~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

Sambandha, ahidheya and prayojana

"Once the cloud and mist are dispelled, the sun of the holy name shines brilliantly once more and enlightens the devotee with love of Godhead.

"The bona fide spiritual master instructs the disciple in sambandha-jnana. The chanting of the holy name is the indication (abhidheya) of this eternal relationship (sambandha). The guru encourages the disciple to take up abhidheya or chanting. The sun of the holy name now shines stronger and evaporates the mist of anartha. Chanting at this stage, becomes an indispensable need (prayojana). Prayojana leads a devotee to love of Godhead. The jiva now experiences ecstasy in every moment of chanting.

"The guru first instructs his disciple in sambandha-jnana. This is to be exactingly explained, and the disciple must receive it with proper faith. The quintessence of this knowledge is that Lord Krsna is eternally the Supreme Personality of Godhead; the jiva is His eternal servitor, and the jiva's loving relationship with Lord Krsna is likewise eternal as an inherent trait of his nature. In contact with material nature, the jiva forgets his eternal relationship with the Lord and loiters aimlessly in this world of illusion searching for bliss. The material world is a veritable prison-house where the jiva is penalized for turning his back on Krsna. It consists of the fourteen planetary systems which together are known as the Devi-dhama; these planetary systems are the cells within the prison where the recalcitrant jivas are confined. Devi-dhama is not a place for experiencing happiness and bliss. The so-called material pleasures offered to the jivas here are only temporary, and hence simply cause further suffering; but since punishments are remedies, the jivas are reformed through such punitive measures.

"By the mercy of a Vaisnava devotee of the Lord, if the imprisoned jiva is once again instructed in the holy name and sambandha-jnana, he will gradually become enlightened with the essence of all religious practices, namely pure love of Godhead. To this fortunate soul, sayujya-muk or impersonal liberation is reprehensible. Until he is solidly grounded in the sam-bandha-jnana understanding, his chanting will be polluted by ananhas. This, then, is namabhasa: when the jiva cannot chant the pure name of Krsna.

The result of namabhasa

"The namabhasa stage is not to be underestimated, for it avails many positive benefits to the jiva and increases his piety. Verily, namabhasa is one of the jiva's greatest virtues. It offers him more good fortune than religiosity, vows, yoga, sacrifices and so on, put together. Now by chanting all his sins are absolved; he is thus liberated from the effects of Kali-yuga. Instead, Kali becomes a well-wishing servitor of the jiva providing security and equanimity. The miseries inflicted by demons, ghosts, hobgoblins, evil spirits and malefic planetary influences are easily averted. Even if a jiva is destined for the hellish planets he attains liberation; all his prarabdha-karma (sinful reactions of previous lives' activities that are taking effect now) is counteracted. Namabhasa is greater than the result of studying all the Vedas, of visiting every pilgrimage place or of performing every possible altruistic and pious work.

"The four goals offered in Vedas—religiosity, wealth, sense enjoyment and liberation—are all available from namabhasa chanting. It is endowed with unimaginable power that can reclaim any living entity. It bestows unlimited joy and elevates even the derelicts to a very exalted stage of realization. Namabhasa offers eternal residence in the spiritual abode of Vaikuntha, especially in Kali-yuga; this is stated in the scriptures.

Namabhasa's four attitudes

"The four attitudes in namabhasa chanting are sanketa (unintentionally) parihasa (in jest or ridicule), stobha (derisively) and hela (with disregard and neglect). Santeta is of two kinds: 1) when one, though intending to chant Lord Visnu's name, has a material conception of it, and 2) when one has something entirely different than the Lord or His name on his mind, but chants the holy name being somehow or other reminded of that transcendental sound. The yavanas eat cows, yet in spite of this they can attain liberation by uttering haram, an ordinary word in their language (Urdu) where Lord Krsna's name is automatically chanted. The power of the holy name is never diminished even if chanted in sanketa-namabhasa.

"Chanting in jest (parihasa) like Jarasandha did gets one liberated, as does chanting derisively (stobha) like Sisupala. Even chanting inattentively and with disregard results in deliverance from the pangs of material existence. Namabhasa chanting can purify anyone; people of low upbringing like mlecchas, gross materialists, and lazy persons can all avail of this opportunity to obtain liberation.