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Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: Namabhasa
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-03-13 15:04:31

Is Namabhasa is it good or bad? in sri haranama cintamani its says conflicting things , i want to understand , is not one supposed to chant offencelessly?

Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:

Very good question . I am very grateful to you for studying Harinama Chintamani (HNC) of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. It is the greatest scripture on the science of chanting.

I will briefly answer your question for now:

There are different kind of Namabhasa described in HNC. Abhasa means a faint glimpse or shadow. and Namaabhaasa means a faint glimpse or shadow of the full power of the Holy Name.

There are basically two broad main categories:

(I) Chhaya Namabhasa; (II) Pratibimba Namabhasa

(I) Chhaya Namabhasa

The Namabhasa which leads us to the higher levels of chanting the Holy Name. This is furthur divided into two:

(A) Shraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

Chanting in this namabhasa with faith about the glories of the Holy Names is the only way to reach the stage of pure offenseless chanting of Shuddha Nama or pure love of God.

(B) Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

This Namabhasa is the stage of chanting when one chants unknowingly without much faith in the Holy Names. This is of 4 types as described in Shrimad Bhagavatam:

(i) Sanketa Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

To chant the Holy Names of the Lord while addressing another person with those Names like for eg. Ajamila addressing his son Narayana in the 6th canto.

(ii) Parihasya Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

To chant the Holy Names while laughing or making fun of the Lord or others. Like for eg, Jarasandha chanting the Holy Names when he was making fun of Lords Krishna-Balarama before fighting with Them.

(iii) Stobha Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

To chant the Holy Names while criticizing or enviously ridiculing the Lord, His devotees or normal people. The eg. for this is Shishupala who abused the Lord a 100 times in the Rajasuya sacrifice but unknowingly chanted His Holy Names while doing that.

(iv) Hela Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa

To chant the Holy Names unknowingly while dancing, singing etc in the presence of some congregational chanting without being aware of the full glories of chanting.

This four types of Ashraddha Chhaya Namabhasa can grant us the heavenly pleasures, liberation and Vaikuntha in very very rare cases but no pure love of God. Only Shraddha Chhaya Namabhasa can allow us to reach the stage of pure love of God.

(II) Pratibimba Namabhasa

This Namabhasa is offensive and detrimental and which is basically accompanied by the intense desire to become God while chanting the Holy Name basically due to an inherent envy to the position of God.

Since this kind of chanting in Pratibimba Namabhasa is accompanied by the desire to usurp the position of God and become God oneself, one gets degraded to hell by chanting in Pratibimba Namabhasa. Or the soul may be granted sayujya mukti or impersonal liberation by the Lord and thus punished by the Lord by keeping the soul bereft from His directly devotional service in the Vaikuntha planets for millions upon millions of years in the brahmajyoti.

I hope this helps to clarify your misunderstanding. Since Harinama Chintamani has directly emanated from Namacharya Shrila Haridasa Thakura's lotus mouth in the presence of Lord Gauranga Himself, there can never be any contradiction is this most sublime scripture.

Yours in service, Swami Gaurangapada.

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