Sri Ramakrishna would often extoll the power of God’s name during his discussions with devotees. He would also say that while God’s name is very powerful, one should have complete, unwavering and abiding faith in it. He would also warn that doubting the power of God’s name can bring about disastrous results. To illustrate this idea he would narrate a story from the Ramayana.
After the end of the Ramayana war, Sri Ramachandra had crowned Vibhishana as the king of Lanka after the death of Ravana. One day a man who had come to visit Vibhishana took leave of him and reached the sea shore. He wanted to cross over. Since the sea was very turbulent at that time, no boat was available for crossing the sea. But, Vibhishana, who was a great devotee of Lord Rama, found a way out. He wrote Rama’s name on a leaf and tied it to a corner of the man’s cloth and said to him, “Don’t be afraid and walk on the water.” He had not revealed to the man what was the talisman that he had tied to the man’s cloth. But, he warned him, “The moment you doubt the efficacy of the thing that I have tied to your cloth, you will be drowned.” In spite of the turbulent sea, the man was walking over the water easily. Suddenly, he had an intense desire to see what was tied to his cloth. He untied the knot and was surprised to see the leaf with the name of Rama written on it. “What is this!”, he thought, “Just the name of Rama!”. As soon as doubt entered his mind, he sank into the water and was drowned.
Thus Sri Ramakrishna would tell the devotees how important it is to hold on to God’s name with great faith and devotion if one has to cross the ocean of Samsara or the bondage of repeated births and deaths.