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Sri Swami Sivananda
What Is Japa? Mantra Sound and Image Glory of the Divine Name Varieties of Japa Practical Aids to Japa Mantras for Japa There is another excerpt from Gurudev's book Japa Yoga at the TM web site. It explains the meaning of the Bija-Akshara (seed letters such as Om, Kleem, Gam, etc.). Click here to read that article. WHAT IS JAPA ? Repetition of any Mantra or Name of the Lord is known as Japa. Japa is an important Anga of Yoga. It is a spiritual food for the hungry soul. Japa is the rod in the hand of the blind Sadhakas (aspirants) to plod on the road to Realization. Japa is the philosopher's stone or divine elixir that makes one God-like. In this iron age, practice of Japa alone can give eternal Peace, Bliss and Immortality. Japa is repetition of the Mantra. Dhyana is meditation on the form of the Lord with His attributes. There is meditation or Dhyana with Japa (Japa-Sahita-Dhyana); there is meditation or Dhyana without Japa (Japa-Rahita-Dhyana). In the beginning you should combine Dhyana with Japa. As you advance the Japa drops by itself; meditation only remains. It is an advanced stage. You can then practice concentration separately. You can do whatever you like best in this respect. Name (Nama) and the object (Rupa) signified by the Name are inseparable. Thought and word are inseparable. Whenever you think of the name of your son, his figure stands before your mental eye, and vice versa. Even so when you do Japa of Rama, Krishna or Christ, the picture of Rama, Krishna or Christ will come before your mind. Therefore Japa and Dhyana go together. They are inseparable. Do the Japa with feeling. Know the meaning of the Mantra. Feel God's presence in everything and everywhere. Draw closer and nearer to Him when you repeat the Japa.
The seed is a significant word. and by the aid of which it attains in full the fourfold fruit (Chaturvarga). in the Hindu religion. A Mantra is divinity encased within a sound-structure. higher or lower. They give rise to definite forms. When a particular Mantra appropriated to a particular god is properly recited. MANTRA 'Mananat-trayate iti Mantrah' . i. Fourthly.. That is called Mantra by the meditation (Manana) on which the Jiva or the individual soul attains freedom from sin. The repetition of the Panchakshara Mantra . and 'Tra' from 'Trai' meaning 'to protect' or 'free' from the bondage of Samsara or the phenomenal world. or series of words. Secondly. Thirdly. Dharma.e. He is the Drashta or Seer for this Mantra.produces the form of Lord . A Mantra. The Sakti is the energy of the form of the Mantra. Lastly. the vibrations so set up create in the higher planes a special form which that god ensouls for the time being. Repetition of a Mantra has a mysterious power of bringing about the manifestation of the Divinity. As soon as the plug is removed by constant and prolonged repetition of the Name. the Chaitanya that is hidden is revealed. It is divine power or Daivi Sakti manifesting in a sound-body. This Devata is the presiding deity of the Mantra.. This plugs the Mantra-Chaitanya that is hidden in the Mantra. The Mantra is itself Devata. is Mantra. The devotee gets Darshana of the Ishta Devata. These symbols are in the nature of unfailing keys to gain access into the transcendental realms of absolute experience. A Mantra is so called because it is achieved by the mental process. SOUND AND IMAGE Sounds are vibrations. The root 'Man' in the word Mantra comes from the first syllable of that word. The Bija is the essence of the Mantra. which governs the inflection of the voice. every Mantra has got a Sakti. the Mantra has got a Bija or seed. has the following six parts. meaning 'to think'.Om Namo Sivaya . of the vibration-forms set up by its sound. It has got a Rishi (a man of Self-realization) to whom it was revealed for the first time and who gave this Mantra to the world.pillar or pin. These carry the man to the Devata that is worshipped. He is witnessing your repetition of the Mantra as He is the witness of your mind.e. By the combination of 'Man' and 'Tra' comes Mantra.By the Manana (constant thinking or recollection) of which one is protected or is released from the round of births and deaths. the Mantra has a particular Devata or supernatural being. Fifthly.Think He is shining in the chambers of your heart. and combinations of sound create complicated shapes. the Mantra has a metre (Chhandas). i. just as the splitting of an atom manifests the tremendous forces latent in it. Each sound produces a form in the indivisible world. enjoyment in heaven and final liberation. Artha. The sacred Mantra or the Divine Name is a vital symbol of the Supreme Divinity directly revealed in the innermost depths of divine communion to the sages of Self-realization in the hoary Vedic and Upanishadic times. which gives a special power to the Mantra. as its informing power. the Mantra has a Kilaka . Sage Viswamitra is the Rishi for Gayatri. Mantra Yoga is an exact science. Kama and Moksha.
chanted correctly or incorrectly. There is a Sakti or power in every word. observe Mouna. 'hot Pakoda' (fried delicacies). you are annoyed and you show anger. The repetition of Om Namo Narayanaya. 'Snake! Snake!'. and mentally for sometime. for it is the height or the zenith of power. This is Likhita Japa You can develop a wonderful power of concentration. If you utter the word 'excreta' or 'urine' when your friend is taking his meals. It is termed Manasika Japa. It can be experienced or realized only through devotion. your tongue will get salivation. The Name of God can achieve anything. The loud Japa shuts out all worldly sounds. If anyone says. VARIETIES OF JAPA Repeat the Mantra verbally for sometime. There is nothing impossible for it. the Name which denotes Him.Siva. Hence. The glory of the Name of God cannot be established through reasoning and intellect. The minds wants variety. There is no break of Japa here. Write the Mantra clearly in ink. the power of the Name of God is incalculable. produces the form of Vishnu. carefully. GLORY OF DIVINE NAME The Name of God. If you think of 'Garam Pakoda'. the Ashtakshara Mantra of Vishnu. . When you write the Mantra. write this for one hour. The verbal or loud repetition is called Vaikhari Japa. the power of destroying sins with their very root and branch. so also. When such is the power of the names of the ordinary things of this world. is sure to give the desired result. On Sundays and holidays." you smile. too. the Name of God generates God-consciousness in the purified mind and becomes the direct cause of the realization of the Highest Perfection or God. When anyone calls you a 'donkey' or an 'ass'. Therefore. is natural to and inherent in the Name of God. The mental repetition is very powerful. Repetition in a whisper or humming is termed Upamshu Japa. is full and perfect. he may at once vomit his food. Write down daily in a notebook your Ishta Mantra or Guru Mantra for half an hour. It gets disgusted with any monotonous practice. Even as the name of a thing in this world generates the consciousness of that thing in the mind. and bringing the aspirant into blissful union with the Lord through Bhava-Samadhi. When anyone suddenly shouts 'Scorpion! Scorpion!'. what tremendous power should there be in the Name of God! God is the completion or the fullness of existence. Even mechanical repetition of Japa without any Bhava has a great purifying effect on the heart or the mind. The feeling will come later on when the process of mental purification goes on. you at once apprehend the scorpion or the snake and jump in fright. knowingly or unknowingly. It is the means to the realization of God Himself. Just as burning quality is natural to and inherent in fire. "You are a nice person. in a whisper for sometime. faith and constant repetition of the Name.
which will fill your very existence with the Divinity of the Mantra. and repeat it from 108 to 1. Attain mastery of the posture. 7. Sometimes do the Japa without a mala. Keep the hand near the heart or the nose. Turn back when you come to it. Use a watch. preferably that given to you by your Guru. Cover it with a towel or handkerchief. This enhances the efficacy of the Japa. 12. It is better to stick to one Mantra only. By prolonged and constant practice the inherent power of the Mantra (Mantra-Sakti) will be awakened. This conserves body-electricity. on a river bank or under a banyan or peepul tree. 4. The mala must not be visible to you or to others. 6. Face east or north during the practice. Do not cross the meru while rolling the beads. Get up at 4a.The benefits of Mantra-writing or Likhita Japa cannot be adequately described. 5. control of Indriyas. Take a bath or wash your hands. 11. 8.080 times daily (one to ten malas). face and mouth before sitting for Japa in the morning. Do Japa whenever you have leisure. there is no restriction about any particular script. This is when Sattva (purity or steadiness) is predominant. Sit in a separate meditation room or in any suitable place. . such as a temple. 9. At other times this is not absolutely necessary. 14. Do not allow the mala to hang below the navel. 13. Never disclose it to anyone. Select any Mantra or Name of God. at the three junctions of the day . It may be written in any language.and before going to bed. Durga. 2. noon and evening . In Mantra writing. which must be clean and washed daily. The use of the index finger is prohibited. Spread a piece of cloth over it. The early morning period (Brahmamuhurta) and dusk is the most favourable time for Japa and meditation. Use a rudraksha or tulsi mala of 108 beads. particularly the sight and the tongue. Gayatri and in everyone. Siddhasana or Sukhasana for three hours at a strech. Maintain a steady pose. and do Japa for two hours. Sit on a deer skin or rug. Shiva.m. You must be able to sit in Padmasana. 3. feet. mantra-writing gives you control of Asana. You attain peace of mind quickly. Use the middle finger and the thumb of the right to roll the beads.morning. 10. Besides bringing about purity of heart and concentration of mind. 15. Recite some prayers before starting the Japa. See Lord Krishna in Rama. PRACTICAL AIDS TO JAPA 1. A rosary is a whip to goad the mind towards God. Always keep your Guru-Mantra a secret. and fills you with the power of endurance. Reslove to complete a certain minimum number of malas before leaving your seat.
or whisper the Mantra for some time and come back to mental Japa again as soon as possible. 22. It is important not to leave the place at once after the Japa is over and mix with everyone or plunge into worldly activity. 23. Try to associate the Japa with the rhythm of the breath and meditate in the form of your Deity. Continue the current of Japa mentally at all times. 20. When you repeat the Mantra. that purity or Sattva is flowing from the Lord into your mind.16. have the feeling or mental attitude that the Lord is seated in your heart. 26. Do not beg for any worldly objects from God while doing Japa. Repeat it neither too slowly nor too fast. Feel that your heart is being purified and that the mind is becoming steady by the power of the Mantra and the Grace of the Lord. When the mind wanders. like a contractor who tries to finish his work in a short time. Sit very quietly for at least ten minutes. cravings and evil thoughts. Do mental Japa for a time. Regularity in Japa Sadhana is most essential if success is to be achieved. Carry on your Sadhana with tenacity and perseverance. after devout prostration. Then. Do not do the Japa in a hurried manner. without a break. leave the place and commence your routine duties and activities. destroying desires. 25. one-pointedness of mind and single-minded devotion. Observe silence and avoid distractions. Keep a picture or idol of the Deity in front of you. Think of the meaning of the Mantra while repeating it. In this way the spiritual vibrations will remain intact. 19. that the Mantra is purifying your heart. calls and engagements. Increase the speed only when the mind wanders. 17. Stand up when sleep tries to overpower you. 18. Sit in the same place and at the same time every day. 21. Do it slowly with feeling. whatever be the activity in which you are engaged. Realize the glorious goal of life and enjoy supreme bliss. Pronounce the Mantra distinctly and without any mistakes. MANTRAS FOR JAPA y y Lord Krishna: o Maha-Mantra : Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare o Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya o Om Sri Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Namah o Om Sri Krishnaya Namah Sri Devi: o Om Sri Durgayai Namah . 24. remembering the Lord and reflecting upon His infinite love. humming some prayer. Be vigilant and alert during Japa. do the Japa aloud.
Rame Rame Manorame Sahasranama Tattulyam Rama Nama Varanane o Om Sri Sita-Ramachandradhyam Namah o Sri Ram Sri Saraswathi: o Om Sri Sarasvatyai Namah Lord Subramanya. o Om Namah Shivaya (Panchakshara) Lord Rama: o Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram o Om Sri Ramaya Namah o Sri Rama Rama Rameti.y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Lord Ganapati: o Om Sri Ganapataye Namah Sri Hanuman: o Om Sri Hanumate Namah Lord Hari: o Om Namo Narayanaya (Ashtakshara) o Hari Om o Hari Om Tat Sat Jugal (Combined) Mantra: o Sita Ram o Radhe Shyam o Radhe Krishna Sri Kalika: o Om Sri Kalikayai Namah Sri Lakshmi: o Om Sri Maha-Lakshmyai Namah Lord Shiva: o Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra: Om tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam uurvarukamiva bandhanaan mrityor mukshiya maamritaat. Kartikeya: o Om Sri Saravanabhavaya Namah Sharangati Mantra (for surrender): o Om Sri Ramah Sharanam Mama o Om Sri Krishnah Sharanam Mama o Om Sri Sita-Ramah Sharanam Mama Sharada: o Om Sri Bala-Parameshvaryai Namah Tripurasundari: o Om Sri Tripura-Sundaryai Namah Vedantic Formulae: o Om Soham o Om Tat Tvam Asi o Om Aham Brahma Asmi .
20-Jan-2008 09:46:19 EST Mail Questions.org . Comments & Suggestions to : pannir@dlshq.Last Updated: Sunday.
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