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17. Ramanama - The infallible remedy
Shri Ganeshshastri Joshi, Vaidya, tells me after reading my article on Nature Cure in the Harijan of 3rd March, 1946, that in Ayurveda, too, there is ample testimony to the efficacy of Ramanama as a cure for all disease. Nature Cure occupies the place of honour and in it Ramanama is the most important. When Charaka, Vagbhata and other giants of medicine in ancient India wrote, the popular name for God was not Rama but Vishnu. I myself have been a devotee of Tulsidas from my childhood and have, therefore, always worshipped God as Rama. But I know that if beginning with Omkar, one goes through the entire gamut of God's names current in all climes, all countries and all languages, the result is the same. He and His Law are one. To observe His Law is, therefore, the best form of worship. A man who becomes one with the Law does not stand in need of vocal recitation of the name. In other words, an individual with whom contemplation on God has be­come as natural as breathing is so filled with God's spirit that knowledge or observance of the Law becomes second nature, as it were, with him. Such an one needs no other treatment.
The question, then, arises as to why, in spite of having this prince of remedies at hand, we know so little about it; and why even those who know, do not remember Him or remember Him only by lip service, not from the heart. Parrot-like repetition of God's name signifies failure to recognize Him as the panacea for all ills.
How can they? This sovereign remedy is not administered by doctors, vaidyas, hakims or any other medicinal practitioners. These have no faith in it. If they were to admit that the spring of the Holy Ganges could be found in every home, their very occupation or means of livelihood would go. Therefore, they must perforce rely on their powders and potions as infallible remedies. Not only do these provide bread for the doctor, but the patient, too, seems to feel immediate relief. If a medical practitioner can get a few persons to say: "So and so gave me a powder and I was cured," his business is established.
Nor, it must be borne in mind, would it really be of any use for doctors to prescribe God's name to patients unless they themselves were conscious of its miraculous powers. Ramanama is no copybook maxim. It is something, that has to be realized through experience. One who has had personal experience alone can prescribe it, not any other.
Th eVaidyaraj has copied out for me four verses. Out of these, Charaka's is the simplest and most apt.
It means that if one were to obtain mastery over even one out of the thousand names of Vishnu, all ailments would vanish:
विष्णु सहस्त्रमूर्धानं चराचरपतिं विभुम्।
स्तुवन् नामसहस्त्रेण ज्वरान् सर्वान् व्यपोहति॥
Harijan, 24-3-1946