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Japa Yoga, The Easy Sadhana

by Swami Sivananda

Name and Nami are inseparable. Remember His Name. Chant His Name. Sing His Name. Glory to His Name. Victory to His Name, which blesses us for ever and confers immortality, supreme peace and eternal bliss.

Constant repetition of the Names of the Lord (Japa, Smarana) is an easy means for crossing the ocean of mortal Samsara or earthly existence. This is more suitable for the householders.

Meditation is different from Japa. Japa is the repetition of any Mantra. When the mind is made to dwell on the form of your Ishta Devata as well as on the Divine attributes, such as Omnipotence, Omniscience, etc., it is called meditation.

You should cultivate Bhakti or devotion if you want to attain success in Mantra Yoga. Bhakti Yoga and Mantra Yoga are interblended. They are inseparable.

That man who does not repeat the Lord's Name lives in vain. It is better to die than to live without His Name.

He who does Japa of any Mantra must lead a virtuous life. Then he will realise the maximum benefits of the Mantra.

Japa and Dhyana are more important than Asana and Pranayama.

You should not doubt the teachings of the scriptures. Flickering faith will lead to downfall. A man of weak will, who has no faith in Japa, cannot expect to have progress in the spiritual path. If he says: "I am practising 'Who am I? enquiry," this is all wild imagination. Few are fit for the ‘Who am I?' enquiry.

Repeat any Mantra of a Devata you like best and feel its influence on the mind and the body and its revelations. This is better than mere study of books. Books, doubtless, will help you and throw much light. But what is wanted is real Sadhana or practice. Observance of Brahmacharya, truthfulness, Ahimsa, right conduct, recourse to Sattvic diet are necessary during the practice.

There is rhythm in the repetition of a Mantra. Rhythm is metre. Rhythm is flowing motion. Rhythm is harmony of pronunciation and proportion. Rhythm is recurrence of accents. This rhythm causes harmony in the practitioner. The hypnotic rhythm of Mantra repetition causes stillness in the mind.

If you feel very weak, you can stop the practice of Asanas for some time. But Japa should be continued at all times. It is a mental and physical tonic, besides a purifier and giver of Moksha. Karmas have to be purged out. An eager aspirant gets all sorts of diseases, because he is hurrying up for union with the Lord. Many evil Karmas have to be exhausted or worked out. Aspirants should be absolutely fearless. Disease is a messenger from God. Disease is a guest of this house, body. Diseases are tests to try the sincerity of the aspirant. Seekers after Truth should have unshakable, unflinching, unswerving faith at all times, in all conditions of life. They should not be discouraged. Regular study of the Ramayana, Japa with Dhyana, morning and evening walks, should be regularly practised.

Kamal got a severe scolding from his father Kabir for prescribing Ram Nam for a merchant, to be repeated twice for curing leprosy. Kamal asked the merchant to repeat Ram Nam twice and yet he was not cured of this disease. Kamal reported to his father about the incident. Kabir was very much annoyed and told Kamal: "You have brought disgrace on my family by asking the merchant to repeat Ram Nam twice. Repetition of Ram Nam once is quite sufficient. Now ask the merchant to stand in the Ganga and repeat Ram Nam once from the bottom of the heart." Kamal followed the instructions of his father.

The merchant repeated Ram Nam once only with Bhava from the bottom of his heart. He was completely cured of leprosy. Kabir sent Kamal to Tulasidas. Tulasidas wrote Ram Nam on a Tulasi leaf and sprinkled the juice over 500 lepers. All were cured. Kamal was quite astonished. Then Kabir sent Kamal to bring the corpse that was floating in the river. Sur Das repeated Ram Nam only once in one ear of the corpse, and it came back to life. Kamal's heart was filled with awe and wonder. Such is the power of God's Name. My dear friends, my educated college youths, my dear barristers, professors, doctors and judges! Repeat the name of the Lord with Bhava and Prema from the bottom of your heart and realise supreme bliss and immortality this very second.

Mantras For Japa

In this iron age or the Kali Yuga, Name of the Lord is the support for a man to cross this ocean of Samsara. There is an indescribable power (Achintya Sakti) in the Name. This Sakti takes man to the Lord.

Of the various kinds of penances, in the form of action or austerity, the constant remembrance of Krishna is the best. (Vishnu Purana II-Chap. VI verses 134-135).

Those who meditate on the form of Lord Krishna may repeat mentally the Mantra: Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. Vasudeva is another name for Lord Krishna. It means: "All-pervading intelligence."

Bow down to Lord Narayana and utter the words 'Jaya Narayana.' Do mentally Japa of "Om Namo Narayanaya." Do eight lakhs of this sacred Mantra. This will form one Purascharana. Then do Haven. Feed the Brahmins and the poor people. You will have wonderful spiritual experiences.

Japa of OM and Mahavakyas such as 'Aham Brahma Asmi' will strengthen Vedantic Samskaras, purify the Chitta and eventually lead to the attainment of knowledge of Self.

Every Mantra should be preceded by Pranava or OM. Omkara gives full life to the Mantra.

All Mantras have equal potency or Power. It is quite incorrect if you say one Mantra is superior to another. You can attain God-realisation by doing Japa of any Mantra. Valmiki attained God-consciousness by repeating even Mara-Mara. Some people think that OM or Soham is superior to Om Namassivaya or Om Namo Narayanaya. This is also wrong. The state gained by doing Japa of OM or Soham can be attained by doing Japa of Sri Rama or Radheyshyam also.

Rama or OM is a veritable sword for destroying the Rakshas-mind. It is a true boat to cross this vast ocean of Samsara. It is a strong weapon for conquering this world. It is a fire (Jnana-Agni or the fire of wisdom) to burn ignorance, this body, the Samskaras and the Vasanas. It is the incantation or Mantra for awakening the Soul. It is a magic band to soothe the shattering nerves. It is the "open sesame" to open the infinite realms of eternal Bliss and supreme peace. Hold this mysterious sword, break all links with the world and destroy the bonds of Karma and mind, annihilate ignorance, crush the tendencies and enter boldly the vast domain of illimitable joy and eternal sunshine.

Ajapa Japa

Do Ajapa Japa. The Prana will be absorbed in the Nada (Anahata sounds of the heart). All the Vrittis will perish.

If you are a very busy man and if you lead a travelling life always you need not have a special place and a special time for meditation. Do Soham Japa and Soham Dhyana along with the breath. This is very easy. Or associate Rama Mantra also with the breath. Then every movement of breath will become a prayer and meditation. Remember 'Soham." Feel His Presence everywhere. This will suffice.

Likhita Japa

Likhita Japa or Mantra-writing is a sharp goad to direct the mind towards God. Fix the mind on the Lord. Think of His attributes when you write the Mantra. Forget the environments. Forget everything. Remain alone with your Ishta Devata. Daily write the Mantra in a notebook with ink for at least half an hour, observe Mouna. You can write the Mantra in any language. Stick to one Mantra, your Guru Mantra or Mantra of your Ishta Devata.

On Sundays all the members of your family can sit together in the evening and write for one hour in a notebook any Mantra Hari Om or Sita Ram or Sri Ram Jaya Ram or Om Namah Sivaya or Om Namo Narayanaya, observing Mouna for one hour. You will feel wonderful peace and strength. Practise this even for a day. This is for the benefit of your family members. You can sit in a common place or a temple with some of your friends and can have this solid, dynamic spiritual practice. Keep up the internal Bhava when you write the Mantra. Do not look hither and thither. You will have more concentration in this practice than in Japa. I have introduced this practice in Bihar, United Provinces and Punjab and various other places. Thousands have derived immense benefits. Even educated persons who were once atheists have taken to this practice. If you can do this practice daily, you will realise marvellous benefits indeed.

Benefits of Japa

Japa is a marvellous divine soap for the mind. Japa gives a nice refreshing, exhilarating spiritual bath. It wonderfully washes the subtle body or Linga Sarira or astral body. It cleanses it of its various kinds of impurities. Japa purifies the heart. Japa steadies the mind. It destroys the Shad Ripus. It destroys births and death. Japa burns the sins. Japa scorches the Samskaras. Japa annihilates attachment and induces Vairagya. Japa roots out all desires and makes one fearless. Japa removes delusion and gives supreme peace. Japa develops Prema and unites the devotee with the Lord. Japa gives health, wealth, strength and long life. Japa brings God-consciousness. Japa awakens Kundalini and bestows eternal bliss.

Santosha (contentment), Santi (peace of mind), balance of mind, inner spiritual strength, fearlessness, absence of irritability of mind are some of the signs of spiritual progress. These are the fruits of practice of Japa of any Mantra.

When Allopathy, Homeopathy, Chromopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and other 'pathies' fail to cure a disease, the Divine Namapathy alone can save you. Name of the Lord is a sovereign specific, a sheet anchor, an infallible panacea and a cure-all for all diseases. It is an ideal or supreme 'pick-me-up' in gloom and despair, in depression and sorrow, in the daily battle or the struggle for existence.

Name of the Lord is the seed of the tree of spirituality. It is the destroyer of the impurities of the mind. It bestows supreme peace, eternal Bliss and infinite Knowledge. It infuses divine love in the hearts of the reciters. It is the fountain-head of all happiness. May that Name, the giver of Immortality, remove all your fears and bring solace and supreme joy to all!

Name of Sri Rama is sweeter than the sweetest of objects. It is a haven of peace. It is the very life of pure souls. It is the purifier of all purifying agencies. It quenches the consuming fire of worldly desires. It awakens the knowledge of God which is dormant in our hearts. It bathes the aspirant in the ocean of divine bliss. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name!

The most heinous sins of men disappear immediately if they remember the Lord even for a moment. (Vishnu Purana VI, 8-10).

There is a mysterious power in the Name. There is an inscrutable Sakti in God's Name. All the divine potencies are hidden in Lord's Name. It is a cream or quintessence of Chyavanaprash, Makaradhvaja, almonds, Vasantakusumakara or Svarna Bhasma or gold oxide. It is a mysterious ineffable divine injection '1910194'.

There is no true happiness for him or her here and hereafter who has forgotten the Lord. There is no real peace for him who leads a selfish life and who separates himself from others on account of pride and egoism. Constant remembrance of the Lord will eradicate all miseries and sorrows and will confer immortality, bliss and peace on the devotee. Self-sacrifice will destroy selfishness and egoism. Self-sacrifice is the only shortest route to divine union.

The divine Name will eradicate the disease of birth and death and bestow on you Moksha, liberation or Immortality.

Name of the Lord is a potent unfailing antidote for those who are bitten by the serpent of Samsara. It is a nectar (Amrita) that can confer Immortality and perennial peace. Yama is terribly afraid of those who repeat the Name of the Lord. He cannot approach them. Markandeya, son of Mrikandu, attained eternal life through repeating the Name of Lord Siva. He realised the Supreme and fearless state.

A Bhakta repeats the Mantra of the Lord during Puja, worship, and touches his heart, his head, tuft of hair, arms and hands. There is Chaitanya in every letter of the Mantra. Through repetition of the Mantra and touching the parts of the body with repetition of the parts of the Mantra, the aspirant is gradually divinised. There is spiritual awakening. Spiritual currents are generated. Tamas and Rajas are destroyed. He is filled with pure Sattva. He becomes identical with the object of worship. He attains the same world of, or proximity with, or the same form of or absorption into, the Lord.

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