This is a simple folktale which shows the power of chanting Lord Rama‘s name. There was an ashram (hermitage) of a saint in the outskirts of a kingdom. The saint had only one disciple and used to practice vedic rituals daily. One day a farmer in the kingdom happened to kill one of his cows by mistake. Since ‘gow hathya’ (murder of cows) is considered a great sin according to Hindu tradition, the farmer was grief stricken. He decided to approach the hermitage at the outskirts and ask the saint for a way to atone for his sins. The farmer took a basket of fruits with him while going to meet the saint.
When the farmer reached the hermitage, the saint was in meditation. He saw the disciple outside preparing flowers for a pooja. The farmer presented the basket of fruits and explained his problem to the disciple. The disciple advised the farmer to go back home and chant ‘Hare Rama’ 4 times with devotion. He said that it will be enough to atone for the grave sin of killing a cow. The farmer thanked the disciple and went home.
When the saint returned from his meditation, he asked his disciple about the basket of fruits. The disciple explained the farmer’s problem and added that he has advised the farmer to chant Lord Rama’s name 4 times. On hearing this, the saint got enraged and cursed the disciple saying “may you be born as an animal for four more lives”. The disciple was shocked and asked the saint why he was being cursed.The saint explained that the disciple was foolish enough to not realize that a single chanting of Lord Rama’s name is more than enough to atone for any sin. The advice to chant it 4 times showed the disciple’s disbelief in the power of Lord Rama’s name and hence he had to be cursed.
This folktale shows the profound power which a single utterance of the Lord’s name can have. It is mentioned in scriptures that a single utterance of Lord Rama’s name is equivalent to 1000 names of Lord Vishnu. If there is true devotion, then any name you call God with is enough to wash your sins and rejuvenate your soul.