Some sadhanas in sanathan dharma automatically promote sadhaka to the next levels. If a sadhaka shows perseverance and consistency in sadhana, there are more chances for automatic upliftment. I want to know whether the same holds for Nama Japa.

It is known that nama Japa does not need initiation and has almost no rules like mantra Japa or many other sadhanas. One is free to select any name of a god from scriptures and do Nama Japa. It is true that even if a person chants the name of a god with negligence or fun, it has its benefits. It is trivial that if a person does Nama Japa with bhava, it can give immediate results. Bhava, in this question, refers to the feeling towards the god.

If a person chants Nama Japa without any bhava (mechanical Nama Japa), will it automatically convert into nama Japa with bhava?

I came across a commentary related to the stage in nama Japa

There are three stages in chanting the holy name of the Lord−the offensive stage, the stage of lessening offenses, and the pure stage. When a neophyte takes to the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, he generally commits many offenses. There are ten basic offenses, and if the devotee avoids these, he can glimpse the next stage, which is situated between offensive chanting and pure chanting. When one attains the pure stage, he is immediately liberated. This is called bhava−mahadavagni−nirvapanam. As soon as one is liberated from the blazing fire of material existence, he can relish the taste of transcendental life.

I think chanting without bhava is not one among the ten offesnses. Based on this, can I safely infer that a sadhaka who starts Nama Japa without bhava can be atomically transformed into the next stage? Do scriptures provide more information about bhava promotion?

  • in a sense, yes. Remember what a mantra is. it has a particular vibration to it, and when you do japam its aim is to put your mind into the same vibration as the mantra. The more you chant, the more in tune your mind becomes to it - it becomes purer. Very few people 'like' japam when they start. You develop bhava as a result of japam. It does not matter if you jump into a tank, get pushed in, or fall in; you get equally wet in all three cases. Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 10:45
  • 1
    One thing I observed if we try to chant without moving tongue(i.e. doing mentally) one becomes more concious of the japa and it reduces mechanical japa Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 11:44
  • @YOuwillnotknow yes excellent observation. But some say, while moving the mouth and tongue but not making any sound is good.
    – user28152
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:09
  • Yes Valmiki is one famous example. Also Ajamila.
    – user28152
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:10

1 Answer 1

Can I safely infer that a sadhaka who starts Nama Japa without bhava can be atomically transformed into the next stage?

Irrespective of sect, irrespective of one has faith or not, anyhow having uttered name one surely gets the fruits.

Mundamala tantra,

श्रद्धयाsश्रद्धाया वापि यः कश्चित् मानवः स्मरेत्।
दुर्गाम् दुर्गशतोतीर्णह् स याति परमा गतिम्।।
यथेंद्रश्च कुबेरश्च वरुणह् साधको यथा।
अभक्त्यापी च भक्त्या वा यः स्मरेद् रूद्रगेहिनीम्।
सुखम् भक्त्वेह लोके तु स यास्याति शिवालायम्।।
Any human with faith or not, remembers Durga, get liberated from hundreds of miseries and attains the highest goal.
The way Indra, Kuber and Varun are 'Sadhaks', the one devoted to Durga, is also a 'Sadhak' in this world.
The person who with devotion or not, remembers Rudragrihini Durga (the wife of Rudra), gets happiness in this world, and after death attains Shivloka.

Shrimad Bhagwatam, 6th Skanda, 2nd Chapter,

सांकेत्यं पारिहास्यं वा स्तोमं हेलनमेव वा वैकुंठनामग्रहणमशेषाघहरं विदह्।
The great realised souls know this that even in sanketam (addressing for other work & not jaap), while making fun, while taunting, or while showing disregard to someone, a person utters the name of bhagwan, his all sins are burnt.

पतितह् स्खलितो भग्नः संदष्टस्तप्त आहतः।
हरिरित्यवशेनाह पुमान्नार्हति यातनाम्।।
The human that while falling, sliping by legs, his body being crushed or in Snake bite, getting burnt by fire and even while getting injured, chants the name 'Hari Hari', due to compelance, is not tortured by Yama.

Just like anyone without knowing the reality of Amrit drinks it, still the Amrit makes the drinker immortal, just like that uttering the name of the bhagwan even without knowing, is bound to provide the fruits. (Because, the quality of a vastu doesn't follow faith, it is bound to show it's effect even if used unknowingly).

Garud Purana,

avaśenāpi yan-nāmni
kīrtite sarva-pātakaiḥ
pumān vimucyate sadyaḥ
siṁha-trastair mṛgair iva
If one chants the naam, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all of one’s sinful reactions immediately depart, just as a lion’s roar causes the small animals in the forest to flee in fear.

This same was once the topic of debate between, Dindayal Goenkaji & Hanuman Poddarji. Dindayal ji believed that without knowing the meaning of the name or having faith in it, the Naam jaap, has no significance. While Poddar ji had the belief that faith or no faith, the name will surely, give liberation.
Thus once while discussing on this topic, Dindayal ji said that, "In English, Ram means a sheep, while to us RAM is sakshat parabrahma. So suppose, while dying an English man thinks of Ram the sheep, and utters it, will he be liberated?"
Replying to this Hanuman Ji said, "yes man will definitely be liberated".
Goenka ji asked for an explanation.
Hanuman Ji said, even without faith or knowing the meaning of the word if one utters the name of the bhagwan he will definitely be liberated. This is something just like knowingly or unknowingly if a person cuts an onion he is bound to have tears, by eating poison is surely to die. Just like that, the name too uttered gives liberation. As naam and naami (the bhagwan) are no different. " Then he reminds Goenkaji about the story of Ajamil from Bhagwat Purana.

Shrimad Bhagwat Puran, 6th Skanda, 1st chapter,

That foolish man was living his life this way, and by then his time of death has approached. Now he started only thinking about his son Narayana. Then Ajamil saw that three servants of the Yama have approached to take his soul. The had a noose in hand, they had crooked face, and the hairs on the body were erect. Upon seeing the servants of the Yama, Ajamil got anxious an utter the name 'Narayana' in a loud voice. Seeing this, the servants of Vishnu ran to protect the soul of Ajamil from Yamadootas, as they thought, Ajamil was remembering lord on his deathbed.

6th Skanda, 2nd chapter-

Ajamila due to the company of maid servant, had ruined his Dharma, he was fallen because of his evil deeds. Because of violating the rules he was being about to put into the hell, but just by remembering the bhagwan's name once he became liberated.

Thus, it is evident that naam jaap knowingly or unknowingly is bound to give liberation.

Do scriptures provide more information about bhava promotion?

Shrimad Bhagwatam, 6th Skanda, 2nd Chapter says,

The sinner like Ajamil, on his deathbed under the pretext of his son's name, what are the name of the Bhagwan. Even he got Vaikhuntha, so what to talk about those people who remember the name of the bhagwan with faith and devotion.


... Because by remembering the name of the Lord, the mind of the person get completely engrossed in Guna, Leela and form of the Bhagwan, & the mind of Bhagwan itself consider that person as his own.

Puranas mostly don't talk on Bhaav in open lines, thus the Bhaav upasana of any sampradaya can only be learnt by Guru.

कालिकार्पणमस्तु ।🌺

  • I think this only applies to Sanskrit Holy names. And not other names.
    – user28152
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:08
  • 2
    @HariKumar sir, the names of all deities are from Sanskrit itself. All names comes from Sahasranaams, ashtotarams, Shatanaams, etc. I don't get what you mean by 'not other names', since we can't coin deity any names as per wish. Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 21:15
  • No I meant if some one uses the words like God etc
    – user28152
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 6:17
  • @HariKumar english words like god or lord are irrelevant in naam jaap. But, the Sanskrit words like Parmeshwar, Swamy, Deveshwar, Prabhu, etc counts as naam jaap as these too are attributes of the Bhagwan. And any name or attribute of isht is a naamjaap indeed. Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 15:40
  • That is what I'm saying. This is true only for Sanskrit holy names. And not for names of different languages.
    – user28152
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 17:45

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