The Greatness of the Mantra
‘Om NamoBhagavateVasudevaya’ is one of the highly sacred Mantras of our land. This hymn is dedicated to Vasudeva or Vasudeva Krishna, a very important Avatar of Lord Vishnu, the supreme God of protection. This is a very powerful invocation taken with respect in sacred texts like Vishnu Purana, which is one of the Mahapuranas that speaks about the greatness of Vishnu and his Avatars.
The efficacy of this mantra is such that this can provide spiritual guidance for one to attain the ultimate freedom from samsara, the eternal cycle of birth and death. Hence, this twelve-lettered mantra is hailed variously as the prime among the Vishnu Mantras, the ultimate one and also as the hymn of liberation.
Krishna is regarded as perhaps the greatest of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu, who takes upon himself the responsibility of safeguarding the lives of the subjects, and descends on earth whenever the need arises, for ensuring a peaceful and honorable existence for them. Many were the roles that Krishna played during his lifetime on earth, as he stood towering there as a symbol of love, mercy, knowledge, power, wisdom and the highest consciousness. He remains as the central character of the stupendous epic Mahabharatha, while the sacred Bhagavata Purana is dedicated almost entirely to his divines sports and exploits. However, Krishna is not merely a mythological figure but is a historical entity too, who lived in flesh and blood in the midst of the people of our land.
Meaning of the Mantra
‘Om NamoBhagavateVasudevaya’ – is a salutation to the Lord and can simply mean ‘I bow down to Vasudeva.’ However, this remains profound in its sense and significance.
‘Om’ is an eternal, universal sound and is hailed as Shabdha Brahman, the ultimate principle of speech sound. It denotes the supreme spirit. ‘Namo’ is a humble salutation. ‘Bhagavate’ is the supreme divinity, known generally as God. ‘Va(a)sudevaya’ literally means ‘the son of Vasudeva’ and refers to Lord Krishna, who was born the son of Vasudeva. ‘Vasu’ can also mean ‘the one, who is the life force of all beings’ and ‘Devaya’ is the Almighty. Hence ‘Vasudevaya’ can also mean ‘the supreme divinity who lives in all lives.’
The mantra can thus be elaborated to mean ‘Oh Lord Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, the God who dwells in all beings, I bow down to you with all reverence and offer you my humble prayers.’
Efficacy of the Mantra
This is a sacred hymn of enormous potential. It is said that none other than Krishna himself has declared that he will not forsake the one who recites this mantra with faith. Hence it is recommended that this should be chanted by all, any day and every day, and as frequently as possible. As per legends, sage Narada initiated child Dhruva into its chanting, and by reciting this, the boy is said to have obtained the very darshan and grace of Lord Vishnu himself. Saints in the modern times like Swami Vivekananda and Swami Sivananda too have highlighted its greatness in no small measure.
It is firmly believed that reciting this prayer hymn with devotion, meditating on it with a focused mind, performing one’s duties with dedication along with and leaving the results in the hands of the Almighty, will get for the devotees the boundless grace of Lord Krishna and his immense blessings.