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Articles by Swami Veda Bharati

Process of Japa

Golden Nuggets

1. To understand the process of Japa, understand different layers of the mind

2. Japa begins when the mantra becomes pure thought in the mind

Section 1 -Understanding the Mind

What is Mind?

• It is a shakti kshetra (energy field), a field of energy; closest of the form of Prakriti (matter)

What is the function of Mind?

• Mind is the link between consciousness and the physical personality

• Through Mind one goes beyond annamaya (anatomical body), pranamaya (vital body) and reaches Atman / Purusha (Spiritual self)

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji : Mind is a shakti kshetra, a field of energy, an energy field like all other energy fields. like electric energy field, magnetic energy field, there is a particular energy field called 'the mind'. It is the subtlest energy field in the Universe and closest of the form of Prakriti, matter, to atman or purusha. Those who have studied Samkhya shastra, Samkhya philosophy, will understand. Those who have read the Tattva Samasa Sutra and Yoga Sutra will understand.

Mind is the link between consciousness and the physical personality. It is the link between consciousness of purusha, and prana and annamaya and all other forms of prakriti or matter. It is through the mind that one goes beyond annamaya, beyond pranamaya, through manas, buddhi, chitta, and ahamkara and then reaching Atman, or Purusha.)

Understanding Meditation requires understanding the nature of mind that consists of:

  • Manas - Active mind
  • Buddhi - Faculty of wisdom
  • Citta - Entire mind field
  • Ahamkara - That by which we identify our being

Characteristics of Mind

  • Mind has no size and no form of its own
  • It takes the form of whatever is presented to it by way of the senses
  • Mind is vast and deep, like an ocean
  • Mind fills the entire Universe
  • Mind is a wave in the mind-ocean of the Universe

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: If you want to understand meditation, you need to understand the nature of mind, the nature of antahkarana, the inner instrument which consists of manas, active mind; buddhi, the faculty of wisdom, chitta, the entire mind field in which also the samskaras, vasanas, karmashaya are located. Ahamkara, that by which we identify our being, that 'I am this' or 'I am that'.

I repeat that in order to understand meditation, it is absolutely necessary to understand the nature of the mind. What mind is, how mind functions and what we do with the mind through our kriyas, practices of meditation. Mind – I repeat – is a shaktikshetra, an energy field, which has the highest frequency vibration of all the energy fields in the Universe. Ajiram, Javishtham; the most agile and the speediest.

Now the next step in our understanding. To understand the kriyas, the practices of meditation, it is essential that you understand the different levels, the different layers of the mind. Mind has no size and no form of its own, no fixed form of its own. It takes the form of whatever is presented to it by way of the senses or by way of samskaras and vasanas. Mind is vast and deep, like an ocean. The mind fills the entire Universe. Your mind is a wave in the mind-ocean of the Universe. Your mind is a wave in the vast ocean of the mind of the Universe.)

Understanding the Practices of Meditation requires understanding the different levels and layers of the mind

• At Surface Level – Active in the Kshipta (disturbed state opposite of one pointed), Mudha (state of stupefaction) and Vikshipta (distracted from meditative state) states

• At Deeper Level - Ekagra (one-pointed) and Nirodha (fully controlled) States

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: Next step to understand. Mind is many levels, many layers. At each level, at each layer, it operates and functions differently. At the surface level that you experience, it is active in the kshipta, mudha and vikshipta states. From there you have to rise or dive deep into the ekagra and nirodhah states. I repeat. At each level, each layer, the mind operates and functions differently. If you understand the mind, you understand all your impulses, all your desires, all your wishes, dreams, wakeful states, sleep state. You will understand memory. How to remember, how to memorize sacred texts or how to remember anything else. And if you understand different layers, different levels of the energy field called the mind, you understand different kriyas, practices of meditation. Because the kriyas, the practices of meditation are in different layers and levels of the energy field of the mind. If you understand these layers and levels of the mind, you will understand how knowledge comes to you. Knowledge that you introduce from outside and the knowledge that comes to the yogi and the rishi from inside the chaitanya, from inside the consciousness. When you understand this system - all the levels of mind - you will know how to memorize things, you will know how to receive knowledge from within, as a shakshatkara, as a realization, from chaitanya, from consciousness principle.)

Section 2 - Process of Japa

1. Annamaya (physical), Pranamaya (organic), Manomaya (emotional/mental), Vijnanamaya (intellectual/discriminative), and Anandamaya (blissful) koshas (sheath) are all interlinked

2. States of annamaya and pranamaya are being fed into mind at all times

3. Any kind of tension - physical body or Prana (life force) body, gets transmitted into the Mind

4. Learn prayatna shaithilya (Relaxation of effort ) to settle your Mind in your Japa. Remember any jerk in breath jerks the Mind

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: I have said this actually to explain the process of japa. You cannot understand the process of japa without understanding different layers of the mind. Many of our sadhakas, practitioners, are still doing their japa by moving the tongue. One of the purposes of khechari is to tuck the tongue away so that you are not doing the shallow japa of words of the mantra.

Your japa begins when your mantra becomes pure thought in the mind. I gave you this one minute to make your mantra pure thought in the mind. Now understand that your annamaya kosha, pranamaya kosha, manomaya kosha, vijnanamaya kosha, anandamaya kosha are all interlinked. And the states of your annamaya and pranamaya (physical body and prana body) the states of these are all the time being fed into your mind, so that if your body, neuromuscalature, nerves and muscles, are tense, they are sending tension messages into the mind. Mind is becoming tense and mind is then travelling to all different areas of thoughts, memories, and experiences.

Part of the reason that your mind does not settle in your japa is because you have not yet learned prayatna shaithilya, relaxation of effort. Your body is still tense. As a result of the tension in the body your breath is jerky, which experience of jerkiness of the breath is also fed back into the mind and the mind becomes jerky and travels around in jerks, all over the world.)

To do one mala of a Mantra in shorter time

1. learn to relax muscles and nerves as taught in the Yogi Parampara (tradition, lineage)

1. Slow your breath and make it dirgha (long), sukshma (subtle), nairantarya (continuous) and without virama (pause)

1. Let Mantra thought come like a wave and become pure thought in the mind

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: So for japa, this relaxation of effort is important. A smooth, gentle flow of the breath is important. For which you have to train yourself. Train yourself to abhyasa, abhyasa, abhyasa, which many of our sadhakas are not doing. So the japa remains at a shallow level. Some people take 45 minutes to do one mala of Gayatri. Some take 25 minutes, some take 15 minutes, some take 7 minutes and some fortunate ones can do it in a much shorter time.

This, taking the time, has nothing to do with moving your tongue fast or slow, because you have already your tongue away in khechari mudra. If you want to do your one mala of Gayatri in shorter period of time, then first you have to learn to relax your muscles and nerves by the methods that are taught in the yogi parampara, in the yoga tradition. You have to learn to slow your breath down and make it dirgha shuksma, long and subtle, within nairantarya, without interruption, without virama, without a pause. When you accomplish this and your mantra has become pure thought in the mind, that is only the beginning of japa.)

To deepen your Japa

• Increase the duration of Mantra thought coming like a wave

1. Let the thought not turn into words on the tongue

2. Let the thought not be interrupted by other thoughts

• Understand the Mind – Nature, Layers and Levels

• When you get deep into the layers of the mind field, the Mantreshvaras (lords of mantras) send their grace into your meditation

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: Next question: how long can you keep that mantra thought coming like a wave, wave, wave of the same mantra thought, without other thoughts interrupting. Condition one: Without the thought turning into words on the tongue. Condition number two: Without the thought being interrupted by other thoughts. That is the way you deepen your japa, you make your japa subtle and deep.

Now please understand the next step. By understanding the same thing I have said about the nature of the mind. Mind is an energy field with many layers, like the waves of the electric current. Your thoughts are one form, your thoughts including mantra thought, are one form of the wave of the electric energy field of the mind. The word 'electric' here is used only as an example, as an analogy. It can be an example of magnetic field or electronic field. Mind is not electricity, mind is not magnetic field, and mind is not electronic field. Mind is a different kind of field, separate from all of these.

Now I repeat again. This mind field has many levels, many layers. Deep like a universal ocean. Let that sink into your understanding. When you begin to go deep into the layers of the mind field the Mantreshvaras, the Lords of mantras, who govern the mantra field, the mind field in the universe, send their grace, their anugraha, into your meditation. This is a secret known only to very advanced yogis. The Mantreshvara-principle will be explained in the course on Shiva-sutras in November 2010. By their grace your japa will go deep.)

Journey in Japa

• Doing the Japa at the shallow layer of Mind as a conscious thought

• As Mind's vibrations become more ajiram (agile, free of decay) and javishtham (speediest, most high frequency), the brain waves slow down

• At each deeper layer the Mantra becomes a faster vibration; a high frequency

• As you take your Japa into yet deeper layers of the mind you will do more Japa in shorter period of time; rather you will not do

• After much abhyasa (practice), finally you reach a point where mauna (silence); where the knowledge is received wordlessly

• The wordless knowledge is received as the knowledge of the Vedas was received

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: What does it mean for the japa to go deep? It means that you are first doing the japa at the shallow layer of the mind, as a conscious thought. As a start of the japa practice, you are doing your japa at a shallow level of the conscious mind. Let me explain next principle, about the nature of the mind, as it has been understood by the yogis. Not from books, but from their own experience of going into these layers and levels of the mind. At each level or layer of the mind, the vibration, the sphuranam, the spandanam, is higher frequency. That is it is faster. There is another principle, which I will mention here only incidentally. As the mind's vibration becomes more and more Ajiram and Javishtham, more and more agile and higher frequency, the brain waves slow down. This will be explained to you some time when the work of our laboratory is explained to you. .)

Section 3 – Practical lesson

How to reduce the time taken for doing long mantras?

We will practice with the mantra - 'Akhanda-mandalakaram vyaptam yena characaram, tat-padam darsitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah'

1. Bring your attention to yourself, your asana, your posture, your back, all in perfect order

2. Relax all parts of your body

3. Bring your mind's attention to your breathing, observe your breath and establish diaphragmatic breathing

4. Feel the flow of breaths in your nostrils

5. Establish khechari mudra, the tongue lock with your mantra

6. Continue to feel the slow, smooth, gentle breaths, without a break, sound, jerk in your nostrils

7. Let there be no break in the flow of your mantra thought, with your breaths

8. Merge your left and right nostril-breaths into the sushumna stream

9. Let the mantra continue, feeling the stream of energy on the sushumna path from the nasagra

10. Following the sushumna path, go into your mind. Ignore the breath flow

11. Let only the mantra thought arise. Same wave. Not word by word, but the complete mantra thought all at once

12. The same way that the entire mantra is coming as a single wave, remember just 'Akhanda-mandalakaram'.

13. Let that become the wave, the entire pada, the entire quarter/order, all at once. Remember, remember, and remember

14. Remember 'vyaptam yena characaram', the entire pada, the entire quarter as a single thought

15. Remember 'tat-padam darhsitam yena'. No words, only the thought

16. Remember 'tasmai sri-gurave namah'. No words, only the thought

17. Remember the entire half of the verse 'Akhanda-mandalakaram vyaptam yena characaram' . Think that as a thought over and over, without a break, the same wave

18. Remember 'tat-padam darsitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah'

19. Let the entire 'Akhanda-mandalakaram', complete mantra, be remembered as a thought in the mind. The entire thought, like a wave

20. Having completed the desired number of japa, come back to your personal diksha-mantra. Same wave, as a thought flashing, thought flashing

21. Come to the sushumna breath, with the same mantra thought.

22. Keeping the mantra in the mind, by usual procedure, open your eyes

(Seeker's Advantage – Verbatim as stated by Swamiji: So we come to the most important point of learning the japa practice. You have to take your japa into deeper and yet deeper layers of the mind. At each deeper layer the mantra becomes a faster vibration. At each deeper layer the mantra becomes a faster vibration, becomes more high frequency. For example, I will do Gayatri japa for one minute. When I will start I will click my finger (first click). (second click) That was one minute and I have done 27 Gayatris. It is not by moving the tongue faster. It is by going to a certain layer of the mind field where the vibration is higher frequency, is faster. It is not an effort. There must be prayatna shaitiliya, relaxation of effort, at all levels of the practice of yoga. I did 27 Gayatris, because I was speaking before, speaking after and did not give myself time to go deep enough. If I had been sitting in my own personal meditation, in that one minute I would have done 50 Gayatris, or 51 Gayatris. You need to learn this art and this science because then you learn thereby how to use the sharper parts of your mind. But that is a different topic. We will go to that some other time.

I would suggest that whenever people start the practice of a special mantra, or a purushcharana during the periods of silence here or at home, they listen to this explanation about mind, mantra and japa. As you will learn to take your japa into deeper and yet deeper layers of the mind, energy field, not only you will do more japa in shorter period of time....I correct myself: you will not do. More japa will happen in shorter period of time. Not only that will happen, but then, slowly, after much abhyasa, you will learn to go to yet deeper layer and yet deeper layer where finally you reach a point where mauna, silence prevails; where words do not come; where the knowledge is received wordlessly. The wordless knowledge is received as the knowledge of the Vedas was received. This is your journey in japa.)

Feeling in the shallows? Contemplate the Ocean.

- Swami Veda Bharati


• Abhyasa – Practice

• Ajiram – Agile, free of decay

• Anandamaya kosha - The blissful sheath

• Annamaya kosha - Anatomical body, the physical sheath

• Anugraha – Grace

• Atman – Individual spirit

• Dirgha - Long

• Ekagra state - One-pointed attention

• Javishtham – Speediest, most high frequency

• Khechari mudra - Tuck the tongue

• Kshipta - Disturbed state opposite of one pointed

• Manomaya kosha – The metal or emotional sheath

• Mantreshvaras – Lords of Mantras

• Mauna - Silence

• Mudha – State of stupefaction

• Nairantarya - without interruption

• Nirodha - Fully controlled state

• Parampara – Tradition, lineage

• Prakriti - Matter

• Prana – Life Force, vital energy

• Pranamaya kosha - Vital body, the organic sheath

• Prayatna shaithilya – Relaxation of efforts

• Purusha – Spiritual self

• Shakti kshetra - Energy field

• Sukshma – Subtle

• Vijnanamaya kosha – The intellectual or discriminative sheath

• Vikshipta – Distracted from meditative state

• Virama - Pause

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