Repetition of which we overcome from cycles of birth and death, bondage etc. is called mantra. In Kali Yuga mantra japa is the easiest way to get liberation or Moksha or Immortality.
Japa is the repetition of any Mantra. Like we have food for our physical body, the food for our soul is mantra japa. At first, you should combine meditation and Japa. As you progress, the Japa fades away, leaving only meditation. This is a more advanced stage.
In Japa, Name and vision go hand in hand. Example, if you do nama japa of Rama or Jesus, you will be thinking of the god's image or having that vision. Therefore, Dhayana and Japa go together. It's inseparable.
Japa is to be done will full of devotion to god and with feelings. You need to feel the presence of god in everything and everyone. Think of him closer to you in every Japa. You will feel like god is shining in your heart after sometime.
A mantra is a divine sound structure empowered by Shakthi or Divine power. So Mantra is god itself. With the use of mantra, we can gain access into the transcendental realms and divine communion.
Mantra Yoga is also a science. The mantra can be divided into 6 parts.
- Rishi or Self Realized soul
- Chhandas or Metre
- Devata or God
- Bija or seed
- Sakti or Energy
- Kilaka or Pin
Rishi or Self Realized soul: The person who got the mantra or revealed first. Rishi is the person who gave the particular mantra to the world. For example, Gayatri mantra is revealed by the sage Viswamitra. So he is the Rishi of that mantra.
Chhandas or Meter: The meter of a mantra determines how the voice is modulated. Mantra can't be simply repeated as plain text, as in news or Ads. If you listen to any mantra, it would be having certain voice modulation (high pitch and low pitch at certain words). This is important when you repeat the mantra for it's best benefit.
Devata or God: When you select a mantra or when a mantra is given by guru, it will be based on Ishta devatha (God of your choice). Guru gives a mantra for you depending on your nature or personality. Gayatri mantra devata is God Gayatri. Similarly, panchakshari mantra Devata or god is Lord Shiva.
Bija or seed: A seed is a word or a collection of words which enhances the power of mantra. Om, Shreem, Kleem etc. are seed. Example, “Om namaha shivaya” is a shiva mantra with seed “OM”. The mantra can be one word also example “OM Mantra Japa”.
Sakthi or Energy: Mantra has got it's own vibration and Energy, which carries individual to the god or devatha.
Kilaka or Pin: This is a hidden power within the mantra. Once you unlock the pin, the god will be revealed to you with the siddhis of the mantra. This happens only after you reach a certain stage. It needs a lot of hard work and patience to unlock it.
Types of mantra japa
Mantra japa or chanting can be done in multiple ways.
- Manasika Japa: The mental Repetition of mantra is called manasika japa. It is considered the best way to do the japa.
- Vaikhari Japa: The verbal Repetition of mantra is called Vaikhari and it's lowest level
- Upamshu Japa: By the whisper when you repeat the mantra, it's called Upamshu Japa. It's medium level japa
- Likhita Japa: In this form, you write the mantra many times. It's also considered very good as you will be focusing your mind in mental Repetition, writing and seeing all at the same time. You will develop good concentration with this. You will get peace of mind, control of indriyas, purity in heart etc.
Mechanical repetition of Japa in the absence of Bhava has a powerful cleansing impact on the heart or intellect. The sensation will emerge later in the process of mental cleansing. If you doubt "does the mantra work ?" then it's never going to work. You need to believe in the mantra completely for it's success. Mantras are very effective if done properly.
Quote Of The Day
"If one chants the holy names of the lord, even in helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life departs, just as when lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear."
10 Steps to practice japa mantra meditation
Mantra japa or chanting can be done in multiple ways. Following are the mandatory mantra japa rules which are to be followed while doing the japa.
- Select a mantra given by guru. Mantra japa without initiation by the guru may not be the best way. If you don't have a guru, then you can select any mantra depending on your love for your god. Repeat the mantra in the multiple of 108. Always remember to keep the guru mantra secret.
- The mantra is not supposed to be changed every time. Stick to one mantra until you attain the siddhi or until asked to be changed by guru himself.
- Always wake up at Brahmamuhurta. It's considered best time for mantra japa and meditation.
- Keep yourselves clean before doing the japa. Taking an early cold bath will remove your sleep completely and energize your cells.
- Chanting inside the temple, near shivalinga, banyan tree, river bank, hills, or mountains are considered very good. Sitting in front of guru and doing japa is the best.
- Always face east or north during the practice, which will bring more efficiency into the japa. You may sit in any asana or posture. Padmasana is considered best. If a person is unable to do so, then try any other posture which is comfortable. For Padmasana you will have to practice a lot of yoga to sit for longer duration. Through constant practice, you can achieve anything.
- You can use a mala (a string of beads), or you can use a rosary or prayer beads. Rudraksha mala of 108 beads can be used to perform the japa. Mala should not be visible to anyone.
- When you recite the Mantra, have the mental attitude or sense that the Lord is enthroned in your heart.
- Mantra japa should be done in medium speed with full concentration and try not to sleep during japa. Think of meaning of mantra while japa.
- In japa never ask for any materialistic objects. Keep the japa all the time. It's called Ajapa Japa. Once you do the sadhana every day, the mantra keeps repeating inside you all the time. This type of sadhana is Ajapa Japa.
How to do mantra japa with mala ?
This practice can be done with or without a mala, which is a string of beads. It can also be done while sitting or while moving around. Sitting is considered best for concentration.
5 easy steps to do mantra japa with mala are as follows:
- Use a rudraksha mala of 108 beads
- Allow the mala to dangle no lower than the navel. Keep your hand near your heart or nose.
- The mala should not be visible to you or anyone else. It must be covered with a clean cloth or pouch.
- Roll the beads using your right middle finger and thumb. The index finger is not permitted.
- Do not cross the meru while rolling. When you get there, turn around.
How many times to do mantra japa ?
The Mantra can be repeated in the multiple of 108. The number 108 has spiritual significance in Hinduism for several reasons:
- The sun's diameter is 108 times that of the Earth.
- Each letter in the Sanskrit alphabet has a male (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) force. In Sanskrit, we have 54 letters. Thus, 54×2=108.
- According to some, people have 108 feelings: 36 from the past, 36 from the present, and 36 from the future.
- According to popular belief, humans have 108 worldly aspirations.
There are many more examples which will be updated soon.
Mantra japa benefits and Ashta siddhi
There are a lot of mantras available and their benefits depending on the mantra chosen by you or your guru. Mantra japa real benefit is revealed when it's siddhi happen. Most of the people leave the japa after sometime because it is not bringing any immediate results.
Practice mantra with patience and with full devotion. Bramacharya is required for any siddhi to happen within you. There are total 18 siddhis but 8 are famous, i.e., Ashta Siddhis. Hanuman has mastered all the siddhis. Ashta siddhi are as follows:
अणिमा महिमा चैव लघिमा गरिमा तथा |
प्राप्तिः प्राकाम्यमीशित्वं वशित्वं चाष्ट सिद्धयः ||
- Anima Siddhi (अणिमा): Anima Siddhi is the power to shrink to the lowest possible size. The individual may lower it's size by obtaining this siddhi. When necessary, the individual can shrink to the size of an atom or even smaller. This siddhi was employed by Lord Hanuman to enter Lanka.
- Garima Siddhi (गरिमा): Garima siddhi is the power to become eternally heavy. The practitioner may make himself as heavy as he wants, and is unmovable by anybody or anything. His bodily size would remain the same, but his weight would rise. One can gain so much weight that others may be unable to move him. Lord Hanuman grew his weight so much in the Mahabharata that Bheema couldn't lift his tail.
- Mahima Siddhi (महिमा): The capacity to grow one's body to an infinitely huge extent is known as Mahima siddhi. By achieving this siddhi, the practitioner is able to grow his body to the scale of the cosmos. He can achieve the might of God, who created the cosmos. The one can even increase the size of other objects. One can grow indefinitely. In the Ramayana, Lord Hanuman employed this siddhi several times.
- Laghima Siddhi (लघिमा): Laghima siddhi provides the ability to become weightless or lighter than air. After achieving this siddhi, the practitioner may transform into any creature on Earth and enter inside his body. The one can even fly, travel to any location on the planet, and carry anything to him. When this siddhi is attained, one can even become weightless.
- Prapti Siddhi (प्राप्ति): The practitioner is capable of doing anything. Prapti siddhi is the power to build anything. Through this siddhi, the practitioner may attain everything he desires. There is nothing he cannot obtain, such as giving water in the desert or other miraculous things. The one can build anything on this planet. He can also summon someone or something. This siddhi has the potential to make someone so strong that he can dominate the entire planet.
- Prakamya Siddhi (प्राकाम्य): Prakamya Siddhi is the capacity to transform into anything the practitioner chooses. The person's thinking alter dramatically, and he or she feels a surge of spiritual energy. By acquiring this skill, the practitioner is able to achieve whatever he desires. He can fly through the air and walk on water. We can even listen to someone else's mind or whatever he thinks in his head, even if the person does not tell us what he is thinking.
- Ishitva Siddhi (इशित्व): Ishitva Siddhi is the knowledge of all powers and the ability to govern everyone and everything. The practitioner has complete control over all aspects of the cosmos and total dominion. The one will be elevated to the level of God himself.
- Vashitva Siddhi (वशित्व): Vashikaran is the power to control one's life and death. This siddhi allows one to gain control over all living and non-living objects. Anyone who excels in this siddhi has the ability to affect anyone on the planet. The one may take possession of another person's mind and make him do anything he wants.
Japa Mantra List
There are a lot of mantras available, but I am just listing some well known mantras.
Om tryambakam yajamahe
mrityor mukshiya maamritaat
Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Japa Kusuma Sankaasham
Kashyapeyam Mahadyuthim |
Tamorim Sarva Papaghnam
Pranathosmi Divakaram ||