yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā
brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te
aho bata — oh, how glorious; śva-pacaḥ — a dog-eater; ataḥ — hence; garīyān — worshipable; yat — of whom; jihvā-agre — on the tip of the tongue; vartate — is; nāma — the holy name; tubhyam — unto You; tepuḥ tapaḥ — practiced austerities; te — they; juhuvuḥ — executed fire sacrifices; sasnuḥ — took bath in the sacred rivers; āryāḥ — Āryans; brahma anūcuḥ — studied the Vedas; nāma — the holy name; gṛṇanti — accept; ye — they who; te — Your.
Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Āryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required.
As it is stated in the previous verse, a person who has once offenselessly chanted the holy name of God becomes immediately eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. One should not be astonished by this statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One should not disbelieve or think, “How by chanting the holy name of the Lord can one become a holy man to be compared to the most elevated brāhmaṇa?” To eradicate such doubts in the minds of unbelievers, this verse affirms that the stage of chanting the holy name of the Lord is not sudden, but that the chanters have already performed all kinds of Vedic rituals and sacrifices. It is not very astounding, for no one in this life can chant the holy name of the Lord unless he has passed all lower stages, such as performing the Vedic ritualistic sacrifices, studying the Vedas and practicing good behavior like that of the Āryans. All this must first have been done. Just as a student in a law class is to be understood to have already graduated from general education, anyone who is engaged in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — must have already passed all lower stages. It is said that those who simply chant the holy name with the tip of the tongue are glorious. One does not even have to chant the holy name and understand the whole procedure, namely the offensive stage, offenseless stage and pure stage; if the holy name is sounded on the tip of the tongue, that is also sufficient. It is said herein that nāma, a singular number, one name, Kṛṣṇa or Rāma, is sufficient. It is not that one has to chant all the holy names of the Lord. The holy names of the Lord are innumerable, and one does not have to chant all the names to prove that he has already undergone all the processes of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. If one chants once only, it is to be understood that he has already passed all the examinations, not to speak of those who are chanting always, twenty-four hours a day. It is specifically said here, tubhyam: “unto You only.” One must chant God’s name, not, as the Māyāvādī philosophers say, any name, such as a demigod’s name or the names of God’s energies. Only the holy name of the Supreme Lord will be effective. Anyone who compares the holy name of the Supreme Lord to the names of the demigods is called pāṣaṇḍī, or an offender.
The holy name has to be chanted to please the Supreme Lord, and not for any sense gratification or professional purpose. If this pure mentality is there, then even though a person is born of a low family, such as a dog-eater’s, he is so glorious that not only has he purified himself, but he is quite competent to deliver others. He is competent to speak on the importance of the transcendental name, just as Ṭhākura Haridāsa did. He was apparently born in a family of Muhammadans, but because he was chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord offenselessly, Lord Caitanya empowered him to become the authority, or ācārya, of spreading the name. It did not matter that he was born in a family which was not following the Vedic rules and regulations. Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Advaita Prabhu accepted him as an authority because he was offenselessly chanting the name of the Lord. Authorities like Advaita Prabhu and Lord Caitanya immediately accepted that he had already performed all kinds of austerities, studied the Vedas and performed all sacrifices. That is automatically understood. There is a hereditary class of brāhmaṇas called the smārta-brāhmaṇas, however, who are of the opinion that even if such persons who are chanting the holy name of the Lord are accepted as purified, they still have to perform the Vedic rites or await their next birth in a family of brāhmaṇas so that they can perform the Vedic rituals. But actually that is not the case. Such a man does not need to wait for the next birth to become purified. He is at once purified. It is understood that he has already performed all sorts of rites. It is the so-called brāhmaṇas who actually have to undergo different kinds of austerities before reaching that point of purification. There are many other Vedic performances which are not described here. All such Vedic rituals have been already performed by the chanters of the holy name.
The word juhuvuḥ means that the chanters of the holy name have already performed all kinds of sacrifices. Sasnuḥ means that they have already traveled to all the holy places of pilgrimage and taken part in purificatory activities at those places. They are called āryāḥ because they have already finished all these requirements, and therefore they must be among the Āryans or those who have qualified themselves to become Āryans. Āryan refers to those who are civilized, whose manners are regulated according to the Vedic rituals. Any devotee who is chanting the holy name of the Lord is the best kind of Āryan. Unless one studies the Vedas, one cannot become an Āryan, but it is automatically understood that the chanters have already studied all the Vedic literature. The specific word used here is anūcuḥ, which means that because they have already completed all those recommended acts, they have become qualified to be spiritual masters.
The very word gṛṇanti, which is used in this verse, means to be already established in the perfectional stage of ritualistic performances. If one is seated on the bench of a high court and is giving judgment on cases, it means that he has already passed all legal exams and is better than those who are engaged in the study of law or those expecting to study law in the future. In a similar way, persons who are chanting the holy name are transcendental to those who are factually performing the Vedic rituals and those who expect to be qualified (or, in other words, those who are born in families of brāhmaṇas but have not yet undergone the reformatory processes and who therefore expect to study the Vedic rituals and perform the sacrifices in the future).
There are many Vedic statements in different places saying that anyone who chants the holy name of the Lord becomes immediately freed from conditional life and that anyone who hears the holy name of the Lord, even though born of a family of dog-eaters, also becomes liberated from the clutches of material entanglement.