Does chanting of holy names while doing worldly duties (like travelling, working at home, etc.) generate any good (punya) karma?

In this case sometimes one may or may not pay attention to what is being chanted.

Is this kind of chanting holy name useful?

  • According to south Indian Yogi Jaggi Vasudev, every sound/chant has its own aura; e.g. "Aum" is considered form of god by many. More helpful, if they are changed consciously. Hence, it will be beneficial to take the holy name (provided they are truly holy!). Not sure about Punnya karma. Ideally it doesn't matter.
    – iammilind
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 9:49
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    @iammilind more helpful ... means it is some what beneficial/useful
    – C Sharper
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 9:58
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    It is better than nothing. Chanting gives best results when done while the 3 karanas (body, mind, speech) are aligned and one knows the deeper meanings of the mantra. However, chanting mechanically is better than not chanting at all. Eventually, the desire and ability to do it properly will take seed.
    – user1195
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 16:46

3 Answers 3


Yes, chanting holy names generates good karma. This can be seen from the fact that people in past and even today use to name their children with some God names (e.g., Krishna, Shankar, Shiv, Vishnu, Mahesh, etc), such that when they call them by their names, they remember God as well. People in some parts of India while meeting other people often say 'Ram-Ram' and the other person also says the same in return. Some people chants prayers while taking bath, before or after meals. These all are small examples where people try to remember God while doing various worldly activities.

Now, if we want proof of chanting holy names turning good then one such example is there in Bhagwata Purana, Canto 6. There is a story of a brahmin called Ajāmila. Ajāmila was born in a Brahmin family and a learned Brahmin but later after being in the company of a prostitute does all bad throughout his life. He took this prostitute into his home as a maidservant. Inevitably, he became so entangled that he abandoned his family, wife and children and went off with the prostitute. Due to his illicit connection with the prostitute, he lost all his good qualities. He became a thief, a liar, a drunkard, even a murderer. He completely forgot about his original training as a Brahmin, and his whole life was ruined. While on his death bed fearing of death, he called his favourite son's name 'Nārāyaṇa' which is also a name for Lord Vishnu. When Yamdutas come and were trying to take him away to punish him to hell, immediately Vishnudūtas also came and saved him from Yamadūtas saying that since Ajāmila has chanted the name 'Nārāyaṇa' while on death bed, therefore Yamadūtas cannot take him away. Ajāmila was hence saved and spend his rest of the life in penance of Lord Vishnu. This is explained in following extract from Wikipedia article :

It is explained that while he was dying, which is a very fearful time, he began to call out to his pet child, whose name was Narayana. Narayana is another name of God or Krishna. At that time, the Yamadutas, the messengers of death, were coming. They were tying up the subtle body of Ajāmila and preparing to take him to be punished by Yamaraja, the lord of death. At the same time, because he happened to be speaking the holy name of the Lord Narayana, the beautiful Visnudutas, the messengers of Krishna, also arrived there. They checked the activities of the Yamadutas, refusing to allow them to take Ajamila for punishment. The Yamadutas were bewildered. "Why are these effulgent and beautiful personalities checking our action? It's our duty to take sinful men to Yamaraja for punishment; then they are awarded another material body for the next life so that they can get the result of their sinful activity." There was a discussion between the Yamadutas and the Visnudutas. The conclusion was that although Ajamila was sinful throughout his life and gave up his religious life, his wife and children and begot children through a prostitute, he nevertheless was purified from all these sins because at the last moment he chanted the holy name of Krishna, Narayana. If this single act of the utterance of a four-syllable word Narayana can make such a difference to life after death, what larger worlds of fullness and majesty he may not conquer by really leading a noble life of Dharma in the memory of the Lord? -- so thought Ajamila. And that very moment he renounced everything to which he was attached, went to Benaras and engaged himself in austerities and meditation and in due time reached the abode of the Lord.

So, the conclusion is that if chanting the holy names unintentionally can generate good karmas then chanting intentionally and with devotion can certainly do much better.

  • but i have heard story of Ajamila is not true .. and we have to sit on one place and chant the name so as to clean our past bad deeds and generate a good deeds?
    – C Sharper
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:19
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    This is only one story, I have read another one of a hunter who sat on a tree waiting for the animals & unintentionally dropped leaves on a Shivalinga below the branch he was sitting on. He unintentionally mocking other people chanted 'Om Namah Shivay' & remained hungry all day due to deers who requested to not kill until they come back after seeing their family. Later, Lord Shiva became happy with him that he has unintentionally done all the austerities of Shivaratri fast. There also it was said that unintentional bad karma is not punishable while unintentional good karma is being rewarded.
    – Aby
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:47
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    @Sagar Worshipping with dedication is always good if you can but chanting while doing worldly affairs is not bad and lets say it doesn't do any good then also won't do bad either. Atleast, the time you are chanting, you are keeping yourself away from doing bad.
    – Aby
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:51
  • thanks.. means unintentional chanting do produces good karmarmic effects
    – C Sharper
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 12:30
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    @Aby Another story I've heard is that there was a cowherd who was chasing his cow, and he happened to run around a Vishnu temple while chasing it. So Vishnu decided to grant him Moksha! Sri Vaishnavas believe that Vishnu uses even small things like that as an excuse to rescue people from Samsara. Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 3:06

In my personal experience, I find chanting very useful. Here are excerpts from a talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to describe this:

When someone abuses you verbally, how do you feel? If someone says that you are a donkey, how do you feel? What does it do to you? What does it create? Anger! It shakes you. It creates some negative vibrations; you feel angry. You feel some sensations in the stomach, in the head.

If a bad word can create so much physiological reactions in you, do you think a very sweet name, a chanting, which includes a lot of energy of the cosmos does not do anything to your body?

It is unscientific and stupid to think that a mantra does not do anything to your body. That is not the case! It does.

Mantras bring out all the positive energy inside you. That is why it is called mantra kavach; a mantra creates the sense of an armor around your body.

Sometimes you meet some people and you feel like talking to them. You get good vibes from them. Sometimes you meet people and you want to avoid them. Do you know why? The negative vibes around a person make them repulsive. Mantras turn around these negative, repulsive vibrations, into more positive and attractive vibrations. This is the advantage of mantra chanting.

Today, if you go to New York, you will find hundreds of places where they learn chanting. People go for one hour in the evenings to chanting classes. They chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’,’ Om Namo Narayana’, ‘Sri Rama Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram’. Of course, they have a different pronunciation.

In China, they say, ‘Ladhe Ladhe’ instead of ‘Radhe Radhe’.

In Taiwan, 7,000 people to 8,000 people sing ‘Ladhe Govind’ instead of ‘Radhe Govind’.

People have seen that there is an effect. And there really is!

Now when should you do it? If you do chanting after pranayama and meditation, then it has a better result. If you do it at a superficial level, then it is not so effective.


Also, I personally consider it best to do chanting sitting with eyes closed. It is even better if this is preceded by some light Yoga.

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    what if i chant shriram-shriram-shriram with no attention on it.. like old people does it while watching TV ??? Is it effective?
    – C Sharper
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 7:57
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    Thats pure logic. The output you obtain is proportional to the input. So, put all your attention to it. Thats why people keep chanting but they do not feel any difference. Sit, close your eyes and chant with no distraction. Light exercise or yoga is recommended too before doing it, so that the body is not restless. And, as the article said, doing pranayama before it enhances the effect. The sequence should be yogasana, pranayama and chanting. Hope that helps! :) I do 'Om Namah Shivaya' chanting myself and it works wonders for me. Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 10:14
  • You might want to add few words of your own to this answer at the beginning. It is not clear from your answer whether unintentional chanting helps or not which is the main reason behind OP's question. Also, FYI: Can an answer consist almost entirely of a quote? and Answers which are totally copy pasted from other websites should be deleted. Commented May 4, 2016 at 23:50

Doing daily deeds depends on what you are doing at that particular moment the deed is satvik , rajas or bad deed known as tamas. There are ten basic dharma lakshnas if you follow these then what ever your daily chores are you are free to take the gods name or chant or meditate that will be known as punya.

  • 1
    what are those "ten basic dharma lakshnas" can u paste those in your answer?
    – C Sharper
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25

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