‘Rāma’ Nāma is the means and the goal both ! Scriptures say it is not just Bhagavannama or mantra only, but the Parambrahman itself. It is the supreme seed from which all Vedas, all divine names of Bhagavan and mantras are originated.
Declaration for this Kaliyuga : —
In Chhandogya Upanishad, once sage Narada approached sage Sanat Kumara duly (with utter humility, by taking Samidha in his hand, and after propitiating in his feet) and requested him : 'Oh Bhagavan (adorable spiritual master,), Please teach me about Parabrahman.'
Then, Sage Sanat Kumara, realized of Parabrahman, asked what do you already know tell me?
Sage Narada said 'Although having mastered all four Vedas, fifth Veda Itihasas and Purāṇas, and Grammar, science, Mathermatics, dev vidya, brahm vidya etc, I am only a mantravit - the knower of Shabd Brahman (means verbal knowledge of all Vedas, Itihasas, Purāṇas etc), I am not Aatmavit (the knower of Parabrahman).
Thereafter, Sage Sanat Kumara preached his disciple sage Narada step by step, from one level to higher level very beautifully in Chhandogya Upanishad, and in the end He preached about the ultimate truth Bhuma purusha who is the infinite bliss.
In Skanda Purāṇa, It is said Divine Sage Sanat Kumara preached Rāma Nāma to sage Narada —
रामनामैव नामैव नामैव मम् जीवनम् ।
कलौ नास्त्येव नास्त्येव नास्त्येव गतिरन्यथा ॥
(स्कन्दपुराण, उत्तरखण्ड, नारद-सनत्कुमार संवाद , ५.५१)
rāma-nāmaiva nāmaiva nāmaiva mam jīvanam ।
kalau nāstyēva nāstyēva nāstyēva gatiranyathā ॥
(Skanda purāṇa, uttarakhaṇḍa, nārada-sanatkumāra saṃvād, 5.51)
Sage Sanatkumara preaches to Narada —
“The name of Śrī Rāma, one and only ‘Rāma’ Nāma is my life. There is no other means, no other means and no other means except Shri Rāma Nāma in this Kali-age for Jivas to get the liberation.”
Three times said ‘no other means’ is said by Sanat Kumar to put stress that ‘Rāma’ Nāma is the one and only one means for this Kaliyuga. There is no other alternative as effective like this.
All scriptures say in one voice the name Rama or the Rama mantra is supreme mantra greater than all Vaishnava mantras and mantras dedicated to other gods.
Goswami Ji says in Shri Ramcharitmanas —
नहिं कलि करम न भगति बिबेकू। राम नाम अवलंबन एकू॥
nahiṃ kali karama na bhagati bibēkū । rāma nāma avalaṃbana ēkū॥
(Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa 1.27.4)
“In Kaliyuga neither Karma (action) nor Bhakti (devotion) nor again Jnana (right-knowledge) avails; the name of Rama is the only resort.”
रामनाम्नैव मुक्तिः स्यात्कलौ नान्येन केनचित् ॥
(श्री अध्यात्म रामायण २.५.२७)
rāmanāmnaiva muktiḥ syātkalau nānyēna kēnacit ॥
(Śrī Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa 2.5.27)
“By the name ‘Rāma’ only, there is Mukti (liberation) in the Kaliyuga, not by any other mantra or means.”
Thus, the name ‘Rāma’ or Rama-Mantra is the ultimate mantra, and one and only one resort in this Kaliyuga.
There are innumerable meanings of ‘Raam’ Naam, Still what sacred scriptures say is revealed here for the pleasure of Vaishnavas —
✿ Rāmō Ramayatāṃ Śrēṣṭhaḥ - रामो रमयतां श्रेष्ठः [Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa 2-53-1] — Śrī Rāma is the foremost among those who delight the hearts of people. This way Rāma Means Bhagavan Śrī Rāma who delights the hearts of people.
Therefore, the name Rama refers to Sita-Pati Bhagavan Shri Rama in the ultimate sense who is foremost in delighting the heart of all. Thus by his very nature of delighting all in all the worlds, He is the foremost brahman, the Purusham-Mahantam of Vedas, the unlimited infinite bliss.
✿ In the first Sarga of Valmiki Ramayana, Divine sage Narada replies to sage Valmiki indirectly on the meanings of 'Rama' Naam in form of answering the sixteen questions asked by sage Valmiki. All the questions/answers there are also the meanings of 'Rama' Naam. The sixteen questions of sage Valmiki are nothing but the the sixteen rare attributes of Parabrahman.
✿ ram ghaña iti rāmaḥ — रम् घञ इति रामः — the one who pervades everything and everything is in him, is (called) Rama.
✿ Rama means the infinite bliss, the one who is personification of supreme bliss, the very form of infinite bliss. Rama means the one who gives delight and bliss to whole world. Rama means one who is infinite. Jagadguru Madhvacharya quoted Shandilya Shakha to comment on the Rama Naam (who is Rama) in Gita 10.31 —
आनन्दरूपत्वात्पूर्णत्वाल्लोकरमणत्वाच्च रामः ।
"आनन्दरूपो निष्परिमाण एष लोकश्चैतस्माद्रमते तेन रामः" इति शाण्डिल्यशाखायाम्।
रश्च अमश्चेति व्युत्पत्तिः ॥
(जगद्गुरु श्री मध्वाचार्य द्वारा 'राम' नाम की व्याख्या)
ānandarūpatvāt-pūrṇatvāt-lōkaramaṇatvāt-ca rāmaḥ ।
"ānandarūpō niṣparimāṇa ēṣa lōkaścaitasmād-ramatē tēna rāmaḥ" iti śāṇḍilyaśākhāyām।
ra'śca ama'ścēti vyutpattiḥ ॥
(Commentary on 'Rama' Naam by Jagadguru Madhvacharya)
आनन्दरूपत्वात् ānandarūpatvāt - Due to His being very form of bliss!
पूर्णत्वात् pūrṇatvāt - due to His being puurna, perfect and all complete and full (in bliss and oppluence)!
लोकरमणत्वात् च lōkaramaṇatvāt ca - and due to His being the bestower of bliss, and pleasing to all the lokas (worlds; people).
रामः rāmaḥ - Such is (the meaning of name) Rama!
आनन्दरूपो ānandarūpō - He is the very form of bliss!
निष्परिमाण niṣparimāṇa - the bliss which can not be measured, i.e infinite, without limitation,
एष लोकश्चैतस्माद्रमते ēṣa lōkaścaitasmādramatē - the world derives pleasure and bliss from Him!
तेन रामः tēna rāmaḥ - Therefore, Bhagavan (Sureme Lord) is called Rama!
रश्च अमश्चेति व्युत्पत्तिः ra'śca ama'ścēti vyutpattiḥ - The etymology (Vyutpati of Rāma) is "One who is ‘ra’ (of the nature of delight [bliss]) and ‘amah’ without limitation (from a - without and ma - limitation or parichchheda or division or fraction).
Jagadguru Madhavacharya says —
Bhagavan is called by the name ‘Rama’ due to His being very form of bliss, is unlimited (infinite), and due to his being the bestower of bliss, and pleasing to the hearts of all the people in all the worlds. Shāṇḍilya Shākhā says the Supreme Lord is very form of the bliss without limitation, the world derives pleasure and bliss from Him! Therefore, He is called ‘Rama’. The etymology (Vyutpati of Rāma) is "One who is ‘ra’ (of the nature of delight) and ‘amah’ without limitation (from ‘a’ without and ‘ma’ limitation or parichchheda or division or fraction).
✿ ‘Rāma’ means Parambrahman.
रमन्ते योगिनोऽनन्ते नित्यानन्दे चिदात्मनि ।
इति रामपदेनासौ परंब्रह्माभिधियते ॥
(श्रीरामपूर्वतापनीय उपनिषद १।६)
ramantē yōginō'nantē nityānandē cidātmani ।
iti rāmapadēnāsau paraṃbrahmābhidhiyatē ॥
(śrī-rāma-pūrvatāpanīya upaniṣada 1.6)
जिस अनन्त, नित्यानन्द और चिन्मय परमब्रह्म में योगी लोग रमण करते हैं, उसी राम पद (शब्द) से परमब्रह्म प्रतिपादित होता है, अर्थात राम नाम हीं परमब्रह्म है ।
“The Parabrahman which is infinite, immeasurable, pure consciousness, eternal and forever blissful, on which Yogis devote themselves and meditate continuously; that Parabrahman itself is denoted by the word ‘Rāma’ directly in Abhidhaa Vritti (means The word Rāma is Parambrahman Itself).” [-Shri Rama-PurvaTapnIya Upanishada]
✿ ‘Rāma’ means sat-chid-ananda Parambrahman.
चिद्वाचको रकारः स्यात्सद्वाच्योकार उच्यते।
मकारानन्दवाची स्यात्सच्चिदानन्दमव्ययम् ॥
cidvācakō rakāraḥ syātsadvācyōkāra ucyatē।
makārānandavācī syātsaccidānandamavyayam ॥
“The Ra-kāra (र) denotes (signifies) the chid (consciousness), a-kāra (अ) denotes (signifies) the sat (eternal existence) , and ma-kāra (म) denotes the supreme bliss, and thus Rāma Naam is the immutable Sat-chid-ananda Parabrahman.” (mahārāmāyaṇa 52.53)
✿ The name Rama itself is Parambrahman.
राम नाम परमब्रह्म सर्वदेवाधिकम महत् ।
rāma nāma parambrahm sarvadevādhikam mahat ।
“'Rama' Naam Itself is the Parambrahman, and greater than all the gods.”
Therefore, Ram Naam means Parambrahman, it is not just a divine word, but the PARAMBRAHMAN ITSELF. (Thus It is a direct denote to Parambrahanm, and Parambrahman itself.)
There is no difference among the name of Rama, the form of Rama, the abode of Ram! All these are the most superior and very form of Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Lord Shiva tells Parvati in Padma-Puran: The fruits of reciting all Vedas and all Mantras (devoted to other deities) billion times can be easily obtained by uttering Ram-Naam just once.
(सभी वेदों और सभी मन्त्रों को एक बार नहीं करोड़ो बार पढ़ने से वही फल मिलेगा जो एक राम नाम के उच्चारण से प्राप्त हो जाता है - पद्म-पुराण )
✿ The name “Rama” means the soul of all souls, the all pervading cosmic soul.
In Skanda-Purana, Bhagavati Parvati asks her consort Lord Shiva, what do You chant and upon whom You meditate?
Then, Lord Shiva tells her consort “he always chants the essence of all thousands names of Shri Hari (हरेर्नामसहस्राणां सारं ध्यायामि नित्यशः - harērnāmasahasrāṇāṃ sāraṃ dhyāyāmi nityaśaḥ ).”
So, what is that?
He tells it is the name 'Rama' (of Bhagavan Shri Rama). And there he gives the meaning and Vyutpati of Rama Naam and asks her to chant this mantra always —
रमते सर्वभूतेषु स्थावरेषु चरेषु च ।
अन्तरात्मस्वरूपेण यच्च रामेति कथ्यते ॥
(स्कन्द पुराण ६.२५५.४६)
ramatē sarvabhūtēṣu sthāvarēṣu carēṣu ca ।
antarātmasvarūpēṇa yacca rāmēti kathyatē ॥
(Skanda Purāṇa 6.255.46)
“The one who dwells within all animate and inanimate world as the all pervading indwelling one, is called 'Rāma'.”
Lord Shiva is Jagadguru (the guru of all the worlds), Mahadeva (the great god) and the greatest Vaishnava, Such Lord Shiva always chants the name Rama. There is nothing greater than the name 'Rāma'. He is Śrī Rāma who is Vāchya (spoken) by all other divine names of Śrī Hari.
✿ The name Rama means the one who plays (ramate) in Raas-mandal with innumerable Sakhis.
अनेक सखिभिः साकं रमते रास मण्डले ।
अतएव रमु क्रीड़ा राम नाम्ना प्रवर्तते ॥
anēka sakhibhiḥ sākaṃ ramatē rāsa maṇḍalē ।
ataēva ramu krīDā rāma nāmnā pravartatē ॥
“He, Śrī Rāma plays divine Rāsa-dance with Śrī Sītā Jī and innumerable Sakhis (female-friends) in Raas-mandal (of the heavenly forests on the bank of river Sarayū in Śrī Ayodhyā). Therefore, by the name ‘Rāma’ arises the sense of the root word ‘ramu - रमु’ which means playing, disporting (in love), delighting (others) etc.”(MahāRāmāyaṇa)
✿ As per Ekakshara-Kosh (Sanskrit dictionary of single syllables) —
‘a (अ)’ means Vaasudev ‘Vishnu’,
‘aa (आ)’ means ‘Brahmaa’,
‘m (म)’ means ‘Shiva’,
‘ra (र)’ means ‘Raam’.
‘a’ i.e. Vishnu, ‘aa’ i.e. Bramhaa and ‘m’ i.e Shiva are called together by ‘aam’, Thus the group of Brahmaa-Vishnu-Shiva is ‘aam’ (aa + a + m), they are originated from ‘ra’ (Pulah-Samhita; Rudrayamal-tantra, etc).
"Rajaat + aam iti = Raam".
'Ra-jaat' means 'originated (jaat) from ‘Ra’ (Raam).
From the Karmadharay-Samas i.e. compound between Ra(jaat) & aam by dropping the middle Jaat, Raam naam is obtained. It means “the countless groups of Brahmaa-Vishnu-Shiva (‘aam’) are originated (jaat) from that Parabrahman denoted by ‘Ra’ is called ‘Raam’” (Vashishth Samhita).
Why so much importance to Rama Naam?
- Because the name 'Rama' denotes the complete aspect of Ishwara (Bhagavan) and Brahman;
- The name 'Rama' being the supreme mantra and the eternal name of the original primeval personality of godhead;
- being parabrahman itself;
- The name Rama means the infinite bliss (Ananda), and the bliss is the supreme essence and the nature of Brahman (Sat-Chit-Ananda);
- As per Panini-Sanskrit Vyakaran, the name 'Ram' = 'Aum'.
As per Panini-Vyakaran, 'R' transforms itself in 'U' of AUM and thus 'RAM' becomes 'AUM', so 'RAM' means 'AUM'.
- 'AUM' is the denote of Brahman which signifies the complete existence. Brahman in Sri-Sampradaya is the combination of Ishwara + Prakriti + Jiva. Similarly, in "RAM" the 'R' denotes Ishwara Shri Ram (Seshi), 'M' denotes the Seshatvam (Jiva) and 'A' denotes the bridge-between these two i.e. Mula-Prakriti Sita.
- As the whole banyan tree exists in the seed, the entire world exists in the seed "Rama". Rama is the seed of all, and Ishwara-Koti. - In "Ram", R is Agni-Bija, Agni is Brahman in Vedas, Agni (fire) represents the visible aspect of Brahman or say Saguna-Brahman, 'A' denotes the all-pervading Nirguna-brahman (अक्षराणाम् अकारो'स्मि - गीता ), and 'M' denotes the Chandrama-Bija, the blissful aspect of Parambrahman and swarupa-shakti i.e. Shrii-Ji (Sita). Without presence of 'M' Bija (or in form of Anuswar or chandrama), the Mantras fail to bestow supreme liberation. 'M' is Shakti-bija of all Mantras.
Therefore, one should chant ‘Rāma’ Nāma, and meditate on the form of Śrī Rāma to get the supreme bliss.
Jai Sri Rama!