WHAT IS THE ICONOLOGY OF MANTRA JAPA ? JAPA-01
SIGNIFICANCE OF MANTRA JAPA ;--- 15 FACTS;-- 1-Many saints advocates/ speak highly of the practice of Nama-Japa (the continuous repetition of God’s name) & render it as a useful aid for those who were following the path of surrender. 2-Surrender to God or the Self could be effectively practised by being aware at all times that there is no individual ‘I’ acting and thinking; only a ‘higher power’ which is responsible for all the activities of the world. 3-Saints have recommended Japa as an effective way of cultivating this attitude since it replaces an awareness of the individual and the world with a constant awareness of this higher power. 4-In its early stages the repetition of the name of God is only an exercise in concentration and meditation, but with continued practice a stage is reached in which the repetition proceeds effortlessly, automatically and continuously. 4-1-This stage is not reached by concentration alone but only by completely surrendering to the deity whose name is being repeated: ‘To use the name of God one must call upon Him with yearning and unreservedly surrender oneself to Him. Only after such surrender is the name of God constantly with the man’. 5-In advanced stage of Japa there is an almost mystical dimension of this idea. When the Self is realised the name of God reappears itself effortlessly and continuously in the Heart. 6-This ultimate stage is only reached after the practice of Japa merges into the practice of self-attention. The words of Namdev, a fourteenth century Maharashtra saint: ‘The all-pervading nature of the Name can only be understood when one recognises one’s own ‘I’. When one’s own name is not recognised, it is impossible to get the all-pervading Name’. This quotation comes from a short work by saint Namdev & i endorse this. 6-1-After finding the source of that ‘I’ merge your individuality in that oneness which is self-existent and devoid of all duality. That which pervades beyond dvaita (duality) and dvaitatita (that which is beyond duality), that Name has come into the three worlds. The Name is Parabrahman itself where there is no action arising out of duality. 7- When the Japa becomes continuous, all other thoughts cease and one is in one’s real nature, which is Japa or Dhyana (meditation or contemplation). We turn our mind outwards on things of the world and are therefore not aware of our real nature being always Japa. When the conscious effort of Japa or Dhyana, as we call it, we prevent our mind from thinking of other things, then what remains is our real nature, which is Japa. 8-So long as you think you are name and form, you can’t escape name and form in Japa also. When you realise you are not name and form, then name and form will drop of themselves. No other effort is necessary. Japa or Dhyana will naturally and as a matter of course lead to it. What is now regarded as the means, Japa, will then be found to be the goal. Name and God are not different. This is clearly shown in the teachings of Namdev: 9-The Name permeates densely the sky and the lowest regions and the entire universe. Who can tell to what depths in the nether regions and to what height in the heavens it extends. The ignorant undergo the 84 lakhs (8.4 million) of species of births, not knowing the essence of things. Namdev says the Name is immortal. Forms are innumerable, but the Name is all that. 10-The Name itself is Form. There is no distinction between Name and Form. God became manifest and assumed Name and Form. Hence the Name the Vedas established. Beware there is no Mantra beyond the Name. Those who say otherwise are ignorant. Namdev says the Name is Keshava (God) Himself. This is known only to the loving devotees of the Lord. 11-Japa is more important than external form. It must be done until it becomes natural. It starts with effort and is continued until it proceeds of itself. When natural it is called realisation. 12-Japa may be done even while engaged in other work. That which is, is the one reality. It may be represented by a form, a japa, mantra, vichara (‘I’ thought), or any kind of attempt to reach reality. All Bhakti (devotion), vichara and japa are only different forms of our efforts to keep out the unreality. The unreality is an obsession at present but our true nature is reality. 13-We are wrongly persisting in unreality, that is, attachment to thoughts and worldly activities. Cessation of these will reveal the truth. Our attempts are directed towards keeping them out and this is done by thinking of the reality only. Although it is our true nature it looks as if we are thinking of it while doing these practices. What we do really amounts to the removal of obstacles for the revelation of our true being. 14- All methods are good since they will lead to the enquiry eventually. Japa is our real nature. When we realise the Self then japa goes on without effort. What is the means at one stage becomes the goal at another. When effortless constant japa goes on, it is realisation. 15-You can drink and live on the nectar that flows during Japa and meditation. Even simple mechanical repetition of a Mantra has got very great effect. It purifies the mind. It serves as a gatekeeper. It intimates to you that some other worldly thoughts have entered now. At once you can try to drive these thoughts and make Smarana of the Mantra. Even during the mechanical repetition, a portion of the mind is there. WHAT IS ORAL & MENTAL JAPA(TYPES OF JAPA)?----
1-According to Sandilya Upanishad, "The Vaikhari Japa (loud pronunciation) gives the reward as stated in the Vedas; while the Upamsu Japa (whispering or humming which cannot be heard by any one) gives a reward a thousand times more than the Vaikhari; the Manasic Japa gives a reward a crore of times more than the Vaikhari. " 2-Oral japa consists of sounds. The sounds arise from thoughts, for one must think before one expresses the thoughts in words. The thoughts form the mind. Therefore mental japa is better than oral japa. 2-1-Such japa will be the means for Chitta Shuddhi (purifying the mind). As the japa is done repeatedly the effort ripens and sooner or later leads to the right path. Good or bad, whatever is done never goes to waste. Only the differences and the merits and demerits of each will have to be told, looking to the stage of development of the person concerned. 3-When the japa becomes mental, there is no need for the sound . Japa becoming mental, becomes contemplation. Dhyana, contemplation and mental japa are the same. Loud Japa shuts out all worldly sounds. There is no break.
4-These are the two advantages in loud Japa. In Manasic Japa it is difficult to find when the break comes in the mind in the case of majority of people. Whenever sleep tries to overpower you when you do Japa at night, take the Japa-Maala in your hands and roll the beads. This will put a check to sleep. Repeat the Mantra loudly. Give up Manasic Japa. Now the Maala will remind you when the stoppage takes place. When sleep is hard to overcome, stand up and do the Japa.
OBJECT OF JAPA /MEDITATION;-
05 FACTS;- 1-When thoughts cease to be promiscuous (consisting of parts )and one thought persists to the exclusion of all others, it is said to be contemplation. The object of japa or dhyana is the exclusion of several thoughts and confining oneself to one single thought. 2 -Then that thought too vanishes into its source – absolute consciousness, the Self. The mind engages in japa and then sinks into its own source. 3- The body itself is a projection of the mind. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. It is the mind, which creates the body, the brain in it and also ascertains that the brain is its seat. 4-All these are only the workings of the mind. Japa helps to fix the mind on a single thought. All other thoughts are first subordinated until they disappear. When it becomes mental it is called dhyana. Dhyana is our true nature. 5- It is however called dhyana because it is made with effort. Effort is necessary. we call the continuity of a single thought meditation or dhyana. If that dhyana becomes effortless it will be found to be our real nature. IS REPETITION OF NAME IMPORTANT?-
02 FACTS;- 1-We give some names to God and say that the name is sacred and that repetitions of the name bestow merit on the individual.Importance of name is clear;viz;-- You bear a name to which you answer. But your body was not born with that name written on it, nor did it say to anyone that it bore such and such a name. And yet a name is given to you and you answer to that name, because you have identified yourself with the name. 2-Therefore the name signified something and it is not a mere fiction. Similarly, God’s name is effective. Repetition of the name is remembrance of what it signifies. IS SLEEP DURING JAPA A HURDLE ?-
02 FACTS;- 1-While making japa for an hour or more;if we fall into a state like sleep & On waking up ,recollect that japa has been interrupted & try again; that is right. It is the natural state. Because you are now associated with the ego, you consider that the natural state is something which interrupts your work. So you must have the experience repeated until you realise that it is your natural state. 2-You will then find that japa is extraneous (external ); but still it will go on automatically. We present doubt is due to that false identity, namely of identifying yourself with the mind that does the japa. Japa means clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That is its purpose. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-realisation or jnana (knowledge). THE WAY TO CARRY ON JAPA;-
04 FACTS;- 1-One should not use the name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion.Acute disease will not be cured merely by repeating the name of the medicine but only by drinking the medicine. 2-Similarly, the bonds of birth and death will not cease merely by doing many repetitions of Mahavakyas such as ‘I am Shiva’. Instead of wandering about repeating ‘I am the supreme’, abide as the supreme yourself. The misery of birth and death will not cease by vocally repeating countless times ‘I am that’, but only by abiding as that. 3-No learning or knowledge of scriptures is necessary to know the Self, as no man requires a mirror to see himself. All knowledge is required only to be given up eventually as not-self. No work or cares necessarily an obstacle. If you can do nothing more at least continue saying ‘I, I’ to yourself mentally as advised in ‘Who am I?’. If one incessantly thinks ‘I I’, it will lead to that state (the Self). Continue to repeat it whatever work you may be doing, whether you are sitting, standing or walking. ‘I’ is the name of God. It is the first and greatest of all mantras. Even Om (AUM) is second to it. 4-Before beginning a japa breath control is prescribed. That means, first do Pranayama (regulating of breath) and then begin repeating the mantra. Pranayama means first closing the mouth. If, by stopping the breath, the five elements in the body are bound down and controlled, what remains is the real Self. That Self will by itself be repeating always ‘aham, aham’ (‘I, I’). That is japa. THE OBJECT OF MANTRA-JAPA;--
04 FACTS;- 1-The object of mantra japa is to realise that the same japa is already going on in oneself even without effort. The oral japa becomes mental and the mental japa finally reveals itself as being eternal. That mantra is the person’s real nature. That is also the state of realisation. 2-The japa becomes mental and finally reveals itself as the Self. That is Samadhi.The Self is the greatest of all mantras – it goes on automatically and eternally. If you are not aware of this internal mantra, you should take to it consciously as japa, which is attended with effort, to ward off all other thoughts. 3-By constant attention to it, you will eventually become aware of the internal mantra, which is the state of realisation and is effortless. Firmness in this awareness will keep you continually and effortlessly in the current, however much you may be engaged in other activities. 4-By repetition of mantras, the mind gets controlled. Then the mantra becomes one with the mind and also with the prana (the energy that sustains the body). When the syllables of the mantra becomes one with the prana, it is termed dhyana, and when dhyana becomes deep and firm it leads to Sahaja Sthiti (the natural state). WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY(MALA)? 05 FACTS;-- 1-The Japa-Mala occupies a special position in Mantra-Sadhana (the spiritual disciplines consisting of repeating sacred syllables), because it is through the Mala itself that Japa is most effective. 2-Firstly, the Mala is used to keep count of Japa or the repetition of sacred syllables. Secondly, during Sadhana, the mind as always, through its very nature, tends to wander. It is through the Mala, that the wandering mind can be quickly recollected or brought back to the thought of the deity or object of meditation. 3-Faith and reverence are the essentials of Upasana or worship. It will not be out of place to maintain this reverential attitude towards the Mala itself. It should not be used carelessly or kept in an unclean place or touched by the feet . 4-Even though it is a lifeless object, it is an instrument through which God is remembered and an aid in spiritual upliftment. Therefore it should be regarded with reverence. 5-The scriptures say that the merit that accrues from repeating God’s name is multiplied 8 times when done on the segments of the fingers; 10,000 times when done on a Mala of precious stones or crystals; 100,000 times when done on a Lotus-Mala; but infinitely when done on a Rudraksha-Mala......SHIVOHAM....