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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 24. Prameya: Nama-Aparadha


C H A P T E R 2 4

Prameya: Nama-Aparadha


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

the bhaktas.


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

(transcendental name).


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:


sruti-smrti-puranesu nama-mahatmya-vacisu

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

Vishnu-dharma Purana


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

Brhan-naradiya Purana


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

Brhad-visnu Purana


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

for shri-nama.


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

His mercy.


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

ninth offense.


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!