Can you explain the various stages in chanting – namaprada, namabhasa, shudda-nama?
Transcriber: Bhakta Sharan
Question: Can you explain the various stages in chanting – namapradha, namabhasa, shuddha-nama?
Answer: There are broadly three ways in which we can understand the various stages in chanting – (i) manifestation (ii) experience and (iii) potency of the holy names.
At one level, Krishna is non-different from his holy names. It is said, namnam akari bahudha nija sarva shaktis (Sri Siksastakam – Verse 2), meaning his potency is fully present in his holy names. At the same time, Krishna is also reciprocal. He is not static or void but is actually a person who reciprocates according to our devotion. Although Krishna is always omnipotent, we need to recognize that whatever is manifested to us is essentially based not just on Krishna’s potency but also on our receptivity. An analog fan may have access to 100 percent power but the speed at which it rotates depends on the positive progression in turning the switch. More the switch is progressively turned in the right direction, more energy from the fan can be experienced. Similarly, those who are atheist or envious towards Krishna, they cannot perceive Him at all. However, for those who are focused on reciprocating with Krishna, His power becomes manifest to them depending on their receptivity. This principle of reciprocity can be applied to analyse the power of the holy names.
It is said, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.234). This means, to the extent we turn towards Krishna with service attitude to that extent we experience his potency.
Shuddha nama is like the tuner of the fan being fully on or a sun which has completely risen. Namabhasa is like a rising sun. The sun although not visible to us, but it is present, and its effect is visible to us because we can see the horizon illuminated through a red glow spreading across the sky.
Namaparadha is like pre-risen sun or the state before the sun has risen.
What does aparadha basically mean? That which takes us away from Radha or the divine energy who is completely devoted to Krishna is called aparadha. To the extent our consciousness is directed elsewhere, to that extent we cannot relish the sweetness of Krishna bhakti. The sun is always effulgent but whether we see it or not depends on time and our location on earth. Similarly, Krishna will manifest to us depending on where the switch of our consciousness is and how receptive we are.
Namapradha stage can be perceived as having a gun with no bullets. Suppose a person is being chased by thugs and eventually they confront him. At this point, if the person points an empty gun at them then just by this act some of the thugs may run away. Pointing an unloaded gun is not completely useless. It does help us scare away the intruders. Namabhasa stage is like a gun with limited number of bullets which needs to be loaded every time before shooting. Shuddha-nama stage is like an automatic gun with huge amount of ammunition which can keep firing.
Namapradha means chanting at offensive stage, Namabhasa is chanting at clearing stage and Shudda-nama is chanting at pure stage.
As we progress in our chanting, we will experience the potency of the holy names. At present, even while chanting at the offensive stage we may gradually experience peace, purity and presence of Krishna. We may experience calmness of mind, decrease in the impact of lust, anger, greed etc. This is also an experience of the potency of Krishna even if it is not a full experience.
To conclude, we want to access the full power of the holy names, but we need not be discouraged thinking that we are not able to access the power of the holy names right now. Even with little power of the holy names that we are accessing, we can see significant transformation in our life. Such experience should inspire us to keep moving forward progressively in our spiritual path.
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