View Full Version : Mantra Yoga - questions
10 December 2011, 08:03 AM
I have decided to take steps on the shaiva path in practice as well, and I'd like to do mantra yoga daily. But I need some clarifcation, please. That's why I began this thread with specific questions:
One or more mantras?
I have studied two shaiva mantras so far, which are 'Om Namah Shivaya' and 'Arunachala Shiva'. I prefer this latter one, I have more feelings for that one as I have been on a pilgrimage to the Arunachala Hill in TN, India.
Which is better - if one person chooses one mantra and uses it only or can one use more, one after the other, depending on mood for example?
One japa mala for one mantra?
Is it true that one japa mala should be used for only one mantra? And if one wants to use another mantra, then one should use another japa mala for that?
Right time of the mantra yoga?
When is it better to do mantra yoga? At dawn? Before sunrise? In the evening before going to sleep? Or when? What can be known about it?
How many rounds a day shall I start with?
Thank you for your helpful answers.
10 December 2011, 06:47 PM
In my mantra meditations, I do not restrict myself to one specific mantra, I like to chant mantras dedicated to many of the gods and goddesses. But if you wish to dedicate yourself to those two mantras, you can. When I begin my mantra meditations, I stick to the mantra I began with. And personally, I think you can meditate whenever you want, just in a clean, quiet enviornment and you can do as many malas as you wish. :) But I'm not a master on the Dharma, as I've been Hindu for about 9 months...Maybe the more experienced will comment and have more accurate responces...
10 December 2011, 07:13 PM
One or more mantras?
I might suggest picking one as your "main" mantra, the one you wish to do jap of on a regular basis. Don't be discouraged however to chant the other mantras, just don't overdue it.
One mala for one mantra?
Not in my experience. Again, chances are you'll have a main mantra that you do regular chanting of. Still, no harm done using more than one mantra on the same mala.
Right time for japa yoga?
I personally use Brahmamuhurta, the period before sunrise - usually 4-6 AM. Trikaal Sandhya is also very beneficial, that is sunrise, noon, and sunset - 3 times a day.
How many rounds?
Start low and go slow. It's the quality, not the quantity that counts. The mantras you chose are rather short but could take more time than simply saying the words (though perhaps not) if there is emotion of other factors to consider. To begin, do a round, see how you feel. Remember that mentally chanting your mantra throughout the day is beneficial as well.
All the best to you!
Om Namah Sivaya
10 December 2011, 08:44 PM
One or more mantras?
The wise say , we only dig one well... this is where we will stike water.
And on counting - I am not a big fan of counting. The mind is engaged in counting and not in relaxing and going inward. Now if one wishes to do japa & count , that is fine. Yet if one wishes to go within, to experience Silence, how can that occur with counting.
This approach is for one with a restless mind , with much activity there ( rajas) that it must being doing , doing all the time. So one is lead to counting. Yet if the individual is more serene , a bit more steady in discipline, then one can graduate¹ from this counting.
The core of meditation: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=8070
10 December 2011, 09:05 PM
Adevotee108, timely question; I was recently given a bit of instruction in this matter and then read a book a few days later that confirmed what I was told.
In the text of South Indian Festivals, the author, P.V. Jagadīsa Ayyar, writes a section regarding Gāyatrī japa that I thought helpful for japa in general:
"The mechanical repetition of the words of the Mantra, without attempting to pierce through the veil of words and sucking, as it were, the sense contained in them, may not produce satisfactory results. To help in the process of keeping the wandering mind more or less fixed, careful counting of the number of repetitions is ordained...
"People...sit in a pure and solitary place where distraction is not possible, and repeat the incantations ten, twenty-eight or one hundred and eight times, as it suits their convenience. People should not practice this Japa with breaks and intervals. They should practise it every day during the whole of their lifetime. If there is a break, then they will make no steady progress but will only be marking time, remaining in the place they started from."
(This is as I was instructed: at a bare minimum, ten repetitions a day. Twenty-eight is better, one hundred and eight is wonderful, but at least ten; even when sick, busy, or tired, one can do ten mantras.)
"It is laid down that a rosary of twenty-seven, fifty-four, and one hundred and eight beads may be made use of to keep in account the number of repetitions...Counting on the fingers and on the joints of the fingers is also resorted to by many."
(I was told to leave off my mālā and taught to instead use the joints of my fingers to count. Before this, I used a stone mālā of one hundred and eight beads for japa and used it for one mantra only. I had read that a mālā, reserved in this way, becomes imbued with the energy of that one particular mantra and helps you make progress in that specific direction.)
Regarding counting, this footnote is given in the book:
"The number of incantations should always be counted; as those performed without keeping any count leads to a state of mental vacuity and passivity which is extremely undesirable. Countless Japa is therefore called asuric Japa."
In my own heart, I disagree with this idea and tend to believe, as Yajvan does, that counting brings the focus to counting - and sometimes, even to ideas of "achievement," "starting," and "finishing," and a feeling of impatience that are all inconducive to spiritual progress - but it is not for me to contradict those more learned and experienced than I.
Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.
vBulletin® v3.6.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.