Imagine yourself sitting in the Prayer Room (some call it Pooja Room) of your house. You have just lit the lamps, arranged the flowers on the tray and now begin your prayerful worship of your chosen Lord. You now begin to offer flowers as you recite the 108 names of the Lord (Ashtottara Shatanamavali) or the 1000 names (Sahasranamavali) of your beloved God and you are immersed in His thought, His bounty. You are joyous recollecting the grace of the Divine Mother. Her beautiful form, enchanting leelas mesmerizes your being and brings you lot of Ananda and Trupthi (happiness and sense of satisfaction).
Each name such as Keshava, Shiva, Hari, Achyuta, Madhava, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Govinda, Trivikrama, Padmanabha, Savitri, Sandya, Rama, Krishna etc constantly reminds you of that one Lord.
And then your morning worship is over and you step out of your Prayer Room and get started with the tasks of the day. You finish your breakfast and proceed to the market for some purchases or proceed to your workplace. A friend comes by and tells you, “Hey buddy, it was Ramesh and Keshav, dont you remember?”
You: Yes Yes. I know them. What about them?
Friend: Didnt you know. They dont belong to our caste. Lets not invite them for our get-togethers further on.
You: Sure Bro. Do you know what is happening these days at home? My mother is treating my maid servants daughter Saraswati, like my own daugther Lakshmi. Dont you think its so incorrect and absurd. Afterall Saraswati is a maid servants daughter. How can she be allowed to sit at our dining table, sleep on our bed and sit on our sofa in the living room. This is transgressing limits. Dont you agree?
Friend: Yes of course.
Lets reflect on these two scenes
In the Prayer Room, we recited so many names and thought of the Lord for every name we chanted.
In the workplace, we called out the very same names and we thought of the numerous distinctions that apparently divide us on lines of caste, status, creed, color, sect, gender, religion, etc
While chanting the many names inside the Pooja Room, we remembered the One Form and in the workplace while we took the many names we remembered them as many as distinct and divisively.
Instead, Can we…
While chanting the many names inside the Pooja Room, let us remember not the One Form, but the many forms through which God exists in this world. As you chant ‘Lakshmi’, remember your maid servants daughter as the form of the Lord. As you chant ‘Ramesh and Keshava’ remember your acquaintances as the form of the Lord. As you chant ‘Govinda and Krishnappa’ remember your gardner and your driver as the forms of God. Visualize the self same Lord who exists in each and erase the distinctions and inspire in yourself compassion, equality, respect, love and justice.
While taking the many names as we go about our daily work, referring to one person or the other, let each such name remind us of the One Lord.
Thus, in the Prayer Room, as we chant the many names, lets remember the Lords many forms. and in our life outside the Prayer Room, as we mention many names, lets remember the One Lord.
Relefect on this, Reverse it like this in your actual practice and experience the result of such a change.
Lets pray to the One as Many and revere the Many as One.