Naam and Ramayana


To make all this possible, the seeker must be ready to put in a little effort – in order to gain something of a value that cannot be estimated. A precious gem must be selected from other stones and examined separately before its properties can be appreciated; otherwise, it remains just another stone. So all our misery is through lack of the contact with God. Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. The Lord is everywhere – where is He not? But men are not fortunate enough to have even the briefest experience of Him – so we are dying of thirst.

It is in us, but we know it not –

Oh, cursed be this life, this living; oh Tulsi, the whole world suffers from this cataract. 

Bheek Sahib says similarly,

Oh Bheek, no one need be hungry, for each has tied to him a ruby; but no one cares to untie It.

That ruby is Naam, the knot which binds matter and consciousness together; and if that knot is not untied by rising above body consciousness and establishing connection with Naam, we will remain hungry – all through life. We may have material wealth, but spiritually we live like paupers.

“Then, Naam-Power is limitless – beyond even non-attribute; I say Naam is greater than Rama – according to my understanding.”

Naam’s Power goes beyond the stage of non-attribute and, therefore, is the greater Power. Having already solved this mystery of life in all its aspects, Tulsi Das is an authority on the subject.

Further on He tells us how Naam is also greater than Rama, by comparison.

Coming to the aid of the devotees of that era, Rama took the physical form and washed away all the unhappiness that the sages, the rishis and the munis were suffering at the hands of the evil forces running rife at that time. This is the work of the Avatar. Whenever the maintenance of moral righteousness is threatened, the Avatar takes birth in the world to set the disorder right. When any country is badly run and riots begin, control is put into the military’s charge and the trouble is corrected, after which the rule returns to the civil administration. So it is on a larger scale when the world retrogresses to a state beyond its own control that God’s Power manifests in the form of the Avatar, Who settles the chaos and misery and restores righteousness. The Avatar Ram Chandra, or Lord Rama, who is stated to have been the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born the son of King Dashrath, and was an avatar competent in all the fourteen supernatural powers. Tulsi Das, author of this great epic, tells us of the two manifestations of the same Power, which are superimposed upon each other. However, there is a vast difference between these two: the Master’s Ram and the world’s Ram.

“One Ram was the son of Dashrath, one Ram is vibrating in each being, one Ram is all creation’s play, one Ram is different from all.”

The main comparison is between the Ram which manifested in the Avatar Ram Chandra, and the Ram which is different from or above all other powers.

“God’s devotee took human form, taking the world’s burden and bringing peace to the devout; repeating Naam with Love is easy and is competent to enable the devotee to reach the stage of bliss.”

If the devotee repeats the Simran of Naam with full Love and devotion, then without any difficulty he will reach the stage of all bliss. Now He begins to go into the detail of the comparison:

“Ram Chandra freed one doomed woman called Ahlia; Naam gives salvation to unlimited numbers.”

There is an anecdote in Lord Rama’s life about the soul of a certain woman who, for committing a certain sin, was petrified like a rock for thousands of years. Lord Rama released that soul from its imprisonment in that lower expression by touching the rock with his foot.

But Tulsi Das is explaining how Naam by comparison gives freedom to all – to any soul that has retrogressed. This is a clear indication of Naam’s greatness. It is even clearer when one understands that Naam is the Maker of both Avatars and Masters. Electricity, for instance, can be used to create both heat and cold – both very useful but different demonstrations of the same power. So somewhere this Great Naam-Power is working in the Avatar like a commander-in-chief of an army, and somewhere It is working in the Master like a viceroy. Both are expressions of the same Power, but with different functions.

As Kabir has said,

God has made negative and positive, for He wanted to enact the play of creation.

Both are God’s Great Power, which He uses in His own design of creation. That Power is the Sustainer of everything – It is the background behind everything; its methods of working are varied, that’s all. Avatars punish the sinners and reward the righteous people; Masters free the attention from the prison of mind and senses and rejoin that attention or soul to its Source. The Avatar’s job is to restore and maintain order in the world that it may remain inhabited by the souls; the Master’s job is to uproot the souls from the worldly habitation, and They pull the soul above mind and senses and connect it to Naam itself. So negative and positive both draw their power from the One Lord.

There are those who argue and debate that positive is greater, that negative is greater, etc. Brothers, understand quite clearly that both are most necessary in this world. The Negative Power upholds all the laws of creation. The police force of any country does not bother the people who obey the laws, but rather they are a protection for good citizens. The task of the Negative Power is a very important one, just as that of the Positive Power; and we must respect both. The Masters’ aim is for man to cease coming and going in creation, for the soul to be freed from matter and senses, ultimately and without any undue waste of time, reaching its True and Permanent Home. The Masters tell us that this world is full of negativity and is a bad place in which to remain; and while living out our obligations here, we should join up with positivity and then learn to transcend them both and realise the Sustainer of all.

“Ram himself worked for the rishis’ peace; he himself went to war for righteousness.”

Lord Rama killed the powerful ogress Tarka, who was disturbing the great sage Vishvamitra and other rishis in their meditations, and for the same reason killed her son Marich. Now what does Naam do?

“Naam erases the devotees’ sins and miseries; It gives a contact of itself which dispels the darkness, like night fleeing before a sunrise.”

Just as the darkness of night disperses with the coming of the dawn, so is the darkness of ignorance and sin banished with the contact and practice of the Naam. You can say that all lower actions are consumed in the fire of knowledge, which is the Power of the Naam.

“Ram himself broke Shiva’s bow; and by the Grace of Naam all the world’s fear is cast asunder.“

Lord Rama was the only one who could break the powerful bow of Lord Shiva, and, in doing so, won the right of marriage to Princess Sita, daughter of the famous King Janaka. Naam, on the other hand, has the power to banish all fear  – with regular contact with Naam a man becomes fearless.

“Ram made the petrified forest flourish with life; Naam enlivens the minds of men. Ram destroyed the line of evil; Naam in Kalyug destroys all sin.”

Lord Rama destroyed the Rakshasas and all their kin – ‘the line of evil’; but in this Iron or Negative Age, Kali Yuga, those under Naam gain freedom from their sins.

“Ram gave salvation to the devoted vulture; Naam gives salvation to millions, as stated in the Vedas.”

When King Ravan abducted Rama’s wife, Sita, a vulture named Jitayu, who was deeply devoted to Rama, fought Ravan in an attempt to rescue Sita, but was mortally wounded in the combat. The narrative tells also of another great devotee named Bilni, who had been preparing for Lord Rama’s coming for many years, removing the thorns from the forest pathways, keeping them clear and clean, etc. When at last Rama arrived in that place, on his journey to rescue Sita from Ravan, she fed him with wild berries, diligently tasting each one for sweetness before offering it to the Lord, which he graciously accepted. Rama gave salvation to both these devoted souls, but Naam gives salvation to limitless sinners.

You will find the Highest Praise of Naam in many Sacred Scriptures, including the Vedas and the Shastras.

Tulsi Das Himself gave many examples of Naam’s greatness in His narrative of the Ramayana epic. For instance, Rama gave salvation to Vibhishan, Ravan’s brother, and Hanuman by giving them special commissions in his service; whereas Naam gives salvation through service to many unknown and poor people. Also, Rama erected a bridge across the ocean; whereas Naam spans the ocean of life and carries the souls safely to the shore of freedom. Then, Rama killed Ravan and every member of his huge and evil family; Naam destroys all attachment and illusion – when the devotee practises It with all Love and sincerity. What other extraordinary achievement of Naam has Tulsi Das mentioned?

“Through Naam’s great blessing, Shiva enriched the inauspicious.”

Lord Shiva frequented the most inauspicious places, like cremation grounds. His company was inauspicious – that of snakes and so on. Even his appearance savoured of the inauspicious, his naked body smeared with ashes; and yet, because he had the blessing of Naam, those very sinister places began to flourish wherever he went, and they have since been glorified. And, as we all know, snakes and ashes have become most auspicious symbols. Such extraordinary things are made possible with the Grace of Naam.

“The rishis, munis, yogis, who gained the bliss of Brahm did so with the blessing of Naam.”

The ancient Sages gained their Spiritual Elevation – up to the point of their Inner Progress – all by the Grace of Naam.

“Narad also realised the blessing of Naam and became the beloved of the Lord.”

Narad was a great devotee who realised the Naam’s Power, and through It became the beloved of the world’s beloved Vishnu – one of the Hindu trinity, who sustains the universe. Naam is not a new Power; It has ever been in existence. Each Spiritual Exponent gives out however much of its understanding that he gains, and no more.

How many can know Naam in its entirety? Whomsoever was fortunate enough to gain salvation did so only through Naam’s blessing and nothing else; and each one gained freedom up to the point or level of their progress.

“The Lord’s blessing overflows upon he who repeats the Naam – Prahlad became a shining example.”

Prince Prahlad was so devoted to the Lord that he gained a large share of His pleasure, which made Prahlad shine among devotees. Naam’s Glory is ageless.

In every age man has no memory of its Glories, so the Masters must come again and again to re-enliven the old, old Truth.

Kabir Sahib tells His own story when He says:

I came in all four ages – in Sat Yuga my name was Sukrit; in Treta Yuga my name was Maninder; when I came in Dwapar Yuag my name was Karunamai; in Kali Yuga my name is Kabir.

In all four ages He told the people of Naam’s greatness. Many are under the impression that this teaching is something new; but it is, in fact, the oldest thing there is. Sometimes it appears somewhat different outwardly, due to the slight variance of presentation or description by each Master. But contact with Naam remains the same, and all other Inner Aspects remain constant. The world talks about Naam, Naam, but in actual fact is oblivious of It. When the Master comes to revive the understanding, He gives the connection which enlivens the teaching.

“Dhruv, being disgusted with his father, repeated God’s Name, and realised the incomparable tranquillity.”

Through the world’s injustice, Prince Dhruv left his kingdom in anger and started meditating in the forest, ultimately realisng the state of utter tranquillity. He turned to God out of hatred for the world; but when he rose above the material level, he entered into tranquil bliss – again through the blessing of the Lord’s Naam.

“When through Simran, Hanuman, ‘the son of the wind,’ realised Naam, he brought Ram into his control.”

Hanuman was called the son of the wind, and Tulsi Das says that by doing Simran he gained knowledge of Naam, which took him to the stage of having his every wish fulfilled by Lord Rama. These anecdotes are being given to demonstrate how every Spiritual Aspirant must rely on the Naam-Power to achieve success.

Today it is not different; if salvation is to be gained, it will be through the Naam. The important thing is to get connected to that which is the background of Naam and Form – that which is the sustainer of both.

“Ajamil and the singer Ganika got salvation through the Lord’s Naam.”

Even a great sinner like Ajamil and Ganika, the prostitute, were redeemed by Naam; so why should we not also stand the chance of getting salvation if we get connected to Naam? Guru Ram Das explains that if one puts a small spark of fire among a huge pile of logs, they will be consumed to ashes in a very short space of time. So for a large accumulation of sins, one needs but a small spark of Naam from the True Master to incinerate them. He is giving so many examples, all in praise of Naam. And finally, what does He say?

“To what extent can Naam be praised? Even Ram Chandra could not sing its praises.”

This emphasises the impossibility of describing Naam’s greatness. One can only say that there is a place where It is manifested and that is the Human Pole. There is also a very big powerhouse, which supplies according to the extent of power the pole is fit to bear; and from there it is distributed.

Naam is a deep subject which cannot be explained in words; It is beyond any language. Tulsi Das does not belittle Lord Rama when He says that he could not sing the praises of Naam, because as all realised Souls have discovered, Naam is inexpressible. Whatever Power the Human Pole can receive, so that much will be expressed. Guru Nanak went so far as to say that if whatever the rishis, munis, and mahatmas have sung in praise of Naam were doubled, even that would be a poor attempt at describing the greatness of Naam.

“God’s Naam is eternal, but It resides in this Kalyug; those who do its Simran are fortunate – Tulsi became Tulsi Das.”

The Eternal Naam vibrates perpetually everywhere, and in this Kali Yuga, salvation is not possible without its contact. Tulsi Das says that through devotion to Naam He became Tulsi Das instead of just poor Tulsi – i.e., He became a respected person addressed by His full name. He was the author of this great epic of the Ramayana, from which this hymn has been taken. It is one of the most sacred of Hindu scriptures, and is a complete and comprehensive magnum opus on moral and righteous living, a work which is highly respected all over the world. In this Sacred Scripture you will find the Naam extolled in no uncertain terms.

Do not waste time in small matters, brothers – the different outer phases of religion and religious learning – progress on from that. Blessed are you that you belong to some religion, and I congratulate you on this. Remain in that religion, follow its tenets, and live up to them – but receive the knowledge of Naam.

When Guru Arjan collected the writings of the Masters for the compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib, what type of yardstick or criterion did He use to select that which was suitable from among the vast amount of writings? He selected that which had been spoken or written by Those Who had realised the Naam – the True Devotees of Naam. You will find therein the words of Kabir, the weaver; those of Ravi Das, the cobbler; Trilochan, the brahmin; Dhanna, the farmer; Saina, the barber; and Saints born in many other varied casts. Always remember that it is man who has made the different casts and classes. God did not send man to earth with a brand on him. God made man – a name which is given to the soul when in the human form. The soul is an entity of God and, as such, its caste is the same as God’s.

Someone once asked Hazur (Baba Sawan Singh Ji), 

Maharaj, Who are You?

Hazur replied,

If God is a Hindu, then I am a Hindu; if He is a Sikh, then I am a Sikh; if He is a Christian, then I am also a Christian; the soul’s caste is that of God; but according to the outer aspect, I am a Sikh.

We must live in some social form; or if we don’t, then we must design a new one in which to live, which is a mere waste of time when the Lord Himself has given one birth within the particular religion appropriate to fulfil the individual’s karmas. Live a life of righteousness – be ethical; and while living such a life, release your soul from the mind and the senses by getting connected to Naam. That particular social body will be praiseworthy wherein any man achieves this. When a person approaches a Competent Master, there is no consideration of religion, for He knows that the person is an embodied soul, and each soul is equal; there is no high or low; there is no question of East, West, North or South.

Know that the caste of all men is one.

Man is purely an embodied soul, but unfortunately he has forgotten himself. He does not know that he is not the body, but is the indweller of the body – actually its controller. All Masters have advocated that one should know oneself in Truth – and this is the Science of Naam. It is the Kalma of the Muslim prophets, who say that fourteen tabaqs or regions were made from the Kalma. What is Kalma? Is it only a word?

Oh God, tell me of that place from whence Your Word is coming, without words.

This clearly indicates that worldly language has nothing to do with the subject. Fourteen tabaqs were made from the Kalma!

In the Hindu scriptures it says that through the Sound, fourteen stages were made.
In Gurbani it states,

Through the Naam, the entire Khand and Brahmand were made,

and also,

Through the Sound, the earth and the sky were created.

The New Testament says,

In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.

Guru Nanak states,

The entire creation came after the Shabd; oh Nanak, the Sound vibrates in each being.

You can call It Sound, or Shabd, or Kalma, or Naam, or other names: the Untold Story, Sruti, or in the Upanishads It is called Udgit. The Masters have all sung its praises, each in His own way. If the words of the Masters are all read with completely open hearts, men will come closer to each other; it is only narrow-mindedness and bigotry that separates us all.

This place (Sawan Ashram, Delhi) is a common ground where you are all at present sitting together hearing the words of the Ramayana. Here we take all kinds of scriptures, for the teaching of the Masters has always been one. It is a science of the soul, just as medicine is a science of the physical body. Stay in whatever religion or sect you are following, but also learn to rise above – to the extent of realising that the whole world really belongs to but one religion. Judge the True Satguru by this same criterion –

Know the Satguru for One Who brings everyone together.

There is no special place for Muslims only or Hindus only or any other particular sect here (at Sawan Ashram).

The Masters do not regard individuals as representatives of certain religions. They simply make them sit down together, for They see the world through the Spiritual Eye. Their work is geared to one aim: to bring the soul above the senses, connect it to Naam, and ultimately reunite it with the Ultimate, Nameless and Formless God. For the purpose of this great work, there is no controversy of high and low; there is no recommendation to leave one’s religion; and no advocacy of making new sects. They do advise the seekers to lead a pure and chaste life – within their own castes and customs. And this above all: for perpetual happiness, get connected to the Naam, and keep its regular contact.