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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Murāri Gupta's grains and the Nāmāṣṭakam


Bhakta: You claim Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu only ate from Brahmins, but in Caitanya Bhāgavat, Madhya 20.61, it is said joto anna dey gupta tai prabhu khāi “Whatever grains Murāri Gupta gave, the Lord ate them.” And Murāri Gupta was a vaiśya.”

Advaitadās – “In verse  53 it is said - ānande murāri gupta gharete colilā; nityānanda sange prabhu HṚDAYE ROHILA “Blissfully Murāri Gupta went home but Nityānanda and Mahāprabhu stayed in his heart.” So it is clear from this that Mahāprabhu was not physically present when Murāri offered the grains.  Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī comments on this verse - tār hṛdaye gaura nityānanda virājamān rohilen - “Gaura and Nityānanda remained in his heart.” Then, in verse 62, it is said: heno kāle prabhu āilā - this shows Mahāprabhu was not there during the 'bhojan': otherwise He would have come in verse 61. After the meal, in the 2nd half of the verse it is said: vihane āsiyā prabhu guptere jāgāy – “In the morning Prabhu came to awaken Murāri Gupta”, again confirming Mahāprabhu was not physically present during the offering.

This translation of Śrī Rūpa Goswāmīpāda’s Nāmāṣṭakam is floating around on the internet. Verse 3 is not properly translated though –

yad-ābhāso’py udyan kavalita-bhava-dhvānta-vibhavo
dṛśaṁ tattvāndhanam api diśati bhakti-praṇayinīm
janas tasyodattam jagati bhagavan-nāma-tarane
kṛti te nirvaktuṁ ka iha mahimānāṁ prabhavati

"O sun of Bhagavan-nāma, what learned scholar in this world is competent to describe Your unsurpassed glories? Even ābhāsa, the dim light of Your early dawn, swallows up the darkness of ignorance which blinds the conditioned souls and enables them to envision hari-bhakti."

The flaw is that namabhasa does not bestow bhakti, only śuddha nāma does. The English translator has translated the effects of two types of nāma in one sentence, saying nāmābhāsa both swallows the darkness of ignorance [which is true] and also bestows bhakti. However, the verse speaks about nāmābhāsa in the first line only [yad-ābhāso’py udyan kavalita-bhava-dhvānta-vibhavo] not in the second line. The central topic of the verse is harināma, not nāmābhāsa. Ajamila, the classical example of nāmābhāsa, did not get bhakti by uttering the name of his son Nārāyan, he was just saved from hell and received bhakti only after severe sādhana after his redemption from hell.


  1. This seems to not be a problem with the sanskrit translation of Namastakam. It is more of a problem with your comprehension of the english language. The translation in question does not say that namabhasa bestows bhakti. it clearly states that namabhasa enables one to have a vision of bhakti. This is confirmed by Srila Jiva Gosvami in Bhagavat Sandarbha anu.44 tad aksarabhasa matra kurvanah sumatim tad visayam vidyam bhajamahe prapnumah.
    Furthermore you conflate the namabhasa of Ajamila (asraddha nambhasa) with the sraddha namabhasa discussed by Srila Rupa Gosvami in this verse. There is a vast difference in the effect of chanting namabhasa without faith (which gives only mukti) and chanting namabhasa with faith (which awakens realization of bhakti tattva). This is the purport of the famous Rg veda mantra - mahas te visno sumatim bhajamahe on tat sat.

  2. Anon, it is granted that the verse speaks about envision bhakti [drisham], but the texts from the Rg Veda and the Sandarbha-paragraph do not speak about the bestowal of bhakti at all.

  3. I have inquired about this issue from Dr. Satyanarayan Pandit, he answered as follows:

    What is the true meaning of the Bhagavat Sandarbha text my opponent is quoting? Is he right or am I right in this issue?

    SND: The meaning is as follows : We who are engaged (kurvana) in mere repeating the letters of the name (tad aksarabhyasa-matram) will attain the knowledge about that [the name].

    In this part of sandarbha(it is anuccheda 47 not 44 in the printed version of my guru maharaj) Sri Jiva Gosvami is describing about the self manifest nature of the name. In the previous line( to the one cited by the anonymous devotee),he says that the name is sva-prakasa-rupam. He is not discussing namabhasa here. So i do not know what is the purpose of citing the above text i.e. tad aksarbhasa......
    His main point in this part of anuccheda is that the name it is self manifest and non-different from the Lord. It is for this reason that he cites the Rg-veda mantra - mahas te visno...

    AD: Is he right or am I right in this issue?

    SND: I do not understand what he means by sraddha namabhasa, chanting namabhasa with faith. May be he should clarify with an example.