Monday, August 6, 2018
Japa is Important
Japa is an important anga (limb) of yoga. In the Gita you will find: "Yajnanam japa yajnosmi - among yajnas (religious practice) I am japa yajna." In kali yuga (dark age) the practice of japa alone can give eternal peace, bliss and immortality. Japa ultimately results in samadhi (communion with the Lord). Japa must become habitual and must be attended with satvic (divine) bhava (feeling), purity, love and faith. There is no yoga greater than japa yoga. It can give you all siddhis (powers), whatever you want, bhakti (devotion) and mukti (freedom).
Japa is the repetition of the mantra (mystic formula). Dhyana is meditation on the form of the Lord and His attributes. This is the difference between japa and dhyana: there is meditation or dhyana with japa (japa-sahita) - there is meditation or dhyana without japa (japa-rahita). In the beginning you should combine dhyana with japa. As you advance, the japa drops away by itself - meditation alone remains. At an advanced stage you can practise concentration separately. You can do whatever you like best in this respect. Om is both saguna and nirguna (manifested and unmanifested) Brahman. If you are a devotee of Rama you can repeat 'Om Rama' for the manifestation of the manifested Brahman.
The name (nama) and the object (rupa), signified by the name, 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 Rama or Krishna Krishna, the picture of Rama or Krishna will come before your mind. Therefore japa and dhyana go together. They are inseparable.
Whilst you are doing japa of any mantra, think that you are really praying to your ishta devata (chosen, beloved divinity). Think that your ishta devata is really listening to you, that He is looking at you with merciful or graceful eyes and that, with open hands, He is giving you full abhaya dana (asking you to be free from all fears whatsoever) with a view to giving you your desired objects. Entertain this bhava.
Do the japa with feeling. Know the meaning of the mantra. Feel the Lord's presence in everything, everywhere. Draw closer to Him when you repeat His name. Think He is shining in the chambers of your heart. Think that He is witnessing the repetition of the mantra, just as He is the witness of your every action.