Japa

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Maharshi: "The method of repeating the name (Japa) must be known. In the case of all Japa it is stated ''Pranayama Viniyogaha" which means that the breath is to be controlled first, and then Japa should be done. In other words, the mind must be controlled. Sambanda is a devotee of Siva. He explained in a verse the way to do the Japa of Panchakshari (five letters) of Lord Siva's name. Its meaning is that one should close Navadwaras (the nine apertures of the human body i.e., 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, mouth, anus and the organ of generation), lock them and seal them; otherwise the mind will run away. After sealing the nine doors, do Panchakshari Japa (repeating the five letters). If, by controlling the senses, the mind can be controlled, i.e. submerged, that which remains is the Self. One meditates on one's Self and the Japa becomes one's own Self."

Devotee: "Is that state called Ajapa?"

Maharshi: "That which is repeated inwardly is Ajapa but how could the one which is repeated by the mouth be Ajapa?"

Devotee: "Will it be possible for all people at all times to do Japa like that?"

Maharshi: "No, it will not be possible. That is why the elders have said that you should do Japa for some time, sing for a while, read, write and turn the mind to good deeds and prevent it from getting into bad habits. The Gita also says that one should stop the mind from wandering by practice and desireless-ness. Even Japa is like that. The mind should gradually be made one-pointed while performing Japa. It is to get that one-pointedness that all the other practices have been prescribed for spiritual practice (sadhana)'.