CHENNAI: The efficacy of chanting the Divine name as an unfailing means to salvation has been reiterated in the spiritual tradition so that everyone will be inspired to tread the spiritual path. Among the Divine names, Rama is unique as it is not only the name of the Lord when He incarnated as the son of Dasaratha but also an incantation (Taraka Mantra) capable of delivering man from bondage. The sure way to adopt this path to liberation is by associating with saints (Satsangh). Even saints have yearned for the company of Jnanis (men of wisdom) as the benefit of their guidance for spiritual evolution is incomparable for they speak on the authority of their experience.

In his discourse, Sengalipuram Sri Rama Dikshitar said Adi Sankara’s hymn Bhaja Govindam was a telling testament to a Jnani advocating chanting of the Divine name as the effective way to realising God. In this he also points out how Satsangh is paramount to progress as holy company is exalting and ensures that a devotee remains focussed on the objective of realising God. Satsangh is a sure method of insulating oneself from worldly influences, which distract a seeker from the spiritual goal by rousing his desires for sensory pleasures. But how does one go in search of Satsangh? Prahlada observes that it is not easy as God-realised saints prefer solitude because worldly people only disturb them from remaining in tune with God.

Another method of cultivating Satsangh is to listen to the exposition of the glory of the Lord in His incarnations described in the epics and the Puranas. The Ramayana, for instance, is revered as the Veda itself because when the Supreme Being manifested in human form as Rama, Valmiki’s delineation of His advent became a vehicle to convey the teachings of the Vedas. This can be seen in the context of Rama’s marriage to Sita wherein the epic enunciates Dharma as the founding principle of Vedic marriage. While giving his daughter in marriage Janaka told Rama that Sita would be His partner in advocating Dharma. Vedic marriage is a sacrament to which Agni (sacrificial fire) is witness to the vow taken by the couple. This social institution like the entire human life is founded in Dharma.