Narasimhaye’s Blog

Japa by Neil Campbell

Posted on: November 8, 2008

Japa

By Neil Campbell

Shiva beads:  http://www.shivabeads.co.uk/

 

Japa by definition is the repeating of a mantra, traditionally performed on a mala to keep count. For quotes on
the power and blessings of japa by some of the rishis and sages please click here. The japa mantra generally
recommended for use with Rudraksha malas is:

Om Namah Shivaya

(Pronounced: Ong Na-mah Shi-va-ya)

hear mantra

For more information on this auspicious mantra please click here

 

The Range of Benefits from Japa

As a fundamental aspect of traditional and authentic yoga, japa harnesses inner energies and calm
the mind. Through practices such as japa yoga, prana is energised, the mind (manas) is stilled,
serene thought patterns (sattva-vikalpas) are established, nadis are purified & Devi Kundalini may
even awaken. According to one noteable Swamiji the vibrations of the practice of japa attracts positive
astral forces and strengthens the protective aura. On the physical level, the seven bodily constituents
are purified, while sleep, energy levels, the immune system & all-round health are improved, stress
levels decrease. Japa fills the mind with sattva (purity, peace), cleansing the mind of tamas (torpor, sloth)
& rajas (agitation). Once free of impurities the mind is capable of reflecting higher reality.

As a fundamental aspect of traditional and authentic yoga, japa has many wonderful benefits and effects. These include:

Harnessing of inner energies and calming the mind. Filling the mind (manas) with sattva (purity, peace).
Cleansing the mind of tamas (torpor, sloth) & rajas (agitation). Prana is energised. Serene thought patterns (sattva-vikalpas)
are established. On the physical level, the seven bodily constituents are purified. Sleep, energy levels, the immune system &
all-round health are improved. Stress levels decrease. Nadis are purified. Devi
Kundalini may even awaken.

According to one noteable Swamiji the vibrations of the practice of japa attracts positive astral forces
and strengthens the protective aura. Once the mind is free from obscuring impurities it is capable
of reflecting higher reality.

The Three Levels of Japa

There are 3 levels of japa. This has much esoteric significance and corresponds to the different bodies
and states of consciousness. It is also of practical benefit and allows each person to find the level that
suits best. The three levels of performing japa are –

Vaikhari – Audible repetition

Upamsu – Whispering repetition

Manasika – Mental repetition

 

Vaikhari, or audible repetition, is performing japa aloud at one’s normal volume of speech. This
level of japa is very good if the mind is highly agitated and difficult to calm down. This level of
japa also has a strong effect on one’s environment and thus purifies their immediate surroundings
as well as their own body, emotions and mind. Upamsu, or whispering repetition, is the middle
stage. It is performed either in a very quiet whisper or just by moving the lips and silently saying
one’s chosen mantra. The third level, manasika, is purely mental repetition. There is no audible
sound or movement of the lips here. All repetition is done mentally. This is considered the best
of the three means, for it is said to be the deepest of the three.

How to Perform Japa

Performing one round (108 repetitions), beginners would generally be best to start with vaikhari,
audible repetition. It would probably be wise for the beginner to perform japa this way for about
3 weeks. After that they may wish to try moving on to upamsu japa. Alternatively, if one is new
to japa, yet feels confident that they could be successful beyond vaikhari, then they may wish
to try splitting the round (the 108 repetitions) equally between the 3 levels. Start with vaikhari
for roughly the first third, then move onto upamsu for the second third, and lastly for the final
third perform only mental repetition, manasika japa.

Traditionally the mala is draped over the ring finger & rotated round with the thumb. It is the
traditional practice to not cross the Sumeru bead (the bead that sits at the top of the mala).
Whenever the Sumeru bead is reached japa is either completed or continues back in the
opposite direction i.e. going back in the reverse direction to the starting point. For example,
if you have a 27 beaded mala (+ the sumeru bead) this would mean that to perform one full
round of japa (108 repetitions) would require going round the mala four times (4 x 27 = 108).  

Ideally japa should be practiced daily & always with focus and feeling. However, ideals can take time
to acheive. Swami Sivananda’s words are worth noting on japa, he says:

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.

 

Further Japa Information:

  • Frequent changing of one’s japa mantra is not recommended.
  • One should follow the instruction given to them by their teacher or from a reliable source.
  • If a reliable source cannot be found or if questions are unanswered, please feel welcome
    to write to us here at Shiva Beads. We cannot guarantee that we have the knowledge
    or wisdom to successfully answer all questions, but we can try or perhaps point you in
    the direction of where you can find your answer.

Please also see the page Meditation 1 for general instructions. Many of the basic requirements of meditation and japa are the same.

By Neil Campbell

Shiva beads:  http://www.shivabeads.co.uk/

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  • Narasimhaye: If you are able to talk to your or sister and your girl cousins, you will be able to speak to any girl you like. Don't be shy. Try to be confident in
  • arjun: sir please help me I cannot talk to any girl I'm not frank and I am very afraid of doing things I think what the world will think I don't have confide
  • Narasimhaye: I meant do Puja , not pika sorry.
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