What is Japa Meditation?

 

Mantra Meditation

 

The mind is always busy: It can’t be stopped. Meditation and yoga are for helping us rise above the mind’s chatter. Whatever we meditate on now creates our future life.

Mantra meditation is what the Vedas prescribe for this day and age. The single most highly recommended mantra—with the greatest ability to uplift our consciousness—is:

 

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 

Why is this the most recommended mantra? What makes it so effective? What does it mean? Does it even matter if I know what it means? How are you supposed to chant it? What are the benefits?

 

 

How to chant on beads?

 

Bhakti yoga practice includes chanting the Hare Krishna mantra softly to oneself. This is called japa.

While chanting, you'll keep the sacred japa beads in a bead bag to keep them clean and off the floor. One side of the bag is large enough to insert your hand. Your index finger comes out of the smaller hole on the other side, to help you hold on to the bag. Place your beads in the bag, and you’re ready to go.

Chanting “Rounds”

Bhakti yoga practitioners decide on a minimum number of mantras they want to chant each day. The main purpose of the beads is to keep track of the number of mantras chanted. Fingering the beads also engages your sense of touch and helps to focus your mind on the activity of chanting.

There are 108 beads and one larger bead, known as the head bead, or Krishna bead. Begin with the bead next to the Krishna bead. Gently roll the bead between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand while chanting:

 

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 

Then move forward to the next bead (pulling the bead towards you, into your hand) and repeat the mantra.

In this way, continue chanting on each of the 108 beads in the strand until you again reach the Krishna bead. This is known as one round of japa and usually takes from six to ten minutes.

 

 

Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra & its benefits

 

by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This transcendental vibration, by chanting of:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare


...is the sublime method for reviving our Krishna consciousness.

As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by material atmosphere. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. This illusion is called maya, or hard struggle for existence for winning over the stringent laws of material nature. This illusory struggle against the material nature can at once be stopped by revival of our Krishna consciousness.

Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived and the process is recommended by authorities for this age. By practical experience also, we can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel transcendental ecstasy from the spiritual stratum.

When one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane. This chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower status of consciousness, namely sensual, mental, and intellectual.

There is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualification and dance in ecstasy. We have seen it practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it.

This chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord so that immediate effect can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of a non-devotee should be avoided, as much as milk touched by the lips of a serpent causes poisonous effect.

The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord. Both Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing directly the Lord and they mean, "the highest pleasure eternal." Hara is the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. This potency, when addressed as Hare, helps us in reaching the Supreme Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-potencies of the Lord, as much as we are also marginal potency of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior energy than matter. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the supreme marginal potency is in contact with the spiritual potency, Hara, it becomes the happy, normal condition of the living entity.

The three words, namely Hara, Krishna, and Rama, are transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra, and the chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy Hara for giving protection to the conditioned soul. The chanting is exactly like the genuine cry by the child for mother. Mother Hara helps in achieving the grace of the Supreme Father, Hari, or Krishna, and the Lord reveals Himself to such a sincere devotee.

No other means, therefore, of spiritual realization is as effective in this age as chanting the maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

 

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If you try to love God, you'll gradually realize how much he loves you.Quest for Enlightment

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