|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 24. Prameya: Nama-Aparadha|
C H A P T E R 2 4
Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara were extremely happy to learn
the glories of shri-nama and nama-svarupa-tattva. When they
arrived home, they chanted fifty thousand names on their tulasimala
without offense, and by this chanting of suddha-nama they
received direct experience of Krishna's mercy. It was late at night
when they finally took rest.
When they rose the next morning, they discussed the events
of the previous night and became very blissful as they expressed
their own realizations. They passed the day in bathing in the
Ganga, worshiping Krishna, taking hari-nama, performing kirtana,
studying Dasa-mula, reviewing Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and performing
vaishnava-seva and bhagavat-prasada-seva. That evening, they
presented themselves at the venerable Babaji Mahasaya's kutira
at Shrivasangana. After offering sastanga-pranama, Vijaya Kumara
inquired about the topic of nama-aparadha-tattva that had been
introduced the previous evening.
On hearing Vijaya Kumara's eagerness to know about this tattva,
Babaji Maharaja was pleased, and lovingly said, "Just as nama is
the highest truth, so nama-aparadha (offense against shri-nama) is
the most frightening of all kinds of sins and offenses. All other
kinds of sins and offenses go away naturally and automatically as
one utters shri-nama, but nama-aparadha does not go away so easily.
In the description of the glories of shri-nama in the Padma Purana,
Svarga-khanda (48, 49) it is said:
nama-aparadha-yuktanam namany eva haranty agham
avisranta-prayuktani tany evartha-karani ca
For those infected with nama-aparadha, shri-nama will certainly
remove the sin, provided the sadhakas chant tirelessly
and unremittingly. Shri-nama Himself will effect their
Just see, it is so difficult to destroy nama-aparadha. Therefore,
one must avoid nama-aparadha when one chants shri-nama. If one
tries hard to stop committing nama-aparadha, suddha-nama will
manifest very quickly.
One may take shri-nama and be chanting continually, with the
hairs on his body standing on end and streams of tears flowing
from his eyes; but it may still be that, because of nama-aparadha,
he is not uttering suddha-nama. Therefore, sadhakas must give very
special attention to this; otherwise, they will not be able to chant
Vijaya: Prabhu, what is suddha-nama (the pure holy name)?
Babaji: Suddha-nama is hari-nama that is free from the ten kinds
of offenses. There is no consideration of purity or impurity with
regard to pronunciation of the syllables of shri-nama.
namaikam yasya vaci smarana-patha-gatam srotra-mulam gatam va
suddham vasuddha-varna-vyavahita-rahitam tarayaty eva satyam
tac ced deha-dravina-janata lobha-pasana-madhye
niksiptam syann aphala-janakam sighram evatra vipra
Padma Purana, Svarga-khanda (48. 60-61)
O best of brahmanas, if only one holy name appears on the
tongue, or enters the ear, or arises on the path of one's
remembrance, that nama will certainly liberate one. The
purity or impurity of one's pronunciation of the syllables
of shri-nama (nama-aksara) in accordance with vidhi (regulation
of sastra) is not so important. That is to say, shri-nama
does not make such considerations. What is considered is
that the real fruit of chanting will not come quickly if this
all-powerful name is chanted in the interests of the body,
house, wealth, material development, sons, and family, or
with greed for gold, women, and prestige.
There are two kinds of obstacles or offenses: ordinary and great.
Shri-nama that is chanted with ordinary obstacles is nama-abhasa,
which awards its benefit some time later. Nama impeded with great
obstacles is nama-aparadha. This aparadha does not go far away
unless one chants shri-nama constantly.
Vijaya: It seems to me that the sadhaka should know about namaaparadha.
Please be merciful and tell us in detail about it.
Babaji: There is a very deep and essential analysis of the ten kinds
of nama-aparadha in the Padma Purana:
satam ninda namnah param aparadham vitanute
yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tu tad-vigarham
(1) Criticizing or blaspheming saints and great bhaktas
increases terrible offenses towards shri-nama. How can Shri
Krishna tolerate blasphemy of great souls who are devoted
to shri-nama, and who preach the glories of shri-krishna-nama
in this world? Therefore, the first offense is to blaspheme
sivasya shri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam
dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu hari-namahita-karah
(2) In this material world, Shri Vishnu's name, form, qualities,
pastimes and so on are all-auspicious for all beings. If one
considers them to be material phenomena and different
from Shri Vishnu Himself, this is detrimental to one's
chanting of shri-hari-nama. It is also nama-aparadha to
believe that Siva and the other devas are independent and
equal with Shri Vishnu.
The other offenses are:
(3) guror avajna: to disrespect shri-guru who knows namatattva
by considering him an ordinary, mortal human being,
with a body made of the five material elements.
(4) sruti-sastra-nindanam: to blaspheme the Vedas, the
Satvatas, the Puranas, and other sastras.
(5) artha-vadah: to think that the glorification of shri-harinama
in sastra is an exaggeration.
(6) hari-namni kalpanam: to interpret shri-hari-nama (in a
mundane way) or to think that nama Himself is a product
of the imagination.
namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih
(7) It is certain that one who is engaged in sinful activities
on the strength of shri-nama cannot be purified by
artificial yoga practices such as yama, niyama, dhyana, and
subha-kriya-samyam api pramadah
(8) It is an offense to think that rituals and pious material
activities such as dharma, vrata, tyaga, and homa are equal,
or even comparable to Bhagavan's shri-divya-nama
asraddadhane vimukhe'py asrnvati
yas copadesah siva-nama-aparadhah
(9) It is nama-aparadha to give instructions on auspicious
shri-nama to those who are faithless or averse to hearing shrinama.
srute 'pi nama-mahatmye yah priti-rahito narah
aham-mamadi-paramo namni so'py aparadha-krt
(10) One is a nama-aparadhi if, even after hearing the wonderful
glories of shri-nama, he does not show love or enthusiasm
for chanting shri-nama and clings fast to the material
conception, of 'I' and 'mine'; that is to say, "I am this body,
composed of blood, flesh and skin, and things relating to
this body are mine."
Vijaya: Please make us understand all these offenses by explaining
each sloka completely.
Babaji: The first sloka describes two offenses. It is a great offense
to blaspheme, censure, or disrespect bhaktas who have completely
given up materially motivated practices such as karma, dharma,
jnana, yoga and tapasya, and who with an exclusive mood of devotion,
have taken shelter of Bhagavan's shri-nama. Shri-Hari-Nama
Prabhu cannot tolerate blasphemy of those who preach the factual
glories of shri-nama in this world. One should not blaspheme
those bhaktas who are one-pointedly devoted to shri-nama. Instead,
one should accept them as the best of saintly persons. One should
remain and perform nama-kirtana in their association. One will
certainly attain the mercy of shri-nama quickly by doing so.
Vijaya: Now we can understand the first offense clearly. Kindly
explain the second offense.
Babaji: The second offense is mentioned in the second part of
the first sloka, and it has been explained in two ways.
The first explanation is that it is an offense to shri-nama to consider
that Sadasiva and other leaders of the devas are independent
of Shri Vishnu. According to bahv-isvara-vada (the doctrine of
many controllers), Sadasiva is a perfectly powerful controller, who
is independent and separate from Bhagavan Shri Vishnu. However,
this conception creates an obstacle to one-pointed hari-bhakti.
Shri Krishna is actually the controller of everything and everyone,
and Siva and the other devas only achieve their positions as
controllers through His power. These devas have no separate
power of their own, and it is nama-aparadha to perform hari-nama
thinking that they do.
The second explanation is that it is also an offense to shri-nama
to consider that the all-auspicious, intrinsic svarupa of Shri
Bhagavan's names, forms, qualities and pastimes is different from
Bhagavan's eternal, perfect form (vigraha). Krishna's intrinsic
nature, Krishna's name, Krishna's qualities and Krishna's pastimes are
all transcendental and non-different from each other. One should
perform krishna-nama-sankirtana with this knowledge and
realization, otherwise there will be an aparadha (offense made to
shri-nama). Thus, one should perform krishna-nama after first comprehending
sambandha-jnana; this is the process.
Vijaya: I can understand the first and second nama-aparadhas very
well, because you have kindly explained to me the relationship of
simultaneous oneness and difference between Shri Krishna's
transcendental spiritual form and Shri Krishna Himself, who possesses
the form; between His transcendental qualities and He who
possesses those qualities; between His names and He who
possesses those names; and between the parts and the whole.
One who is taking shelter of shri-nama must also learn from
Gurudeva about the respective natures of the cit (conscious) and
acit (unconscious) tattvas, and about the relationship between
them. Now kindly explain the third offense.
Babaji: The shri-nama-guru is he who awards instructions about
the superiority of nama-tattva, and one's duty is to maintain fixed
and resolute bhakti towards him. It is nama-aparadha to minimize
the position of nama-guru, thinking that he knows only about
nama-sastra, whereas the scholars of Vedanta philosophy and other
sastras actually know the meaning of the sastras. Actually, no guru
is superior to the nama-tattva-vid guru, and it is an offense to think
that he is less important.
Vijaya: Prabhu, I am assured of well-being if I can maintain pure
bhakti towards you. Please explain the fourth offense.
Babaji: There is a special instruction in the sruti regarding the
ultimate goal. There, the glories of shri-nama are declared to be the
foremost of spiritual processes.
om asya jananto nama-cid-viviktanas
mahas te visno sumatim bhajamahe
om tat sat
O Shri Vishnu, one who chants shri-nama thoughtfully and
properly will not be confused and disturbed in his bhajana
and other regulative practices. In other words, when one
accepts shri-nama, there is no question of the place, time
and person being favorable or unfavorable, because shrinama
is the all-illuminating, personified form of knowledge,
and the supreme knowable object. Therefore, we offer our
prayers to shri-nama.
om padam devasya namasa vyantah / sravasya vasrava annamrktam
namani cid dadhire yajniyani / bhadrayante ranayantah sandrstau
O most worshipable Lord, I am offering obeisances to Your
lotus feet again and again. Hearing the glories of Your lotus
feet may give bhaktas the adhikara for fame and liberation,
but what is the value in that? Still more glorious are those
bhaktas who engage in discussions and debates to establish
Your lotus feet as the ultimate abode, and together cultivate
their service relationship with You through the
performance of sankirtana. When asakti appears in their
hearts, they take sole shelter of Your chaitanya-svarupa-nama
(fully conscious name) to achieve darsana of Your lotus feet.
om tam u stotarah purvam yathavida
rtasya garvabham janusa piparttana
asya jananto nama cid-viviktana
mahas te visno sumatim bhajamahe
Hari-bhakti-vilasa (11.274-276), Rg Veda (1.156.3)
The letter 'u' indicates utter astonishment that we cannot
make our lives successful by performing kirtana of Shri
Krishna as you do, glorifying that supremely renowned primeval
and complete tat and sat Reality (padartha). The reason
is that we do not know how His stava (prayers) and
kirtana should be performed. Therefore our eternal duty is
to fulfill the purpose of our human life by engaging in incessant
All the Vedas and Upanisads proclaim the glories of shri-nama,
and it is nama-aparadha to blaspheme the mantras that reveal the
glories of shri-nama. Some people unfortunately neglect the srutimantras
that give these instructions, and give more respect to the
other instructions of the sruti. This is also nama-aparadha, and
the result will be that the offender will not have any taste for nama.
You should perform hari-nama with the understanding that these
main sruti-mantras are the life and soul of the sruti.
Vijaya: Prabhu, it seems as if nectar is pouring from your mouth.
Now, I am very eager to understand the fifth offense.
Babaji: The fifth offense is to give mundane interpretations of
shri-nama. The Jaimini-samhita explains this offense as follows:
ye'rthavada iti bruyur na tesam niraya-ksayah
Those who consider that the mantras of the Vedas,
Puranas, Upanisads and other Vedic literatures have
exaggerated the glories of Bhagavan's nama will go to
everlasting hell, and never return.
In the Brahma-samhita, Shri Bhagavan has said to Shri Brahma:
yan-nama-kirtana-phalam vividham nisamya
na sraddhadhati manute yad utarthavadam
yo manusas tam iha duhkha-caye ksipami
If a human being does not become faithful when he hears
the glories of hari-nama, but believes them to be
exaggeration, I put him into the terrible cycle of birth and
death with all kinds of miseries.
In the sastras it is said that Bhagavan's names contain all His
saktis. Shri-nama is completely spiritual, and therefore He is successful
in destroying the illusion of this material world.
krsneti mangalam nama yasya vaci pravarttate
bhasmi-bhavanti rajendra mahapataka-kotayah
O King, millions of sins are burned to ashes if the supremely
auspicious form of Krishna's nama resides in one's mouth.
nanyat pasyami jantunam vihaya hari-kirttanam
sarva-papa-prasamanam prayascittam dvijottama
O best among the brahmanas, shri-hari-nama is the
atonement that destroys all forms of sins, and I consider
that one who gives up shri-nama to be no more than an
namno hi yavati saktih papa-nirharane hareh
tavat kartum na saknoti patakam pataki narah
The potency of shri-hari-nama can remove more sins than
the most sinful person can possibly commit.
All these glories of shri-nama are the supreme absolute truth,
but when people active in karma and jnana hear them, they concoct
explanations to protect their own activities. Their explanation
is that the glories of shri-nama mentioned in sastras are not
really the truth, but are exaggerations intended to create a taste
Nama-aparadha will prevent such offenders from getting a taste
for hari-nama. You should perform hari-nama with full faith in the
statements of the sastras, and never take the association of those
who give mundane explanations. Furthermore, if they unexpectedly
appear before your eyes, you should take bath with all your
clothes on. That is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's instruction.
Vijaya: Prabhu, it appears difficult for householders to chant
suddha-hari-nama because we are always surrounded by offensive
people who are not at all devotional. It is very difficult for
brahmana-panditas like ourselves to have sat-sanga. Prabhu, please
give us the strength to give up bad association. The more I hear
from your mouth, the more my thirst for hearing increases. Now
please explain the sixth offense to us.
Babaji: The sixth offense is to consider shri-bhagavan-nama to be
imaginary. Mayavadis and fruitive materialists think the changeless,
nirvisesa-brahma to be the Absolute Truth. Those who believe
that the rsis have imagined shri-bhagavan-nama such as Rama
and Krishna as a method to attain perfection are nama-aparadhis.
Hari-nama is not imaginary; He is an eternal, spiritual vastu. Shrisad-
guru and the Vedic sastras instruct us that when we engage
in the process of bhakti, hari-nama manifests within our spiritual
senses. Therefore, hari-nama must be accepted as the Absolute
Truth, and if one thinks that He is imaginary, one can never attain
Vijaya: Prabhu, before we took shelter of your fearless lotus feet,
due to bad association, we also thought in that way. Now, by your
mercy, this conception is vanquished. Please explain the seventh
offense to us.
Babaji: One who is engaged in sinful activities on the strength of
shri-nama is a nama-aparadhi. If one performs sinful activities in
the belief that shri-nama will purify him, one cannot become free
from those mountains of sins by following the rules and regulations
of Vaishnava conduct, because all these activities then assume
the form of further sins that are in the category of nama-aparadha,
and only the process for nullifying nama-aparadhas can destroy
Vijaya: Prabhu, if hari-nama can destroy all sins without exception,
then why does it not destroy the sins of one who chants shrinama,
and why is he deemed an offender?
Babaji: On the day that the jiva accepts suddha-nama, one name
that he utters certainly destroys the sum total of all his prarabdha
and aprarabdha-karma, and through the second name, prema will
arise. Those who chant suddha-hari-nama have no desire to perform
even pious activities, and what to speak of their maintaining
papa-buddhi, a mentality that "I shall commit sin and then chant
nama to exonerate myself from that sin." A person who has taken
shelter of shri-nama will never commit a sin. However, it may be that
a sadhaka only utters nama-abhasa, and not suddha-nama, because
of some remaining nama-aparadha. The sins that he performed
before chanting nama-abhasa are being destroyed, and there is no
taste for committing new sins. Nama-abhasa also very slowly destroys
whatever sinful karma remains because of previous practice. Sometimes
he unexpectedly commits new sins, but they also go away
because of his nama-abhasa. However, it is nama-aparadha to take
shelter of shri-nama and then engage in sinful activities, thinking,
"Since the influence of shri-nama destroys all my sins, certainly it
will also destroy the sins that I am committing now."
Vijaya: Now kindly tell us about the eighth offense.
Babaji: Sat-karma refers to all kinds of dharma (in the general
sense), that is to say, varnasrama, performing charity and other
pious activities, observing vows (vrata) and other kinds of auspicious
activities, renouncing the results of all activities (sannyasadharma),
all kinds of yajnas, astanga-yoga, and whatever else sastra
has defined as auspicious activity. These are all counted as
material dharma (jada-dharma), whereas Bhagavan's shri-nama is
transcendental to material nature. All these sat-karma are only
auxiliary means to attain the transcendental, blissful goal; they
are not the goal themselves. However, hari-nama is the means at
the time of sadhana, and is Himself sadhya, the goal at the time of
achieving the result. Therefore, sat-karma cannot possibly be
compared with hari-nama, and those who consider that sat-karma
is equal to hari-nama are nama-aparadhis. One who prays to shrihari-
nama for the insignificant results of performing sat-karma is
a nama-aparadhi, because his activity exposes his conception that
the various forms of sat-karma are equal to shri-nama. You should
take refuge of hari-nama with spiritual intelligence, knowing that
the result of sat-karma is very insignificant. This is the understanding
of the process of sadhana (abhidheya-jnana).
Vijaya: Prabhu, we have understood very well that there is nothing
equal to hari-nama. Now mercifully enlighten us about the
Babaji: Of all the various instructions in the Vedas, the instructions
on hari-nama are the most important, and only those who
have faith in exclusive bhakti are qualified to hear shri-nama's glories.
It is an offense to give instruction on hari-nama to those who
do not have faith, who are averse to the transcendental service of
Hari, or who have no taste for hearing nama. It is beneficial to
give instruction that hari-nama is the most exalted of all spiritual
practices, and that all who accept hari-nama will become most
fortunate, but one should not give such instructions on hari-nama
to the unqualified. When you become a parama-bhagavata, then
you will also be able to transmit sakti. Such a great Vaishnava can
first create faith in shri-nama by bestowing spiritual sakti on the
jivas, and after that instruct them about hari-nama. However, as
long as you remain a madhyama Vaishnava, you must neglect those
who are faithless, disinterested and envious.
Vijaya: Prabhu, how should we understand the behavior of those
who give hari-nama to unqualified people out of greed for wealth,
name and fame?
Babaji: They are nama-aparadhi.
Vijaya: Please explain the tenth offense.
Babaji: People in the material world think, "I am such-and-such a
person. This wealth, sons and relatives are all mine." They are
madly engrossed in such material consciousness. If by coincidence
they hear the glories of hari-nama from learned people, a moment
of renunciation or knowledge may appear, but then if they knowingly
do not keep their attachment for shri-nama, they are also
nama-aparadhis. Therefore it is said in the second sloka of
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah
O Bhagavan, You have manifested Yourself in various
names, such as Krishna, Govinda, Gopala, Vanamali, and so
on. You have invested all your saktis in these names, and
there is no question of improper time or place for remembering
shri-nama. You are so causelessly merciful, but unfortunately,
because of my aparadhas, I have no taste for shrihari-
nama, whom You have made so easily available.
One should remain free from the ten kinds of nama-aparadha,
and engage in hari-nama. If one does so, shri-nama will swiftly award
you His mercy in the form of prema, and transform you into a
Vijaya: Prabhu, I can now understand that Mayavadis, karmis and
yogis are all offenders to shri-nama. Since this is the case, is it proper
for pure Vaishnavas to participate when many people congregate
to perform nama-kirtana?
Babaji: It is not proper for Vaishnavas to participate in sankirtana
groups in which nama-aparadhis are prominent and the lead singer
is a nama-aparadhi. However, there is no fault in participating in
sankirtana groups in which pure Vaishnavas or general bhaktas who
are nama-abhasis are prominent. On the contrary, in such sanga
there will be gain in the form of ananda in nama-sankirtana.
Now it is late. Tomorrow I will speak to you on namabhasa.
Vijaya and Vrajanatha became ecstatic with nama-prema. After
offering prayers to Babaji Maharaja, they took his precious
footdust on their foreheads and returned home, singing kirtana,
hari haraye namah krishna yadavaya namah!
THUS ENDS THE TWENTY-FOURTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,