In Anuccheda 256 of the Bhakti Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Goswami explains the ten aparādhas or offenses to be avoided during chanting of Hari-nāma. I will present Śrī Babaji’s translation of Śrī Jīva’s list of offenses below, and follow up with Śrī Jīva’s explanations of each of the offenses in future articles.
Śrī Jīva writes:
atha pādmoktā daśāpy aparādhāḥ parityājyāḥ | yathā sanat-kumāra-vākyam—
In regard to the practice of singing Bhagavān’s names, one should avoid the ten offenses described in Padma Purāṇa , as in the words of Sanat Kumāra:
sarvāparādha-kṛd api mucyate hari-saṁśrayāt |
harer apy aparādhān yaḥ kuryād dvipada-pāṁsavaḥ ||
nāmāśrayaḥ kadācit syāt taraty eva sa nāmataḥ |
nāmno’pi sarva-suhṛdo hy aparādhāt pataty adhaḥ ||[pa.pu. 4.25.12-13] iti |
Even a person who has committed all kinds of offenses is redeemed by taking shelter of Bhagavān Hari. Thus, if a human being commits offenses even to Bhagavān Hari, he is no more than a two-legged animal. If ever such a person takes shelter of the name of Śrī Hari, he is certainly delivered from all offenses by the name. Therefore, the name is the best friend of all. But if one offends the name, his fall-down is inevitable.( Padma Purāṇa, Brahma-khaṇḍa 25.12–13)
Now he lists the offenses:
The offenses against the name are as follows:
( 1 ) satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaṁ vitanute
yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tad-vigarhām
To criticize genuine devotees of Bhagavān (the sat ) is a grievous offense against the name. How can the name tolerate criticism of those who spread its glories?
( 2 ) śivasya śrī viṣṇor ya iha guṇa-nāmādi-sakalaṁ
dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu harināmāhitakaraḥ
One who considers the name, qualities, and other attributes of Śiva as independent ( bhinnam ) of the name, qualities, and other attributes of Bhagavān Viṣṇu, displeases the name.
(3-6) guror avajñā śruti-śāstra-nindanaṁ tathārthavādo hari-nāmni kalpanam
(3) To disrespect one’s spiritual teacher ( guror avajñā );
( 4 ) To criticize the Vedic scriptures ( śruti-śāstra-nindanam );
( 5 ) To consider the scriptural praises of the name as mere commendations ( artha-vāda );
( 6 ) And to ascribe one’s own imaginary meaning to the name ( hari-nāmni kalpanam ) are all offenses.
(7) nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhir na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ
For one who intentionally commits sins on the strength of the name ( nāmno balāt), the means of purification through rules simply does not exist.
( 8 ) dharma-vrata-tyāga-hutādi sarva-śubha-kriyā-sāmyam api pramādaḥ
It is an offense to equate the name with all the other pious works ( śubha-kriyā ) recommended in scripture, such as prescribed duties, vows, renunciation, and sacrifices.
( 9 ) aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati yaś copadeśaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ
It is an offense to the auspicious ( śiva ) name to instruct a person who is devoid of faith, oblivious to Bhagavān, and disinterested in hearing ( aśraddadhāne … ).
( 10 ) śrutvāpi nāma-māhātmyaṁ yaḥ prīti-rahito’dhamaḥ
aham-mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha-kṛt
A person of low character who, in spite of hearing the glories of the name, remains devoid of affection for the name, being immersed instead in the conceptions of “I” and “my” in regard to the body ( śrutvāpi nāma-māhātmyam … ), is also an offender against the name. ( Padma Purāṇa, Brahma-khaṇḍa 25.15–18)