PRACTICAL AIDS TO JAPA
(From the book “Japa Yoga” By Swami Sivanada)
- Select any Mantra or Name of God, preferably that given to you by your Guru, and repeat it from 108 to 1,080 times daily (one to ten malas).
- Always keep your Guru-Mantra a secret. Never disclose it to anyone.
- It is better to stick to one Mantra only. See Lord Krishna in Rama, Shiva, Durga, Gayatri and in everyone.
- Get up at 4a.m. and do Japa for two hours. The early morning period (Brahmamuhurta) and dusk is the most favourable time for Japa and meditation. This is when Sattva (purity or steadiness) is predominant.
- Take a bath or wash your hands, feet, face and mouth before sitting for Japa in the morning. At other times this is not absolutely necessary. Do Japa whenever you have leisure, at the three junctions of the day – morning, noon and evening – and before going to bed.
- Face east or north during the practice. This enhances the efficacy of the Japa. Sit on a deer skin or rug. Spread a piece of cloth over it. This conserves body-electricity. Sit in a separate meditation room or in any suitable place, such as a temple, on a river bank or under a banyan or peepul tree.
- Maintain a steady pose. Attain mastery of the posture. You must be able to sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana or Sukhasana for three hours at a strech.
- Reslove to complete a certain minimum number of malas before leaving your seat.
- Recite some prayers before starting the Japa.
- A rosary is a whip to goad the mind towards God. Use a rudraksha or tulsi mala of 108 beads.
- Do not allow the mala to hang below the navel. Keep the hand near the heart or the nose.
- The mala must not be visible to you or to others. Cover it with a towel or handkerchief, which must be clean and washed daily.
- Use the middle finger and the thumb of the right to roll the beads. The use of the index finger is prohibited.
- Do not cross the meru while rolling the beads. Turn back when you come to it.
You can find a range of malas with specific characteristics on our online boutique.