Discussion in 'Spiritual Forum' started by garry420, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    :: 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’.
  2. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    :: Naam Japa to eliminate distress ::

    Before commencing any spiritual practice, it is extremely essential to recognize why he/she is stressed out or the cause for agony. Efforts to overcome this have to be made. The following explanation will illustrate its importance.

    Most people and 50% of true seekers are afflicted with distressing energies. Due to distressing energies, a person experiences physical or psychological distress and/or constantly encounters some obstacle in his/her life. Externally, though one may attribute this distress or obstacles to physical, psychological or worldly factors, yet their true cause is -affliction by distressing energies. No amount of gross treatment can relieve the physical or psychological distress caused by distressing energies completely. Just as fever contracted due to malaria can be cured completely only with the aid of anti-malarial drugs, so is this. Distressing energies also cause obstacles in the spiritual practice of seekers. Consequently, seekers do not reap the expected benefit of their spiritual practice as most of it is expended in alleviating the distress caused by distressing energies. For instance, if one’s vital energy (pranshakti) has decreased due to distressing energies, then most of one’s spiritual practice is spent to restore it. So also, distressing energies take the benefit of the spiritual practice of seekers thus depriving them of the expected results despite undertaking a lot of spiritual practice. This shows how necessary it is to give priority to eliminate distress due to distressing energies.

    EVERY DEITY IS A SPECIFIC PRINCIPLE. When we chant the Name of a deity, its principle gets drawn towards us. Distressing energies too are of different types and possess their own inherent qualities. The seven commonly worshipped deities namely Ganapati, Shrikrishna, Datta, Maruti, Shrirama, Durga and Shiva have the ability to destroy almost all types of distressing energies. Depending on a seeker’s constitution, spiritual practice in his previous birth and type of distressing energy, CHANTING of one or more Names out of these seven have proven to be useful to the seeker to eliminate the distress due to distressing energy.
    a. First of all, one should recognize his/her affliction and identify the Name of the deity, who can eliminate it.

    The following experiment of chanting the Names of the seven deities will assist in this. After performing the experiment of chanting all the seven Names in a specific manner, one will know the Name with which one experiences some distress. One can conclude that the Name of that deity with which one experiences some distress is most useful to overcome one’s distress due to distressing energy. That Name should be chanted for a maximum period of the day till the distress is overcome completely. ALSO, one should use other remedies along with the nama japa to overcome the distress. Refer to the holy text ‘Remedies to eliminate distressing energies’ for details on these remedies and the method of experimenting the Chanting. After the distress due to distressing energies is totally overcome, one can undertake Naama japa as given below.

    Name of one’s favorite deity or benevolent (ishtadevata) or that recommended by the Guru?
    The deity who is responsible for spiritual progress such as: the family deity or the deity given by the Guru as Gurumantra is known as the benevolent deity or ishtadevata. Most people consider the deity bestowing worldly benefits or the deity of one’s liking as the benevolent deity.
    One should chant the Name imparted by the Guru instead of chanting the Name of one’s favourite deity for the following reasons.
    A. One does not understand which Name is best suited for one’s own spiritual progress. Only the Guru is capable of providing this guidance.
    B. Repeating the Name of one’s favourite deity helps only to enhance one’s sattvik (sattva predominant) nature. The gurumantra however can take one up to the unmanifest state (nirgun), that is beyond the three components (trigunatit).
    C. The gurumantra does not contain mere letters but encases spiritual knowledge (dnyan), divine consciousness (chaitanya) and the Guru’s blessings as well. Hence spiritual progress is faster. This Name containing divine consciousness is called a sabija or a divya (divine) mantra. However, one has to practise Spirituality to obtain the ultimate result by chanting the sabija mantra.
    D. Due to faith in the Guru, one chants the gurumantra with greater sincerity than the mantra decided upon by oneself. Also while remembering the Gur, one tends to chant the Name given by Him and thus one’s chanting increases.
    E. While one chants the Name of the favourite deity, at least some amount of ego accompanies it. On the contrary, when chanting the Name recommended by the Guru, there is no ego.

    :: Which Name should one chant if the Guru has not imparted a Name? ::

    One should chant the Name of the kuladevata [can be either male or the female].
    A. A family (kula) is made up of those people who are closely related to each other by blood as well as karmic debts. Depending upon which family deity’s worship is conducive for his spiritual progress, an individual is born in that particular family.
    B. Kula also means the Muladhar chakra, energy or spiritual energy system (kundalini). The kuladevata ALSO means THAT deity with the worship of whom, the dormant spiritual energy [kundalini) in the Muladhar chakra is activated. When this energy is activated, the is spiritual progress begins. If one has both a male and a female Kuladevata, then one should chant the Name of the female kuladevata because She is appeased faster due to Her closer link with the pruthvi (absolute earth) element compared to the male family deity.
    C. If one is not aware of the Name of the family deity, then one should chant the Name of his/her favorite deity or simply-"Shri Kuladevatayai namaha." Once this kind of Chanting reaches its completion, he/she coincidentally encounters someone who tells who the family deity is. It MAY also happen that the Guru Himself comes into a seeker’s life and blesses him with a gurumantra.
    D. Worship of the family deity began in the post-Vedic and pre-Puranic period.
    E. The spiritual practice is said to be complete when the subtle body imbibes all the principles in the universe. Just as the cow is the only animal which has the ability to attract the frequencies of all the deities in the universe (that is why it is said that there are 33 crores of deities in the cow’s abdomen), so also only chanting of the family deity’s Name has the potential to attract all the principles in the universe and increase them all up to 30%. Contrary to this, chanting the Names of deities like Vishnu, Shankar, Ganapati, Lakshmi, etc. increases only that particular principle in which one is deficient. This is akin to taking vitamin A, B, etc. as a supplement to reduce the deficiency of that particular vitamin in the body.

    :: Why is nama japa essential for further spiritual progress? ::

    : For whom is it useful? :

    The point elucidates why Nama japa is essential for a seeker in the primary stage. Those who have attained a spiritual level of at least 50% through spiritual practice may have completed the stage of chanting the Name of the Kuladevata. Generally, this stage can be completed in the present birth by Mama japa for approximately 15 to 20 years. It can also happen if an individual is born in the same family after the previous birth and the repetition cycle is completed due to continued practice. If one renders service/Seva and does charity in addition to the nama Japa, then this stage can be completed within 5 to 6 years. For further spiritual progress, it is beneficial if seekers do nama japa of another deity other than the Kuladevata. One can decide which Name of The Lord is essential by Chanting the Names of the other deities according to the specific method of experimentation.

    The Lord’s Name found by this method of experimentation is considered to be the gurumantra itself. However if one begins to experience distress when chanting, he/she should stop it. The experimenting should be continued till one does not experience any distress. Then the Nama japa to that deity can be continued for the spiritual progress.

    :: What about those who have been initiated with a gurumantra? ::

    Those who have been initiated with a gurumantra should not decide which nama japa they should undertake for further spiritual progress through the method of experimenting. Instead, they should repose faith in the Name imparted by the Guru and chant it continuously.

    : More about the method of Nama Japa:

    When addressing someone instead of simply using his name, one refers to him respectfully as Shri. (Mr.), Smt. (Mrs.), etc. Similarly, one should chant the Name of the family deity in a way that expresses respect. Shri should prefix the Name of the family deity, the Name that follows should be in dative case (chaturthi pratyay) and should conclude with namaha. For instance if the family deity is Ganesh then ‘Shri Ganeshaya namaha’, if it is Bhavani, then ‘Shri Bhavanidevyai namaha’. Since it is difficult to pronounce ‘Shri Bhavanyai namaha’ one should use devyai.

    When the family deity is in the form of two deities (For example Laxminarayana, Ishwarlaxmi….) then 50 % of the deity principle of both, the male deity and the female deity is activated. Chant in the following way - The deity's name should be chanted prefixing Shri to it, followed by the dative case (chaturthi pratyay), according to the second deity and concluding with namaha. For example, if the family deity is Ishwarlaxmi, one should chant ‘Shri Ishwarlaxmideyai namaha.’ If Laxminarayana is the family deity then one should chant ‘Shri Laxminarayanaya namaha.’
  3. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    :: Why should the seeker not chant the name of a saint? ::

    One should not chant the name of a saint for the following reasons.
    A. No saint has recommended the chanting of His own Name or that of another. For instance, Tukaram Maharaj has not advised the chanting of Saint Dnyaneshvar’s Name.
    B. Our history of thousands of years records no instance where a temple of a saint or a sage has been constructed. Only temples of deities have been erected. Nowadays however, a wrong trend of constructing temples of saints has set in.
    C. Since the law of creation, sustenance and dissolution is applicable to saints as well, Their energy persists only for a limited period of a few hundred years. Thereafter, They are unable to respond to one’s call. As against this, deities are eternally present from the time of creation of the universe till its dissolution.
    D. Saints are born to carry out a particular mission and for that They possess manifest energy. So if Their Names are chanted then the manifest energy could possibly cause distress to some. Contrary to this, since a deity mostly has unmanifest energy, chanting its Name does not cause any distress. Besides a seeker does not want energy, he wants Bliss (Anand) and Serenity (Shanti).

    :: Where should one do Nama Japa? ::

    Since everything is created by God Himself one can chant His Name anytime, anywhere. Chanting when carrying out day-to-day activities is a superior form of practising Spirituality. This is so because, firstly the spiritual practice becomes continuous. Secondly performing worldly activities along with chanting of The Lord’s Name renders them as good as not being in the Great Illusion (Maya). Also it helps in karma yoga or dedicating that action to God. Thridly, It helps one to remain in communion with The Lord under all circumstances. This is called sahaja-sthiti or sahajavastha.

    Some ancient scriptures mention that nama japa done in cowsheds of the home, temples, and places near waterbodies, and mountains give more benefit compared to that done at home. In other words, nama japa should also be done when a person goes to these places!!

    Nama japa should be done with faith and righteous behaviour

    “The one who chants the Name of Lord Viththala should observe restrictions.” - Saint Tukaram
    Implied meaning: If the one chanting the Name of The Lord does not observe righteous behavior, then the entire spiritual practice is wasted in nullifying the resulting defects.

    What are the benefits of synchronising nama japa with the breath?
    One remains alive due to respiration and not due to chanting. Hence, one should synchronise chanting with the breath by concentrating on the breath.

    The benefits of chanting with the breath are as follows.
    A. Nowadays, due to pollution of the atmosphere with rajas and tamas components, polluted thoughts invade the mind along with the breath and cause mental disturbance. When chanting with concentration on the breath, the frequency of undesirable thoughts decreases.
    B. Concentrating on the breath means CAPTURING the PRESENT MOMENT. On the contrary, entertaining any other thought means either contemplating on the past or the future. Since it is essential for a seeker to continuously live in the present, it is necessary to concentrate on the breath.
    C. Whilst chanting even if one gets a vision of God due to spiritual emotion (bhav), duality persists. As against this, when chanting with the breath, due to devotion in the Name one does not get a vision of the unmanifest (nirgun) God. He/she marches towards non-duality (advaita), and merges with the Name.

    Those whose chanting of The Lord’s Name occurs spontaneously, all the time need not synchronise it with the breath.

    :: What about other thoughts during chanting? ::

    Despite experiencing Bliss with the Name, why does the mind wander towards other thoughts? What should one do when one cannot concentrate on chanting? Initially, due to impressions in the subconscious mind (chitta) stray thoughts enter the mind while chanting. But with practice there is a gradual reduction in these thoughts. One should keep in mind that concentration is the target, not the tool.

    :: Sometimes there is distress after Nama Japa. Why does this happen? ::

    The reasons for it are given below.
    A. Chanting the wrong Name: If a seeker of the level of the pruthvi (absolute earth) element or apa (absolute water) element suddenly starts chanting the Name associated with the tej (absolute fire) element, (the sun) then the radiance generated through it may cause distress.
    B. Problems caused by distressing energy: If one is affected by distressing energy, he/she initially experiences discomfort even with appropriate chanting. However, it gradually subsides and finally stops. The cause for this initial distress is the tussle between the distressing energy troubling the individual and the pleasant energy generated by the chanting.

    //HariH Om//

    - from the Desk of Usha Swarup

  4. Sadhana:

    Sadhana means practice.
    Sadhana Bhakti is the regulated practice of engaging your body, senses, and mind in the service of the Lord. Fundamental and primary to this process is the hearing and chanting of the Holy Names of God. The Names of the Lord are non-different from the Lord and are therefore all purifying.

    In the beginning, this process seems more or less mechanical, but the effect of the Names of God is such that gradually the heart becomes attached to Him.

    A person must take the effort to hear and chant, and gradually the heart becomes purified.

    And when there is that spontaneous attachment to God, then one has achieved the goal of life.

    When one cries tears of love for Krishna in that same way that they used to cry tears of love for different persons, when one actually experiences within their heart holding Krishna heart to heart, when they have found their real refuge, their real friend, then thy can know they have achieved the goal of life. There is nothing else to be achieved.

    Summary of the process of Sadhana Bhakti:

    1. One should regularly hear and chant the Holy Names of God.
    2. One should hear and inquire submissively from a bona fide spiritual teacher.
    3. One should control the senses by using them in the service of the Lord.
    4. One should offer their food to the Lord before eating.

    Nama Japa or Japa Meditation:

    The method of softly repeating the Mantra is called Japa.

    Japa meditation is to use a set of meditation beads (Japa mala) and say the mantra on each bead.

    Traditionally the beads are held in our right hand. We find the head bead at the top, which is separate from all the others, we then take hold of the bead next to the head bead using our thumb and the middle and fourth fingers saying the Mantra.

    I use the Mantra

    “Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana”

    We say this mantra softly to ourselves on each bead, gradually moving our fingers around from bead to bead until we have come to the other side of the head bead.

    The yoga teaching is that the self is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, through meditation on the transcendental mantras we can come to experience this eternal self.

    Usually this practice Japa Meditation, is done, in a solitary place, so whilst you say the mantra softly to yourself, try to get that feeling that you are in your own space and saying it loud enough that you can listen to the sound of your own voice.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017

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