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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

One often hears the question, “How to get free nama aparadhas?

Nāma āparādha cannot be counteracted through some ritual or just by chanting some slokas. One needs to reform or change one’s faulty mentality which caused the offenses in the first place. Be it envy, disrespect or just a faultfinding mind—all this must be consumed by the fire of repentance, nama-sankirtana and Vaisnava seva.

As one can never forget the Tulasi necklace around one’s neck, Mahaprabhu told us to “always wear the necklace of this sloka” [which means constantly remember and imbibe the four saintly traits within it]:

  1. Think I’m lower than grass!
  2. Live with tolerance!
  3. Feel insignificant, undeserving—just one atomic jiva!
  4. Honor all as better, higher, worthy and deserving!

Thus Mahaprabhu commanded, tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (Chaitanya Caritamrita 1.17.31)

By adopting these four attitudes, one can blast off into continuous nama japa which is the best, fastest and ONLY WAY to remove all aparadhas. Smrti confirms, “For nama aparadhis, the Divine Name itself is surely the only panacea. Incessant chanting of the Name will effectively destroy that sin.” (Padma Purana.; Svarga-khanda 48, 49 & Bhakti Sandarbha 265)

nāmāparādha yuktā nām, nā mānyeva haranty agham,
aviśranta prayuktāni, tānyev ārtha karāṇi ca

Jai Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Nama Sankirtana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The Ten Offenses to Sri Krishna’s Holy Names (Padma Purana)

  1. satāṁ ninda-namnaḥ param aparādham vitanute, yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tu tad vigarhām

The topmost offense (param aparadha) is to show envy or criticize a devotee, saintly person, or one’s Guru.

  1. śivasya śrī visnor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalam, dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhita-karaḥ

One will get no benefit from doing Harinama (hari-nama ahita karah) if one sees or thinks that the names or qualities of Sri Visnu and Siva are different (bhinnam).

Please find more information about this offense and the Visnu/Siva relationship in our articles here.

  1. guror avajna

To disrespect, disregard or disobey the guru.

  1. śruti śāstra-nindanaṁ

To disrespect any scriptures describing God.

5.tathārthavādo

Think the glories of the Name are empty praise. Or to give concocted interpretations on the meanings of Krishna’s Holy Name.

  1. hari nāmni kalpanam

Consider praises of Krishna’s Holy Names to be exaggerated or imaginary. Or give imaginary meanings to Krishna’s Holy Names.

  1. nāmno balād yasya hi pāpabuddhir, na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ

To commit sin on the power of Krishna’s Name means one has sinful intelligence (papa buddhi). Such an offender cannot be purified by any type of rule or regulation (yama na suddhi).

  1. dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutādi-sarva, subha-kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ

To consider Krishna’s transcendental prema giving Holy Names to be a form of subha karmas (auspicious beneficial actions) like other punya,  karmas such as varna/asrama dharma duties, vows, austerities, fire yajnas or homas.

  1. aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yas copadeṣaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ

It’s an offense to give instructions about the auspicious holy names of Krishna to the faithless (asraddha); or one whose face is turned away from God (agnostic, not interested (vimukhe); and to one who does not want to hear anything about Krishna (asrnvati).

What about book distributors who come across many faithless people, yet still they try to convince them about Krishna consciousness? Is this committing the second offense?

NO, because if someone stops and listens to you that means Krishna is favoring them. And if they show interest, listen humbly or buy a book that is all arranged by Krishna. However, if they are unqualified in any of the above ways, they will just say “Get lost, no thanks, not interested, I don’t want.”

Then if you push or force that will be an offense because they don’t want to hear, are atheists etc. By the mercy and blessings of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, we sold Srila Prabhupada’s books every day for 6 years 1975-1981.

Among Gaudiya Vaisnavas, it is commonly said, “Vaisnava seva, jiva doya, nama ruci”. Jiva doya means showing kindness to all jivas, living entities, which is best done by giving prasada, Harinama Sankirtana, preaching and book distribution. Some acaryas say, “This phrase means if you serve the Vaisnavas (Vaisnava seva) and preach to the qualified (jiva doya)—then you will get taste and attraction (ruci) for chanting Hare Krishna!”

  1. śrute’pi nāma-māhātmye yah prīti rahito naraḥ, ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha-kṛt

To not have faith, taste or affection (priti) for Krishna’s Holy Names even after hearing the glories of Krishna Nama, and to not give up material attachments and continue to think and act only in terms of “I and mine” (aham mam adi).

Nama Acarya Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Sri Harinama ki jai!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

If a devotee can think, feel, act and become one with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s success formula, he/she will NEVER COMMIT NAMA APARADHA, and very soon attain Krishna prema.

Raising His beautiful golden arms into the sky, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu loudly declared, “Everyone please hear me! String the following verse on the thread of the Divine Name and wear it on your neck for continuous remembrance, ūrdhva-bāhu kari’ kahoṅ, śuna sarva-loka, nāma-sūtre gāṅthi’ para, kaṇṭhe ei śloka

“And if you take Krishna Nama in this way, I guarantee that pure love for Sri Krishna’s lotus feet will manifest in your heart, ei-mata hañā yei, kṛṣṇa-nāma laya, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇe tāṅra, prema upajaya.” (Cc. 1.17.32; Cc. 3.20.26)

BHAKTI 100 % SUCCESS FORMULA:

Mahaprabhu continued, “One can constantly chant Krishna’s Divine Name, if in all respects one thinks, ‘I am more lowly and helpless than a blade of grass’, while always remaining as tolerant as a tree, free from pride and respectful to one and all.” (Cc. 1.17.31; 3.20.21)

tṛṇād api su-nīcena, taror iva sahiṣṇunā, amāninā māna-dena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

 

TEN OFFENSES AGAINST KRISHNA’S DIVINE NAMES

In Padma Purana (Brahma-khanda cp.25), Sanat-kumara described the ten offenses (nama-aparadhas) to Narada Muni:

  1. The greatest offense [parama aparadha] is to criticize the devotee/saints who broadcast Krishna’s Divine Name. How can the Divine Name ever tolerate such a thing?

satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaṁ vitanute

yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tad vigarhām

 

  1. It is an offense to think there is any difference between the names, qualities, etc. of Sri Vishnu and Shivaji. Such a person gets no benefit from chanting.

śivasya śrī viṣṇor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ

dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari nāmāhita karaḥ

Comments: Sri Vishnu and Shivaji in his transcendental Sada Shiva form are both vishnu-tattva. Brhad-bhagavatamrta (1.2.31) says, “Sadashiva is directly Narayana as the vilasa or svamsha of svayam-rupa Sri Krishna. Sadashiva dwells in Shiva-loka (Vaikuntha).” However, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the para-devata, and supreme aradhya-deva for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

  1. To disrespect the Guru, guror avajñā.

Comments: This includes all gurus and the guru principle itself. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti says (tika: SB 6.2.9-10), “This is the worst Nama aparadha!”

  1. To criticise the revealed Vedic scriptures, śruti śāstra nindana.
  2. To consider the glories of the Divine Name to be exaggerated, tatha ārtha vādo.
  3. To concoct or give imaginary meanings to the Divine Name, hari nāmni kalpanam.
  4. To deliberately commit sin on the strength of the Divine Name. Such a sinful offender cannot be purified by following any rules, nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa buddhir, na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ
  5. It is complete madness [pramada] to consider the performance of ordinary religious duties, vows, renunciation, sacrifices, and all other auspicious pious works to be equal to chanting Hari-nama, dharma vrata tyāga hūtādi sarva, śubha kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ.
  6. It is an offense to instruct a faithless person; one averse to God; or one who is unwilling to listen [to the glories of Bhagavan or His Name].

aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yaś copadeśaḥ śiva nāmāparādhaḥ

  1. One is offensive and considered low and fallen if even after hearing the glories of Nama, one still has no love for the Divine Name, and remains in the illusion of “me and mine”.

śrutvāpi nāma māhātmye yaḥ prīti rahito’dhamaḥ, ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha kṛt

 

Comments: In his tika to Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Sri Sanatana Goswami adds that, (aham mam adi) also means being proud of one’s chanting. As in one saying, “O, did you know that I am chanting one lac a day!”

Prema-bhakti candrika (115) says, one should attain perfection in secret; always be humble and keep secret one’s realizations [or attainments] gupate sadhibe siddhi sadhana dainye sada.

(adapted, Sri Advaita Dasji) Namacharya Thakura Haridasji ki jai!

Hare Krishna maha-mantra ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

While discussing japa, Sri Sanatana Goswami does not distinguish between harinama japa and diksha mantra japa. For both he gives the following important rules which all devotees should follow.

First of all, he defines japa as silent murmuring of the mantra, upamshu, and then lays down the rules for it. This is the way Srila Prabhupada chanted his daily nama and mantra japa. Sri Rupa Goswami says, “Very soft repetition of the mantra is called japa.” (Brs.1.2.149)

Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “If one speaks during japa, one’s japa will be fruitless. One will not attain perfection in his mantra chanting if he chants japa while speaking, walking, lying down on bed, thinking of something else, sneezing, hiccupping or yawning.” (HBV 17.132-3)

He furthers explains the dangers of public chanting saying, “Ghosts, Rakshasas, Vetalas and other subtle beings steal the benefits of japa done in public. Hence the wise must do japa in secret, bhuta, rakshasas, vetalas haranti prakatam tasmat guptam japet sudhih.” (HBV 17.131)

“After completing one’s daily japa sankhya, the japa mala should be worshiped and kept in a secret place [one’s temple room or home], japanya-kale malam tu pujayitva sugopayet.” (HBV 17.130)

Proper japa means solitary concentration on the mantra while sitting in a sanctified place with one’s mind and heart focused only on the mantra—its meaning and form. The Srimad Bhagavat Mahatmya (5.73) says, “Japa is lost through a restless mind.”

The key to success in bhakti is having the right attitude and feeling of devotion, sincere humility and hankering for mercy expressed through all of one’s sadhana practices. In bhakti, it is quality and not quantity that brings perfection and success in sadhana.

In this regard, Sri Vallabhacharya teaches, “Lots of sadhana does not please Sri Hari, na hi sadhana sampattya na hari toshanam. It is only the devotees’ humility that can satisfy Hari, bhaktanam dainyam evaikam harih tushyati.” Humility means submitting to and following the authority and orders of Sri Guru and Shastra.

Sri Rupa Goswami says that the holy name only manifests within someone who has a humble service attitude, sevonmukhe he jihvadau svayam eva sphurat yada. (Brs. 1.2.234)

Often it is seen that pride and ego manifest in one who chants a high number of japa without the right devotional attitude. In his tika on nama-aparadha # 10, Sri Sanatana Goswami explains how false pride—EGO manifests in different devotees. “To think ‘I’ and ‘mine’ to be the greatest in connection with the holy name is the 10th offence to the holy name. ‘I am chanting more than you’, aham bahutara-nama-kirtaka. My tongue is the greatest chanter of the holy name. Thus chanting is under the control of my tongue. I am chanting the holy name myself.” (HBV 11.524)

This kind of feeling and attitude—EGO—which often arises, is far far away from Mahaprabhu’s order to chant with the utmost humility.

Commenting on His own trnad api sunichena verse (Cc. 3.20.21) Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, ““These are the symptoms of one who [correctly] chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Although he is very exalted, he thinks himself lower than the grass on the ground, and like a tree, he tolerates everything in two ways. When a tree is cut down, it does not protest, and even when drying up, it does not ask anyone for water. The tree delivers its fruits, flowers and whatever else it possesses to anyone and everyone. It tolerates scorching heat and torrents of rain, yet it still gives shelter to others.

“Although a Vaiñëava is the most exalted person, he is prideless and shows respect to ALL LIVING ENTITIES knowing that Krishna is within them (jive sammana dibe jani krishna adhisthana). If one chants the holy name of Krishna in this way, pure love for Sri Krishna’s lotus feet will appear.” (Cc. 3.20.21-26).

In simple words, humility leads to prema and pride leads to failure. Chant Sri Krishna’s holy names with humility, full heart and attention, and soon the fruit of Krishna prema will be attained.

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Many devotees misunderstand the second offense in chanting Krishna’s Holy Name, and thus make nama-aparadha which blocks their spiritual progress.

The Second Offense:

shivasya sri vishnor ya iha guna namadi sakalam,

dhiya bhinnam pashyed sa khalu hari-namahita-karah

(Padma Puräëa, Brahma-khaëòa 25.15)

Translations:

  1. BBT (Nectar of Devotion):

“To consider the names of demigods like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma to be equal to or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu.”

  1. BBT (Brhad-bhagavatamrta)

“One who sees differences between any of Lord Shiva’s qualities and names and those of Sri Vishnu is an antagonist [offender] to hari-nama.” (BB 1.2.86 tika)

  1. Srila Sanatana Goswamipada

“If one even thinks that Shiva’s names, forms, qualities and pastimes are different from those of Sri Vishnu, he commits a serious offence against the holy name.” (Hari-bhakti Vilasa 11.152 tika)

  1. Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

“One who considers the qualities, names and other attributes of Lord Shiva to be different from those of Vishnu commits a serious offence.” (Siksastaka 2 tika)

  1. “To see difference (bhinnam pashyed) between the names and qualities of Shiva and Vishnu is an offense (ahita: inimical, antagonistic).”

The above translations (2-5), which are about the same, clearly establish the true meaning of the second offense. If you have misunderstood and are making this offense, we hope you will now adjust your vision, avoid this offense, and begin chanting the pure Holy Names of Sri Krishna, shuddha harinama.

May all confusion rest with the establishment of truth. And may all see the harmony within the myriad of transcendental forms of the sweet Absolute, Sri Krishna. In an upcoming article, we will discuss the oneness and difference of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Har Har Mahadeva ki jai! HariHara Bhagavan ki jai!

Shuddha Hari Nama ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!