JAPA YOGA

Shri Krishna in Shri Bhagavad Geeta– Xth chapter says to Arjuna:

YAJNAM JAPA YAJNO ASMI

Among various yajnas I am in JAPA YAJNA -Indicating highest level of divinity

The practice of Japa leads to divinity or an important path for the Sadhaka for spiritual progress

(JAPA) –> JA=Birth , PA=PROTECTION

It is also “A method of repeating Mantra”

MAN=MIND
THRU= PROTECTION

JAPA involves repeating or chanting of a Mantra

This action leads to yoga or union of mind, Intellect through sound

Further enables union of the mind, intellect and Atma—YOGA-joining

Japa helps in achieving progress from

ASANA –> PRANAYAMA –> PRATYAHARA –> DARANA –> DHYANA

And finally to

SAMADHI

The benefits of Japa Yoga are

  1. Training of mind for Chitha Shudi- purity of mind
  2. Burning of all stored vasanas or negative influences-free from sin.
  3. High level of concentration
  4. Cultivating the nobility in thoughts and actions

 How to practice Japa?

The following are some the mantras used for practice

1) Aim
2) Aum Namo Narayana
3) Aum Namah Shivaya
4) Aum Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya
5) Gayatri Mantra:
Aum Bhur-Bhuvan-suvah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
6) Aum Shree Ragavendraya Namah
7) Navagraha Japa for each Graha(planet)
8) Rama Mantra Japa
9) Krishna Mantra Japa
10) Dhanvantri Japa
11) Other mantras are practiced as per initiated or taught by a Guru

JAPA is practiced in three ways

1. Loud Chanting-Initial stage, slowly and steadily.
2. Murmuring- Whispering, the sound heard only to the practitioner
3. Soundless- chanting of the mantra in the mind

Japa cleans and activates all five sensitive bodies or kosha present as per Yoga shasthra
1) Annamaya Kosha,
2)Pranamaya Kosha,
3)Manomaya Kosha
4)Vijnanamaya Kosha,
5)Anandamaya Kosha

Place to perform Japa:

Best places are environmentally clean and pure such as

  1. Near River/ Sea Coast
  2. Forest
  3. Secluded Place/ Isolated Place
  4. Any place in the house, having no disturbance of sound or any other nuisance

ASANA or sitting posture for Japa

PADMASANA, SUKHASANA, VAJRASANA, SIDHASANA are normally the best postures for performing Japa.The practitioner should learn any of these asana to get more benefits of Japa

Sit erect, eyes closed, with Yogamudra posture or with folded hands
For sitting, following materials are helpful (not to sit directly on the ground)

Grass mat,
Silk or cotton cloth.
Deer Skin which are clean and neat—( may not be available)

Counting of Mantras and numbers

Mantra is repeated for 10, 108, 1008 etc
The significance of these numbers relates to

  1. Twenty four characters of the body (tatvas)
  2. Seven types of mind 24×7=108
  3. 108 types of problems
  4. 108 types of sun rays
  5. Twenty seven stars and four charanas—27X4=108

Counting of mantras is done through “JAPMALA”

Having biggest sized one as meru

  1. 54 beats with one head or bead-meru
  2. 108 beads with head bead-meru

The Japamalas position and counting

The mala is resting on ring finger and last finger and thumb, index and middle finger are set free, of the right hand. The hands are resting comfortably on both knees.

The left hand is in Yogamudra posture-forming a ring with index finger and thumb
The beads are moved with the help of middle finger and thumb only, not by index finger at all

The completion of one mala 54/108 leads to coming in contact with “MERU” bead to indicate one mala is over. However to continue few more mala, not to cross “MERU” but to change the position of “mala”

Pranayama and Japa:

The practice of japa leads to change in breathing pattern. The japa can become effective, if sadhaka couples with japa with pranayama
The practice of pranayama regulates deep rhythmic breathing, leading to significant benefits

The practice can be as follows

  1. Inhale fully the breath
  2. Chant the mantra with exhaling gradually
  3. Move the bead while chanting, gradually without much movement of the body
  4. Inhale again and repeat the mantra

Observation of japa practice

  1. Activation of the body, mind and the soul, leading to more energy.
  2. The required grace of the Mantra gets fulfilled
  3. It is an effective path to “meditation / dhyana” brings achievement faster
  4. The wrong attributes which we possess are eliminated (papa purusha Visarjana)

Difficulties of japa/side effects

Many times the practitioner is distributed by:
a) Anger- bad temper due to control of mind or getting rid of bad things
b) Sleep- Mind becomes relaxed, hence leading to sleep

–Dr.V.Purnaprajna and Mr. Ravi Kulkarni
(www.shreevaartha.org).Mumbai

What is Japa Yoga What Are it’s Benefits?
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