Sri Rama Navami – Ram or Rama?

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara – One of our well learned volunteer has explained the usage of Ram vs. Rama and what is the correct way to pronounce it. There are a few more parts that will be posted on this subject. For now, let us read this explanation, learn, and share. Rama Rama.

Sri Rama Jayam

Sri Vedavyaasaaya Namah
Sri Ganapathaye Namah

Hanuman’s source of Strength –

      यत्र यत्र रघुनाथकीर्तनं तत्र तत्र कृतमस्तकांजलिम्

वाष्पवारिपरिपूर्णालोचनं मारुतिं नमत राक्षसान्तकम् ॥

Wherever the glories of Raghunatha are sung, there, with hands held over His bowed head in salutation, and eyes filled with tears, Maruti (Bhakta Hanuman) is present; I Salute Maruti who puts an end to the Rakshasas.

Sri Rama Navami is approaching, so let us relish the importance of Rama Nama which has endless glories. Anjaneyar is a powerful being, well versed in the sixty-four arts and nine Vyakaranas (rules of grammar). None could defeat him, even Siva couldn’t defeat his own avatar, Anjaneya in a duel.

The secret of Anjaneya’s strength is:

  1. Good regulation of breath, thus his mind is calm and active.
  2. Rama NamamEven we can be like Hanuman (at least in a few aspects), all we need is Pranaayamam which will pacify the mind, other things also pacify the mind.  Then you need Rama Nama.

    RAma Nama – So many stotras, mantras, tantras are there but Anjaneyar keeps doing only Rama Japam and nothing else. Don’t skip Nithyakarma and cite Anjaneya as an example, Hanuman is an exception.  Do Sandhyavandanam then Rama Japam.

    We shall focus on Rama Namam. Many mistakes are being made even in telling Rama Namam. Periyava must forgive me for pointing out this mistake.

    सत्यम् ब्रूयात् प्रियम् ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् |
    प्रियम् नानृतं ब्रूयात् एष धर्मः सनातनः ||

    Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavathpadhar tells ” Speak truth in such a way that is pleasing to others, never speak truth which is unpleasant to others. Never tell a untruth, even if it is pleasant. This is the path of Sanatana Dharma.”

    We must pronounce it as “RAMA” not RAM.

    ராம not ராம். राम not राम्  Hindi will confuse you, use Sanskrit for this. Rama is not correctly pronounced, it becomes a mantra if pronounced as Ram.

    I’m not finding fault with anyone for saying Ram, but Rama is the apt pronunciation. Rama is 2 aksharas not 1 akshara. If we say Ramachandran or Sitaraman, we say it correctly but in the case of only Ram.

    There is Ram but it is one akshara mantra that needs some regulations. Rama needs no strict regulations like Ram.

    Do not worry if you have been telling this the incorrect way, all this while you remembered Rama, that is enough. Now, let’s correct ourselves.

    “The safest way is to chant Rama or Sri Rama Jayam.”

    Explanation with Chandas

    Everyone of you reading this must be in a position to explain this.

    There are many Chandas like Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtup etc. We will explain a mantra with Anushtup Chandas,

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
    Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

    हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण। कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे ।
    हरे राम हरे राम । राम राम हरे हरे ॥

    Anushtup means 32 aksharas.

    How to count aksharas for Chandas ?

    ह- This is counted as one. A Swvara (vowel) must be present along with a Vyanjana (consonant) then it is counted as an akshara.

    ம – This is one akshara, ma. ம் – This is not one akshara.

    म् – This not an akshara and this must be not counted for Chandas. Consonant is not having a svara attached with it.

    Now, count the aksharas in the Hare Krishna mantra, 8 in each paadam (foot) not padam (word). So, 4 paadams that means 32 totally which implies Anushtup Chandas.

    Now imagine if Ram is used instead of Rama. Only 28 aksharas will be there, then no chandas is formed. Chandas is the foot of the vedas, without proper chandas, concentration of stotra or mantra won’t be there.  Thus, Rama is the apt pronunciation.

    If you see in Sanskrit grammar, only Rama shabha is there. There is no Ram shabda. Even Thyagarajar sings that Rama nama is formed by aksharas from Ashtakshari and  Panchakshari.

    “Ra” from Om Namo Narayanaaya then
    “Ma” from Namah Shivaya. Again, note this “Ma” is taken not ம்.

Many of you might have made mistakes including me. Don’t ponder over it, just carry on. We will explain later why Sri Rama won’t find fault for telling Ram (quoting his upanishad, in part 3) but Rama is the one we need to use.

Another thing you might ask is why in Nama Ramayanam, Ram is used not Rama.

Again, Annamacharya has used Ram or Rama there ? The famous singer sang those Annamacharya keerthanas when she was above 60, she had been acquainted only with Thyagaraja keerthanas. Her husband asked her whether it was possible for her to sing, she replied she could do it. Perhaps, like many of us, Ram was used by her also. This mistake might have been carried forward.

Rama nama means two aksharas only. So, with the above confirmations, I can firmly say RAMA is the right pronunciation.

Rama nama has no regulations, you can chant it whenever possible. This will be a tough topic to grasp, I will continue with the main content in the upcoming parts.

Sri Rama Jayam.

Categories: Deivathin Kural


22 replies

  1. Neem Karoli Baba was always chanting RAM RAM RAM. There are videos on Youtube that prove this.
    However, I choose to chant RAMA RAMA because it contains Brahman and Shakti. Therefore for me I feel it is more powerful. A Saint is beyond such differences. I do not feel qualified to take such liberties.

    However, I am an American Jew who is a devotee of Rama. Perhaps I have no right to have an opinion on this matter. Nevertheless, this is how I feel

    • Dear Sri Phillip Marcus

      What matters here is Bhakti (devotion) towards Ram(a). You call HIM as Ram, Rama, Sitapathi or any other name, HE will still bless you. Bhakti and Shraddha are two primary things required. I think you have that and you are most qualified in this regard. Keep chanting……

      Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama. Pahimam, Pahimam, Pahimam.


  3. In sahasranama also it is RAMA only. RAMO VIRAMO sloka RAM IS EKAKSHARA WITH BINDHU and is more a mantra. EKA EKA AKSHARAM PROKTAM MAHAPATHAKA VINASANAM will apply for both RAM EKA AKSHARAM (with bindhu)and RAMA ( EKA EKA AKSHARAM )

  4. I think this discussion is only for academic purpose.
    Thousands of illiterate and rustic devotees o North have attained salvation by chanting the Divine Name of ‘Ram’.
    Then why this sudden discussion on the grammatical purity now ?
    I am reminded of Adi-Shankara’s words ‘Nahi Nahi Rakshathi Dukrunkaraney’.
    Bhakthi is beyond grammar and even Valmiki who uttered the Rama-Mantra as ‘Mara-Mara’ attained salvation.
    So let us keep devotion above all such academic discussions.

    • You sound good Sri Sridhar Garu. I too had a little doubt on this, however, what if one says Ram or Rama, as you mentioned, it is keeping devotion at last, that’s above all. Still, I would say, Mantras must be chanted with correct pronunciation. Veterans may correct me, if I am wrong in my statement.

      • True. What you say applies to Mantras.
        But there is no such restrictions in chanting the Divine Name.
        Too much of scholastic research in devotional chanting will only push us far away from the divine.
        We should chant the Bhagwan Naama correctly, to the extent of one’s ability.
        But when one chants the name with devotion but with some grammatical mistake, it does not count as wrong doing.
        I heard this story in one of the upanyasams of Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma, long back.
        When Poontanam, the great saint of Guryvayoor, chanted the Sahasranamam with a wrong accent, the Lord approved the wrong name also.
        Poontanam chanted the Nama ‘Amara Prabuhu’ as ‘Mara Prabuhu’ which was criticised by some scholars as it gave a wrong meaning. But Guruvayooraopan disapproved of the actions of these scholars and declared from the sanctum ‘I am both ‘Mara prabu’ and also ‘Amara prabu’


      As Srila Prabhupada’s secretary and more than once in any case, I sat before Srila Prabhupada chanting my japa. Sometimes we hear people, and myself, saying “Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare”. Srila Prabhupada would stop me and (more than once) say to me: “Chant the entire mantra” and he would proceed to do so. It is Ra-ma.
      (As told by Pusta Krishna das ACBSP)

      I read somewhere ‘Ram’ is a mantra, not sure in which Upanishad I read that. “Rama” is nama. Nama has no regulations, ‘Ram’ is a mantra with regulations.

  5. Dear Author

    Want to understand why Sri Lakshmanachar wrote a perfectly samskrtham sholka nAma rAmAyanam with a halantha at the end.

    शुद्धब्रह्मपरात्पर राम्॥१॥
    कालात्मकपरमेश्वर राम्॥२॥
    शेषतल्पसुखनिद्रित राम्॥३॥
    ब्रह्माद्यामरप्रार्थित राम्॥४॥
    चण्डकिरणकुलमण्डन राम्॥५॥
    श्रीमद्दशरथनन्दन राम्॥६॥
    कौसल्यासुखवर्धन राम्॥७॥
    विश्वामित्रप्रियधन राम्॥८॥
    घोरताटकाघातक राम्॥९॥
    मारीचादिनिपातक राम्॥१०॥
    कौशिकमखसंरक्षक राम्॥११॥
    श्रीमदहल्योद्धारक राम्॥१२॥
    गौतममुनिसम्पूजित राम्॥१३॥
    सुरमुनिवरगणसंस्तुत राम्॥१४॥
    नाविकधावितमृदुपद राम्॥१५॥
    मिथिलापुरजनमोहक राम्॥१६॥
    विदेहमानसरञ्जक राम्॥१७॥
    त्र्यम्बककार्मुकभञ्जक राम्॥१८॥
    सीतार्पितवरमालिक राम्॥१९॥
    कृतवैवाहिककौतुक राम्॥२०॥
    भार्गवदर्पविनाशक राम्॥२१॥
    श्रीमदयोध्यापालक राम्॥२२॥
    राम् राम् जय राजा राम्।
    राम् राम् जय सीता राम्॥

  6. Dear Author

    Im afraid your reference that Adishankara wrote this is factually not correct.

    “सत्यम् ब्रूयात् प्रियम् ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् |
    प्रियम् नानृतं ब्रूयात् एष धर्मः सनातनः ||
    Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavathpadhar tells ” Speak truth in such a way that is pleasing to others, never speak truth which is unpleasant to others. Never tell a untruth, even if it is pleasant. This is the path of Sanatana Dharma.”

    This is from Manusmirthi MS 4.138 = सत्यं ब्रूयात् …

  7. Did anyone consult our AcharyAs in this regard ? What is our Bala Periyava saying ?

    • I apologize for the wrong reference, it is from Manu Smriti only.
      Rama nama means 2 letters = Ra + Ma.

      Only Veda will remain without mistakes, stotras might develop differences over time.

      So, Nama Ramayanam must have had Rama only. This could be due to the influence of hindi speakers. They use Halanth instead of Akarantham.
      I’m not finding fault with them but Rama must be 2 aksharas.

      Even in Bantu reeti kolu, Thyagarajar uses Rama nama in the lyrics, there is no ram shabdham in sanksrit, akaranth pulingah “rama” shabda is there.

      Since it is “nama” ramayanam, nama means rama, therefore I inferred that rama must have been changed to ram.

      Using ram instead of rama in slokas will disturb the chandas. Suprabatham, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Ramayanam, Thyagarajar songs etc. use rama only, where ram has been used ?

      What is the reason to use ram in Nama Ramayanam ? Nama means 2 letters not 1.

      This has been written after consulting Sanskrit scholars, they have Ph.D. and have completed Veda Adhyayanam also.

      Most of the parts written is only by listening to vidwans, I haven’t read smritis or samhitas.
      I have limited knowledge, but my teachers have great knowledge and are very close to SriMatam and Kanchi Periyavas.

  8. Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare

  9. How about chanting” SRIRAMA Jayarama Jaya Jaya Ram” propagated by Samartha Ramadas?

    • Yes, we can chant that also. Jaya jaya Rama in the end, remember ram is one Akshara mantra with regulations. Mentally prostrate to anjaneyar(Anjaneya’s incarnation is Samantha Ramadan)before starting japam, this will be help to rectify or avoid mistakes while doing Japam.

  10. I think Ram is equally powerful as whole of India reverbates with the mantra JAI SREE RAM or just RAM RAM.
    Rama us basically a South Indian way of pronouncing the Nama.
    So the difference in pronouncing is purely regional.
    After all Valmiki attained realisation by chanting the Rama Nama as MARA MARA.

  11. I heard this in our Mahaperiyava voice…He is reciting RA MA RA MA…

  12. I agree. it must be RA MA and not ram

  13. Yes. The Thrayodasakshari will have 13 aksharas if and only if Rama is pronounced. In two syllables.


  14. May I reiterate the statement, that, , it is RA MA, only with following quotes :
    Vishnu sahasranamam… Phala sruti

    SRI Bhagwan uvaacha. :-
    SRI Rama Rama Ramethi…..

    Kamba Ramayanam—Bala kaandam.

    Nanmai yum selvamum Naalum Nalkume

    Thinmai yum paavamum sithaindu theyume

    Janmamum maranamum indri theerume

    Immai ye RA MA endra IRANDU ezhuthinaal.

  15. Jaya Rama Jaya Rama, Rama Rama Jaya Jaya…..

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