1. Namdev says the Name is immortal. Forms are innumerable, but the Name is all that.
2. The Name itself is Form. There is no distinction between Name and Form. God became manifest and assumed Name and Form. Hence the Name the Vedas established. Beware there is no mantra beyond the Name. Those who say otherwise are ignorant. Namdev says the Name is Keshava [God] Himself. This is known only to the loving devotees of the Lord.
3. The all-pervading nature of the Name can only be understood when one recognises one’s own ‘I’. When one’s own name is not recognized, it is impossible to get the all-pervading Name. When one knows oneself, then one finds the Name everywhere. To see the Name as different from the Named creates illusion. Namdev says, ‘Ask the Saints.’
4. No one can realize the Name by practice of knowledge, meditation or austerity.
Surrender yourself first at the feet of the Guru and learn to know that ‘I’ myself is that Name. After finding the source of that ‘I’ merge your individuality in that oneness which is self-existent and devoid of all duality. That which pervades beyond dvaita [duality] and dvaitatita [that which is beyond duality], that Name has come into the three worlds. The Name is Parabrahman itself where there is no action arising out of duality.
The same idea is also found in the Bible: ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’
Q: So the true name of God will ultimately be revealed by self-enquiry?
A: Since you yourself are the form of the japa, if you know your own nature by enquiring who you are, what a wonder it will be! The japa which was previously going on with effort will then continue untiringly and effortlessly in the Heart.
Q: How long should I do japa for? Should I also concentrate on an image of God at the same time?
A: Japa is more important than external form. It must be done until it becomes natural. It starts with effort and is continued until it proceeds of itself. When natural it is called realization.
source: David Godman, Be As You Are, The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi p. 74