The central quest of Indian Spirituality is to achieve the total experience of the One. Man is a spiritual traveler whose man aim, in Indian tradition is to intuit the unity of the one.
The infinitive diversity of the universe as represented by various deities manifest most explicitly in the iconographic image, more abstractly as the yantra or the dynamic scared symbol which represent the metaphysical concept of Indian Philosophy and more subtly as the mantra subtle vibrations which help to intensify the power.
The mantra devoted to Lord Shiva is composed of five letters Panchakshara NA MA SHI VA YA ? depicting the five aspects of Creation, Preservation, Dissolution, Concealment and Realisation. Similarly the mantra devoted of Lord Vishnu would be OM NA MO BHA GA VA TE VA SU DE VA YA and that of Kali ? OM HRIM KRIM and so on.
Ritual mantras may take forms of complex verses, repeated combinations of seed syllables, words, names and in some cases even letters which serve as reminders of these ideas and qualities of either the deities or the Universe.
While the above is considered the route of salvation of the initiated, the Bhakti or devotional method is considered to be simpler and emotional. It deals with love for God. One of the Bhakti forms of worship is Namasankirtanam. Nama or name is considered a characteristic or an attribute of the Lord. As the Lord has infinite characteristics, so too does he have infinite names. Our hymns extol the virtues of the Lord, by his various names. The chanting of the names of the Lord, is considered a means of becoming close to Godhead and merge with it by sheer devotion.
Saint Tyagaraja in his Jnanaranjani kriti, Smarane Sukhamu Sri Rama Nama that merely listening to the Lord?s name is enough. Similarly Bheeshmacharya in the Vishnu Sahasranama says that the devoted adoration of the Lord by reciting his thousand names is superior to all forms of worship.
These words of experienced seers, make it clear that Namasankirtanam is an important and effective path of worship in this Kaliyuga.