Yajna of nama refers to sacrifices (yajna) centered on the chanting of the holy names of God (nama). The Bhagavad-gita (10.25) declares meditational chanting to be the foremost among all sacrifices.

In contrast, yajna for nama refers to the performance of sacrifices for getting name and fame (nama). The Bhagavad-gita (16.17) states that the ungodly sometimes do godly activities, but simply for looking good in a pious society. Whatever religious activities they do, they do in an exhibitionistic way. They are interested not in focusing their own attention on God, but in attracting others’ attention to themselves. Because their purpose is publicity, not purity, they have little regard for scriptural guidelines while doing religious activities; they don’t hesitate to distort those activities if such distortion can garner them greater attention.

Practices such as chanting of the holy names of God, Krishna, comprise the time-honored process of bhakti-yoga. Scripture prescribes these practices for connecting us with all-powerful, all-pure Krishna. This connection counters our lower desires, thereby strengthening our character.

However, the ungodly are concerned not about character, but about image. They treat religious activities like photo-ops for gaining likes on social media. Whereas religion is meant to break the wall of ego that separates us from Krishna, exhibitionist religious activities thicken and heighten that wall – they inflate the self-obsession that is antithetical to genuine spiritual consciousness.

What if we sincerely seek spiritual consciousness, but still have some egoistic cravings? The presence of the ego is not the critical problem; the purpose of inflating the ego is. As long as we are fighting those cravings, not fueling them, our diligent bhakti-yoga practice will gradually purify us.

When we engage in devotional activities with the earnest intention of pleasing Krishna and developing our love for him, our consciousness becomes increasingly absorbed in our all-attractive Lord.

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