Bhakti Sandarbha 263-264 : Kirtan of the Holy Name

The subject of kirtan is underway and will continue until Anu. 274. The kirtan of the Holy Namw will finish in Anu. 265, which discusses the offenses to the Holy Name.

Anuccheda 263

The Primary Result of Chanting the Name is Love

फलं त्विदमेव, यदाह (भा. ११.२.४०) —
एवंव्रतः स्वप्रियनामकीर्त्या
जातानुरागो द्रुतचित्त उच्चैः।
हसत्यथो रोदिति रौति गाय-
त्युन्मादवन् नृत्यति लोकबाह्यः॥

The primary result of chanting the names of Bhagavān is expressed by the sage Kavi to King Nimi:
The devotee, in this manner resolved to these devotional acts, is endowed with love for Bhagavān by singing His beloved names. His heart thus melts and like a madman, he loudly laughs, weeps, screams, sings and dances, in complete disregard of public opinion and social conventions. (SB 11.2.40)
एवं "शृण्वन् सुभद्राणि रथाङ्गपाणेः" (भा. ११.२.३८) इत्याद्युक्तप्रकारं व्रतं वृत्तं यस्य, तथाभूतोऽपि स्वप्रियाणि स्वाभीष्टानि यानि नामानि, तेषां कीर्तनेन जातानुरागः।

“In this manner” (evam) used in connection with the word "resolve" (vrataḥ) renders the following sense, “one who has adopted such a vow” referring to singing the Holy Name as described in the previous verse:

śṛṇvan su-bhadrāṇi rathāṅga-pāṇer janmāni karmāṇi ca yāni loke
gītāni nāmāni tad-arthakāni gāyan vilajjo vicared asaṅgaḥ

Hearing of the auspicious births and activities of Bhagavān Hari, the wielder of the disc, and singing names that denote His birth and activities which are famous throughout the world, one should move through life free from attachment and inhibition. (SB 11.2.39)

Yet, even a person who is so resolved needs to chant specific names of Bhagavān that nourish his or her particular devotional mood. By singing the names of Bhagavān that are dear to him [that are in accordance with his or her specific devotional mood], he or she acquires deep love for Bhagavān (anurāga).

तत एव चित्तद्रवाद्द्रुतचित्तः। तत्रोचितभाववैचित्रीभिर्हसति इत्यादि। अत्र तृतीयाश्रुत्या नामकीर्तनस्यैव साधकतमत्वं लब्धम्। तदेवं "एवंव्रत" इत्यत्रापिशब्दोऽप्यध्याहृतः।

Follow that alone does the devotee's heart melt, and this then gives rise to a variety of different corresponding emotions, exhibited externally in the form of laughter, tears and so on. In this verse the instrumental case is used for singing the names of Bhagavān (kīrtyā), which suggests that this singing of Bhagavān’s names is the direct cause of love. So although there are many different methods for evoking love, the causality implied by the instrumental case indicates that singing the names of Bhagavān is pre-eminent among all methods. The adverbial particle api (“even”) is to be adduced along with the words evaṁ-vrataḥ, thus giving this sense, “Even one whose conduct is so described.”

[This indicates that even a person engaged in hearing and singing the names of Bhagavān in a general way, must sing the names of Bhagavān that nourish a specific devotional mood in order for love of that quality to manifest. This is the significance of the intensive adverb api, which is inferred from the context.]

अत एव "भक्तिः परेशानुभवो विरक्तिः" (भा. ११.२.४२) इत्याद्युत्तरपद्ये टीकाचूर्णिका—"नन्वियमारूढ-योगिनामपि बहुजन्मभिर्दुर्लभा गतिः कथं नामकीर्तनमात्रेणैकास्मिन् जन्मनि भवेत् ? इत्याशङ्क्य सदृष्टान्तमाह—भक्तिरिति॥" इत्येषा।

Thus, in order to draw out the significance of this verse, Śrīdhara Svāmī offers the following words as an introduction to his commentary on the next verse (SB 11.2.42): “A doubt may be raised in this connection. The state described in the previous verse is rarely achieved even by those who have attained perfection in yoga, and even after many births of practice, so how can this state be attained in one birth merely by chanting the names of Bhagavān? Anticipating such a question, the sage responds with an example.” Here is the verse referred to in the above comment:

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud apāyo'nughāsam

Just as a hungry person experiences satisfaction, nourishment and relief from hunger with every morsel of food he or she consumes; so to a person who has fully taken shelter of Bhagavān, devotion, realization of Bhagavān and detachment from things not related to devotion all appear at once. (SB 11.2.42)

इत्थमुत्थापितं च श्रीभगवन्नामकौमुद्यां सहस्रनामभाष्ये च पुराणान्तरवचनम्—

नक्तं दिवा च गतभीर्जितनिद्र एको
निर्विण्ण ईक्षितपथो मितभुक् प्रशान्तः।
यद्यच्युते भगवति स मनो न सज्जे-
न्नामानि तद्रतिकराणि पठेद्विलज्जः॥ इति ।

A similar statement from another Purāṇa is cited in Bhagavan-nāma-kaumudī and in Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Sahasra-nāma:

If one cannot fix one's mind on Bhagavān Acyuta even after overcoming fear, both during the day and at night, having conquered sleep, alone, disinterest in material life, having a vision of his own spiritual path, eating frugally, and being fully peaceful in mind, then without inhibition one should loudly utter the names of Bhagavān, which awaken love for Him.

अत्र गतभीरित्यादयो गुणा नामैकतत्परतासम्पादनार्थाः, न तु कीर्तनाङ्गभूताः। भक्तिमात्रस्य निरपेक्षत्वं, तस्य तु सुतरां तादृशत्वमिति। यथा विष्णुधर्मसर्वपातकातिपातकमहापातककारिद्वितीयक्षत्रबन्धूपाख्याने—

The qualities mentioned in this verse, such as being free from fear, are meant to assist the practitioner in developing single-minded absorption in the name—they are not component parts of the practice of kīrtana. Since bhakti is independent of any other requirement, the practice of singing the glories of Bhagavān is certainly free of prerequisites. This is evident from the conversation in the Viṣṇu-dharmottara Purāṇa between a brāhmawith a fallen kṣatriya who had committed the sins known as sarva-pātaka, ati-pātaka and mahā-pātaka:

ब्राह्मण उवाच—
यद्येतदखिलं कर्तुं न शक्नोषि ब्रवीमि ते।
स्वल्पमन्यन् मयोक्तं भो करिष्यति भवान् यदि॥

The brāhmaṇa said: “If you are unable to carry out all that I have told you, let me know. I will give you something less demanding if you think yourself able to follow it.”

अशक्यमुक्तं भवता चञ्चलत्वाद्धि चेतसः।
वाक्शरीरविनिष्पाद्यं यच्छक्यं तदुदीरय॥

Kṣatrabandhu said: “Because my mind is unstable, I am unable to follow your instructions. Please inform me if there is something else that I can do through speech or body.”

ब्राह्मण उवाच—
उत्तिष्ठता प्रस्वपता प्रस्थितेन गमिष्यता।
गोविन्देति सदा वाच्यं क्षुत्-तृट्-प्रस्खलितादिषु॥ इति।

The brāhmaṇa said: “While standing, sleeping, or moving about, whether in hunger, thirst or even while falling down, always chant the name of Govinda.”

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Kṛṣṇa's name is non-different from Kṛṣṇa (BRS 1.2.108). Therefore, it is potent like Him. It can give anything to the devotee. But the highest award it grants is love, prema. Love is superior even to liberation. This will be further established in Prīti Sandarbha.

ŚrI Jīva Gosvāmī comments that the third case in the compound sva-priya-nāma-kīrtyā (11.2.40) “by chanting the names liked by one,” implies that chanting names of the form of Bhagavān that is most dear to one is the most efficacious process to attain love of Bhagavān. The third case is used for that which is most effective in achieving the result of an action (sādhakatamam karaṇam, Pāṇini Sūtra 1.4.42). The effectiveness of the Name is also understood from the indeclinable evam, “in this way.” This refers to the various devotional activities stated in the previous verse (11.2.39). The sense is that although one performs these devotional activities, evaṁ vrataḥ, it is only by chanting of the name, sva-priya-nāma-kīrtyā, that one attains love which melts his/her heart, druta-cittaḥ. Such an understanding is supported by the statements from a Purāṇa cited by Lakṣmīdhara Paṇḍita, the author of Bhagavān-nāma-kaumudī.

The name is not dependent on any other process. Even if one is unable to follow any other religious principle, the mere chanting of the holy name will bring all perfection. This is the import of the verses cited from Viṣṇu-dharma Purāṇa. Sūta Gosvāmī concludes the recitation of Bhāgavata Purāṇa with a glorification of the chanting of the name (12.13.23). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu specifically stressed on nāma-saṅkīrtana. He said that it will bring all perfection, param vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam (Śikṣāṣṭakam 1). This was not known to most people before His appearance. It is He who made nāma-saṅkīrtana popular and said that it is the dharma for kali-yuga. He also predicted that it would become popular in the future, a prediction that has come true.

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī continues to explain the importance of nāma-saṅkīrtana because at the time of writing this book nāma-kīrtana was not a mainstream practice among Hindus.

Anuccheda 264

Importance of Nāma-kīrtana

अन्यत्र च (भा. ६.२.११)—
न निष्कृतैरुदितैर्ब्रह्मवादिभिस्
तथा विशुद्ध्यत्यघवान् व्रतादिभिः।
यथा हरेर्नामपदैरुदाहृतैस्

Elsewhere the Viṣṇudūtas have spoken about the glories of singing the names of Bhagavān to the Yamadūtas:
A sinner is not purified as much by undergoing atonements or by observing vows delineated by those who know the Vedas as by uttering the names of Bhagavān, because these names reveal the knowledge of the virtues of the glorious Bhagavān. (SB 6.2.11)
न च पापविशोधनमात्रेणापक्षीयते तन्नामपदोदाहरणम्, किन्तु गुणानामप्युपलम्भकमनुभवहेतुर्भवति॥

The effect of uttering the names of Bhagavān is not limited merely to absolving sins, but also grants one direct experience of Bhagavān’s attributes.

॥६.२॥ श्रीविष्णुदूता यमदूतान्॥२६४॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

The first three chapters of the Sixth Canto are specifically devoted to the importance and principles of chanting the Holy Name. This is one of the central themes of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and is indicated by putting the story of Ajāmila, which elucidates the glories of name in the center of the book. The present verse is part of the story. The Viṣṇudūtas are the servants of Bhagavān Viṣṇu and the Yamadūtas are the servants of Yama, the deva in charge of meting out the results of one’s karma after death.

DISCLAIMER: All the posts related to Bhakti Sandarbha are not the final product. This version will be refined by other readers and editors, including Babaji himself. Please do not use this material without reference to this disclaimer.

Bhakti Sandarbha 260-262 : More Glories of Hearing the Bhagavatam
Bhakti Sandarbha 257-259 : Hearing the Bhagavatam
Bhakti Sandarbha 254-256 : Hearing Lila
Bhakti Sandarbha 251-253 : Hearing About Bhagavan's Attributes and Pastimes
Bhakti Sandarbha 248-250 : Introduction to Śravaṇam
Bhakti Sandarbha 246-247 : Honor Should be Given to All Vaiṣṇavas
Bhakti Sandarbha 243-245 : More Benefits of Sat-sanga
Bhakti Sandarbha 240-242 : The Power of Sat-saṅga to Grant Love for Krishna
Bhakti Sandarbha 239: Sat-saṅga Brings Bhagavān Under Control
Bhakti Sandarbha 238 : Sat-saṅga Captivates Bhagavān



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