Rama Nama is hailed as a powerful mantra capable of alleviating suffering, giving solace to the agitated mind and, above all, providing the means to salvation. Chanting Rama Nama gives the benefits of chanting the thousand names of the Lord, says Siva to Parvati, in the concluding section of the Vishnu Sahasranama. Sita experienced its efficacy when Hanuman’s rendering of Rama’s story brought hope to her, pointed out Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal in a discourse.

Valmiki describes Sita’s utter despair as Ravana’s prisoner in Asoka Vana. Ravana has given her two months to comply with his desire. Caught in the midst of demonesses and constantly exposed to their threats, she feels helpless like a child lost in a forest. She wonders how she still continues to live despite being subject to such extreme physical and psychological torture. Has the dharma which she upholds with so much sincerity failed, she wonders. She then decides to take away her life and approaches a tree to hang herself with her braid.

At this point, there comes a miraculous change in her fortunes, as she hears the name of Rama. The resourceful Hanuman had chosen this moment to introduce his presence by singing the praise of Rama. Sita is surprised to observe good omens and experiences strange relief from the resonance of Rama Nama.

Hanuman had observed Sita’s mental anguish, and how the divine couple who were totally focused on each other had suffered the pangs of separation. His present task was to introduce himself and express the purpose of his visit. He had to convince Sita that he was a messenger sent by Rama and not some magical deception conjured by Ravana to trick her. He deemed it best to do this by invoking Rama’s name and singing His praises.

Hanuman explains the friendship between Rama and the monkeys that proved mutually beneficial. He then hands over to Sita the signet ring of Rama. All this was possible for Hanuman because of the power of Rama Nama. It is held that he declined Rama’s offer to take him to Vaikunta and preferred to stay in this earth where Rama’s glory would be sung and he could be part of it always.

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