From Suryavamshi Rama to Ramachandra

It was sage Vasishta who christened the eldest son of Dasaratha as RAMA, culling the quintessence of the sacred mantras of Vishnu and Siva— ‘A’ from Om Namo Na RAyanayha and ‘MA’ from Om NaMAsivaya. Did not the great Mother of the world, Paravati, ask Her Lord Parameshwara how she could easily recite the thousand Names of Lord Vishnu—Vishnu Sahasranama—and get this answer: “O, Best of women, it is by the recitation of the simple mantra RAMA, as it is equivalent to the Thousand Names.
Valmiki and Tulsi say that the name Rama suited Him best as Rama delighted everybody. Why Ramachandra?
How did He acquire this name?
There is a legend that tells how it all happened:

As soon as Sri Rama was born, the Moon-god, Chandra, who is also the Lord of the night, went to him ostensibly to pay his obeisance. But, then, his face was not as bright as it used to be. Was there sorrow in his heart?
The All-Knowing One smiled and tenderly enquired of the Moon-god: “How come this shadow on your bright face? Please unburden yourself.”
Then spoke Chandra in a reverential tone: “You are the Patilapavana—Redeemer of the fallen. Your intention in taking Ramavatara is to destroy evil which is on the ascendant, and to re-establish Dharma. Yet, my intellect cannot understand why you took birth during day-time.
“Night, because of its darkness, even symbolically stands for evil. It is under cover of darkness that many of the crimes and sins are perpetrated. Evil-doers are on the prowl at night with the intent of house-breaking robbery, adultery and other immoral acts. Therefore, Patitapavana, for scaring the lightless sinners into inaction, you ought to have taken birth during the night time.
“And there is another reason too, my Lord, if I may place it before you. Being God come to earth, people would expect you, the peerless symbol of the highest ideals, the personification of every virtue, to be above reproach in every respect.
“One of the charges usually levelled against rulers and leaders is nepotism. You belong to the Suryavamsha (Solar Race). By taking birth in day-time, you have unwittingly though, given grist to the mill of malicious tongues. Well may they comment disparagingly about you in this fashion: Sri Rama has taken birth during day-time, because Sun is the Lord of the day, and the Sun-god happens to be his ancestor.”

The Blessed Lord, who patiently heard the pale-faced Chandra smiled bewitchingly and spoke these words to assuage the apprehension of the Moon-god: “Well have you spoken Chandra, and in a sweet and convincing way. Your words are rich in worldly wisdom and I see the force of their logic too. “The only way I now see to modify your feelings is to give you a solemn pledge, here and now, that in my next incarnation as Sri Krishna, I shall take birth at midnight, at the zenith of your nightly reign.”

Sri Rama keenly observed Chandra’s face. The veil of sorrow was still there. So Sri Rama asked him: It seems you are not satisfied with my assurance. Do you doubt my words?”
“Oh no! my Lord! Doubt your words? I cannot even think of it. But the worry that lingers in my mind is how long have I to wait for that sacred event? The world is not blessed with Avataras every now and then....I will have to wait for hundreds and hundreds of years.”
Now Sri Rama’s face wore a broad smile. “Here too I see your point..I shall make you part of my own Self. From now on, your name shall be added unto mine!” Thus it was that Rama became Ramachandra!


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