(Last Updated on : 09-03-2010)
Religious philosophers suggest several guidelines for Japayoga. These guidelines help in increasing the level of concentration and also help in achieving better results. It is advised to select a Mantra or Name of God preferably that has been given by one's Guru. The Mantra should be repeated one hundred and eight to one thousand and eighty times everyday i.e. one to ten malas. It is better to keep the Guru- mantra a secret and also it is advised to stick to one Mantra only.
The early morning period, which is also called Brahmamuhurta and dusk, is the ideal time for Japa yoga and meditation. In the morning one should get up at four o'clock and do Japa for two hours. At this time of the morning Sattva (purity or steadiness) is at its highest point. Befor sitting for Japa in the morning one should take a bath and wash hands, feet, face and mouth to purify oneself. Japa can be done anytime when one is free i.e. morning, noon and evening and before going to bed. While japa one should face the east or north as this enhances the efficacy of the Japa. One should sit on a deerskin or rug by spreading a piece of cloth over it. This will help to preserve body-electricity. One should sit in a separate room or in a quiet place like a temple, riverbank or under a banyan or peepul tree.
It is advised to sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana or Sukhasana for three hours at a stretch and maintain a steady pose and at the same time gain control over the posture. One should be determined not to leave the place without completing certain number of malas. One should use a rudraksha or tulsi mala of one hundred eight beads. One should recite some prayers before starting the Japa. One should not allow the mala to hang below the navel and one should keep the hand near the heart or the nose. The mala should be cleaned and washed everyday and should be covered with a towel or handkerchief so that others cannot see it. The middle finger and the thumb of the right palm should be used to roll the beads. The index finger should not be used.
Sometimes one should do Japa without a mala and use a watch. Mental Japa is extremely beneficial to increase concentration, if the mind starts wandering, recite the Mantra loudly or whisper the Mantra for some time and come back to mental Japa quickly. It is important to develop a good feeling when one is repeating the Mantra. One should feel that the Lord is in the heart, purity and magnanimity of the Lord is flowing in to the mind and that in course of all these things the desires, cravings and evil thoughts are all banished from the heart.
One should not recite the Mantra speedily. Each and every word in the Mantra should be pronounced distinctly without any mistakes. It should be done with concentration and devotion neither very slowly nor very fast. The speed should be increased only if the mind wanders. At time reciting the Mantra can make one feel sleepy and therefore one should be alert so that sleep does not overpower the individual. One should try to associate the Japa with the rhythm of the breath and meditate in the form of the Deity. One should keep a picture or idol of the Deity and find meaning in the Mantra while performing Japa. The most essential part of Japa yoga is regularity. For achieving success one should sit in the same place at the same time to perform Japa Sadhana. One should not beg for any material pleasures from God while performing Japa Yoga. It is done for purifying the heart and the soul. Silence is very necessary for Japa Sadhana and one should not leave the place immediately after the Japa and move into worldly affairs. One should sit quietly for ten minutes after Japa is over and hum some prayer, recall the Lord and eulogize Him. After this one should leave the place, this way the spiritual process will leave an imprint on the mind.
One should feel and continue Japa mentally all times whatever may be the activity one is doing. This will enable one to realize the goal of life and enjoy supreme bliss.