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The Rama Bhujanga Stotra is a hymn to Rama composed by the Advaita philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. Here is what he says in verse 3 of the hymn:

yadāvarṇayatkarṇamūle'ntakāle
śivo rāma rāmeti rāmeti kāśyām ।
tadekaṃ paraṃ tārakabrahmarūpaṃ
bhaje'haṃ bhaje'haṃ bhaje'haṃ bhaje'ham ॥

I adore shrI rAma, the Unity, the greatest one, whose name is uttered in the ears of the blessed devotees in KAshi at the time of Death by none other than Lord Shiva Himself. This form/name of the Lord (tArakabrahma) is capable of rescuing devotees from the ocean of samsAra.

Now I'm familiar with the notion of Shiva whispering other things, like the Pranava mantra, into the ears of those who die in Kashi. And I'm familiar with the notion of Shiva chanting Rama's name in general. But my question is, what scriptures mention Shiva whispering Rama's name into the ears of those who die in Kashi?

By the way, the words "rāma rāmeti rāmeti" in the second line echo the famous "śri rāma rāmeti rāmeti" verse where Shiva tells Parvati about the glories of chanting Rama's name.

EDIT: I just found a reference to this notion in Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas:

The might of Rama's name is immeasurable ; so tell the saints, the Puranas and the Vedic commentaries ; the immortal Sambhu, who is the lord Siva, the perfection of wisdom and goodness, is ever repeating it: though all the four groups of animate beings in the world attain to salvation if they die in his city Kasi, yet, O king of saints, it is by the virtue of Rama's name; and therefore Siva in his compassion enjoins its use.

ÉDIT 2: @Vishalprabhulawande points out that in this video, the Shankaracharya of Puri also says that Shiva whispers Rama's name into the ears of those who die in Kashi.

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    This misconception came due to wrong translation of Ramatapini Upanishad-Poorvopanishat 6.2 while Sanskrit verses doesn't mention Rama Nama at all. See this answer.
    – The Destroyer
    Jan 13, 2018 at 6:27
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    @TheDestroyer Well, I'm not quoting the Rama Tapaniya Upanishad, I'm quoting Adi Shankaracharya's Rama Bhujanga Stotra. Jan 13, 2018 at 6:29
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    @TheDestroyer Well, regardless I want to see if this notion has any scriptural basis. Jan 13, 2018 at 6:44
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    @thedestroyer i dont think its misconception. I recently heard a discourse of puri jagadguru where He said the same thing. Jan 17, 2018 at 2:35
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    @keshavSrinivasan on internet.see this video here He says it right in the beginning. 1st 5 mins. Feb 6, 2018 at 3:10

3 Answers 3

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It is present in Padma Purana Uttara Khanda Chapter 243 Lord Shiva speaks Lord Rama as follows:

O Rama, we two are venerable to the world. You two (Sita and Rama) are always venerable to us. Gaurl mutters your name. I mutter your formula. To one desiring to die at Mani-karnika and remaining in half of its water I give your emancipating formula, giving (i.e. leading to) Brahman. [35-40]

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रामनाम्ना शिव काश्यां भुत्वा पूत शिव स्वयम्। स निस्तारयते जीवराशीन् काशीश्वर सदा।।

Shiv samhita 2.18

Shiv himself gives Tarak mantra “ram” to those jivas who didn’t get moksh in Kashi.

अहं भवन् नामगृणन्कुतार्थो वसामि काश्यामनिशं भवान्या। मुमूर्षमाणस्य विमुक्तोऽहं दिशामि मंत्रो तव रामनाम ।।

Adhyatm ramayan 6.15.62

Shiv says: I always chant ram naam while residing in Kashi. There I use to give Tarak mantra ram ram to dying person…

उपदिशाम्यहं काश्यां तेऽन्तकाले नृणां श्रुतौ। रामेति तारकं मंत्र तमेव विद्धि पार्वती।।

Anand Ramayan yatra khand 2.15-16

Shiv says that he always ram naam while residing in Kashi and starts giving advice of taraak mantra “ram” in Kashi.

तत्रोत् क्रमणकाले तु साक्षाद् विश्वेश्वरः स्वयम्। व्याचष्टे तारकं ब्रह्म येनासौ तन्मयो भवेत्।।

Skandpuran 4.1.25.73

When the soul comes out of the body, then mahadev himself gives Tarak Brahm “ram” to the dying person.

यत्र साक्षान् महादेवो देहांते स्वयम् ईश्वरः। व्याचष्टे तारकं ब्रह्म तत्र एव ह्यविमुक्तये।।

Padmapuran 3.33.47

Mahadev who is himself ishwar gives Tarak mantra “ram” at the time of death while residing in Kashi

यत्र साक्षान् महादेवो देहांते स्वयम् ईश्वरः। व्याचष्टे तारकं ब्रह्म तत्र एव ह्यविमुक्तये।।

Kurma puran 1.31.61

Mahadev who is himself ishwar gives Tarak mantra “ram” at the time of death while residing in Kashi

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The answer given by the user Sarvabhouma although correct doesn't explicitly mentions the taraka mantra exact wording letters.

The original Sanskrit verse (in Padm Puran's Uttar Khand, Ch 243, Verse 35-40) only mention (ते मंत्रं) i.e. Your's (Shri Ram mantr) as follows

मुमूर्षोर्मणिकर्ण्यां तु अर्द्धोदकनिवासिनः । अहं दिशामि ते मंत्रं तारकं ब्रह्मदायकम् ॥ ४० ॥

Now what exactly are the syllables of this Ram tarak that Bhagavan Rudr Shankar whispers in the ears of a dying person isn't detailed in the Padma Puran though.

Nevertheless, what exactly does Mahadev Shiv Shankar Bhagavan whispers in the ears of the dying or departed is answered By Mahadev ji himself in the Narad Panchratr, a sacred Vaishnav aagam text.

The Tarak Mantra of Bhagwaan Shri Rama ji that is whispered by Shankar ji in the dying person's ears in the Kashi city is =

ॐ रां रामाय स्वाहा

This is detailed in the Narada Pancharatr aagam, in its Second Night's Seventh Chapters between verse 8 to 13.

श्रीनारद उवाच

प्राणिनां येन मन्त्रेण मुक्तिर्भवति शाश्वती । वाराणस्यां त्वयोक्तं च तन्मां कथितुमर्हसि ॥८॥अन्यथाऽहं कृपासिन्धो सद्यस्त्यक्ष्ये कलेवरम् । मां भक्तमनुरक्तं च नाथ मा कुरु वञ्चनाम् ॥९॥

Narada said: You must tell me the mantra that you give to people who are on the verge of death at Varanasi, enabling them to attain eternal liberation. O ocean of mercy, if you do not disclose this to me then I will give up my life right now. My lord, please do not deceive this soul who is devoted to you.

श्रीमहादेव उवाच

गुप्तं वेदपुराणेषु चेतिहासेषु नारद । पञ्चरात्रेषु सर्वेषु कथं वक्ष्यामि मां वद ॥१०॥ अहं हत्याभयेनैव वक्ष्यामि गोपनं परम् । श्रूयतां दक्षकर्णे च न वक्तव्यं कदाचन ॥११॥ मन्त्रोऽयं मन्त्रसाराद्यः सर्वाद्यवीजमध्यमः । पञ्चवर्गाद्वितीयश्च वर्णश्च गुरुमान् भवेत् ॥१२॥ पञ्चमे पञ्चमो वर्णो विष्णुमान् ङेन्त एव सः । जगत्पूतप्रियान्तश्च मन्त्रः सप्ताक्षरो मुने ॥१३॥

Mahadeva said: O Narada, how can I tell you something that is confidential to the Vedas, histories, Puranas and pancaratras?

This mantra is the original mantra and it is the essence of all mantras. It begins with om, followed by the bija, srim, and then the second letter, ra, that comes after the five sets of consonants, sounded with a long a, along with the fifth letter of the fifth set of consonants, ending in the fourth dative case. It is completed with the word, svaha.

Now there seems to be a difference of opinion between what is "sarvadyabijamadhyamah" = श्रीं or रां.

As per Srila Prabhupad swami of the Gaudiy vaishnav sect it is श्रीं, thus...

The seven-syllable mantra is =

ॐ श्रीं रामाय स्वाहा

(or in its' transliterated form = oṃ śrīṃ rāmāya svāhā.)

ON THE OTHER HAND...

As per Swami Vijnananda of the Ramkrishna Monks Order, its रां, and therefore..

ॐ रां रामाय स्वाहा

(or in its' transliterated form = oṃ rāṃ rāmāya svāhā)

Swami Vijananda ji in his notes explains his reasonings as follows, I'm pasting the screenshot of his translation.

enter image description here

I consulted another translation from a Publishing house in Varanasi called Pracya Prakshans. They also interpret it रां, as follows.

enter image description here

Maybe, Prabupada ji interpreting it as श्रीं, is using some other methodology or sources.


Thus, depending upon interpretation, either the Tarak Mantra of Shri Ram ji as per Narada Pancharatr, is either

ॐ रां रामाय स्वाहा

Or

ॐ श्रीं रामाय स्वाहा


Whatever is the case, Besides Padma Puran, even a Pancharatr aagam called Narada Pancharatr, mention Shiv Shankar ji whispering Shri Rama ji's name into the ears of those who die in Kashi.

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