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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 23. Prameya: Sri-Nama-Tattva


C H A P T E R 2 3

Prameya: Shri-Nama-Tattva


Bilva-puskarini is a charming village where Bhagavati Bhagirathi

flows in both the northern and western directions. In one

corner of the village, there is a beautiful lake surrounded by bael

trees. On the shore of the lake is the Bilva-paksa Mahadeva Temple,

and Bhavatarana is splendidly situated a little distant from this

temple. The village of Simuliya is between Bilva-puskarini and

Brahmana-puskarini, and all three villages are within the town of

Navadvipa. A wide road leads through the center of Bilva-puskarini,

and Vrajanatha's house is on this road towards the north.


Vijaya Kumara had bidden his sister farewell and walked for some

distance, but on the way he began to think that it would be fitting

to learn shri-nama-tattva from Babaji before he went home. Thinking

like this, he returned to Bilva-puskarini, and said to his sister,

"I will stay here for one or two more days, and then I will return



Vrajanatha became very happy to see his maternal uncle Vijaya

Kumara return. They sat together in the Candi-mandapa and

began discussing the instructions of Dasa-mula. By now,

Suryadeva was preparing to set on the western horizon, and the

birds were quickly flying towards their nests. Just at that time,

two Vaishnava sadhus from the Shri Ramanuja-sampradaya arrived.

They put their asana beneath a jackfruit tree in front of

Vrajanatha's house, collected some sticks from here and there,

and lit a fire. Their foreheads were beautifully adorned with the

tilaka of the Shri Sampradaya, and a sublime peace emanated from

their faces.


Vrajanatha's mother was very hospitable towards guests.

Knowing that they must be hungry, she collected various kinds

of edible ingredients, and placed them before the sadhus, requesting

them to cook and eat. They were satisfied, and began to prepare

their rotis. When Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara saw these

Vaishnavas' peaceful faces, they came and sat with them. Both

Vaishnavas were very pleased to see tulasi-malas on the necks of

Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara, and the twelve marks of tilaka on

their bodies. Spreading their blanket out more, they very respectfully

had them sit down.


In order to become acquainted with them Vrajanatha asked,

"Maharaja, where are you coming from?"


One of the babajis answered, "We have come from Ayodhya. For

many days, we have wanted to take darsana of Shri Navadvipadhama,

the pastime place of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We are so

fortunate that by Bhagavan's mercy we have arrived in Shri

Navadvipa-dhama today. We would like to stay here for a few days

and take darsana of the pastime places of Shriman Mahaprabhu.


"You have certainly arrived in Shri Navadvipa," said Vrajanatha.

"You should rest here today, and take darsana of Shriman

Mahaprabhu's birthplace, and of Shrivasangana." When these two

Vaishnavas heard Vrajanatha's words, they became very blissful and

recited a sloka from the Gita (15.6).


yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama


When one goes to My abode, he does not have to return to

this world.


"Today our lives have become blessed. We have become blessed

by taking darsana of Shri Mayatirtha, which is the chief holy place

of the seven Puris."


Thereafter, both Vaishnavas reflected on artha-pancaka, and presented

Shri Ramanuja's views on these five subjects: sva-svarupa,

para-svarupa, upaya-svarupa, purusartha-svarupa and virodhisvarupa.

Upon hearing these topics, Vijaya Kumara in turn explained

tattva-traya, that is to say, he spoke on Isvara, jiva, prakrti

and their interrelationship. After some time, he said, "What is

the siddhanta in your sampradaya regarding shri-nama-tattva?"

However, Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara were not very impressed

or appreciative of the reply that the two Vaishnavas' gave.


Thereafter, Vrajanatha said to Vijaya Kumara, "Mamaji, after

much deliberation I have concluded that the jiva can only find

his welfare by accepting krishna-nama; there is no other way. The

Lord of our life, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, has descended to this

Mayatirtha to teach suddha-krishna-nama in the world. When Shri

Gurudeva last instructed us, he said that shri-nama is the foremost

of all of the angas of bhakti and that we must make a separate

attempt to understand nama-tattva. So let us go this very day and

try to understand shri-nama-tattva conclusively." Then, after taking

care of the needs of the guests, they departed.


The sandhya had arrived, and darkness was spreading. In

Shrivasangana, Shri Bhagavan's sandhya-arati had begun, and the

Vaishnavas were sitting on the platform of the bakula tree. The

elderly Raghunatha dasa Babaji was also sitting there in their

midst, chanting nama on his tulasi mala and keeping count

(sankhya-purvaka). Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara offered sastangapranama

at his feet, and Babaji Mahasaya embraced them, saying,

"Is the bliss of your bhajana increasing?"


Vijaya Kumara folded his hands and said, "Prabhu, by your mercy,

we are well in all respects. Now, kindly bestow your mercy on us

this evening and instruct us on nama-tattva."


Being very pleased, Babaji Maharaja replied, "Shri Bhagavan has

two kinds of names: His primary names (mukhya-nama) and His

secondary names (gauna-nama). Names such as the Srsti-karta

(Creator), Jagat-pata (Protector of the universe), Visva-niyanta

(Controller of the universe), Visva-palaka (Maintainer of the universe),

and Paramatma (Supersoul) are related to the creation

within the shelter of the material modes. These are called gauna

(secondary), because they are related to the gunas (modes of material

nature). There are many such gauna names, including names

such as brahma. Although their fruit is extremely great, they do

not easily yield a transcendental result (cit-phala).


The names that are always present both in the spiritual and

material worlds are spiritual and primary. For example, names such

as Narayana, Vasudeva, Janardana, Hrsikesa, Hari, Acyuta,

Govinda, Gopala, and Rama are all primary. These names are

present in Bhagavan's abode (bhagavad-dhama), and are one with

His form (bhagavat-svarupa). In the material world, these names

only dance on the tongues of very fortunate people to whose bhakti

they are attracted. Shri-bhagavan-nama has no connection at all

with the material world, and all the saktis of Bhagavan's form

(bhagavat-svarupa) are present in shri-nama. Therefore, the names

also possess all these saktis. They have descended into the material

world and are engaged in destroying maya. The jivas have no friend

in this material world except for hari-nama. In the Brhan-naradiya

Purana, hari-nama is said to be the only way.


harer namaiva namaiva namaiva mama jivanam

kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

Brhan-naradiya Purana (38.126)


Meditation is the predominant process for perfection in

Satya-yuga, yajna (sacrifice) in Treta-yuga, and arcana

(Deity worship) in Dvapara-yuga. But in Kali-yuga harinama

is my only life, hari-nama is my only life, hari-nama is

my only life. In Kali-yuga, other than shri-hari-nama, there

is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other



Hari-nama has unlimited great and wonderful sakti which can

destroy all kinds of sins within a moment.


avesenapi yan-namni kirttite sarva-patakaih

puman vimucyate sadyah simha-trastair mrgair iva

Garuda Purana (232.12)


A person who performs the kirtana of Shri Narayana with

absorption becomes at once freed from all sins. They fly away

from him just like frightened deer who hear the roar of a lion.

When one takes shelter of shri-hari-nama, all his miseries and

all kinds of diseases disappear.


adhayo vyadhayo yasya smaranan nama-kirttanat

tadaiva vilayam yanti tam anantam namamy aham



I offer obeisances to the supreme Lord, who is known as

Anantadeva. Remembering Him and chanting His name

immediately dispels all kinds of diseases and miseries



One who performs hari-nama purifies his family, his society and

the whole world.


mahapataka-yukto'pi kirttayann anisam harim

suddhantah karano bhutva jayate pankti-pavanah

Brahmanda Purana


Even if one is very sinful, if he constantly performs harinama,

his heart becomes pure, he attains twice-born status,

and he purifies the whole world.


One who is dedicated to shri-hari-nama is relieved of all unhappiness,

all disturbances, and all kinds of disease.


sarva-rogopasamam sarvopadrava-nasanam

santi-dam sarva-ristanam harer namanukirttanam

Brhad-visnu Purana


When one performs shri-hari-nama-kirtana, all kinds of diseases

go away, all kinds of disturbances are appeased, all kinds

of obstacles are destroyed, and one attains supreme peace.


The degrading qualities of Kali cannot affect one who chants



hare kesava govinda vasudeva jaganmaya

itirayanti ye nityam na hi tan badhate kalih

Brhan-naradiya Purana


Kali cannot cause any impediment, even for a moment, to

those who perform constant kirtana, chanting "O Hare! O

Govinda! O Kesava! O Vasudeva! O Jaganmaya!"


One who hears shri-hari-nama becomes liberated from hell.


yatha yatha harer nama kirttayanti sma narakah

tatha tatha harau bhaktim udvahanto divam yayuh



If even the residents of hell chant hari-nama, they achieve

hari-bhakti, and enter within the divine abode.


Chanting hari-nama destroys prarabdha-karma (the results of

past pious or impious activity which is now bearing fruit).


yan namadheyam mriyamana aturah

patan skhalan va vivaso grnan puman

vimukta-karmargala uttamam gatim

prapnoti yaksyanti na tam kalau janah

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.44)


If a human being helplessly chants just one name of Shri

Bhagavan at the time of death, in an afflicted situation, or

when falling down or slipping, all the bondage of his karma

is destroyed and he will obtain the highest goal. But alas!

Due to the influence of Kali-yuga, people do not worship



Hari-nama-kirtana is more glorious and beneficial than studying

the Vedas.


ma rco ma yajus tata ma sama patha kincana

govindeti harer nama geyam gayasva nityasah

Skanda Purana


There is no need to study and teach the Rg, Sama and Yajur

Vedas, and so on. Simply perform constant sankirtana of Shri

Hari's name, Govinda.


Performing hari-nama is better than visiting all tirthas (holy



tirtha-koti-sahasrani tirtha-koti-satani ca

tani sarvany avapnoti visnor namani kirttanat

Skanda Purana


Kirtana of Shri Vishnu's names gives all the results obtained

by going to millions of tirthas.


Even a dim glimmer of hari-nama (hari-namabhasa) gives unlimitedly

more results than all kinds of sat-karma (pious fruitive activities).


go-koti-danam grahane khagasya

prayaga-gangodaka kalpa-vasah

yajnayutam meru-suvarna-danam

govinda-kirter na samam satamsaih


One may give cows in charity on the day of a solar eclipse;

one may reside in Prayaga on the banks of the Ganga for a

kalpa; or one may perform thousands of yajnas, and give in

charity a mountain of gold as high as Mount Sumeru. Still,

all these cannot even be compared with a one-hundredth

particle of shri-govinda-kirtana.


Hari-nama can yield all kinds of benefits (artha).


etat sad-varga-haranam ripu-nigrahanam param

adhyatma-mulam etad dhi visnor namanukirttanam

Skanda Purana


Sankirtana of Shri Vishnu's names conquers the six senses and

the six enemies (beginning with kama and krodha) and is

the root of knowledge of the Supreme Self.


Hari-nama is invested with all sakti.


dana-vrata-tapas-tirtha-ksetradinan ca yah sthitah

saktayo deva mahatam sarva-papaharah subhah

rajasuyasvamedhanan jnana-sadhyatma-vastunah

akrsya harina sarvah sthapita svesu namasu

Skanda Purana


There are so many auspicious qualities within charity

(dana), vows (vrata), austerity (tapa), the holy places (tirthaksetras),

the devatas, within all kinds of sin-removing

righteous activities, in the aggregate of all powers (saktis),

in the Rajasuya and Asvamedha sacrifices, and in the goal

of knowledge of the identity of the self (jnana-sadhya of

atma-vastu). However, Shri Hari has assembled all of these

potencies and invested them within His own names.


Shri-hari-nama gives bliss to the whole world.


sthane hrsikesa tava prakirttya / jagat prahrsyaty anurajyate ca

Bhagavad-gita (11.36)


O Hrsikesa, the world becomes delighted on hearing the

kirtana of Your name and fame, and thus everyone becomes

attached to You.


One who chants shri-hari-nama is worshipable in the world.


narayana jagannatha vasudeva janardana

itirayanti ye nityam te vai sarvatra vanditah

Brhan-naradiya Purana


Those who always perform kirtana, chanting "O Narayana!

O Jagannatha! O Vasudeva! O Janardana!" are worshiped

everywhere in the world.


Shri-hari-nama is the only method for those who have no way.


ananya-gatayo marttya bhogino' pi parantapah

jnana-vairagya-rahita brahmacaryadi-varjitah

sarva-dharmojjhitah visnor nama-matraika-jalpakah

sukhena yam gatim yanti na tam sarve' pi dharmikah

Padma Purana


Those who simply perform kirtana of Shri Vishnu's name may

do so because they have no other means of support, and

they may be absorbed in sense enjoyment. They may be

troublesome to others, bereft of celibacy and other virtues,

and outside all dharma. Still, the destination that they

achieve cannot be attained by all the combined efforts of

religious people.


Hari-nama can be performed at all times and under all circumstances.


na desa-niyamas tasmin na kala-niyamas tatha

nocchistadau nisedho'sti shri-harer namni lubdhaka



O you who are greedy for shri-hari-nama, there is no rule of

time and place for kirtana of shri-hari-nama. One may perform

hari-nama-kirtana in any condition, whether one is

purified or contaminated, for example, if one's mouth is

not clean after eating.


Hari-nama certainly gives mukti very easily to one who desires



narayanacyutananta-vasudeveti yo narah

satatam kirttayed bhuvi yati mal-layatam sa hi

Varaha Purana


The person who wanders about the earth always chanting

the names Narayana, Ananta, Acyuta and Vasudeva will

go with Me to My planet.


kim karisyati sankhyena kim yogair nara-nayaka

muktim icchasi rajendra kuru govinda-kirttanam

Garuda Purana


O best of men, what benefit can one derive from studying

sankhya philosophy or practicing astanga-yoga? O King, if

you desire liberation, just perform Shri Govinda's kirtana.


Hari-nama enables the jivas to attain Vaikuntha.


sarvatra sarva-kalesu ye'pi kurvanti patakam

nama-sankirttanam krtva yanti visnoh param padam

Nandi Purana


Even one who has performed sinful activities always and

everywhere attains the supreme abode of Vishnu if he

performs nama-sankirtana.


Chanting hari-nama is the topmost means of pleasing Shri



nama-sankirttanam visnoh ksut-trt-prapiditadisu

karoti satatam vipras tasya prito hy adhoksajah

Brhan-naradiya Purana


O brahmanas! Adhoksaja Vishnu remains very satisfied with

those who incessantly perform sankirtana of Vishnu's name,

even when troubled by hunger and thirst.


Hari-nama has the sakti to control Shri Bhagavan.


rnam etat pravrddham me hrdayan nasarpati

yad-govindeti cukrosa krishna mam dura-vasinam



When I was far away from Draupadi, she called out to Me,

"Ha Govinda!" I am very much indebted to her for her

distressed call, and I have not been able to remove that

debt from My heart even today.


Hari-nama is the purusartha (supreme goal of life) for the jivas.


idam eva hi mangalyam etad eva dhanarjanam

jivitasya phalan caitad yad damodara-kirttanam

Skanda and Padma Puranas


Kirtana of Damodara, is certainly the cause of all

auspiciousness, and the source of real wealth. The only

benifit of having life is to perform such kirtana.


Hari-nama-kirtana is the best of all the different kinds of bhaktisadhana.


agha-cchit-smaranam visnor bahv-ayasena sadhyate

ostha-spandana-matrena kirttanam tu tato varam



Shri-visnu-smaranam destroys all sins but is attained only

after much endevor. Vishnu-kirtana, however, is superior

because the same benefit is attained simply by vibrating

shri-nama upon one's lips.


yad-abhyarcya harim bhaktya krte kratu-satair api

phalam prapnoty avikalam kalau govinda-kirttanam


The same entire benefit obtained by performing hundreds

of yajnas in Satya-yuga, can be achieved in Kali-yuga by

performing kirtana of Shri Govinda's names.


krte yad dhyayato visnum tretayam yajato makhaih

dvapare paricaryayam kalau tad dhari-kirttanat

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.52)


Simply performing kirtana of Shri Hari's Nama in Kali-yuga

gives the same results as those that are achieved by

meditating on Bhagavan in Satya-yuga, by worshiping Him

with great yajnas in Treta-yuga, and by performing formal

Deity worship in Dvapara-yuga.


Vijaya: Prabhu, I have full faith that hari-nama is completely

spiritual, but still, in order to be free from doubts with regard to

nama-tattva, it is necessary to understand how shri-hari-nama can

be spiritual, when it is composed of syllables (which are apparently

material). Will you please clarify this point?


Babaji: The svarupa (nature and form) of shri-nama has been explained

in the Padma Purana.


nama cintamanih krishnas chaitanya-rasa-vigrahah

purnah suddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvan nama-naminoh


Shri-krishna-nama is cintamani-svarupa. This means that it

awards the supreme goal of life and all transcendental good

fortune. This is because shri-hari-nama is non-different

from Him who possesses shri-nama. For the same reason shridivya-

nama is the very form of mellows (chaitanya-rasasvarupa),

and is complete, pure, and eternally liberated

from contact with maya.


Shri-nama and shri-nami (He who possesses shri-nama) are nondifferent

in tattva. Therefore, shri-krishna-nama has all the spiritual

qualities present in Krishna Himself, the possessor of shri-nama. Shrinama

is always the complete truth, and has no contact with dull

matter. He is eternally liberated, because He is never bound by

material modes. Shri-krishna-nama is Krishna Himself, and that is why

He is the personified form of the aggregate wealth of transcendental

mellows. Shri-hari-nama is a wish-fulfilling gem (cintamani),

and thus can award all that one desires from Him.


Vijaya: How can the syllables of shri-hari-nama be beyond the realm

of illusory, material words?


Babaji: Hari-nama has not taken birth in the material world. The

conscious, spark-like jiva is qualified to utter hari-nama when he

is situated in his pure, spiritual form. However, he cannot perform

pure hari-nama with his material senses which are bound by

maya. When the jiva obtains the mercy of the hladini-sakti, then

the activity of realizing his svarupa begins, and suddha-nama arises

at that time. When suddha-nama appears, He mercifully descends

on the mental faculty, and dances on the tongue which has been

purified through the practice of bhakti. Shri-hari-nama is not a form

of letters, but when He dances on the material tongue, He is

manifest in the form of letters; that is the secret of krishna-nama.


Vijaya: Which name is the sweetest of all the primary holy names?


Babaji: The Sata-nama-stotra says,


visnor ekaikam namapi sarva-vedadhikam matam

tadrk-nama sahasrena rama-nama-samam smrtam


Chanting one name of Vishnu gives more benefit than

studying all the Vedas, and one name of Rama is equal to a

thousand names (sahasra-nama) of Vishnu.


Again, it is stated in the Brahmanda Purana,


sahasra-namnam punyanam trir avrttya tu yat phalam

ekavrttya tu krishnasya namaikam tat prayacchati


If one utters shri-krishna-nama once, one obtains the same

result that comes from chanting the pure visnu-sahasranama

three times.


The purport is that a thousand names of Vishnu equals one name

of Rama, and three thousand names of Vishnu - that is to say, three

names of Rama - equals one name of Krishna. Chanting Krishna's

name once gives the same result as chanting Rama's name three



Shri-krishna-nama is certainly the supreme name. Therefore, we

should follow the instruction of the Lord of our life, Shri Gauranga

Sundara, and always take shri-nama as He has given it: Hare Krishna,

Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama,

Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.


Vijaya: What is the process of hari-nama-sadhana?


Babaji: One should constantly perform hari-nama by counting the

names properly on a tulasi-mala or in the absence of that, counting

on the fingers. One should always stay far away from offenses. The

fruit of shri-hari-nama-krishna-prema-is attained by chanting

suddha-nama. The purpose of keeping count is for the sadhaka to

understand whether his practice of shri-hari-nama is increasing or

diminishing. Tulasi-devi is very dear to Hari, so touching her while

taking hari-nama means that hari-nama bestows more benefit.

When one is practicing nama, one should understand that shrikrishna-

nama is non-different from His svarupa (eternal, intrinsic



Vijaya: Prabhu, there are nine or sixty-four different angas of

sadhana, but chanting shri-hari-nama is only one form. If one is

always practicing nama, how can one have time for the other forms

of sadhana?


Babaji: That is not difficult. The sixty-four different angas of bhakti

are all contained within the nine-fold process of bhakti. The nine

angas of bhakti, whether in the worship (arcana) of shri-murti (the

Deity) or in nirjana-sadhana,1 can be performed anywhere. Simply

by the pure hearing, chanting, and remembering of shri-krishna-nama

in front of shri-murti, one has accomplished nama-sadhana. Where

there is no murti, simply remember the murti, and perform sadhana

to that murti with the limbs of navadha (nine-fold) bhakti, in the

form of hearing and chanting shri-nama, etc. One who is fortunate

enough to have special ruci for nama always performs nama-kirtana.

Thus, he automatically follows all the angas of bhakti. Shri-namakirtana

is the most powerful of all the nine processes of sadhana:

sravanam kirtanam etc. During kirtana, all the other angas are

present, although they may not be evident.


Vijaya: How is it possible to perform continuous nama-sankirtana?


Babaji: Continuous nama-kirtana means performing kirtana of shrihari-

nama at all times, while sitting, getting up, eating, or working,

except when sleeping. In nama-sadhana there is no prohibition

regarding time, place, situation or cleanliness. That is, one

may be in a pure or impure condition.


Vijaya: Oh, the mercy of nama-bhagavan is unlimited, but we have

no hope of becoming Vaishnavas until you give us your mercy and

bestow upon us the power to perform nama constantly.


Babaji: I have already explained that there are three kinds of

Vaishnava: kanistha, madhyama, and uttama. Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu told Satyaraja Khan that anyone who takes krishnanama

is a Vaishnava. One who constantly takes krishna-nama is a

madhyama Vaishnava, and the uttama Vaishnava is he whose very

sight makes krishna-nama appear spontaneously in one's mouth.

Since you sometimes take krishna-nama with faith, you have already

obtained the position of a Vaishnava.


Vijaya: Please tell us whatever else we should know about suddhakrishna-



Babaji: Suddha-krishna-nama is krishna-nama that has arisen through

undivided bhakti resulting from full faith. Other than that, the

chanting of shri-nama will be experienced as either namabhasa or



Vijaya: Prabhu, should we understand that hari-nama is sadhya

(the aim and purpose) or sadhana (the means)?


Babaji: When one takes hari-nama in the course of sadhana-bhakti,

that nama can be called sadhana. However, when the bhakta takes

hari-nama in the course of bhava-bhakti or prema-bhakti, that

manifestation of shri-hari-nama is sadhya-vastu, or the aim and

object of practice. The sadhaka's realization of the contraction

or expansion of shri-hari-nama will depend on his level of bhakti.


Vijaya: Is there a difference in the experience of krishna-nama and



Babaji: No, there is no difference in the experience, but one should

understand the confidential secret that krishna-nama is more merciful

than krishna-svarupa. Krishna's svarupa (form) does not forgive

whatever offense is made to Him, but krishna-nama forgives both

offenses committed to the svarupa and offenses committed towards

Himself. When you take nama, you should understand the namaaparadhas

very clearly and try to avoid them, because you cannot

chant suddha-nama until you stop committing offenses. The next

time you come, we will discuss nama-aparadha.


When Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara had learned about the

glories of nama and nama-svarupa-tattva, they took Shri Gurudeva's

footdust, and slowly returned to Bilva-puskarini.