There are certain key chants (Moola manthrams) which are used while offering prayers to each God. Rama’s name was derived from ‘Ra’, the main syllable of Maha Vishnu’s chant ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ (Obeisance to Narayana – Vishnu) and ‘Ma’ from ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ (Obeisance to Shiva), the chant dedicated to Shiva. In other words, Vaishnavite and Shaivite powers have come together in Rama.
The main syllable gives the real meaning to the chant. In the present instance, when ‘Ma’ is removed from ‘Om Nama Shivaya’, the chant becomes ‘Om Na Shivaya’, which translates as ‘Let everything perish’. Similarly, when ‘Ra’ is absent from the chant to Vishnu, it turns ‘Om Namo Nayanaya’, which means there are no options before a person facing difficulties.
Valmiki, who was a hunter, became a mendicant after chanting ‘Mara Mara’ continuously and later wrote the Ramayana, which is Sree Rama’s biography. It is Rama’s ‘ayanam’ – journey – in life. Valmiki composed the Ramayana as 24,000 stanzas in seven ‘kandas’ – chapters.
Gayathri manthram (chant) is considered the mother of all chants and is dedicated to the Sun God. It is the most divine of all chants. Ramayana is the expansion of the 24 letters in Gayathri manthram into 24,000 stanzas.
When a devotee chants Rama’s name, he or she is showered with blessings by Shiva as well as Vishnu. This is also considered the ideal option to attain salvation in Kali Yuga. The chant goes,
‘Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare…
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare’.