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What Is Japa?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 45

Japa links Siddhanta with Vedanta, being a monist and a theist at the same time. Quieting the mind, Aum Saravanabhava. Repetition of the Panchakshara Mantra, Aum Namah Sivaya "...connects you with millions of Siva's devotees." Distinguish between intellectual learning and actual experience or realization. Two syllable mantra-Si Va. What is the difference between reality as himself and himself as reality?

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 155.

Master Course Trilogy, Living with Siva, Lesson 109. C.R. Self and Samadhi,

Chapter 3: Merging into the Self God.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone. Reading this morning from Path to Siva, Lesson 45.

"What Is Japa?

"A mantra is a sacred Sanskrit word or phrase, and repeating one's mantra while counting on beads is called japa, or mantra yoga. Such a magic chant forms a kind of spiritual affirmation that we repeat mentally or aloud to draw close to God. It helps us feel in perfect harmony with everything. There are many mantras. Each one honors God or one of the Gods. One of Ganesha's mantras is 'Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah.' It means 'Praise to the Lord of devas.' Murugan's special mantra is 'Aum Saravanabhava.' It describes the mind as a peaceful, undisturbed lake. The supreme Saiva mantra, found at the center of the Yajur Veda, is 'Namah Sivaya,' which means 'adoration to Siva.' Because it has five syllables (Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya), it is called the Panchakshara Mantra, or 'five-lettered chant.' One of your goals as a youth should be to qualify yourself for Namah Sivaya initiation from your guru. This will give the mantra special power for you. After that ceremony, you will repeat it every day 108 times. Chanting Aum Namah Sivaya connects you with millions of Siva's devotees. Aum Namah Sivaya feeds your soul, brightens your intellect and quells the instinctive mind. Until you are initiated in Namah Sivaya, you can chant 'Aum Saravanabhava.' Here is how to perform japa. Sit quietly holding a strand of 108 prayer beads in your right hand. Repeat the mantra, verbally or mentally. Each time you repeat it, push a bead over the middle finger with your thumb. Concentrate on the sound and its meaning as you have been taught. Keep your mind from wandering. As you chant the devas send divine rays of blessing. Perform japa anywhere: in the temple, in your home shrine, under a favorite tree, on the banks of a river, or in a remote cave."

And Gurudeva's quote:

"One who performs japa properly will realize what he knows. You see, japa opens up the inner mind and focuses the energies of certain chakras, which are consciousness encased within the psychic nerve ganglia of the nadi network."

Sounds like a Gurudeva phrase there, huh?

"...consciousness encased within the psychic nerve ganglia of the nadi network."

Very nice. This is from Master Course Trilogy, a little more on japa.

"Japa is the prelude to rapa yoga..."

That's an important point. So japa naturally leads into raja yoga. So japa is easier than raja yoga and it naturally leads into it.

"...Japa links Siddhanta with Vedanta through the repetition of the mantra Aum Namah Sivaya--or Aum Saravanabhava for the uninitiated."

Well how do you link Siddhanta with Vedanta. It means you're aware of being a monist and a theist at the same time. That's what, when Siddhanta is linked to Vedanta within you, you're holding two perspectives, theism and monism at the same time. So japa links them. Helps you hold two perspectives.

"...Those who are initiated into the sacred panchakshara, Aum Namah Sivaya, have the advantage, because the repetition of this mantra will make them eventually see directly Siva's perfect universe, and they in themselves will become a blend of Vedanta and Siddhanta. The uninitiated are in preparation, using the mantra Aum Saravanabhava, thus quieting their minds, realizing the all-pervasiveness of Siva and seeing the natural state of the mind--when all karmas are temporarily suspended--is Satchidananda, is peace, is bliss. Therefore, japa yoga is the prelude to raja yoga and all other forms of sadhana."

One of the important aspects of japa yoga is what we're doing with our mind. We are repeating the mantra, that's clear, we're saying Aum Namah Sivaya, Aum Namah Sivaya, we're counting japa beads there. But, what else are we doing with the mind? That's the question. And it's important to have a visualization of something and a specific meaning in mind. So visualization and meaning. We just don't just want to be saying Aum Namah Sivaya without a visualization and a meaning. For example, the idea here, one visualization, we get the idea Saravanabhava, is of peace, quieting the mind. Using the mantra Aum Saravanabhava, just quieting your mind. So one way Saravana, Saravana is a lake, so we could just see the lake, our mind as a lake, Aum Saravanabhava and the lake is getting smoother and smoother. So there's no movement at all in the lake. That would be one visualization.

There's no one right visualization, there's just different ones you can come up with. I guess you could say the right one is the one that works best for you. So the ones that works best for you.

This point is made in the text here of Path to Siva. It says:

"...Concentrate on the sound and its meaning as you have been taught."

So, meaning is very important.

For our Samaya Diksha Booklet which you receive Namah Sivaya initiation we came up with five different meanings and visualizations just to give variety. So I chose an example there of what can be done, Aum Namah Sivaya we've defined five different ways, five different meanings that it has and a visualization for each one. Here's is a nice one that's not in the booklet but certainly a powerful one.

The two syllable panchakshara. I'll just stop for a second, you can try and remember, what is the two syllable panchakshara, what does that refer to?

In Living with Siva, Lesson 109, starts out at a distance from it but then it creeps up on it.

"When one looks at the Earth and the Sun one thinks more of the Earth than of the Sun, which is so far away. Traveling through space toward the Sun, the Earth fades into a distant speck and one contemplates the Sun as it looms larger and larger as he draws nearer and nearer. There is no intellect here, you see, for the intellect is connected to the Earth in its exterior ramifications of worldliness. (That's a good one too there, huh? 'Exterior ramifications of worldliness.') The devotee's path is to merge into the Sun. The devotee's path is to merge--in the totality of his awareness, willpower and life force--into the Self, God, Siva. Siva is the ancient name of the Self, God. (And then it gets to the definition.) Mystically, Si is the Absolute state, and Va is the All-Pervading Self flowing through the mind. (So I'll read that one more time.) Mystically, Si is the Absolute state. Va is the All-Pervading Self flowing through the mind. (So Si Va. Si Va. Back and forth between the two. ) It is only when the devotee, through yoga disciplines under the direction of his satguru, traverses the thought strata of his mind that he begins to experience what he has been learning philosophically..."

This is an important point. It comes up in each of the quotes I read this morning. The original one it said: "He realizes what he learns." So this is saying it, he experiences what he learns. Distinguishing between intellectual learning and the actual experience or the realization of what that learning really means.

"...Then the Sun, his Siva, the Self God, blooms paramount before his vision. Earthiness, worldliness, humanness, instinctiveness fade into a speck within his memory patterns; and like the astronaut hurtling through space toward the Sun, awe-struck as to the impending annihilation of the remnants of his identity, the devotee piercing his inner depths awes at the magnificence of Siva.

"This then brings willpower into it crowned usage. The transmuted force of the divine will of the devotee compellingly guides the last remnants of intellect and passions, and in total surrender, when confronted to respond, he voices, 'I know not. Siva's will be done.' The will of Siva--the totality of all force that is active, quiescent and nonforce as found in Si and Va--begins to take over the dharma and the karma and floods through the being of the devotee on the threshold of Reality. And so, while in a dual state of assuming some personal identity, he states, 'Siva's will be done,' as his new and most refined sadhana of giving up the last of personal worldliness to the perfect timing of the infinite conglomerate of force and nonforce within him. This he says as a mantra unto himself when he sees and hears in the external world. But when eyes and ears are closed, through the transmuted power of his will he merges into the samadhi of Va and Si and Si and Va, experiencing Reality as himself and himself as Reality."

Isn't that nice? It's so powerful sometimes I forget it's in, it's in "Living with Siva": but it's a very deep wonderful meditation and I won't explain why it, what's the difference between reality as himself and himself as reality. I'll let you, let you figure that one out.

Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The study of yoga is reserved for the few who have the courage to seek the depths of their being, for the few who can overcome their experiences and their desires in deep meditation.