Vaisnava-ninda (Criticizing a Vaisnava), Part 5

BY: SUN STAFF - 7.6 2022

A serial presentation of 'Vaisnava-ninda' by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

The Difference Between Sri Nama and Namabhasa & Those who Chant Namabhasa are not Vaisnavas

The difference between nama and namabhasa is not the topic of our present deliberation. This shall be discussed specifically at another time. Herein, this much can be said: when krsna-nama is chanted with sastriya-sraddha (faith in scripture), that is, with unalloyed surrender, then it is nama. When nama is chanted with desires unrelated to making Krsna happy (anyabhilasita), or when it is eclipsed by jnana (dry, impersonal knowledge), karma (reward seeking action), vairagya (renunciation born of aversion) and so forth, it is namabhasa.

Although the chanting of namabhasa can award any result, even up to emancipation from the material energy (mukti), the Vaisnava only chants suddha-nama and is never inclined to chant any form of namabhasa.

When nama is chanted by one who has knowledge of His actual svarupa, who understands that nama and nami (the name and the named) are non-different, and who has realized that nama only makes His appearance upon the pure transcendental senses of the jiva, only then is it nama.

When that nama appears on someone's tongue, even once, he becomes a Vaisnava. By the time nama appears, all of one's fructified (prarabdha) and unfructified (aprarabdha) sins are destroyed. And along with the awakening of such nama comes love of Godhead.


The Vaisnava who chants suddha-nama is endowed with all good qualities, is free of sins and has no interest in pious or impious activities

A Vaisnava is naturally endowed with all good characteristics and is devoid of all vice. It is stated in Sri Caitanyacaritamrta:

sarva maha-guna-gana vaisnava-sarire
krsna-bhakte krsnera guna sakali sancare
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (22.75)

All exalted virtues reside in the body of a Vaisnava. All the transcendental qualities of Krsna are transmitted to His bhakta.

vidhi-dharma chadi' bhaje krsnera carana
nisiddha papacare tara kabhu nahe mana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (22.142)

A Vaisnava exclusively worships Sri Krsna's lotus feet, so even though he casts aside the regulative principles and conduct prescribed for the discharge of varnasrama-dharma (righteous societal duty), his mind is never tainted by the inclination to engage in prohibited, sinful activities.

ajnane va haya yadi 'papa' upasthita
krsna tanre suddha kare, na karaya prayascitta
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (22.143)

If, however, a Vaisnava somehow unknowingly becomes implicated in sinful activity, Krsna does not make him undergo the ordained method of atonement, but personally purifies him instead.

jnana-vairagyadi—bhaktira kabhu nahe 'anga'
ahimsa-yama-niyamadi bule krsna-bhakta-sanga
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (22.145)

Never mistake the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation as limbs of bhakti in their own right, for all good qualities such as gentleness, control over the mind and senses, and appropriate renunciation automatically accompany the krsna-bhaktas.

asat-sanga-tyaga,—ei vaisnava-acara
'stri-sangi'—eka asadhu, 'krsnabhakta' ara
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (22.87)

To discard the company of those who diminish one's resolve in krsna-bhakti (asat-sanga) is truly the natural conduct of a Vaisnava. And the most detrimental association of all is those who enjoy the company of women and the non-devotees.

The day krsna-nama appears on someone's tongue, even a single time, he will lose all taste for sinful activities. What to speak of taste for sinful activities, he will even lose interest in pious activities.

All three classifications of Vaisnavas – namely those who are vaisnava, those who are vaisnava-tara and those who are vaisnava-tama – are devoid of any form of material contamination, flawless and without sin. If it is observed, however, that a person is actually inclined toward sinful activities, then he is not to be counted among the Vaisnavas. Even the kanisthavaisnavas* have no inclination for pious or impious activities.

* Also known as vaisnava-praya


Translated from Sri Gaudiya Patrika, Year 7, Issue 10 in Rays of The Harmonist, Kartika Issue, 2009