Chanting of mantra was a concept of the Vedic saints that includes mantras as one of the main forms of worship, whose end is seen as salvation. Basically, Mantra Jaap means repeating the mantra. Reciting Mantra has become an established feature of the Hindu practices. Mantra Japa involves repetition of mantra again and again, usually 108 times completes one cycle. Due to this, the rosary (mala) used for mantra jaap has 108 beads in it.
It is believed that through mantra jaap, the devotee attains concentration and focus on the chosen deity or the main idea of the mantra. One can attain peace of mind quickly by chanting mantra. With prolong and constant practice, the inherent power of the Mantra (Mantra-Shakti) will be awakened, which will fill your very existence with the Divinity of the Mantra.
Practical Aids to Japa
- Select any Mantra and repeat it from 108 to 1,080 times daily (one to ten malas).
- Take a bath or wash your hands, feet, face and mouth before sitting for Japa in the morning.
- Sit facing east or north during the practice. This enhances the effectiveness of the Jaap.
- Sit on a rug to conserve body-electricity. Sit in a separate meditation room or in any suitable place, such as a temple, on a river bank or under a banyan or peepal tree.
- Maintain a steady pose. You can sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana or Sukhasana. Resolve to complete a certain minimum number of malas before leaving your seat.
- Use a rosary of 108 beads. Do not allow the rosary to hang below the navel. Each strand of japa beads contains 108 small beads and one large bead, the head bead or the Sumeru bead. Begin on a bead next to the head bead and gently roll it between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand as you chant a full mantra. Then move to the next bead and repeat the process. In this way, chant on each of the 108 beads until you reach the head bead again. This is one round of japa. Then, without chanting on the head bead, reverse the bead string and start your second round on the last bead you chanted on.
- Do not chant mantra in haste. Do it slowly with feeling, concentration of mind and devotion.
- Try to associate the chant with the rhythm of the breath and meditate in the form of your Deity. Keep a picture or idol of the Deity in front of you.
- Think of the meaning of the Mantra while repeating it.
- Observe silence and avoid distractions, calls and engagements. It is important not to leave the place at once after the Japa is over and mix with everyone or get into worldly activity. This keeps the spiritual vibrations intact.
One can leave the place after a dedicated prostration, with a feeling that everything belongs to that almighty. The Puja, Sadhana, Meditation and Jaap etc. any kind of prayers offered to the Almighty must be done with a sincere heart. The Supreme Being answers all the questions and doubts of the devotee, sooner or later. One must understand that the ultimate purpose of life is the realization of divine.
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Article Written by Neeta Singhal
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