It is said by some that in kaliyuga, naam japa is the only means of salvation.

Even if we ignore this extreme position, does it imply that naam japa is definitely better than mantra japa in kaliyuga ?

  • 6
    Good question.Well there is no such thing as better. It is all relative. If you are suffering from sore throat, tomato soup is better than fruit juice. If you are suffering from heat, then fruit juice is better. Similarly, depending on the sadhaka, a different practice is recommended. Some saints say that nama japa is the best. Some saints say that self-enquiry is the best. Some saints say that yoga is the best. Only thing I can say is generally 'any japa is better than nothing'. So once we make a start, if we are sincere, God will guide us on to whatever is suitable for us. All the best.
    – Sai
    Apr 15, 2016 at 14:21
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    "naam japa" is itself a type of "mantra japa"...
    – Tezz
    Apr 16, 2016 at 1:13
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    @Sai Sometimes personal opinions give WRONG infos.In this case ,ur statement "Well there is no such thing as better" is a wrong one.Unless of course u consider urself a better authority than Shastras themselves.
    – Rickross
    Oct 9, 2016 at 4:57
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    @Sai.Nothing personal.But IMO u should not comment like "Well there is nothing like better" on Scriptural matters unless u can prove ur point by citing Scriptures.Such authoritative comments suit only Gods and those Saints/Rishis whose Sahasrara Chakra has been pierced.U shud add "I think"",Afaik" "IMO" etc to make ur comments humble.
    – Rickross
    Oct 11, 2016 at 6:46
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    @Rickross Your opinion is fair. I would encourage you to put it on Meta Stack Exchange if you're really serious about imposing such a rule. However you have to be careful not to be too extreme. To a certain extent all answers are merely opinions. For example, which scriptures are considered Shastras according to you? According to Vaishnavas this number is different. According to Iyers, this number is different. According to Shaivites this number is different. Based on what do you conclude that an answer is in accordance with Shastras? And will that not be your own opinion! Good luck
    – Sai
    Oct 11, 2016 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


First of all one need to understand that Nama Japa is different from Mantra Japa.A Mantra is one which is always preceded by the Pranava Beeja OM.Otherwise the mantra is lifeless.(See this or this question)Nothing of that sort applies to Nama Japa.

Also,a Mantra is always associated with a corresponding "Viniyoga Mantra" which is uttered to "unlock" the full potential of the actual Mantra by acknowledging the Risi,Devata and Chanda of the Mantra.

Moreover,performing Kara ,Anga-adi Nyasas are often mandatory for attaining success in Mantra Japa.No such restrictions apply to Nama Japa.

In Puja & Yajna we use Mantra (Japa) & not Nama Japa.So,Mantra Japa is essentially (another form of)Worship or Yajna and is distinct from Nama Japa or Nama Samkeertana in the stricter sense.

Now,from the Dharma Bindu(the essence of all Dharma Shastras):

Vishnu Purana: Sarve Brahma vadavyanti sampraptetun Kaloau yuge, Naanu tishthanti Maitreya shishnodara parayanaah/ Yada yadaasataam haanih Vedamargaanu saarinaam, Tadaa tadaa Kaler - vriddhih anumeyaa vichakshanaih// Veda Vyaasauvaacha: Yatkrute dashabhirvarshaih tretaayaam vaayanenatu Dvaapare tacchamaasena hyahoraatrena tatlalou/ Dhyaayan Krite yajan yagjnaih Tretaayaam Dwapare archayan, Yadaapnoti tadaapnoti Kalou samkeerta Keshavam/ Naaradiye/ Hare Keshava Govinda Vaasudeva Janaarddana, Iteetayanti nityam sahitaan badhate Kalih// Shiva Shankara Rudreti Nilakantha Trilochana, Iteerayanti ye nityam sahitaan baadhate Kalih/ Shiva Shankara Rudreti Neelakantha Trilochana, Iteerayanti ye nityam sahitaan baadhate Kalih/ (Vishnu Purana details Yuga dharmas as follows: In Kali Yuga, every one discusses about Brahma Jnaana but none is really interested in it since they are overwhelmed of selfishness, centric pysche and sex but none really is serious in favour of Brahma Jnaana; as and when there occurs a danger to the Virtuous, there is the upgradation of evil forces and infringement of virtue, and the signs of Kali Yuga become prominent and clear. Vyasa states: What ever deeds of virtue are performed in ten years in Krita yuga are as dispensed with or equal to those peformed in one Ayana on Treta Yuga, one month in one Dvapara yuga and even in single day-night on Kali Yuga. 1)The rewards of virtue by of Tapas during KritaYuga are as good as Yagjnas in Treta yuga, worships in DvaparaYuga and even ‘Samkeertanas’ rendering Sacred Songs in Kali yuga)

Narada Brahmarshi that states the soulful singing of Narayana as: Here Keshava Govinda Vaasudeva Janardana Iteerayanti nityam sahitaan baadhate Kalih/ Or alternatively as Shiva Shankara Rudreti Neelakantha Tricochana, Itirtayanti ye nityam sahitaan baadhate Kalih/ 2)That is either render Hari Smarana or Hara smarana as above! Kali Yuga would never ever torment sincere prayers with the naamas as mentioned above. Such indeed are the Yuga Dharmas!

From highlighted portion 1 we can conclude that what is worship( or Mantra Japa) in Dwapara , Yajna(or Mantra japa) in Treta is Nama Samkeertana(or Nama Japa) in Kali .This implicitly implies that Nama Japa is more effective than Mantra Japa in Kali yuga.

Highlighted portion 2 also declares the same thing viz-Nama Japa is the best protection from all kinds of evil in Kali Yuga..This also implies that Nama Japa has more effectiveness than Mantra Japa in Kali Yuga.

But the statement that "Nama Japa is the only mode of salvation for everyone in Kali" seems to be an exaggerated one & is possibly not true.

The "Chaitanya Charitra Amrita" however says :

"Naam Bina Kali kaale naai aar dharmo,Sarva Mantra Saar Naam-Ei Sastro Mormo"(Bengali)

Meaning-There is no Dharma in Kali other than Nama ,Nama is the essence of all Mantras & this is the essence of all Shastras.

  • Can we sing Naam Jaap...I have seen many who sing Naam...like (Ram Ram Ram Ram) but in musical tone. IMO it's more like keertana than Nama Japa.
    – LSSJ Broly
    Aug 6, 2022 at 17:15
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    Yes its Nama Sankirtana .. it can be done too @LSSJBroly
    – Rickross
    Aug 7, 2022 at 5:52

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