Chanting Namabhasa

Question: Bhaktivinoda writes in Harinam Cintamani 3.27 –
yavat sambandha jnana sthira nahi haya |
tavat anarthe namabhasera asraya ||27|

“But until he is solidly grounded on the sambandha-jnana understanding, his chanting will be polluted by anarthas. This is namabhasa. In this stage, the jiva cannot chant the pure name of Krsna.”
It seems that namabhasa cannot be a sadhana because it is accidental chanting, like that of Ajamila. But then, of the four types of namabhasa – stobha, sanket, parihas and hela, isn’t hela a type of sadhana, as in ‘inattentive chanting’?

Answer: Namabhasa is not a sadhana. Hela is not sadhana. The name of Krishna, like Krishna, being nondifferent from Him, is always pure. But the full potency of the name may not manifest in the heart of a sadhaka although he or she may be chanting the name. In such a case the name chanted by such a sadhaka may be called namabhasa because the pure name has not manifested.

Question: Prabhuji, thank you very much for that response. Allow me to pry a little deeper please. Do the following texts not refer to namabhasa as a sadhana?
Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya 3.181-3:

Haridas kohen – yaiche suryera udoy;
udoy na hoite arambha tamer hoy khoy
Caura preta raksasadi bhoy hoy nash;
udoy hoile dharma karma adi parakash
Aiche namodoyarambhe papa adira khoy;
udoy koile krsnapade hoy premodoy

Haridas said to the Lord:  “Just as the sunrise destroys the darkness and with it, fear of ghosts, demons and thieves, and shows the beginning of virtue and activity (with the beginning of a new day), similarly the rise of the Holy Name destroys sins and so on and causes the rise of love for the feet of Krishna.”

And this verse from the Padma Purana cited by Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti RasamRta Sindhu, 2.1.103:

tam nirvyajam bhaja guna-nidhe pavanam pavananam
sraddha-rajyan-matir atitaram uttamah-sloka-maulim |
prodyann antah-karana-kuhare hanta yan-nama-bhanor
abhaso’pi ksapayati maha-pataka-dhvanta-rasim ||

“Ocean of good qualities! With your mind illumined by faith you should worship him free from all insincerity, him who is the purifier of purifiers, the crown of those praised by the finest verse, the reflection (AbhAsa) of whose sunlike name rising in the cave of the mind destroys the flood of darkness that consists of great sin.”….

Answer: The verse from CC is not about namabhasa but manifestation of pure nama. The Padma Purana verse is glorifying the nama by descibing the power of its abhasa. This is the kaimutya nyaya – the  “If … what to speak of principle” (a fortiori principle). If abhasa has such power, then what to speak of the nama itself.


Question: In his book Nama Cintamani, Sri Kanupriya Goswami claims that of the four types of chanting mentioned in the SB 6.2.14 – sanketya, parihasa, stobha and hela, only sanketya is namabhasa, the other three he doesn’t count as namabhasa because they are uttered neglectfully or unfavorably. He says neither the sloka, nor any of its tikas mention the word namabhasa [i checked this, it is correct], and the verse just means to glorify the holy name. What is your opinion on this please?

Answer: So what is his definition of namabhasa? Why should only sanketya be considered namabhasa? Read Jiva Gosvami’s and Chakravartipada’s comments. They say that other three types are not done with disrespect. Namabhasa is mentioned in Sarartha Darsini of Verses 9 and 10.