Name and Form through which they constantly remember the Lord. There is no iota of doubt in this. The spiritual practices of Yoga, breath exercises or physical disciplines are beset with pitfalls at every step and they are full of dangers, too. But in the spiritual practices of repetition, meditation or recollection (of the Name and Form) there is no likelihood of the fall or of any other danger. In the former type of spiritual practices the practices differ according to the caste or religion. In the practice of repeating the Name, there is not even a trace of such distinction. Hindus, Muslims and Christians may differ on many points, but they are all one in the glorification of the Name of the Godhead. All of them take but the Name of the One Lord, though the language through which the Name is expressed is different. Each one recites repeats and remembers the Name as formed on his own tongue. Each one turns with his fingers the rosary appropriate to his religion. But for every one there is nothing so fruitful, so universal, or so holy among spiritual disciplines as these: recitation, meditation and recollection (of the Name and Form).
The Lord and His Name are both One but the sweetness of the Name is seldom found in the Form. When the name of the flower, 'Rose', is remembered; its fragrance, its tender petals, its deep colour, these spring to memory; its thorns and the trouble one has undergone to get the flower all are forgotten. Instead, if its origin and previous story are considered; and if the plant, its leaves and branches are taken into account, the flower which is the most important, the beautiful and the most attractive is likely to be forgotten and only 'the plant' is discussed. See this from another angle. As soon as the name 'mango' is mentioned, one is reminded of an incomparable sweetness. Instead, if an actual mango is held in the hand, the doubt first arises in the mind whether it is sweet or sour; then we are engaged in distinguishing the skin, the fibre, the juice, the nut, the rind, the seed etc. When the name alone is repeated, these things do not come to mind. Only the sweetness is brought to the memory. Such is the ifference between the Lord and the Lord's Name! There is the pure essence of sweetness in the Name. In the case of the Form, there is the chance of dread mixed with respect; and sometimes, even attributes causing fear show themselves. Again, note another reason why the Name of the Lord is to be craved for, even more than the Form. It is by means of the riches of the Name that the article, 'the Form of the Lord' is to be earned. Riches are needed to secure any article in the world. With riches, articles are acquired; so it follows that the riches are superior to the articles got by means of them, are they not? With riches, one can get any article any time. So too, if the riches called the Name are steadily accumulated the Lord can be realised through the path of meditation, easily and without difficulty.
Another special thing about repetition of the Name is this: It is possible to acquire various occult powers (siddhis) through Yoga and physical disciplines. So there is every likelihood of the Lord being forgotten when these powers come. Blinded by this pride, a person might even let go the basic victory won by his spiritual practices. This is not the case with recollection of the Name (Nama), recitation of the Name (japa) and meditation on the Name (Dhyana); no such dangers beset those paths. These three make Love grow in man more and more. Through Love, Peace is achieved. Once Peace of Mind (santhi) is achieved, all other conditions are attained automatically. Through Yoga and physical disciplines, extra-ordinary power; through recollection of the Form, repetition of the Name and meditation on the Form and Name, extra-ordinary Love - this is the difference between the two. (Dhyana V 37)
Nowadays, many aspirants are discarding the Name and taking up Yoga and breathing exercises. These are fraught with many dangers. To follow them correctly is difficult; even if correctly followed, to preserve and protect the fruits achieved is even more difficult. If a person gropes in the water while spreading the net on the bank, can he find fish in the net? To give up repeating the Name and faith in that path and to sit in Yoga and similar disciplines is as foolish as hoping to catch fish by this means. If the Name is taken as the refuge and support, it can be realised tomorrow, if not today. If the name of a thing is known, the thing itself can easily be acquired. But if the name is not known, even if the thing is right in front, it cannot be recognised. Therefore, repeat the Name without intermission and without faltering. By means of the Name, love is developed; through love, meditation of the Lord can be practised. If love is deeply rooted in you, the Lord who is composed of love becomes your own. Howver many the paths for the realisation of the Lord, there is none so easy as this. (Dhyana V 39)
BENEFITS OF REPEATING THE NAME
Repeating the Name can well be called a Yoga like devotion, knowledge or action. It can be called the Path of 'Consciousness Cleaning'. Charge every second of time with the Divine current that emanates from the Name ... Practice at all times and under all circumstances, with love and devotion, the remembrance of the Name of the Lord. That Name is the thunderbolt which will pulverise mountains of sin. It is the unfailing cure for the dread disease of delusion. It will lead you to release from the bondage of birth and death and will give you everlasting bliss. I, therefore, advise you to resolve upon the quest of your reality through the spiritual practice of repeating the Name. (Namasmarana 7)
To help you to give up fear and doubt, keep the Name of the Lord always on your tongue and in your mind. Dwell on the endless Forms of the Lord, His limitless glory, while you repeat the Name. Attach yourself to Him; then your attachment for these temporary objects will fall off; or at least, you will start seeing them in their proper proportion as having only relative reality. When the tiny little ego assumes enormous importance, it causes all this bother! That is the root of all the travail. In your heart, there is the Rama that confers eternal joy. So repeat the name 'Rama', the Sun which can make the lotus in the heart bloom. Rama is not the son of 'Dasaratha' but of the ruler of the Dasa Indriyas, the ten senses. The recital of the name of Rama must become as automatic as breathing, as frequent and as essential. Rama has in it the letters of both the Siva mantra as well as the Narayana mantra, for it is composed of the second letters of both; Naa-raa-yanaya and Na-ma-Sivaya. This Name is acceptable, theefore, to all sects; it also endows you with power and all the spiritual capital you need.
Real bliss can be won only by means of the transformation of the impulses which agitate the mind. It is not to be found in wealth. You think that the rich man is happy; ask me, and I shall reveal to you that they are full of grief, for they come to me in large numbers for relief. They have no peace at all. A strong physique does not by itself give peace; nor does scholarship, or asceticism or rituals. Only constant dwelling with the Name of the Lord gives that unshakeable peace, unaffected by the ups and downs of life. It makes man a hero.
Sai Baba was till today a formless Name to you, but now it has come with form and you can keep the Form in your mind. So too, the name 'Rama' has a form and you should picture the Form also when you repeat the Name; then the Name becomes concrete and repetition is easier. Live always in the presence of that form-filled Name. Then life becomes one continuous worship of the Lord. (020958)