Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

What is the meaning of om namo bhagavate vasudevaya?

In the dvadasaksara-mantra, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, every word is a Holy Name of God. Krsnasays,

raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya

prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ

praṇavaḥ sarva-vedeṣu

śabdaḥ khe pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu

«O son of Kuntī [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.» [Bhagavad-gita 7.8]

oṁ ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma

vyāharan mām anusmaran

yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaṁ

sa yāti paramāṁ gatim

«After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllableom, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.» [Bhagavad-gita 8.13]

So the omkara represents Krsna, and it is identical in quality with Brahman, the primordial spiritual substance.

Namah means to offer obeisances, and it represents the process of devotional service. After realizing that the real self is composed of pure Brahman—consciousness or spirit—then what do we do? Perform worship of the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, or Krsna. This process of devotional service is also completely spiritual in quality, because it is eternal. Whatever is eternal is actually real, because it has neither beginning nor end, unlike this temporary, unreal material world.

nāsato vidyate bhāvo

nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ

ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ‘ntas

tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ

«Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both.» [Bhagavad-gita 2.16]

Bhagavan means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is complete in all spiritual opulences.

yathā tvaṁ kṛpayā bhūtyā

tejasā mahimaujasā

juṣṭa īśa guṇaiḥ sarvais

tato ’si bhagavān prabhuḥ

«O my Lord, because You are endowed with causeless mercy, all opulences, all prowess and all glories, strength and transcendental qualities, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of everyone.» [Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.19.5]

Especially He has unlimited power, wealth, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Finally, in the entire history and literature of the world, there is only one personality who manifests all these qualities in full:Krsna the son of King Vasudeva.

kṛṣṇāya vāsudevāya

devakī-nandanāya ca


govindāya namo namaḥ

«Let me therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has become the son of Vasudeva, the pleasure of Devakī, the boy of Nanda and the other cowherd men of Vṛndāvana, and the enlivener of the cows and the senses.» [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.21]

This dvadasaksara-mantra, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, is very high; it was given for those who do not have the qualification to receive formal initiation into the lineage of the Esoteric Teaching, but who want to approach the supreme destination of the spiritual world. If you chant this mantra daily with love and devotion, then very soon you will experience symptoms of transcendental consciousness.

Written by David Bruce Hughes

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