Nine Forms of Devotion- Bakthi- SMARANA


"Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam.

The word smaranam means "remembering." If we chant and hear, then will automatically engage in the temple worship (arcanam) and offering prayers (vandanam).

"Smaranam. After one regularly performs the processes of hearing and chanting and after the core of one's heart is cleansed, smaranam, remembering, is recommended. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.1.11)
etan nirvidyamananam
icchatam akuto-bhayam
yoginam nrpa nirnitam
harer namanukirtanam

"O King, for great yogis who have completely renounced all material connections, for those who desire all material enjoyment and for those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord is recommended."

"As soon as you become expert in hearing and chanting, then the next stage is smaranam. Smaranam, thinking of. Anything you speak or hear, later on you contemplate, you meditate, smaranam. So smaranam is the third stage. First of all, one must begin with hearing, sravanam.

The Power of the Name: a Story

Once upon a time, the celestial and ever-wandering sage Narada got a doubt. He began to wonder on the power inherent in the Lord’s name. This was surprising, considering the fact that he always chanted the name of his Lord, Narayana. But then, these things happen in life when, suddenly, you stop doing whatever you are doing and question the wisdom and logic behind the same. Unable to understand the power of the Lord’s name, sage Narada approached his Lord Narayana (or Sri Maha Vishnu) and asked him:

“Lord, please forgive my impertinence and indulge me. What is the power of the Lord’s name? I have been contemplating on your name and chanting it too for all my life. So, I would love to hear the answer from you.”

Lord Narayana smiled and told him:

“Narada, there is never a wrong time to get a doubt cleared. But once your doubt is cleared and you are given an experience, hold on to the lesson with faith. Do not be like a monkey that daily pulled out a planted sapling to check whether the roots were growing!”

“I understand, my Lord. I shall not be like that. Seeing the growth of leaves and fruits on the plant, I will have faith that the roots are indeed growing stronger within the soil. But as you yourself said, till the doubt is cleared, the lack of faith is not a sin!”

“True Narada. But I need not answer your question. You see that parrot there? Go and ask your question of the parrot.”

Narada approaches the parrot. The parrot bows down to the great sage, and Narada blesses it with "Ayushman Bhava" (May you enjoy a long life). Then, he asks:

“Tell me, dear parrot, what is the power inherent in the name 'Narayana'?”

Even as the question was completed, the parrot rolled its eyes and fell to the ground with a soft thud—dead! Narada was horrified. This was not what he expected. He rushed back to his Lord and reported what had happened. The great Vishnu however, was not at all perturbed.

“Is that so? Then listen. A cow in a farmer’s barn has just delivered a calf. Go to the calf and ask your question of that calf.”

“But why did the parrot have such a seizure and death?”

“You will understand everything in its own sweet time. Go now to the calf and quell your doubts.”

Narada hesitatingly goes to the aforementioned barn. He approaches the cow with humility and reverence, for the cow is a mother that sustains human babies too. The cow salutes him and Narada says:

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“Mother! I see that you have been blessed with a bonny baby. If you permit, I would like to ask your little calf a small question...”

With the cow’s permission, Narada asks the calf:

“What is the reward of chanting the name of 'Narayana'?”

The calf raised its head, saw Narada, and fell dead. Narada was now stupefied and really scared of even saying the divine name any more! He went to Narayana again.

“Oh Lord! What is happening? I will not leave until I learnt the truth. Is this the reward of chanting your name?”

“Don’t be hasty, Narada. Haste makes waste, and waste leads to worry. So, do not be in a hurry. Be patient. A son has been born to the king of this land just yesterday. The king is very happy, for the child has been proclaimed by the sages as a great heir. Go and ask the child the same question.”

Now, Narada was afraid. He thought:

”If the child also died, the soldiers will arrest me. I may also die. The kingdom will become heirless. Is this the reward?”

“Don’t be hasty. Go and ask the child.”

Narada went to the king. The child was brought on a golden plate. Narada asked the king,

“Oh, king! Can I ask the child a question?”
The king agreed.

Oh, prince! Tell me what is the reward of chanting the name of 'Narayana'?"

Hearing this the baby prince spoke.

“Oh, Narada! Is this all that you have learnt? You chant the Lord’s name for 24 hours, but don’t know its taste or effect. First, I was born as a parrot. When I heard the name Narayana, I was liberated to a higher birth instantaneously. Next, I was born as a calf. This was an even better life. Bharatiyas worship cows. I heard the Lord’s name and was liberated again from the calf’s body. Now I am born as a prince. Where is a parrot, calf, and where is a prince? By chanting God’s name, we go to higher states. I have become a prince. This is my fortune. This is the reward of listening to Narayana’s name.”

Source: sivanandaonline.

owlcation humanities/The-power-of-the-Lords-name-and-the-efficacy-of-Namasmarana

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