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THE PRACTICE OF JAPA
Japa yoga is a spiritual practice based on meditative recitation.
The ritual of singing prayers in various forms exists in most world religions. But the dharmic religions give it particular importance. In Christianity, prayer practices, which consist of repeating the prayers using the rosary, can be called an analogue of japa meditation.
Japa has several objectives, which depend on the mantra used and the religious philosophy of the practitioner. In both Buddhist and Hindu traditions, teachers often give mantras to students as a form of spiritual initiation.
The ultimate goal of japa can be moksha, nirvana, bhakti, as well as personal communion with divinity.
Tips for Japa yoga practice
- First, choose a mantra or do the practice with which your guide has delivered you.
- The mantra should be repeated every day from 108 (1 full turn to japa mala accounts) to 6912 (64 full turns) times. The number of repetitions must be a multiple of 108.The number 108 is a special number in the series general number and has a certain power. Repeating 108 times, a person makes a circle. The more circles you make, the better. Today, it is recommended to repeat at least 16 of these circles, and preferably 64. In time 16 circles, they last approximately 2 hours.
- When practicing with japa mala, the accounts are passed only with the center of the hand and the thumb of the right hand. It is forbidden to use the index finger.
- The best time for japa meditation is the morning of 4 to 7 in the morning. However, japa can also be done day and night before bedtime.
- During japa one cannot think of material things, ask God for something material. At this time, all attention should be directed to the sound that is formed during the mantra recitation.
- The japa mala should not hang below the waist, the hand with them should be kept at the level of the heart or nose.
- Don’t look at the japa mala.
- If you get distracted in practice, you can recite in a whisper or out loud, but once you have retaken the center it is necessary to return again to the mental repetition of the mantra.
- It is recommended to combine the mental repetition of the mantra with any job.
- In the morning, before practicing japa, you must clean your body, face and mouth. The rest of the time is not necessary. Japa can be repeated at any free time. Especially suitable for this are morning, noon and afternoon.
- It is recommended to combine Japa with rhythmic breathing or pranayama. In doing so, it is important to meditate on the deity that is invoked. To do this, you can imagine his image before your eyes. It is also important to think about the meaning of the mantra.
- Each syllable of the mantra must be pronounced correctly and clearly. Don’t do it too fast or slow down too much. If you start to get distracted. Accelerate your pronunciation.
- It is necessary to observe the silence, do not get distracted or succumb to the feeling of anxiety during practice.
- It is recommended to practice the mantra, while sitting facing east or north.
Japa Yoga types
Japa yoga is usually divided into 4 types: bikkhari or sound; upanishu, or whispering; manasik, or mental, and lychitis or writing.
- Baikhari means reciting the mantra out loud. This practice quickly leads to stabilize the mind and helps to charge us with energy. It connects us to a sense of peace.
- Upanshu is the expression of a mantra in a whisper. In this case, only the whispering person should listen to it. The sound should hardly be audible. This type of japa has a more subtle effect on the mind.
- Manasik japa is practiced once the person has mastered baikhari and upansha. This is especially necessary for people whose mind is unstable. Manasik japa is an even more subtle technique.
- Likhita japa is usually intended for those who have successfully mastered the previous types of japa. The mantra is written hundreds of times in sentences or in forms. Creative writing and from fluency it is a powerful meditation.
Benefits of Japa yoga
The word “japa” means “rotation” and refers to the movement of consciousness and the union of our essence with the Supreme Being. An integral attribute of japa yoga is a mantra or, in a way, grouped sound vibrations that have a beneficial effect on the psychic nature. Tradition states that the greatest effect of a mantra occurs when a guru gives it to us or when it emerges spontaneously in a dream. Most importantly, the mind must accept this mantra, attracted by its charm. When a mantra is pronounced out loud or mentally, the vibration of the mantra creates a certain form within the person. This internal or psychic symbol has the potential for physical manifestation.
Japa Yoga focuses on a continuous rotation of consciousness to adjust and concentrate the mind on the mantra and distract it from everything else. This practice, being regular, constructively affects all physical and mental processes and improves work performance. The repetition of the mantra should become a spontaneous and natural process, and the mind should be an observer of this process. When during the repetition of the mantra several thoughts arise (and will arise), the student should simply observe them without getting involved in his game. These thoughts will come and go. Just look at them and continue your practice, which will allow you to deepen your ability to concentrate, observe emotions and the consequent detachment from them in a profound way.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Benefits of Baikhari japa
Within japa yoga, it consists of reciting the mantra out loud. This practice rapidly increases the stability of the mind and energizes it. After several weeks of such practice, the mind becomes calm. If you wish to meditate on something specific, but experience some difficulties, practice bikikhari, i.e. strong japa for at least one hour and after that it will be easier to enter into meditation.
Benefits of Baikhari japa
Within upanshu japa yoga it consists of pronouncing a mantra in a whisper, so that only the whisperer can hear it. The lips move, but hardly any sound is emitted. This japa has a more subtle effect on the mind and brings it gradually to the stage of manasik japa. Upansha Japa is usually performed by those who wish to practice the mantra for 8-10 hours a day for a special purpose. In Sastra Mantra, or the science of mantras, it is said that mantra can correct destiny so there are special mantras that are designed specifically for physical plane purposes
Benefits of Upanshu japa
In the practice of japa yoga it is not recommended to practice Manasik until one has mastered Baikhari and Upansha. People with an unstable mind are not capable of real progress without these preliminary practices. Manasik japa is an even more subtle technique and the most widespread in India. The scriptures and the sages agree that the constant and faithful practice of mana-sik japa leads to enlightenment
Benefits of Likhit japa
Likhit japa is generally prescribed to those students who have successfully mastered other japa techniques and have progressed in concentration. Likhit japa is the writing of a mantra one hundred times with red, blue or green ink in letters as small as possible. The mantra should be written very diligently, and with a deep sense of beauty. The smaller the letters, the greater the concentration. Likhit japa is always combined with manasik japa and therefore requires a mental repetition of the mantra.
Japa Anusthana in India
“Anusthana” means to perform, observe and complete an action with determination and perseverance. Anusthana can be attributed to japa, and is then called japa anusthana. It is practiced as a means of purification for further spiritual progress, using methods of physical, mental and mental discipline, or as a means of achieving selfish physical goals.
Vaikhari japa anusthana is a practice cultivated by a practicing choir. In some places in India, the same mantra is sung without interruption for many years. For example, in Rishikesh since 1943, the mantra “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” has been chanted constantly and throughout the day, day after day. There is no rest for a minute.
Chanting the mantra creates an atmosphere woven of powerful vibrations.
Japa Anusthana is very popular in India and is the best remedy for those whose minds tend to wander. During the month of Shravan, Indians all over the world follow the tradition of plucking the leaves from the bilva tree. On these three-pronged leaves, Indians usually write red paste Om Namah Shiva, after which the leaves are offered to the Divine. Such worship lasts the whole month, during which the mantra is written continuously.