R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma is touted as the t\u0101raka-mantram or the proverbial cruise that ferries man across the ocean of materialistic existence. Much has been said about the efficacy of the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma. The Vi\u1e63\u1e47u-Sahasran\u0101ma glorifies a single utterance of the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma as a peer to the chanting of all thousand names. The most compelling testimony to the efficacy of the N\u0101ma is offered by the anecdote of the dacoit Ratn\u0101kara, who miraculously transformed into Sage V\u0101lm\u012bki. \u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u0930\u093e\u092e\u0928\u093e\u092e\u0938\u093e\u092e\u0930\u094d\u0925\u094d\u092f\u092e\u0924\u0941\u0932\u0902 \u0935\u093f\u0926\u094d\u092f\u0924\u0947 \u0926\u094d\u0935\u093f\u091c\u0964 \u0928\u0939\u093f \u092a\u093e\u092a\u093e\u0924\u094d\u092e\u0915\u0938\u094d\u0924\u093e\u0935\u0924\u094d\u092a\u093e\u092a\u0902 \u0915\u0930\u094d\u0924\u0941\u0902 \u0915\u094d\u0937\u092e\u0903 \u0915\u094d\u0937\u093f\u0924\u094c\u0965 \u015br\u012br\u0101man\u0101ma-s\u0101marthyam-atula\u1e41 vidyate dvija| nahi p\u0101p\u0101tmakas-t\u0101vat-p\u0101pa\u1e41 kartu\u1e41 k\u1e63ama\u1e25 k\u1e63itau|| Bodh\u0101yanasa\u1e41hit\u0101 The efficacy of the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma is such, there is not a sinner upon the phase of the earth whose sin can surpass the ability of the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma to expiate it. Ratn\u0101kara was a feared dacoit who held sway over an entire forest. Anyone who crossed paths with him owed Ratn\u0101kara everything he or she carried on their person. Once, Ratn\u0101kara encountered a rather odd individual in the forest. This recluse was dressed in modest garb, but carried a golden v\u012b\u1e47\u0101. It was none other than the celestial sage, N\u0101rada. Ratn\u0101kara said ominously, \u2018hand over all that you carry, should you wish to live.\u2019 N\u0101rada\u2019s face belied no fear. Innocent as a rose, he looked up at Ratn\u0101kara with eyes drenched in compassion. He said to Ratn\u0101kara, \u2018why do you thieve? Do you not know it is sinful to covet?\u2019 Ratn\u0101kara\u2019s response belied a subtle sense of dharma that lay buried deep within. He said, \u2018I thieve not for myself, but for the benefit of my wife and child. It is my duty as a husband and a father, to provide for them.\u2019 N\u0101rada posed in return, a thought provoking question that left Ratn\u0101kara rather confused. N\u0101rada posed, \u2018Do you believe your wife and child would participate in the consequences of the sin you commit by thieving and terrorizing?\u2019 Unsure, Ratn\u0101kara decides to run back to his hut deeper in the forest to find out. He ties N\u0101rada to a tree nearby and rushes homeward. He finds to his utter consternation, neither his wife nor his child is willing to bear the burden of his karma. Ratn\u0101kara recognizes that he alone is responsible for his actions, and the fruit of his actions accrue to him alone. Remorseful of all the sins he had committed in the past, Ratn\u0101kara rushes to N\u0101rada, seeking a way to expiate his sins. Compassion incarnate, N\u0101rada consoles the desolate Ratn\u0101kara and convinces him, his life too can be redeemed. N\u0101rada endeavors to initiate Ratn\u0101kara in the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma, but Ratn\u0101kara\u2019s tongue, inured by the falsehood and cruel words he had uttered, was precluded from pronouncing the redeeming N\u0101ma. Yet again, the compassion of his guru came to Ratn\u0101kara\u2019s rescue. N\u0101rada split the syllables up and inverted them. He initiated Ratn\u0101kara, \u2018Ma\u2026. R\u0101\u2026., Ma\u2026 R\u0101\u2026, Ma.. R\u0101.., Ma. R\u0101, Mar\u0101, Mar\u0101mar\u0101mar\u0101ma\u2026.\u2019 Ratn\u0101kara\u2019s cup overfilled with gratitude. He became consumed by the N\u0101ma, lost track of the world around, his mind stilled in the most charming of sounds he had ever heard. Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Ratn\u0101kara was no longer Ratn\u0101kara. He communed with the N\u0101ma, becoming inextricably one with it. One fine day, his rapturous trance ended. He opened his eyes and stood up, startling those around. He had just emerged from an anthill that had covered his person. An anthill had formed over him while he was wrapped in the Divine N\u0101ma, oblivious as much to his body as the world outside. He came to be known as V\u0101lm\u012bki from that day forward, born as he was, off an anthill (valm\u012bka\u1e25.) Not only had the R\u0101ma-N\u0101ma washed away the dross of his sinful ways, but had transformed him into the perfect receptacle through which would flow the peerless R\u0101m\u0101ya\u1e47am.