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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sanātan Gosvāmī on pramāda japa

I just found some interesting verses in Haribhakti Vilāsa (17.132-3) that confirm the points I made about absent-minded japa in my blogs of May 14 and June 22, 2006:

pralapan vā japed yāvat tāvan niṣphalam ucyate
vadan na gacchan na svapan nānyaṁ kim api saṁsmaran
na kṣuj jṛmbhana hikkādi vikalīkṛta mānasaḥ
mantra-siddhim avāpnoti tasmād yatnapuro bhavet

"As long as one speaks, one's japa will be fruitless. While speaking, walking, lying down on bed, or having one's mind agitated by thinking of something else, sneezing, hickuping or yawning, one cannot attain perfection in one's mantra practise."


  1. Some may argue that these strict rules for japa are only meant for
    puruscarana, not for nama japa, but if that were so, then Sanatan Gosvami would have written a separate paragraph with rules for nama japa. But he didnt.

  2. Does the HBV actually speak anywhere of japa of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra?

  3. Well as we discussed last summer, (Gaur) Keshava, whom I consider an expert, says that purascarana and nama japa were considered nondifferent (vidhi-wise) until recently. That may be why there is no separate mentioning of nama japa in the HBV.

  4. While Keshava is no doubt well studied, I wonder if he has something to base this view on.

    Here's an interesting verse.

    pradakSiNe prayANe ca pradAne ca vizeSataH |
    prabhAte ca pravAse ca sva-mantraM bahuzaH smaret ||2.142||

    "While circumambulating, while moving about, and specifically while donating, at daybreak and while in a distant place, one should remember his mantra many times."

  5. Sorry it took me 16 months to study this text, but here goes: there is no comment on this verse or any of the other verses of this section of Haribhakti Vilasa. Verse 136 does say, however: sva-mantro nopadeSTavyo vaktavyasca na saMsadi | gopanIyaM tathA sAstraM rakSaNIyaM sarIravat "Without a doubt one's own mantra should not be imparted or spoken out. It should be preserved like one's own body."
    Obviously the verse that Madhava quoted here (wherever one walks the mantra must be remembered) does not apply to doing japa of harinama on the markets while trading or gossipping.