Almost all of us believe in God as our creator, our benefactor, our all-in-all. Yet we do not devote any time in worshiping or even in remembrance. And whenever we do, it is because we need something. In a crisis, when all remedies fail, even the non-believers turn to God for help. Is it right to remember him only in times of need?
How much more helpful and affectionate would God be were we to remember him without seeking anything from him? Perhaps we do not know how; perhaps we find the recognized methods such as deity worship in temples or at home, too cumbersome and irritable.
It is our good fortune that for this age of Kaliyuga, the Lord in his compassion has extended to us his otherwise inaccessible self through his name.
The scriptures have laid down a very practical, easy and enjoyable method of remembering and worshipping God and that is, by chanting his holy name. If done consistently and sincerely with love and devotion, there is little else that one need to have his grace.
Some scholars undervalue the Efficiency of naam-japa as it appears too easy and regard it as an inferior method meant only for those unable to take to other supposedly superior practices.
But the scriptures say otherwise, “The Lord is non-different from his name”, says the Bhagavat Puran, and the Ramayana says, “Rama’s name is greater than Rama.” Rama had to build a bridge to cross the ocean to reach Lanka, but Hanuman crossed it merely by remembering him.
Sage Valmika attained Lord Rama by chanting ‘Rama’ backwards and devotee Dhruva only by chanting Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.
To attain spiritual perfection, culminating in liberation, our scriptures recommend different methods for the four different ages. In satyuga it is meditation, fire sacrifice in tretayuga, temple worship in draprayuga, and in Kaliyuga it is naam japa.
Srimad Bhagvatam says, “Though Kali is the seat of all corruption, it has one virtue. In this age, glorifying the Lord’s excellences and chanting His name can by itself efface all attachments from the heart of man and reveal to him the Absolute Truth.”
In the Kalisantarana Upanishad it is stated, “To save oneself from the contamination of Kali there is no alternative but the chanting of the name of the Lord.” And the Brhadnaradiya Purana says, “In Kaliyuga, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way!”