Nāma-aparādha: The Eighth Offense

The Name Is Not To Be Equated with Pious Works

Bhakti and karma are two distinct paths. The qualifications needed for the two paths are also different. It is important to know this distinction. One should not use the chanting or kīrtana of holy name as a replacement for a Vedic dharmic ritual. That is considered an offense. This is discussed by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī in the following subsection of Bhakti Sandarbha.

Anuccheda 265.8

The eighth offense, to equate the holy name with the pious works (śubha-kriyā) recommended in scripture, means that it is an affront to the name (pramāda, i.e., aparādha) even to think that prescribed duties, vows, and so on are equal to the name. Therefore, by the principle of “extended application” as well (atideśa), it is the glories of the name alone that are being proclaimed in the verse below:

Whenever the syllables of the Vedas are uttered by the twice-born, it is in fact the names of Bhagavān Hari that are being sung in every such instance. Of this, there is no doubt.

Thus it was said earlier, quoting from Skanda Purāṇa:

O best of the Bhṛgu dynasty, the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is the sweetest of the sweet and the most auspicious of all that is auspicious. It is the transcendental fruit of the wish-fulfilling tree of the entire Vedas and is purely of the nature of consciousness (cit-svarūpam). If the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is uttered even once, either with faith or inadvertently, it delivers the utterer from the ocean of material existence.

And in Viṣṇu-dharma:

One who has uttered the two syllables “Ha-ri” has already completed his study of the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda, and Atharva Veda.

In Skanda Purāṇa, Pārvatī has also said:

My dear boy, do not study the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, and Sāma Veda. You should always sing “Govinda,” the name of Bhagavān Hari, which alone is worthy to be sung.

And in the Rāmāṣṭottara-śata-nāma-stotra from Padma Purāṇa, it is said:

Each and every one of Bhagavān Viṣṇu’s names is superior to all the Vedas. (PP 6.254.27)

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa

To use the name for religious rituals is an offense. It bears resemblance to the previous offense, being a milder case of the misuse of the name for ulterior purposes. The performer has faith in the power of the name but uses it to accomplish conventional religious acts, which are not at all its intended purpose. Alternatively, the performer may hold to the view that chanting the name is equivalent to other ordinary pious deeds. When it is said in Viṣṇu-dharma that by uttering the name of Hari, the Vedas are thereby recited, the intent is to illustrate the glory of name. The statement does not imply that when there is a requirement to chant some Vedic sūktas in a yajña, one should chant “Hari,” which would reduce the name to a mere instrument of the ritual. Similarly, the intent of Pārvatī in her instruction cited from Skanda Purāṇa is not in forbidding one from the study of the Vedas but in prescription of chanting the name of Govinda.

 

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Comments ( 2 )
  1. Vraja

    “Let’s chant for world peace” is this the 8th offense?

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  • Satyanarayana Dasa

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    The Holy Name is a whole different ball game. In Bhakti the important thing is Bhav – the emotions, the feelings, that is important. Krishna accepts the emotions of a person and he is not so concerned about the pronunciation. He is very lenient. But he knows if you have the proper understanding, you should correct it.

    — Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa
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