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?