Om Sweet Om

Om Sweet Om


Obama on Rama

posted by Vineet Chander

My inbox was flooded today with emails from friends, co-workers, and family members, full of smiley face emoticons and an overuse of exclamation marks, excitedly directing me to YouTube to see President Obama deliver his Diwali Message. The two minute video has Mr. Obama summarizing the significance of Diwali for Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, and asking that we take the opportunity to reflect on those less fortunate.

Of particular delight to Vaishnava-Hindus (the majority of the folks flooding my inbox): in recounting one of the more popular Diwali narratives, President Obama took the name of Lord Rama. According to the tradition, one’s life can be perfected just by uttering once the sacred sound of Rama’s name.

Whether one believes that Obama earned cosmic credits by mentioning Rama by name, or just that he racked up good PR with the Hindu-American community, I expect that the emails flooding my inbox — smiley faces, exclamation marks, and all — will keep coming.

Here’s the video:

Video courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov and YouTube. After the video playsthere may be several links presented to other videos. Om Sweet Om has no control over the selections presented and is notresponsible for their contents.



  • bird

    What a lucid and meaningful description of Diwali. I didn’t really know what it was. Thank you, Mr. President, for acknowledging the millions of people who celebrate this holiday and for sharing its blessings. And thanks to Vineet for airing this video and post. Fantastic!

  • Your Name

    I thought Obama’s comments were absolutely wonderful. I do not recall a single past US President making a direct overture to Diwali or any Hindu practice, ever…at all.
    That alone, to me is a significant offering of peace and fellowship.
    Chanting the name of God, or Ramanama is, of course, a major spiritual practice. It was one of the spiritual practices of Mahatma Gandhi.
    Here are two links to Mahatma Gandhi’s discussion of Ramanama:
    Mahatma Gandhi on Ramanama:
    http://home.att.net/~s-prasad/mkrama.htm
    http://www.mkgandhi.org/momgandhi/chap15.htm
    and here is a link to a free download of Gandhi’s favorite, song, a hymn to Sri Rama:
    Ragupati Raghava Ragavan
    http://www.lilydiamond.com/EarthDay20007.html
    +++
    Lastly, I do want to mention that I am not sure that the title of the blog refers to the sacred mantra Om in a respectful manner.
    When I lived in a (Bhakti Yoga) ashram, we were specifically instructed not to use holy names in this kind of joking context.
    Namaste

  • http://7n4d4r sue ram

    deepavali like the south indians say is more difficult to say than deevali like the northerners say. Means the same the same god celeberation etc. Happy deepavali.

  • sue ram

    what a president what understanding what a way to explain to even the ignorant hindus like me! God bless the president in his difficult times and a long healthy happy prosperous life.

  • Your Name

    Could someone explain the formal practices of worship of Sri Rama in greater detail?

  • Barbara

    Beware of a serpant who will do or say anything to make followers of any and all religions change to the serpants beliefs. By the time you see what is happening, it will be too late!!

  • faithinthedesert

    I thought it was fantastic.
    Barbara, We should all be cautious of this. I agree. Hopefully, his intentions are true.

  • Lok Khatiwada

    Thanks a lot our president.Thanks for being disinterested.Thanks for letting the people know the true meaning of dipawali.God bless Obama and let success comes in his hands in full measures.

  • Eric

    I totally agree with Barbara. Obama IS a serpent.

  • J.H. Solomon, II, PhD

    One is commended if one does something to reach out to others and one is commended if one does not. I think one should begin to practice what ones claims to preach, and not be so quick to call others ‘serpents’, and claim we must all be ‘cautious’. And you claim to have faith?

  • http://YouTube Baji Milici

    I agree — “I thought Obama’s comments were absolutely wonderful. I do not recall a single past US President making a direct overture to Diwali or any Hindu practice, ever…at all.
    That alone, to me is a significant offering of peace and fellowship.
    Chanting the name of God, or Ramanama is, of course, a major spiritual practice. It was one of the spiritual practices of Mahatma Gandhi.”
    Whenever I hear him speak, I just think — wow where have all the other President’s fallen short of observing diverse religions other than the one “Narrow Minded” belief system that I refer to at “Western Christianity” — that leaves everyone else out.
    Only because they base their beliefs on an ill-translated version of what many call “God’s Word” — I am stating this after having been in a Biblical Research Ministry. — So, just to say, I am so happy we have a more broadminded, intelligent President.
    Praise!

  • Ling

    I believe more and more each day the saying I heard when I was younger “the name of Shri Rama will be uttered at least once in EVERY house hold” thus each one of us will receive the blessings of the Divine. May God continue to guide President Obama and his family.

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