By Swami Harshananda
Rāmarahasya Upaniṣad is a minor Upaniṣad belonging to the Atharvaveda. It has 157 verses spread over five chapters. The third chapter is completely in prose. Other chapters also contain some prose passages scantily. It is in the form of a long dialogue between the sages led by Sanaka and devotees like Prahlāda, with Hanumān, the matchless devotee of Rāma. The specialty of this Upaniṣad is that it deals with several esoteric mantras of Rāma, their uses, yantras and rituals.
Content of Rāmarahasya Upaniṣad
A brief account is as follows:
It has 15 verses. Sanaka and other sages along with the devotees of Lord Viṣṇu like Prahlāda and Vibhiṣaṇa, approach Hanumān and ask him what the tattva or the ultimate Truth is. Hanumān replies that:
- Rāma is the highest Truth, the Brahman that helps one to be saved from transmigratory existence.
- He further states that himself, Gaṇapati, Sarasvati, Durgā, Kṣetrapāla, Surya, Candra, Nārāyaṇa, Nārasimha, Vāyu, Vārāha, Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa, Satrughna, Bharata, Vibhiṣaṇa, Sugrīva, Aṅgada and Jāmbavān are the aṅgas or limbs of Rāma.
- Their mantras should be repeated first to get the grace of Rāma.
- He next deals with the efficacy of Rāmamantra of six letters and the simple Rāmamantra of two letters with Praṇava on both sides.
This is followed by Vibhīṣaṇa’s question to Rāma himself about the method of destruction of heinous sins. Rāma replies that:
- By repeating ‘Rāma’ 96 crores of times, it is achieved.
- If one is unable to do this, the same result can be attained by repeating daily any one of the following:
- Rāmarahasya Upaniṣad
- Rāmāstottara śatanāma
- Hymns composed by Nārada or Hanumān
- Six lettered mantra of Rāma
It has 106 verses. The contents of this section is as follows:
- Mantras on Rāma starting with one letter to 31 letters.
- Anuṣtubh mantra of 32 letters
- Gāyatri mantra of 25 letters
- Mālāmantra, very long one, of 48 letters
- Mantras of Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata, Satrughna and Hanumān
Some of the sample mantras may now be given as:
rām; rāma; Oiṅ rāma; śrīm śrīm yaiṅ namah; rām rāmāya svāhā; rāmacandrāya namah; Orh rāmāya hum phat svāhā; Om namo bhagavate rāma¬candrāya; Om namo bhagavate rāmāya sakalāpannivāraṇāya svāhā; klīm Orii namo bhagavate rāmacandrāya sakala- janavaśyakarāya svāhā and so on.
"dāśarathāya vidmahe, sītāvallabhāya dhīmahi, tanno rāmah pracodayāt."
The other mantras are:
"śrīm sītāyai svāhā; lam lakṣmaṇāya namah; bharii bharatāya namah; śaiṅ śatrughnāya namah and harii hanumate namah."
It has in all 4 paras in prose. This short chapter deals with the yantras or esoteric geometrical diagrams of the various mantras and their worship.
This section has 13 verses. It describes:
It has 19 verses. The Bījākṣara is described as a combination of Brahman and Māyā. It is the seed from which this ‘tree’ of the world has evolved. The two-lettered word ‘Rāma’ can give bhoga or mokṣa as per the aspirant’s desire since it contains in itself the meaning of the famous Vedāntic dictum tat tvam asi, ‘that thou art’.
The Upaniṣad concludes with the eulogy of the Rāmamantra which can give fruits of all kinds, including mokṣa or liberation. Those who study this Upaniṣad will become so pure that they are untouched by even heinous sins. They can become one with Rāma Himself.
- Yantras means mystical diagrams.
- Mantras means esoteric formula.
- It means Om.
- Rṣi means sage.
- Chandas means metre.
- Dhyāna ślokas are the verses describing the forms of the deity.
- Puraścaraṇa is details connected with the repetition of the mantra, in a systematic manner.
- Bījākṣara means seed-mantra: rām.
- Bhoga means enjoyments here.
- Mokṣa means liberation.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore