Japa Yoga! An ancient method to realize God.
What is Japa Yoga? Japa Yoga is the recitation of the mantra or a holy word continuously with a target in mind.
It is a method given by the holy rishis or saints to steady our wandering mind. This method was provided to aid a disciple to make spiritual progress.
What is the difference between Japa Yoga & meditation? Is Japa Yoga a kind of meditation?
Japa Yoga can be considered as an initial stage for meditation. The great scientists that our ancient rishis were, realized that it would not be possible for a normal person to directly start meditation & realize God. So they designed this beautiful method of Japa Yoga. Meditation is the highest ladder to spiritual progress. In this state, the mind becomes unified with God, and no other thoughts will disturb his mind.
Japa Yoga can be used by a disciple as a means to begin his spiritual journey. Reciting a mantra or a holy word will make us direct our thoughts on the mantra. Our mind will attain some level of stability and discipline. It will continue to jump like a monkey now and then but again making it focus on this mantra will quell the disturbing thoughts to quiet an extent. People also practice Japa by counting beads in the initial stages.
So how do we select the mantra? Can we select our own mantra?
Mantra is given by a guru or a teacher to his disciple. It has some specific meaning which initially only Guru knows. Guru is chosen by the disciple to help him realize God and the disciple has complete faith in the Guru. A disciple neither changes the Guru nor can he change the mantra. The disciple will never disclose this mantra to anybody otherwise it is said that the mantra loses the immense power hidden in it. However, if you do not have a Guru, you can select some holy words and do Japa, and it will also offer great benefit.
Initially, the disciple will find it very difficult to do mantra chanting because he is not used to it. It will also be very mechanical. But gradually the disciple understands the meaning of the mantra, realizes its value and does Japa with more awareness, the benefits begin to reap.
The wandering mind of the disciple gradually becomes more focussed. It develops higher degrees of concentration. In fact, the disciple without realizing has already begun his spiritual journey. As disciple does more Japa, the power of mantra becomes manifold. However, Japa has to be done with the target in mind and also at selected times in the day.
There are certain places where people find deep peace. It has got so many holy vibrations that our body experiences some kind of electric shock. It is because the saints and rishis of the past have done meditation and Japa here for thousands of years. These vibrations can be felt in the hills of the Himalayas even to this date.
Science has also done research about this method and it has given confirmation of the benefits which are derived from the chanting of mantra. Dr. Herbert Benson in his famous book, “THE RELAXATION RESPONSE” has shown that how focussing our mind on some words gives great benefits in reducing stress and relaxing our mind.