Though Krishna and Rama are said to be incarnations of Vishnu, many scriptures tell us that names of Krishna and Rama are superior to the name of Lord Vishnu. In the Padma Purana Lord Shiva tells Mata Parvati the following:

Ishwara uvacha, ''rama rameti rameti, rame rame manorame;
sahasra-namabhis tulyam, rama-nama varanane''

Ishwara said, "O beautiful one, I chant the holy name of Rama, Rama, Rama and thus constantly enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Rama (Ramachandra) is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Vishnu." (Padma Purana, Uttara-Khanda 71.331)

The Padma Purana also states:

visnor ekaika namapi, sarva vedadhikam matam
tadrk nama sahasrena, rama nama samasmrtam

Each Name of Lord Vishnu is greater and more potent than the entire Vedas combined together, and Lord Rama's Name alone is more superior than a thousand Names of Lord Vishnu.

Then in the Brahmanda Purana 2.36.19, Sheshnaga says to Mother Earth:

''sahasra-namnam punyanam, trir-avrttya tu yat phalam;
ekavrttya tu krsnasya, namaikam tat prayacchati''

''If one utters Shri-Krishna-nama once, one obtains the same result that comes from chanting the pure Vishnu-Sahasranama (a thousand Names of Lord Vishnu) three times.''

Why is this that the names of Lord Krishna and Rama are superior to the name of Lord Vishnu if the latter is the source of Lord Krishna and Rama?

  • 3
    There is a story that in one of the rama avataras, sage Narada asked Rama for the boon that the name "Rama" be more potent than any other names of the lord. Rama granted him this wish.
    – user1195
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 5:00
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    Rama or Krishna names are also the names of Vishnu . You will get the same punya even if you say of the name of Vishnu also. Here, no name is inferior. Each name of the lord is unique and has its own significance. It is your own choice which name to take. It will reach VIshnu only. There is a method where sanskrit letters are converted into numbers. Here रा =2 and म = 5. Rama=10. Saying Rama thrice makes thousand. Thus it equals saying the name of Vishnu 1000 times. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 5:54
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    @SreeCharan Can u pls explain this (Here रा =2 and म = 5. Rama=10. Saying Rama thrice makes thousand. Thus it equals saying the name of Vishnu 1000 times.) I am not getting it. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 7:36
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    @moonstar2001 I wonder why Sage Narada asked for that boon because he alsways chants name Narayana, not Rama. If he likes Narayana name more than Rama and any other name then why did he asked for that boon? Why he asked for only Rama's name?
    – Vishvam
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 7:27
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    @brahmajijnasa Even if we say that Krishna is superior to Rama, how can you conclude that he is even superior to Vishnu? Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu - that's the eternal truth.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 4:48

4 Answers 4


I am summarizing the logic here.

Hinduism is a landscape of infinite gods with infinite powers.

Our Ista Devi/Devata i.e. personal/favourite god is the pathway to the God (Para).

The Infinite (notice the capital/uppercase 'I' in Infinite) takes physical form and descends onto planet Earth to play the lead role in Avatar Lila. This descent (Avatar) by the Infinite is necessary to cause a well-defined and specific break through for humanity.

Non-enlightened humans need a manifested representation of the Infinite to connect with the Infinite. (Vyakta of the Avyakta)

Only Shiva is worshipped in his formless form i.e. Linga, its still a form nonetheless.

In this case The Infinite is Lord Vishnu, and manifested representation are Lord Rama, Lord Krishna etc. Since their AvatarLila continues to fundamentally shape and guide the current Humanity they are most remembered.

Lord Rama showed us how to live like an ideal Human and ideal King inspite of extraordinary trouble and established the Grand Narrative of Bharat.

Lord Krishna "created" the pathway for Bhakti among other "tools" to survive and flourish in this KaliYuga.

Keep in mind Lord Rama is a Lila Avatar where has Krishna is a PurnaAvatar. It doesn't mean one is greater than other, its just means the "tools" the Infinite had to bring down were different to execute its "mission".

When we remember and perform an "action" we imbibe those "characteristics". By constantly remembering Lord Rama or Lord Krishna through different methods we imbibe the teachings given to us by those Avatars. Hence, not just doing their puja but enacting their Lila is essential part of worship.

Worshipping Avatars is a scalable model of Moksha in the absence of a Living Guru.

References :

  1. "Science of descent" http://books.nithyananda.org/product/avatar-shastra/ (pg 16 onwards)

  2. "Ram Leela is a Living Representation of "The Hindu Grand Narrative". # 37" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAt3aD51sUM

  3. "Distinction Between a Living Guru and a Deity #14" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP0JLpTLOWU

  4. "Seeking is THE Hindu Grand Narrative!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp2ktJ6Bgg0 (this is a long video but very deep into nuances)


Such lines are just eulogy to the God because रामः (raamah) and कृष्णः (krishnah) indeed part of few versions of Vishnu Sahasranama.

This is similar how supreme deity from one Purana to another differs and that deity is extolled with comparative eulogy which just might be opposite to the eulogy of different deity in another Purana.


The book Sri Sri Ramanamamahatmya by Sri Sitaram Omkarnath discussed this in detail. The entire book is on the glory of the Rama nama with innumerable quotations from scriptures. It is included in the 11th volume of Sri Sri Omkarnath Rachanavali. He has also written Sri Sri Krishnanaamamahima, Sri Sri Namamahimamrita and Sri Sri Namamaritalahari.

Superiority varies from scripture to scripture according to the liking of the aspirant.


Name of Krishna is not superior to Rama. At the end of Vishnu Sahasranaam lord Shiva concludes that out of all the names (including Krishna) Raam Naam is equal to the whole thing. Why?

Because according to Raam Rahasya Upanishad of Atharva Veda, Raam Naam = Parbrahm. https://www.hinduwebsite.com/vedicsection/upanishads/ramarahasya.asp

Similarly, in the seed-syllables Rama, is contained this whole moving and unmoving world. The name Rama is thus regarded as the seed with both these meanings.

The origin of this is described in Ramcharitramanas Aranya Kand Doha 42

Even though my lord has many names, each greater than the rest, as the Vedas declare, let the name RAMA, my lord, surpass all other names in exterminating the whole brood of sins even as a fowler kills an entire flock of birds. May the name RAMA shine as the moon and the other names as so many stars in the cloudless sky of Your devotee's hear during the full-moon night of devotion to You." The all-merciful Lord of Raghus, replied to the sage, "So be it!" Thereupon Narada felt much delighted at heart and bowed at the Lord's feet.

जद्यपि प्रभु के नाम अनेका। श्रुति कह अधिक एक तें एका ॥ राम सकल नामन्ह ते अधिका। होउ नाथ अघ खग गन बधिका ॥ दो. राका रजनी भगति तव राम नाम सोइ सोम। अपर नाम उडगन बिमल बसुहुँ भगत उर ब्योम ॥ ४२(क) ॥ एवमस्तु मुनि सन कहेउ कृपासिंधु रघुनाथ। तब नारद मन हरष अति प्रभु पद नायउ माथ ॥ ४२(ख) ॥

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