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Glory of the Holy Name and Ten Offences

Shadow of the Holy Name
(Sri Namabhasa)


(1) Four types of namabhasa:

sanketyam parihasyam va stobham helanam eva va
vaikuntha-nama-grahanam asesagha-haram viduh

The Holy Name chanted when (1) addressing someone whose name is a name of the Lord, (2) in jest, (3) mocking or obstructing, or (4) without proper care or faith—is called namabhasa, shadow of the Holy Name. Those who are learned in scriptures know that namabhasa can destroy innumerable sins.

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.2.14)

Sanketa (addressing one by the name of the Lord)

When Ajamila was on the verge of death, he called his son whose name was Narayan, and, as he called out the Name of Krishna 'Narayan', he received the result of chanting namabhasa (addressing one by the name of the Lord). Mlechas hatefully say about pigs, "Haram Haram! (Abominable!)" As the word 'Haram' contains these two syllables 'Ha Ram!' those who pronounce it also get liberation as they unconsciously utter the Name of the Lord (Rama). All scriptures agree that one can attain liberation through chanting namabhasa. The letters of the Name and Mukunda (the Lord who bestows liberation) are very closely related, so anyone who utters the letters of the Name of the Lord comes in touch with Lord Mukunda and as a result easily attains liberation. Those who try very hard to attain liberation by developing the knowledge of Brahman, can attain liberation without any effort through namabhasa.


Parihasa (taking the Name of the Lord in jest)

When somebody mocks or jokes about somebody or something and utters the Name of the Lord, such 'joking' is called namabhasa. For example, a common man sees a Vaishnav chanting the Holy Name, comes to him to pass a joke and, mimicking and mocking him, utters the Name of the Lord. This is an example of parihasa (chanting the Name of the Lord in jest). If proud scientists, seekers of liberation, ignorant low-born persons, atheists or demons take the Name of Krishna in jest, they attain liberation.


Stobha (mocking, obstructing)

If one has no respect for the Holy Name and utters the Holy Name to obstruct somebody who is chanting the Holy Name, this is called stobha. For example, a great Vaishnav chants the Holy Name out loud, and some low atheist comes to him, and says with a nasty expression on his face, "Yes, sure, your 'Hari Kesto' will do everything!" This is an example of stobha. Even such an atheist attains liberation. Such is the power of the letters of the Holy Name!


Helana (chanting the Holy Name without attention, affection, or respect)

Only humans can chant the Holy Name:

madhura-madhuram etan mangalam mangalanam
sakala-nigama-valli-sat-phalam chit-svarupam
sakrd api parigitam sraddhaya helaya va
bhrgu-vara nara-matram tarayet krsna-nama

"The Name of Krishna, the sweetest of the sweet, the most auspicious of the auspicious, the eternal spiritual fruit from the vine of the Vedas. O best of Bhargavas, if a person chants this Holy Name even once, with faith or negligently, the Holy Name immediately rescued such a person. This is possible only for humans."

(Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa)

Commentary: In this verse, "with faith" means affectionately, and "negligently" means without due respect or attention. It should be understood that "nara-matram tarayet" in this verse means that the Name of Krishna rescues anyone, no matter where one was born.


(2) The result of chanting the shadow of the Holy Name and chanting the Holy Name is not the same:

namaikam yasya vachi smarana-patha-gatam srotra-mulam gatam va
suddham vasuddha-varnam vyavahita-rahitam tarayaty eva satyam
tach ched deha-dravina-janata-lobha-pasanda-madhye
niksipta syan na phala-janakam sighram evatra vipra

"When the Holy Name appears on one's lips, in one's memory, touches one's ears, the Name no doubt rescues anyone independent of whether they utter the syllables of the Name together or separately, correctly or not. O brahman! Such is the glory of the Holy Name, however when the Holy Name falls against the stones of offences (attachment to one's material body, wealth, knowledge, greed, lack of faith, material consciousness, etc.), the result of the chanting the Holy Name does not come very soon. It means that the solution lies in avoiding offences—unless one avoids offences of the Holy Name, offences do not go away on their own."

(Sri Padma Purana)

(3) Result of namabhasa:

haridasa kahena—yaichhe suryera udaya
udaya na haite arambha tamera haya ksaya

"Haridas says, 'During sunrise, the darkness begins to dissipate before the sun arises.'"

chaura-preta-raksasadira bhaya haya nasa
udaya haile dharma-karma-adi parakasa

"'When darkness dissipates, one no longer fears thieves, ghosts, demons or anything else, and when the sun finally rises one begins to execute his daily duties.'"

aichhe namodayarambhe papa-adira ksaya
udaya kaila krsna-pade haya premodaya

"'Before the Holy Name arises, all sins are destroyed, and when the Holy Name finally arises, there awakens the transcendental divine love to the lotus feet of Krishna.'"


(4) Pure Holy Name appears as a result of good association:

mamaham iti dehadau hitvamithyartha-dhir matim
dhasye mano bhagavati suddham tat-kirtanadibhih
iti jata-sunirvedam krsna-sangena sadhusu
ganga-dvaram upeyaya mukta-sarvanubandhanah

"Sri Ajamila said, 'Now my intelligence has awakened and I have got some spiritual realisation. Now that I no longer perceive this body and everything else as 'I' and 'my', I will chant the Holy Names and dedicate myself to the service of the Lord with a clean heart.' O King! Ajamila received a mere moment of good association, but this moment awakened such a beautiful renunciation in him. When he became free from attachment to his family and everything else, he went to the source of the Ganges in Haridwar to dedicate himself to the service of Lord Hari."

(Srimad Bhagavatam)

(5) Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the Puranas:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
ratanti helaya vapi te krtartha na samsayah

"Anyone who chants this maha-mantra, 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare', even negligently, will feel satisfaction. Of this there is no doubt."

(Sri Agni Purana)


— • : • —






(previous chapter)



Glory of the Holy Name
Shadow of the Holy Name
Ten Offences of the Holy Name
Initiation into the chanting of the Holy Name (Guidance)




Reaching Honey
'If you chant the Holy Name without offence, if you serve the Lord sincerely, without being a hypocrite and without deceit, if you follow Krishna consciousness and practise properly, you must get the taste of the honey.'