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If God is nameless, how to continuously recite His name

Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Nitnem continuously says that the way  to reach god, is to continuously recite his name. But, as God is nameless and formless, isN’T silence, what we need to practice?

Please shed some light on name of the Lord. Can physical recitation of mantras like ‘Ek Onkaar‘, or ‘Om Namah Shivaay‘, or ‘Raam‘, lead us to the real God? If yes, how should it be practiced?

Thank you. Love and Gratitude.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

You need to continuously utter the ‘name’ of God, both in speech and in mind, because you are what you are. You are not the silent one, are you? Had you been already silent, no sage would have advised you any ‘japa’, any recitation, any mantra. Who are you? You are the restless one. You are the loquacious one. You are the talkative one.

Who are you? You are the one who just loves to ‘Yak, yak, yak’. You are the one who is always busy, talking. If there is no other person to talk to, then you indulge yourself in some internal dialogue. You start talking to yourself, don’t you? You are always in a conversation. A conversation in which only you are there, obviously. The other doesn’t exist. That’s the kind of conversation we have.

Our dialogues are all soliloquies. Me talking to myself. The  other is there, just as a prop. Look carefully at how people converse. Are they really listening? This one is talking, and the other one is talking, and there is no relationship between the two talks.

On the surface, it looks as if one is responding to the other. Well, no. One is merely using the words of the other, to further one’s own argument. The ego is so insecure, it keeps asserting itself. In fact, man’s entire life is spent in self-assertion. Man’s entire life is spent convincing himself, that he exists. Man is so insecure.

“I exist, please look at me. If you don’t look at me, I will feel offended.” This is self-assertion.

“I exist. This is my territory. Don’t violate it. If you will violate it, I will feel I don’t exist. We will have a war if you violate it, because my identity is closely linked to that of the territory. I am so insecure. I don’t have any independent identity.”

“Who am I? The owner of the territory. Therefore, don’t violate the territory. Otherwise, I will disappear. It seems so. That’s such a great threat. It’s not the territory that you have stepped on. It’s the identity you have beheaded.”

So, the ego just keeps asserting itself. We can’t even call it ‘self-expression’. It is rabid self-assertion.

The dogs in the family, when they come to know that the family is planning an outing and the doors are being locked, and soon everybody would be out, they become very restless. They start making their presence felt.

They will go to one member, then the other. They would sniff, bark, push, pull. Tug at somebody’s clothes. Keep their paws on somebody’s abdomen. That’s how the ego is continuously feeling – “I am being left behind. Please don’t leave me behind.”

“I am, and I am making my presence felt. Don’t forget me please. Will somebody look this side. Hello, I too am.” And now you know why this ego is so attention-seeking. because it is very, very insecure about itself.

All it’s life it is never really sure, that it exists.

That’s the life of the ego.

It’s entire life, the ego is never really sure that it exists.

And therefore, it makes all kinds of attempts, to assert itself.

“I am. Well, I am. Well, I am. Please, please, don’t deny my existence. Please don’t turn back at me. Please appreciate me. I will feel I am, otherwise I am not. If you don’t validate my being, if you don’t certify my presence, I am Not.”

So, we talk. Now you know how expansive this word is – ‘talking’? ‘Talking’ means – having something in mind, to be concerned with. When you are talking to someone, that fellow is in your mind, is he not? Equally, when you are thinking about something, that too is a kind of ‘talk’. Because we indulge in such a non-sensical talk, so the saints said that you better recite the name of the ‘Lord’. And that is the technique of ‘japa’.

Because you are so stubbornly addicted to talking, because you are so very prone to be infatuated with names, you better take name of the ‘Lord’. Because names you would take anyway. Something would always be there in your mind, and whatever is there in your mind, is a ‘name’, is it not?

Is there ever in your mind, that is nameless? A ‘thing’ always has a name. So, if there is something in your mind, it has a name. There is a ‘name’ in your mind. So the Gurus have said that,

If at all you are obsessed with names, you better be obsessed with the name of the ‘Lord’, because the name of the ‘Lord’ has a special quality.

It dissolves all other names that you are fond of, so fixated with.

And having dissolved all other names, the name of the ‘Lord’ too disappears.

It’s a cleansing agent.

It just sanitizes, and doesn’t stay back.

When you take the name of the Lord, you are insured against taking various harmful names, are you not? In the time and space, that you would have otherwise misused to be bothered with, hundred miscellaneous names, you took the name of the ‘Lord’. That’s the utility of ‘japa‘. And that’s why recitation has been such a powerful spiritual method.

You get the jist of the method, Goudhaman (the questioner)?

If you will not take the name of the ‘Lord’, you would take some foolish name. If you could stop taking the foolish name, without taking the name of the ‘Lord’, nobody would have advised you to recite any ‘japa‘.

But it is your obdurate insistence, that some name you will definitely hang on to, clutch desperately at. So the saints said, “Alright! If it is your tendency to be always occupied with some name, we will give you a special name. This name has no harmful connotations. Use this name.”

Are you getting it?

A kid is fond of candies, and it is impossible to wean him away from candies. So what does the loving father do? He makes special candies. Special, nutritious, vitamin candies – sugar-free, and yet very delicious. He calls them ‘Rama candies’. And says, “If you must have candies, have these candies.”

This is the method.

These candies won’t harm you. In fact, they benefit you. Plus, these are non-addictive. The other candies, you become addicted to. The other candies, they are so specially designed, that you can never be addicted to them. They benefit you, and then they will disappear.

No addiction!


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: If God is nameless, how to continuously recite His name? || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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