etenaiva hy aghono ’sya
krtam syad agha-niskrtam
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The Visnudutas continued: Even previously, while eating and at other times, this Ajamila would call his son, saying, “My dear Narayana, please come here.” Although calling the name of his son, he nevertheless uttered the four syllables na-ra-ya-na. Simply by chanting the name of Narayana in this way, he sufficiently atoned for the sinful reactions of millions of lives.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Previously, when engaged in sinful activities to maintain his family, Ajamila chanted the name of Narayana without offenses. To chant the holy name of the Lord just to counteract one’s sinful activities, or to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, is offensive (namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhih). But although Ajamila engaged in sinful activities, he never chanted the holy name of Narayana to counteract them; he simply chanted the name Narayana to call his son. Therefore his chanting was effective. Because of chanting the holy name of Narayana in this way, he had already vanquished the accumulated sinful reactions of many, many lives. In the beginning he was pure, but although he later committed many sinful acts, he was offenseless because he did not chant the holy name of Narayana to counteract them. One who always chants the holy name of the Lord without offenses is always pure. As confirmed in this verse Ajamila was already sinless, and because he chanted the name of Narayana he remained sinless. It did not matter that he was calling his son; the name itself was effective.