There is a widely prevalent habit now of judging others and labeling them as theists or atheists. What do you know, what can you know, of the inner working of another’s mind?
There was once a queen who was a great devotee of Rama. She felt so sad that her husband, the Raja, never even uttered the name of Rama and had no devotion. She had vowed that on the first occasion on which she got evidence of his devotion, or at least respect for repeating Rama’s name, she would conduct ritualistic worship in all the temples and feed the poor on a lavish scale.
Then, one night, while fast asleep, the Raja uttered Rama’s name thrice plaintively and prayerfully. She heard this repetition of the Name and was happy at the discovery of her husband’s devotion to Rama. She ordered general rejoicing throughout the kingdom and the feeding of the poor. The Raja did not know the reason for the celebration, for he was told only that it was an order of his wife, which the officers carried out.
Similarly, a husband may not be aware of the excellence of a wife’s spiritual attainments. There is the case of a couple who were proceeding through a thick jungle on pilgrimage to an inaccessible shrine. The husband saw on the foot path a precious stone, shining brilliantly when the sun’s rays fell upon it from between the leaves. He hastily threw some sand over it with a movement of his foot so that his wife may not be tempted to pick it up and become a slave to the tinsel. The wife saw the gesture and chided the husband for still retaining in his mind a distinction between sand and diamond. For her, both were the same.
The Raja who spoke the sacred name of Rama in his sleep felt very sorry, according to the story, that he let Rama’s name out of his mouth, for he believed that no one should know of his ‘love’ for Rama. There are many who will not shout about their guru or their favourite Name and Form, but whether you declare them to others or not, keep them ever in your consciousness.
Repetition of Rama or any other name must be as constant as breathing.