Relation Between Nama and the Form
Is it necessary to meditate on the form while practising nama? As a matter of fact, the two are inseparable. Nama existed before the form, and it outlasts the form. Nama, indeed, pervades the form. Nama transcends the limits of time and space; consequently, it is the truth, the ultimate reality. So, to chant nama repeatedly, unceasingly, is the main thing. If the form is concurrently visualized, well and good. But even otherwise, the form does figure in the meditation on nama, though remotely, subtly. Suppose a man is repeating 'Rama, Rama' in his meditation, while as often happens, his mind is distracted by some other thoughts. If unexpectedly we ask him whose nama he is chanting, he will say, "That of Rama;" if pressed further, "which Rama -- your servant named Rama?", he will retort, "of course, Rama the son of Dasharatha!" This proves that while chanting nama there is a definite though subconscious awareness of the form. Therefore, go ahead with the chanting of nama, whether or not the form is also visualized simultaneously; for, nama' includes the form, too.
When we think of a person whom we already know, the form comes to the mind first, and then his name; when we are not acquainted with a person, it is his name that comes to the mind first, and the form follows. Being unacquainted with God as yet, we are unfamiliar with His form; but surely we can chant His nama. It is our experience even now that as we chant His nama we do have Him in mind. Besides His form is far from definite. In the temples we may see a black-stone image in one, a marble one in another; one icon may be small, another large; and yet, they are all Rama. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Being is a formless entity; and therefore, for any particular person, it is of the form he imagines. Therefore we may meditate on Him as having any form that we fancy. The nama gives rise to forms that are really numberless, and they all stand for the same, single Lord. Therefore, nama is supreme. I exhort you to ponder on and chant this nama with a feeling of love, and you shall ever be in supreme bliss.
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