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Importance and Meaning of Japa Series: 8

Posted by kathavarta on June 9, 2011

Meditation of many kinds is used by people all around the world to ease stress and calm the mind. There are a wide variety of types of meditation, all of which include removing all outside stimuli and clearing the mind to focus on one singular image or thought. Many meditative practices are done by listening to a recording of rainfall or bird songs, or by sitting in total silence and thinking of a calming scene such as a deserted beach or a vast desert. Some techniques involve the mental repetition of a word or phrase.

Japa meditation accomplishes clarification of the mind and spirit through the use of a spoken chant called a mantra. The mantra can be any word you like, as long as it is uplifting and encouraging to you. Many people use the name of the deity they worship, such as God or Jehovah, which can be a powerful and divinely inspiring mantra. The word can be the name of an item you find enjoyable or soothing, such as the name of a flower or a river, or a word that rolls smoothly off your tongue or you can use a phrase from a favourite poem or Bible verse.

There are various practical physical aids that can be used to progress in Japa medication, and they are based on sound psychological and natural principles. The telling of rosary beads is the most familiar form of Japa meditation to Western practitioners. The telling of rosary beads is a form of Japa meditation Catholics are familiar with. A Japa mala, which is similar to a string of rosary beads, is often used while repeating a mantra. Holding the beads in your fingers helps to foster alertness and offers a focus for releasing physical energy. Passing the beads through your hands is an aid to the rhythmic, continuous recitation of the mantra.

A mala consists of 108 beads, with one additional bead that is larger than the others. This bead is called the meru, and the finger should not cross the meru while the beads are passing through the fingers. It is slightly larger so that it can signal when 108 repetitions of the mantra have been done. When the meru is reached, the beads are reversed in the hand and the mantra recitations continue as long as desired. As the mantra is chanted, the thumb and the third finger are used to roll the beads, and the index finger is never used. The mala must not be allowed to hang below the navel, and it should be wrapped in a clean cloth when it is not being used.

Before beginning the mantra, a prayer should be said to induce purity of feeling and a meditative state. With eyes closed, concentrating either on your heart or your mind, you should ask for the aid of your deity and pronounce the mantra distinctly. The repetition that follows must be neither too fast nor too slow and careful thought must be given to the meaning of the mantra. If your mind starts to wander, you can increase or decrease the speed or volume of the mantra to keep alert. You can repeat the mantra aloud for a while, then whisper or hum it, and then recite it mentally. Variety in Japa is necessary to sustain interest, avoid fatigue, and counteract the monotony that can arise from constant repetition of the same syllables. The mind needs variety or it becomes tired. However, even mechanical repetition that is devoid of feeling has a great purifying effect.

When first beginning Japa meditation, a beginner may tire of the endless repetition and give up too soon, after five or ten minutes of repeating the mantra. The syllables may start to sound meaningless—mere syllables and nothing more. But by continuing to persevere for at least thirty minutes without interruption, you will give the mantra time to work itself into your consciousness and you will begin to notice the benefits within just a few days.

Meditating on the image of your chosen deity while repeating the mantra adds tremendously to the effectiveness. A prayer upon concluding the meditation is important. When Japa meditation is completed, you should not plunge immediately into the worldly activity that normally surrounds you. Sit quietly for about ten minutes, reflecting on God and feeling His presence. As you slowly return to routine duties, the spiritual vibrations created by your meditation will continue to remain intact. The more routine your meditation becomes, the more likely that this current will be maintained at all times, no matter what you are engaged in.

Many philosophers suggest that when you are doing manual work, you should give the hands to the work but give the mind to God. Like a woman who can talk to her friends while knitting continuously, the mantra repetition involved in Japa meditation can sustain the mind during daily activities. With practice, the manual work of tracking the mala beads will become automatic. When the mantra can be repeated throughout the day, God’s consciousness will permeate your life, bringing you peace and spiritual renewal each day.

By Linda Orlando, on buzzle.com

Japa is my favourite method for meditate, as it takes me straight to my almighty, in a very simple and easy way. I am starting a Japa articles which was published on various good websites. I hope you may like my effort.

Last but very important, I and KathaVarta.com is very very grateful for all those websites who has published the meaning and importance of Japa meditation and I am able to recycle those great articles for this KathaVarta.org. I hope they will forgive me for the copy and Paste those articles for KathaVarta.com.

If you have any objection please do not hesitate to contact me on Katha@ymail.com, I will immediately remove the article from KathaVarta.com

May Lord Hari bless you.

HariAUM from Saurabh

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