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As far as Mantra japa is concerned, I think everybody knows that the first step towards Mantra Siddhi (mastery over the mantra) is Guru DikshA (taking the mantra from one's Guru) and then we have to do Purasacharana.

However, for NAma japa, i.e when one is simply reciting some names of Gods (like Shiva, DurgA or any other), does one still require an initiation?

One famous instance, from our scriptures, of how NAma japa has entirely transformed a person is the case of Rishi VAlmīki, who wrote the epic of RAmAyaṇa.

In his case, however, he was initiated (afaik) into the NAma japa by Devarshi NArada.

So, does that mean even for NAma japa initiation is required?

NOTE- I want answers that are based on scriptures.

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    Good question sir. Nama japa or chanting the holy name of God is a cure for all mental illness and It not only calms the mind but redeems the atma. I believe Nama japa required while diksha, but this link mentioned: bvml.org/contemporary/PDA_danb.html we can do nama japa even without undergoing diksa also. – CR241 Aug 10 '17 at 5:40
  • Ok thanks, but don't call me sir just because i have more reputation. than u .:D.. Just 1 year back i was just like you in terms of reputations ..And we may be are of the same age..so u can treat me as a buddy or a brother. @CR241 – Rickross Aug 10 '17 at 5:44
  • Not like that, I don't think reputation matter and here knowledge only speaks :) I feel it's good question, so it came like that. I am 25 (may be we are same age) :p – CR241 Aug 10 '17 at 5:55
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    No. as long as it is not part of a mantra with pranava or beejakshara. IDK if you accept itihasa/purana as scriptures, but there are plenty of examples where those without initiation (non-brahmins, women, animals, or even brahmins) have called God out of bhakti or surrender, or just for name-sake :) and he has rushed to help. e.g. Ajamilan. – ram Aug 10 '17 at 19:52
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    In DikshA at the end there is A- kAra that's why capitalised. @SS. – Rickross Aug 11 '17 at 5:56
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No, Nama Japa does not need initiation.

We accept Shastravakya and Aptavakya as pramana. Also, "Yukiheenavicharaena dharmahaanih prajayate" which means logical analysis is accepted in our spiritual culture. (Reference: Yogavaasistha-Ramayana, quoted in Jnaniguru, Nigamananda Saraswati, page 12).

Remembering the above, let us proceed:

  1. Naama Japa and Sankirtana was popularised by Mahaprabhy Sri Chaitanyadeva. He says in Sri Chaitanya-Charitamrita (Chapter 15):

    এক কৃষ্ণনাম করে সর্বপাপক্ষয়।
    নববিধ ভক্তিপূর্ণ নাম হইতে হয়॥
    দীক্ষা পুরশ্চর্যা বিধি অপেক্ষা না করে।
    জিহ্বাস্পর্শে আচণ্ডাল সবারে উদ্ধারে॥

    "Nama of Krishna alone is enough to destroy all sins and attainment of matured levels of the nine types of devotions. It does not need initiation(Diksha) or Purascharana. Just chanting of it liberates all men of all castes. This we can of course take as Aptavakya."

  2. Coming to the scriptures, The Vrihat-Naradiya-Purana (38/126) announces:

    हरेर्नाम हरेर्नाम हर्र्नामैव केवलम्।
    कलौ नास्त्येव नास्त्येव नास्त्येव गतिरन्यथा॥

    The nama of Hari, the nama of Hari, the nama of Hari alone [is the way]. In the age of Kali there is no other method of Liberalisation.(thrice).

The words "Kevalam" and "No other way" means no anusthanas like Diksha is necessary.

  1. Now the logical part. Did Mahapraprabhu exclude the names of other forms of God like Shiva, Shakti etc? No. Because in His Shikshastakam, He writes:

    नाम्नामकारि बहुधा निजसर्वशक्तिस्तत्रार्पिता नियमित: स्मरणे न कालः।

    "[O God,] You have assumed different names and have poured all your power in each and there is no particular time of remembering it.

So quite definitely He meant names of all forms of God. This view was accepted by Mahajanas like Sri Ramakrishna (Ref: Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita), Sri Charandas Babaji, Sri Ramdas Babaji(Ref: Their biographies by Abha Sarkar), Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath(Omkarnath Rachanavali) and many other realised souls.

There are scriptural proofs here also. In Shivarahasya, we get

तारकं ब्रह्मपरमं शिव इत्यक्षरद्वयम्

The nama of Shiva is the TAraka Brahma. (Reference: Shivanamamritalahari, Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, OmkarnathnRachanavali, Vol.11, page 15).

In Mundamalatantra, we get

यः जपेत्सततं दुर्गां यो जपेत् परमं मनुम्। स जीवलोके देवेशि नीलकण्ठत्वमाप्नुयात्॥

Whoever remembers Dura or makes japa of Durganama constantly, becomes Shiva Himself. (Reference: Omkarnath Rachanavali, Chapter 11, page 192).

Hence it is proved that nama-japa does not need initiation.

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