Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught his disciples regarding Nama apachara (maligning the Divine Name of Bhagavan) and how it is an unforgivable sin. But where do our scriptures prove this? The answer to this question lies in the fourth canto where Shuka Muni tells Parikshit about the Daksha yagna.
Daksha Prajapati, one amongst the prajapatis, was married to Prasuti, the daughter of Svayambhuva Manu. The couple had nine children, the last child being Dakshayani or Sati Devi. Dakshayani became the consort of Lord Shiva. Daksha was very displeased by this marriage as he had a long-standing misunderstanding with Lord Shiva from the past. In a yagna where Daksha was the host, everyone had stood up in respect to Daksha, except Shiva. Daksha was angered by this as the host of a yagna is to be honored as Lord Narayana himself, but was denied of this honor by Lord Shiva. Thus his hatred grew towards Shiva and Shiva Nama.
After some time, Daksha decided to conduct a grand yagna and invite everyone except Shiva. Shiva and Sati Devi knew that they were intentionally not invited, but Sati Devi had a soft corner since it was her father’s yagna. She repeatedly tried to persuade Shiva to attend the yagna but he refused as Shiva foresaw the dire consequences that will occur due to it. Overcome with an undying urge, Sati Devi went by herself to the yagna.
It was a grand yagna amidst the presence of numerous kings, rishis, and devatas. Sati Devi knew she was an unwelcome guest but still decided to stay at the yagna. Daksha was angered by Sati Devi’s presence and hurled abuses at Shiva to which she turned a deaf ear. The inciting point was when Sati Devi found out that Daksha, out of his animosity, purposely skipped the Rudra mantras and did not make the offerings due to Shiva as prescribed in the Vedas.
Sati Devi was furious as this was not just plain animosity towards Shiva, but towards Shiva Nama Itself! She took her life through her yogic power. This is because Sati Devi followed the dharma, which states that if an individual commits Nama apachara, the individual must either be killed, his tongue be cut or the person listening to the individual must give up their lives. Sati Devi could not kill or cut her father’s tongue off. Therefore, she decided to give up her life for having listened to such an insult to the great Lord Shiva, her husband.
This triggered a massive battle between Shiva’s ganas and Daksha’s supporters, which culminated in Daksha’s head being cut off.
Ultimately all the devatas went and surrendered to Lord Shiva, who then graciously replaced Daksha’s head with that of a goat and brought him back to life. But Daksha remembered all his life about his mistakes and faced the consequences of doing Nama apachara.
Aaditya Karthik, 16 years, Toronto Canada