Lord Narayana’s name has the power to save us, even if we utter His name with no bhakti in our heart, for such is the potency of the name.
The story of Ajamila bears witness to this, M.A. Venkatakrishnan said in a lecture.
Ajamila was a wicked man, whose last and favourite son was named Narayana.
When Ajamila was on the deathbed, he called out his favourite son by his name. Though he was not thinking of Lord Narayana or calling out to Him, he was calling the name of his last son, and this conferred on him the boon of moksha.
Hence it is advised that children be given God’s names, for will not a person utter the Lord’s name several times a day when he calls out the child?
Narayana has many names, and one is Hari. The word Hari means to remove evil or sin. Thus reciting the name ‘Hari’ will rid us of sins.
It is recommended that one say ‘Harirhari’ seven times in the morning.
Whether one understands the significance of uttering the Lord’s names or not, the very nature of His name is such that it offers protection and salvation.
Suppose there are pieces of coal in a fire. The red hot coal is covered with greyish ash that hides the glow of the coal. Suppose someone touches a piece of coal, thinking that since they don’t glow they are not hot, will the person not feel the heat?
He will, regardless of whether the coal glows or not because it is in the nature of the coal to retain heat.
Likewise, whether one knows the potency of Narayana’s names or not, uttering them will result in one’s salvation.
The Sastras lay down many rules for worship.
For example, there is a mantra with 1,000 aksharas that must be recited 1,008 times without a pause in breathing. This will be difficult for most people.
But reciting the Lord’s names needs no such effort. When it is so easy to say ‘Narayana’ and be liberated, why should one seek more difficult means of attaining Him?
If a person bears a name of the Lord or the name of one of His devotees, even Yama will be afraid of approaching him.