:: What is Sadhana? :: Sadhana is Spiritual practice. One has to put in efforts in order to experience bliss or everlasting happiness. This effort is called as sadhana or spiritual practice. Sadhana is the practical aspect of Adhyaatma Shastra or Science of Spirituality. In the field of Medical science, one is recognized as a doctor only when he has studied the books (theory) and has given treatment to the patients, during his study period. One can never become a doctor just by reading books. Similarly one cannot understand Dhyaan, Jnan, Bhakti, Shraddha.. etc. by just reading about it. One has to undertake spiritual practice (sadhana) in daily life, to experience it. In this part, we shall learn about the efforts that one should put in, to achieve final liberation. :: Which is the simplest sadhana in Kaliyug? :: In this fast-paced era of strife [kali yuga], which is the simplest and most practical method to attain the state of God realization? The simplest sadhana in Kaliyug is chanting (namajapa). Our four main Vedas, Upanishad, Shreemad Bhagwat Geeta, Shreemad Bhagwatpuran etc… clearly explain the importance of naam sadhana. Saint Tulsidas has said, नामु सप्रेम जपत अनयासा । भगत होहिं मुद मंगल बासा ।। सुमिरि पवनसूत पावन नामू । अपने बस करि राखे रामू ।। Meaning: A devotee can easily get immersed in the ocean of Bliss, when he chants with love. Son of Vayu, Hanuman won Sree Ram’s heart only by chanting His name continuously. Yajnaanaam japa-yajnOsmi (श्रीमद्भगवत्गीता १०:२५) Meaning: I am Japa among all the Yajnas -Lord Krishna in the BhagavdGita. :: What is the Meaning of chanting or naam jaap/japa :: Chanting (japa) means repetition of some letter, word, mantra or sentence. Nama japa means repetition of God’s Name and mantra japa means repetition of a mantra. The terms japa and the Name (Nama) are often used synonymously with chanting. :: Why is it important to Chant? :: Continuity in spiritual practice is achieved only through chanting. The Name is both the tool and the target. The ultimate objective is to merge with the Name. :: How does chanting The Lord’s Name’ work? :: ‘The subconscious mind carries millions of impressions. It takes a very long time to erase even a single impression or ‘vaasana’. As such, a considerable period of time would be wasted in overcoming the tendencies of the subconscious mind by following restraints and regulations (yam-niyam). It is more important to make continual efforts to merge with The Absolute Being (Purush), rather than to try and erase such impressions from the mind, which arise from Prakruti. This can be achieved by Naama japa. The mind, intellect, subconscious mind (chitta), among others, are all constituents of Prakruti and these function according to their own characteristics. Instead of wasting one’s spiritual practice in resisting the workings of the above, It is better if that time and effort is utilized to progress towards the God principle (Purushtattva) by becoming one with the Name (of God) that one repeats (chants).’ - Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj :: What are the BENEFITS of Naama Japa :: - Benefits with reference to Psychology - A. At least while chanting, no new impressions about other things are created on the subconscious mind. In order to prevent the development of new subconscious impressions, repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name, is the best path to follow in the waking state. B. When chanting is in progress, the conscious mind does NOT accept impulses coming from the centers like the desire & instinct centre, like & dislike centre, temperamental characteristic centre, etc. of the subconscious mind. If this continues for quite sometime then impressions in these centers start decreasing. C. The power of concentration increases. - Benefits with reference to Spirituality - A. If the Name of a deity is repeated (chanted), the Deity gets appeased. B. If one chants some bijakshara, one can acquire control over a particular element like the tej (absolute fire) element …and can acquire a supernatural power [siddhi] accordingly. C. A non-action (akarma karma): If one chants the Lord’s Name while performing an action (karma), then that action becomes a non-action, i.e. no accumulated account (sanchit) is generated from it. Since no new accounts are created, after experiencing all that is destined, one can quickly get liberated from the cycle of births and deaths. **Let us say, the accumulated account of an individual is 100 units at the time of birth. On an average in one birth, undergoing destiny depletes 6 units. This means one should be able to attain Liberation within l6 to l7 births. But this does NOT HAPPEN because, whilst one is undergoing 6 units of destiny, new accounts are simultaneously being created by one’s willful actions (kriyaman karma). New accounts rise by 10 units. Hence, at the time of death, the accumulated account has become 104 units instead of 94. Consequently, an individual gets more and more entrapped in the cycle of births and deaths. To prevent such a thing from happening, the action performed should be converted to a non-action (akarma karma)!! This can happen only by chanting The Lord’s Name. :: Which God's Name should one chant? :: We should chant the Name of God depending on the religion or sect of our birth. :: There are Several Gods-Goddesses in Sanatana/Hindu Dharma. So which God’s Name should Hindus chant? :: Hindus should chant the name of their Kuladevata (Family Deity) in the initial stages of Sadhana. Ishta Devatha’s name can also be chanted, but after the initiation from a Guru. The meaning of Kuldevata (Family Deity) is, the [care taking] deity of the family in which you are born to. In Hinduism, every family has a particular Deity whose worship brings about worldly and spiritual progress for that family. :: How to chant the name of the Kula Devata? :: If the name of Kuladevata is feminine gender i.e. Kuladevi, then the chant is formed as follows: First say ‘Sree’, followed by the name of Kuladevi and then end with ‘devyei namah’. If the name of the Kuladevata is masculine gender i.e. Kuladev, then the chant is formed as follows. First say ‘Sree’, followed by the name of Kuladev, like ‘Ganeshay’ or ‘Maheshay’ and then end with ‘namah’. Now let us see some examples to understand this If the Kuladevata is ‘Amba Ma’, then chant ‘Sree Ambadevyei namah’. If the Kuladevata is Ganeshji then chant ‘Sree Ganeshay namah’. There can be some exceptions to this. For example, if your Kuladevata is Hanumanji, then you will have to chant ‘Sree Hanumate namah’.