You are on page 1of 22

e-book

Bhakthi Movement
and

Nama Sankeerthanam

By

Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

About the Author: Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are popular in The Young World section of THE HINDU His e-books on nature, environment and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. His e-books Guide to 108 Divya Desams, Guide to 275 Siva Sthalams, The Path of Ramanuja, Guide to Kancheepuram and Hinduism in a nutshell have been well received in the religious circle. He was associated in the renovation and production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.

Acknowledgement: I wish to express my gratitude to the authors from whose works I gathered the details for this book, and Courtesy, Google for some of the photographs. Special thanks to www.scribd.com for hosting my e-books.

Bhakthi Movement and Nama Sankeerthanam


Religion in India is more a direct experience than a code of conduct and from an early age different systems or margas (paths) have been prescribed for attaining the goal, virtually called liberation, bliss and heaven. However the different margas are not contradictory and in some respects they supplemented each other: for example proficiency in Gnana-yoga, Raja-yoga and Bhakthi yoga are demanded from the highest sadhakas (devotees). The word bhakti is derived from the root bhaj by the application of the ktin suffix, which expresses an action, (Panini iii, 3, 94) and means among other things service, devotion, attachment, loyalty, worship and homage. The word bhakti in Sanskrit means sharing. It was used to describe a new type of path to moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnations). The Bhakti movement in India took place as an effort to inculcate loving devotion and belief in God. The Bhakti movement in India aimed at the principle of monotheism, i.e. existence of one God. This happened during the later-half of the medieval period in the history of India (800-1700 A.D). The real essence of Bhakti is found in the great epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Vedic scriptures also talk about the concept of pure devotion of God. Bhishma considered chanting of the Vishnu sahasranama the best and easiest of all dharmas, or the means to attain relief from all bondage Gita." The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamilnadu, and began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic rule. The Islamic rulers were forcing public to convert their religion from Hinduism to Islam. The Bhakti movement had its own importance to save Hinduism. There was no grouping of the mystics into Saiva and Vaishnava devotees as in the south. The movement was spontaneous and the mystics had their own versions of devotional expression. The Bhakti movement started the trend of elaborate rituals in worship places. Devotional hymns in Temples, Qawalli in Mosques, Gurbani in Gurudwaras, etc.

all came from the Bhakti movement. Chanting or taking the name of God was considered essential by many saints including the great Adi Shankaracharya. The significance of Bhakti movement was that it could be accessed by anyone, since all it needed was to remember God with full devotion and love. The esteemed philosophical schools only changed the thoughts, but the Bhakti movement changed the entire perspective of a human. It went beyond artificial beliefs and rituals and encouraged people to have just complete faith in Almighty. The Bhakti movement in India gave a rich collection of literature based on devotion, spirituality, faith and numerous devotional hymns and chants.The Bhakti movement of the Azhwars derived an impetus and momentum in the hands of Sri Ramanuja. Sri Ramanuja was essentially a propagator of Bhaktimarga quoting him love and total surrender alone would be the only way to receive the grace of God. Srivaishnavism is one of the pre-eminent traditions of Hinduism. An unbroken lineage of Acharyas (teachers) and a wealth of literature in Tamil and Sanskrit form the backbone of the Srivishnava sect of the Hindu religion. These saints composed verses in chaste Tamil and revitalized the religious spirit of the region, sparkling a renewal of devotional worship in what is generally referred to as the Bhakti Movement. Bhakthi according to the Azhwars is not confide to the worship of the image in the temple or singing devotional songs but practicing in the daily life the principle of love all and serve all. They practiced to the letter the message as in Bhagavat Gita (in the chapter XII) Adveshta Sarva bhootaanam Maithrah Karuna evacha Nirimamo nirahamkaarah Sama dukka Sukha Kshami (One who does not hate any species of creation, One who is kind and compassionate, One who is humble and treats joy and sorrow alike he alone is my dear devotee Krishna) The original Bhakthi Movement spread with vigour after the 10th century. It took religion to the common man, to the lower strata of society, those classes to whom the highly formalized and vedic religion was beyond reach. Hence Bhakthi movement was a social movement also.

Unlike in the south, where devotion was centered on both Siva and Vishnu (in all his forms), the northern devotional movement was centered on Rama and Krishna, both of whom are considered incarnations of Vishnu. Despite this, the sect of Siva or of the Devi did not go into decline. In fact for all of its history, the Bhakti movement co-existed peacefully with the other movements in Hinduism. It was initially considered unorthodox, as it rebelled against caste distinctions and disregarded Brahmanic rituals, which according to Bhakti saints were not necessary for salvation. Bhakti Saints originated from several sects of society. Kabir was a weaver Raidas a cobbler, Sen a barbar, Kanaka Dasa and Dhanna a jat peasant. In the course of time, however, owing to its immense popularity among the masses (and even royal patronage) it became 'orthodox' and continues to be one of the most important modes of religious expression in modern India. While many of the Bhakti mystics focused their attention on Krishna or Rama, Saiva-sidhanta school is a form of Saivism found in southern India and is of hoary antiquity. It incorporates the teachings of the Saiva nayanars and espouses the belief that Siva is Brahmam and his infinite love is revealed in the divine acts of the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe, and in the liberation of the soul. During the 14th17th centuries, a great Bhakti movement swept through central and northern India, initiated by a loosely associated group of teachers or sants. Ravidas, Srimanta Sankara Deva, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vallabhacharya, Surdas, Kabir, Tulsidas, Namadeva, Dhyaneswar and Tukaram and other mystics spearheaded the Bhakti movement in the North. They taught that people could cast aside the heavy burdens of ritual and caste, and the subtle complexities of philosophy, and simply express their overwhelming love for God. This period was also characterized by a spate of devotional literature in vernacular prose and poetry in the ethnic languages of the various Indian states or provinces. Seminal Bhakti works in Bengal include the many songs of Ramprasad Sen. His pieces are known as Shyama sangeet. Coming from the 17th century, they cover an astonishing range of emotional responses to Maa kali. detailing philosophical statements based on Vedanta teachings and more visceral pronouncements of his love of Devi. Using inventive allegory, Ramprasad had 'dialogues' with the Mother Goddess through his poetry, at times chiding her, adoring her, celebrating her as the Divine Mother, reckless consort of Siva and capricious Shakthi, the universal female creative energy, of the cosmos.

Many saints and devotional preachers led the Bhakti movement in different parts of the country. In south, around 63 Nayanmars or Saivite devotees organized and led the movement. They believed in the fact that true knowledge can be achieved only through selfless devotion and worship of the Supreme Power. The Bhakti movement of the Vaishnavaites and that of the Saiva were simultaneous and started almost together. The Bhakti movements started then, have left an indelible mark in human beliefs and faiths. Bhakti devotees (bhaktas) usually committed themselves to one of the Trimurti of Brahmam (the supreme spirit reality). The three gods of the Trimurti are Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, or in many cases bhaktas devoted themselves to some avatar, like Krishna, of the Trimurti in an emotional way. This emotional commitment marked the bhaktas as followers of Bhaktimarga. Bhakti movements called people to ardent devotion to a God or Goddess as a thankful expression of gratitude for benefits received. Or it could express the hope for aid to be received. Most commonly it took the form of a passionate love of the deity. As they developed the bhakti movements became the bhaktimarga, or one of the three Hindu paths (margas) for escaping from the wheel of reincarnation. The margas were paths or roads or ways for achieving the final liberation of the soul from the karma-caused cycle of repeated reincarnations. The basic problem of human life was suffering. To escape the repeated cycles of reincarnation was the goal of life. Until the development of the bhaktimarga there were only the two paths of karmamarga (religion of rituals and ethical deeds) and the gyanamarga (religion of the head through meditation). The path of bhakti was the religious way of the heart, the way of loving devotion. Monotheistic challenges from Islam with its firm emphasis on the unity of God may have influenced bhakti movements in northern India. However, Hinduism, while not Vedic religion, takes its starting point from the Vedas, so bhakti scholars have found their roots in the Vedic worship of the Rig Veda god Varuna. Vedic knowledge was passed from guru to disciple through the centuries. This spiritual lineage is called sampradayas. Others see bhakti in portions of the Sanskrit texts the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Gita or in other portions of the Mahabharata. Still others see its origin in the Padma Purana. Bhakti worship tended toward monotheistic practice. Bhakti also suppressed the numerous iconographic expressions of the multiple expressions of the Brahma, which outsiders regarded as idolatry. Some bhakti movements were connected with Siva, the god of sexuality,

fertility, and destruction. Others are connected with Krishna worship. The defining characteristic of Tamil Bhakti was its expression of devotion in songs sung in vernacular languages. Singing in the languages of the common people was not only very egalitarian but also very emotional. Those who advanced in devotion became bhakti saints. Around them communities of good people (satsang) would gather. It was believed that the gathering together of goodness would overcome evil and would also have the power to transform lives. Bhakti movements combined songs (bhajan) with devotion. At times the singing was chanting that continued for a very long period of time. Many of the bhajans contain elements of love expressed passionately and may be compared to the passionate love expressed in the Song of Solomon. Others are more explicitly sexual deriving their themes from the stories of Krishna cavorting with the gopis (cow girls) or Krishna as a divine lover. Some bhakti devotees have produced love poetry. For example, Jayadeva produced the Gitagovinda (Song of Govinda) in the 12th century. Women have been heavily involved in bhakti movements since the beginning, with some becoming poetesses. Other bhakti practices have included recitation of the name of the devotees God. During the medieval period the bhakti schools developed devotional practices based upon the emotions of relationships. These emotional expressions were interpreted as analogous of the relationship of the devotee with the god. Among these emotional expressions is that of a womans love for her beloved. A feature of the bhakti movements was the making of bhakti saints. For example, Purandaradasa (c. 1540) was a great literary figure of the bhakti movement. He was revered as the father of Carnatic classical that is called Carnatic music of South India. His classification of swaravali, jantivarase, alamkara, and lakshana factors are the standard today throughout South India. Another form of bhakti is yoga bhakti. In yoga bhakti the yogin meditates in order to find release into a meditative absorption with the deity. Many ascetics (sadhus) and yogins are devotees of Siva because he is known as the great yogin. In the 16th century the famous saint Chaitanya (14861533) added devotional singing, chanting, and dancing in the streets. Along with his followers numerous Krishna temples were built. Chaitanya promoted Vishnu bhakti widely across northern India, particularly in Bengal. From this group came the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) that is popularly known as the Hare Krishnas. Nama Japam or Nama Sankeerthanam is the japa (repetition) or Sankirtana of nama (name) of the Almighty. This is one of the time-tested, easiest ways of Bhakti yoga. The devotees choose Ishta-deva or Ishta devata (God and Goddess)

and chant the name vocally or in mind anytime, anywhere. Devotees can form a group and do sankeerthanam or singing together of name of the Almighty. Bhajans are one way of singing the glories of Almighty, thereby contemplating only on the Almighty. Nama Japa, Sankeerthanam, Bhajans all result only in one thing sublimation of one's super-ego to ego-less. Nama sankeerthanam, helps the devotees identify themselves with their deity of adoration, ultimately resulting in culmination into Paramatman. Many Hindu scriptures and philosophers could portend the difficulties people will face, to evolve spiritually in Kali yuga. And Bhakthi marga is the best, or the simplest way of God Realization. The prevailing situations and surroundings we are in do not help us to meditate peacefully, do the yogas as enshrined in the spiritual scriptures. Hence Nama Japam is the ultimate and simplest way of seeing Almighty in us and in everything. Adi Sankaracharya, the Advaita enlightened master, in verse 27 of his hymn, Bhaja Govindam, said that the Gita and Vishnu sahasranama should be chanted and the form of the Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, should always be meditated on. He also said that the Sahasranama bestowed all noble virtues on those who chanted it. The Almighty has mentioned in Srimad Bhagawad Gita, that He resides in the hearts of those who chant and sing His namas.

Ramanuja (1017-1137): Sri Ramanuja, also known as Sri Ramanujacharya, Ethirajar, Emberumannar, was a theologian, philosopher. He is seen by Srivaishnavites and by Hindus in general as the most important Acharya ( teacher). The Vaishnava saint from South India is the earliest exponent of Bhakti movement and Vishitadvaita philosophy, one

of the classical interpretations of the dominant Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy. Sri Ramanuja provided a philosophical base to Bhakthi movement which got converted into an elite movement of worshipping God.

Ramananda (14001476 CE), also referred to as Sant Ramanand or Swami Ramanand, was a vaishnava saint. Ramananda was a pioneer of the Bhakti movement, as well as a social reformer in Northern India. The first great Bhakti saint of North India who opened the doors of Bhakti without any distinction of birth, caste, creed or sex. His disciples are the famous-Anantananda, Bhavananda, Dhanna Bhagat, Kabir, Nabha, Naraharyanda, Pipa, Ravidas (also known as Guru Ravidas), Bhagat Sain, Sukhanada, Ranka and Tulsidas (the author of the Ramcharitmanas).

Kabir (1440-1510): Kabir was a Nirgun saint. He was the most radical disciple of Ramananda, who was opposed to caste, creed, image worship, unnecessary rituals and sought to remove distinction between Hindus and Muslims and believed in social unity. Kabir was a mystic whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti Movement.

Chaitanya (1486-1533): One of the great saints of Krishna Bhakti cult and founder of Gaudiya or Bengal Vaishnavism. Sri Krishna Chaitanya was a notable proponent for the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotionto Krishna) based on the philosophy of the Bhagavata purana and Bhagavad Gita. Specifically, he worshipped the forms of Krishna, popularised the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha mantra. His line of followers, known as Gaudiya vaishnavas, revere him as an Avatara of Krishna.

Purandar Das (1480-1564): The foremost and the most prolific Vaishnava saint-composer in Karnataka. Believed to have laid the foundations of the modern phase of Carnatic music. He signed his compositions with the mudra (pen name), "Purandara Vittala"

Kanaka Dasa (15091609) was a great poet, philosopher, musician and composer known for his kirtans in Kannada.He was the deciple of

Vyasathirtha, a follower of Dwaita philosophy propounded by Madhvacharya. On the advice of Vyasaraja Swamiji, Kanakadasa had come to Udupi and standing outside the matha was lost in his prayers by singing songs in praise of the Lord, had darshan of the lord through a small window. All devotees who visit Udupi Krishna Matha take a peek at Lord Krishna through the small window, wishing to relive the ecstasy of Kanakadasa. This window came to be known as Kanakana kindi (Kanakas window)

Mirabai (1498-1531): The Rathor princess of Merata and daughter-in-law of Sisodia dynasty, was an aristocratic Hindu mystical singer from Rajasthan and devotee of Lord Krishna and one of the most significant figures of the sant tradition of the Vaishnava Bhakthi movement

Vallabhacharya (1479-1531): A great saint of the Krishna Bhakti cult of Vaishnavism, who propounded the philosophy of Pushti Marg.

Surdas (1483-1563): A blind poet of Agra. He was the disciple of Vallabhacharya. He sang the glory of Krishna in his Sursagar. Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the 'Sur Sagar' (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He is considered a saint and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which literally means the "slave of melody".

Tulsidas (1532-1623): The greatest saint-poet of the Ram Bhakti cult of Vaishnavism renowned for his devotion for God Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known for being the author of the epic Ramacharitamanas, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi language. He is also considered to be the composer of the Hanuman Chalisa, a popular devotional hymn dedicated to Hanuman,

Shankara Deva (1449-1568): The founder of the Vaishnava devotional movement in Assam. Saint-scholar, playwright, socialreligious reformer and a colossal figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam.

Dadu Dayal (1544-1603): A Nirguna Bhakti saint belonging to the tanner caste was born in Gujarat but spent his whole life in Rajasthan. He was opposed to bookish knowledge. He was the founder of the Dadu panth.

Thyagaraja (1767-1847): A Telugu who spent his life in Tamil Nadu. The greatest saint-composer of Carnatic music. He adorned God in the form of Rama, the incarnation of Vishnu and Hero of Valmikis Ramayana.

Tallapaka Annamacharya (1424-1503) Annamacharya was born in the village Tallapakka in Andhra Pradesh. As the legend goes Annamacharya, at the age of 16, had a vision of Lord Venkatewswara which prompted him to write about 32,000 kirtans and padams and folk songs in pure Telugu and Sanskrit, in praise of Lord Venkateswara and His consort Alamelu Manga. In Maharashtra region a saint named Govind Prabhu founded Mahanubhav sect. It permitted the lower caste people to join the armed forces. As a result it played constructive role in the rise of Maratha power.

Sant Dnyaneshwar He was a 13th centuryMaharastrian saint Sant - a title by which he is often referred is a poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath tradition whose works Bhavartha Deepika (a commentary on Bhagavad Gita, popularly known asDnyeshwari, and Amrutanubhava are considered to be milestones in Marathi literature..

Namadeva (1270-1350): A contemporary of Dnanesvara. He was a tailor by caste and was opposed to all caste distinctions. The object of his devotion was Vithoba or Vithal (identified with Vishnu) of Pandharpur. The cult of Vithoba or Vithal known as Varkari sect was founded by Namadeva. He acted as a bridge between Bhakti movement and monotheistic movements.

Eknath (1533-1599): A great scholar saint from Maharashtra who wrote a commentary on the Ramayana called the Bhavartha Ramayana and another commentary on the eleventh book of the Bhagavata Purana. In the development of Marathi literature, Sant Eknath is seen as a bridge between the towering predecessors Dnyaneshwar and Namadeva and the equally noble successors Tukaram and Ramdas.

Tukaram (1598-1650): The greatest Bhakti poet from Maharashtra wrote devotional poems, known as Abhangas, which are the glory of devotional poetry. Tukaram is commonly known in Maharashtra as Sant Tukaram. Tukaram was the second saint after Sant Dnyeshwar who denied caste hierarchy in Hindu religion and attacked rituals present in Hindu Dharma

Ramdas (1608-1681): The last great saint poet from Maharashtra. Dasabodha is the compilation of his writings and sermons. Of the Almighty, Rama nama is considered to be ideal for nama japam. Rama's name is more potent than Rama Himself had been exemplified in many instances of great devotees' lives. Valmiki, just by repeatedly uttering 'Ma-Ra' (not even Ra-ma), could create the greatest epic Ramayanam. Hanuman, who is a Siva swaroopa , just by doing Rama nama japam could cross seas, fight rakshasas, (monsters), carry Sanjeevani parvatham, could save Rama and Lakshmana from Mahiravana, could become Chiranjeevin. Samarth Ramdas, Tulasidas, Kabirdas, Thyagaraja, Ramadasu, Sai Baba, Papa Ramdas, Gandhi, Yogi Ramsuratkumar are some of the greatest devotees who believed in Sri Rama Japam and could do wonders on their own right, speaks volumes on Nama Japam. Though the Almighty has thousands of names (sahasranama), Rama nama japam is ideal for everyone.

Sri Vittaldas has been spreading the importance of Namasankeerthanam to attain peace and welfare in mankind. In the Kali Yuga, the only easy way to reach the Lotus Feet of God is through chanting of Lord's name. With this in mind, Sri Vittaldas has formed another establishment by name Namaprachar Samithi with the divine motive of spreading the greatness of bhagavan nama. Importance of Nama Sankeertan :

We are gifted with a human body as a result of merits in the past births. One should make utmost use of this human form as one cannot be sure of getting human body again. Hence, with our body, we should attain devotion and liberation. Therefore, we must always be on the alert. In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Sri Krishna says "He who remembers me in his last moment in this world comes to me. Otherwise, he goes to whatever he thinks of, at his last breath". We cannot be certain that we will be able to recollect Lord Krishna's name at our last breath and we never know when we will breathe our last. Hence, constant practice of namasankeertan is essential. The last sloka of Bhagavatham describes the importance of Nama Sankeertanam as NAAMA SANKEERTHANAM YASYA SARVAPAPA PRANAASHANAM PRANAMO DUKKHA SAMANAHA THAM NAMAAMI HARIM PARAM (which means) He, the Lord, whose Name when chanted destroys all sins, He, who removes all sorrows when one prostrates, Unto such Hari, I bow down.

Namasankeerthan should naturally come to ones breath. and heart beat, non-stop and habitual. This is the right way to do the namasankeerthan, and attain moksha and to be happy in life. Bhakthi is a union with God Krishna and yourself. Union does not mean our thought or as we think. Everything of us such as our life, speech, breath and intake of food etc. are for Lord Krishna and Krishna alone. All the happenings in our life are as per the wish of God alone and we have absolutely no control and hence we should surrender our self at the Lotus feet of Lord Krishna and do our duties. CHANT DAY AND NIGHT LORD KRISHNAS NAME AND GLORY, SURRENDER AT HIS LOTUS FEET AND ATTAIN MOKSHA. There are 4 Yugas, Namely Kritha Yuga, Thretha Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. They are collectively called as Chathur Yuga meaning 4 Yugas. Each Yuga has its own dharma called the Yuga dharma. Yuga dharma is that aspect of dharma that is valid for that Yuga through which the Jeevas can realize The Lord. The following are the dharmas prescribed by vedas for the four yugas. In the Kritha Yuga (Satya Yuga), the mind of people was basically pure. They had no distraction and meditation was easy and natural for them. That is the reason why contemplation has been prescribed for Kritha Yuga. In the Treta Yuga, materials for the performing Yajnas or sacrifices were easily available and also the people are competent enough to perform Yagnas. Therefore it was easy for them to perform Agnihotra, Jyotistoma, Darsa-Paurnimas and other Yajnas. That is the reason why Yajna has been described as the external form of Sanatana Dharma in that age. In the Dwapara Yuga, there was the manifestation of Avataras and people could easily have direct worship of God. Hence, worship was prescribed as the principal form of Sadhana in that age.

In the Kali Yuga, there are many distractions for the mind. People lack in Brahmacharya, strength of will and power of enquiry or rational investigation. Since the concept of Dharma will lose its foot hold in Kali Yuga, All the four group of people, Brahmins, Vysyaas, Kshatriyaas and Sudraas would commit offenses, become slaves to their senses, and villains will continue their evil actions. Dharma will survive in one corner of the world. Therefore, in Kali Yuga Nama Sankeerthanam (Loud chanting of the Divine Name) has been recommended as the principal forms of Sadhana.

Sri Vittaldas has been spreading the importance of Namasankeerthanam to attain peace and welfare in mankind. In the Kali Yuga, the only easy way to reach the Lotus Feet of God is through chanting of Lord's name. With this in mind, Sri Vittaldas has formed another establishment by name Namaprachar Samithi with the divine motive of spreading the greatness of bhagavan nama. Various namasankeerthanam programs and discourses have been organized all over India under this establishment. Prominent cities covered are Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Trichy, and Trivandrum, with an overwhelming gathering

Sathguru Gnanananda Murthi , established - Dakshina Sampradaya Bhajan & Namasankeerthanam. Group. This group is dedicated to all those interested in Dakshina Sampradaya Bhajan and Namasankeerthanam,

popularizing worship by namasankeerthanam.

Nama Sankeerthanam is the one and only way and there is no other way out to realize the Lord. Dhyana (Meditation) is the 7th stage in the ashtanga yoga (8limbed). The following are the various stages of ashtanga yoga Stage 1: Yama (internal purification through moral training preparatory to Yoga) Stage 2: Niyama (discipline: cleanliness, contentment, mortification, study, and surrender of the ego) Stage 3: Asanas (Physical postures) Stage 4: Pranayama (Breath control) Stage 5: Prathyahara (Withdrawal of the senses) Stage 6: Dharana (Concentration) Stage 7: Dhyana (Meditation) Stage 8: Samadhi (The highest superconscious state) To get in to Dhyana, one has to practice and should cross the six stages (preconditions) namely Yama,Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Prathyahara, and Dharana. Being mastered all these stages one will be qualified for Dhyana. Whereas, with Nama the Samadhi can be reached without much effort. In Kali Yuga it is not possible for one to perform Dhyana due to the nature of the yuga. There is no need to seek the Lord by retiring to forests, just have his name in your lips. He will come willingly to you. That is what the great 'Bhagawada Dharma' teaches. This does not undermine the efficacy of Dhyana, but it is only meant to exalt the greatness of Nama Keerthanam. There is no other way but to chant His name. It strengthens your faith, purifies your soul. The mind is a wanderer, only God's name can give it a direction. The Yagnas / Yagas are prescribed as the dharma only for the Thretha Yuga. However performing Yagnas in Kali Yuga we do not have the competency to perform Yagnas strictly as prescribed in Vedas. Yagna has many preconditions. If any dosha or apacharaa has occur in Yagna (if the preconditions are not satisfied), Yagna will not give the expected results, at worse if the preconditions are not satisfied, yagna may deliver unexpected results also. Whereas in case of Nama, it has no preconditions.

Nama Sankeerthanam surpasses all other forms of worship and actions prescribed by the Vedas. Basically Yakshagana - the folk drama of Karnataka - is the product of Vaishanava Bhakthi movement and its origin is connected with a wider historical situation. In order to propagate and spread the message of devotion, it adapted the existing folk as well classical literary forms and performances. It created its own forms. Most of the traditional forms are the result of this phenomenon. Hence there are clear resemblances among the members of the Traditional theatre family like Anakhia nata (Assam) Jathra (Bengal) Chau (Bihar / Bengal) Prahlada Nata (Orissa) Veedhinatakamu (Andhra) Terukoothu and Bhagavathamela (Tamil Nadu) Kathakali (Kerala), Harinama Sankeethanam (Chanting the name of God) also form part of Bhakthi Movement.