What is manasic japa and how is it effective in life?
Manasic japa, repeating the mantra mentally, is nothing but introspection. In order for it to be effective, however, you must know the power in every mantra. Those who suffer from mental dullness and want to brighten their intellect should practise Gayatri japa. At first this japa was said to be for brahmins only, not even ladies could recite it, but now it is accepted as a suitable mantra for all. Gayatri is the oldest of all mantras. You can find it in the ancient books. The times for doing this japa are at dawn, noon and dusk. You can also practise it together with nadi shodhana pranayama.
There are many Gayatris. Brahma Gayatri has its parallel in every religion. There is also Surya Gayatri, which is good for skin diseases, allergic dermatitis, leucodermal patchea, etc. Then there is Rudra Gayatri and Vishnu Gayatri. You invoke the gods through these mantras. They are objective experiences, not subjective experiences. All this is explained in the Mahanarayana Upanishad.
Another very powerful mantra is the thirty two names of Durga. It has cured and solved many difficult problems which have perplexed even me. Beginners will take live minutes to do one round of this japa, but later on it takes about three to four minutes. It is never done verbally, mentally or in whispers. You have to chant it loudly and pronounce each name clearly.
Then there is the Mrityunjaya mantra. One mala takes fifteen minutes. It can be chanted aloud or repeated mentally. Except for Durga Path, all mantras can be done mentally and verbally as is convenient for you. Devi Atharva Shirsham is the only japa to be written and not repeated. However, it is only written when there is the particular planetary conjunction of Satavisha Nakshatra, Bhauma Vara and Amavasya, which comes only once in many years. As long as the nakshatra goes on you must do the japa in writing, and it is very beneficial.
In Mrityunjaya japa you can imagine the third eye of Lord Shiva. A little is added to the Mrityunjaya japa and it becomes Mahamrityunjaya mantra. You have to know its method from an expert. If there is any disease or you fear that you are going to meet with an accident, this is a very good mantra.
Shiva gave a mantra called Ramataraka mantra: Sri Rama Jaya Rama. It was the mantra of Samartha Guru Ramdas. By this japa you can remove factors which disturb the peace in the home such as quarrels between the family members.
There are many more mantras which can be recited at particular times for removing difficulties. If you practise meditation after mantra repetition, you will definitely find a great improvement. It will be easier to enter into meditation because by the practice of japa, tensions, fears and doubts automatically subside.
If you say that because you worship the sun and recite Gayatri, therefore you will not recite the Vishnu mantra, this is not faith but intellectual confusion. If you worship many gods and recite many mantras, you are doing more justice to your inner personality which is full of conflicts. It is better if you give a variety of mantra recitations to your mind and keep it occupied.
When a person suffers from many ailments, he is always conscious of them. His children are sick, there is trouble in the job, dissatisfaction in married life, so His whole energy is wasted in brooding over these things. I ask such people to do Durga Path, Gayatri mantra, Mrityunjaya mantra, Rama Nama mantra and recitation of the Bhagavad Gita. You may argue that you believe in one god and not in many gods, but is your faith strong? Will it give relief from the tensions of life? I know the truth behind many gods. I am not advocating faith, I am advocating that which is best for you.
When college students come to me and complain of certain diseases, I ask them to read Hanuman Chalisa. The results are very positive. After reading it, a change comes in their body and mind. Many people come to me and ask about the marriage of their daughters. I prescribe Katyayani mantra japa, and thereby mental or subjective changes come about in the girl. It is controversial how it happens, but the results are positive.
Many people complain of quarrels in the home, the husband or wife does not listen, the in-laws cause trouble. If you fear that you have many enemies, do Devi Kavacha Path. This japa brings about a subjective change in the practitioner. Whether the practitioner is freed from the idea that he has enemies, or whether the mental vibrations change the idea of the other party, one does not know. But I am very clear about this. Holy, loving and peace-making thoughts travel, and evil thoughts also travel. If you think ill of a person for fifteen days, he will develop suspicion of you. If you think well of a person, he will develop trust in you. Therefore, by mantra japa your bhavanas or feelings also travel and it works.
So remember these important points about japa. First, japa has devata, a divine form. Do not doubt or try to reason. You have no authority to deny this unless you can logically prove that it is not so. Second, the mantra can be awakened. Third, by awakening the mantra we can fulfil our desires.
After the mantra provides you with peace and prosperity, can you forget God? No. Bhakti grows slowly. People come to me with selfish desires. I realize their difficulties, but after their difficulties are solved they develop attachment for me. So, let us do a little japa practice now. While practising with the mala, avoid using the second and fifth fingers. Do not cross the sumeru. Do japa and maintain the awareness.
What is the use of sitting on a deer or tiger skin?
During concentration and meditation, stimulation of the dormant electrical energy in our system becomes too frequent and, therefore, if you practise meditation on a bare floor, there is every danger that the energy which is produced by meditation may be neutralized or conducted towards the earth. Our body has energy in it and during deep meditation you will find that every part of the body becomes electrified.
The principle is the same as in normal electricity. If you connect a wire directly to the earth, you will lose that energy. Likewise, in meditation the dormant, electric cosmic energy in the human system becomes concentrated in the spinal column and it is like a live wire. At present this energy is in a dormant condition. Therefore, beginners do not need a deerskin. A woollen blanket covered with a piece of cotton cloth will be sufficient for them.
Supposing one takes up the practice of ajapa japa and then finds that the Soham mantra intervenes when he starts repeating his old mantra, which is a Devi mantra. What is the remedy?
If Soham replaces the other mantra while you are moving the mala, it indicates mindlessness. It does not prove that you have perfected ajapa japa. It shows that you have no control over your consciousness. If you practise with perfect awareness, the Soham mantra will not intervene.
Should one who is already doing mantra japa practise ajapa japa from the first stage or practise all the stages together?
If you have control and have formulated your consciousness, you can start from the fourth stage, i.e. the endless cycle of Soham, First is Soham, second is Hamso, third is So and Ham separately, fourth is a continuous cycle of Soham, fifth is rotation of consciousness in the spinal column with Soham and the breath, and sixth is rotation of consciousness in the frontal and spinal passages with Soham and the breath. You may start from the fourth or fifth stage, but if you are not qualified to do so, it is better to start from the first stage. If your concentration is undisturbed, then go on to the next stage.
During the practice of ajapa japa, sometimes we experience that the body is getting heated or the blood is rushing to the brain. Why does this happen?
These are not incidental experiences. During meditation the influx of energy is more towards ajna Chakra. It creates all the sensations. These meditational experiences are astral and not physical. You will experience the influx of blood in the brain or the ears getting heated. These are astral experiences, but since we are not completely unified we think that they belong to the physical body. Therefore, you should not be alarmed by them. Sometimes after the practice of pranayama, aspirants gel pain in the dorsal region. It is not because the pranayama practice is wrong that they feel physical cramps, but because they have just started to awaken the energies in that area.
Can we change the posture during meditation?
If you feel numbness or pain, you should change the position, as it will hinder the blood circulation.
Sometimes in meditation you see the light and after that you have no power to control yourself. What is the effect of this?
In meditation, whatever light you see, you see it inside. Even if you meditate on anahata chakra, the light you see is the light of ajna chakra. Ajna is the eye of intuition located at the back of the head. If the thought current strikes it or puts pressure on it, a current manifests. Some people wonder whether a person's mind has turned or he has gone mad when he sees a white light. We have no scientific evidence regarding this but, according to Patanjali, when one sees the light, he is entering the state of concentration.
Thoughts are nothing but currents of energy. As the velocity decreases, the frequency increases. You can concentrate the rays of the sun with a magnifying glass until you see a white circle and if you put a piece of paper under it, these concentrated rays will burn the paper. So we unify the mental rays, then the spiritual energy manifests. We may meditate on any point, but indirectly we are triggering ajna chakra. Just as by massaging the feet you can send impulses to the brain, or by pulling the little toe the eyes are relaxed, or by pressing the arm pit the flow of the breath can be changed, even so the yogi knows that by exerting pressure in one place, the effect is experienced in some other place.
So, there are two effects that meditation has on the brain. One is pressure and the other is that the concentration of thoughts changes into the form of energy and it strikes against ajna chakra. If it dashes against the pituitary, then you will see dreams, visions and light. If you see light, the concentration of your mind is becoming intensified. The distracted thought currents are becoming unified. If you see some little stars, they are nothing but the dissipated patterns of thought that are about to unify. Good concentration brings light and the aspirant moves forward. At that time one should take further lessons from the guru.
In India celibacy is considered to be the successful medium for attaining self-realization. The biologists do not believe that vital energy can be sublimated, but I can tell you that the yogi is called urdhvareto, one who has transmuted his vitality above.
Such is the significance of celibacy that unwanted and disturbing complexes, deliriums, etc. are all cured by it. But our definition of celibacy is different from that in the western countries. There are rules prescribed in the scriptures.
How can we awaken the kundalini?
We can awaken our kundalini power by certain exercises. First of all there are two centres which require awakening. One is ajna and the other is mooladhara. Mooladhara is located at the perineum, below the base of the spine. At that point there is a small nerve like a thread. It is biological, and not only psychic or astral. This centre lies dormant within us and we have not understood its significance until now. The other centre which requires awakening is ajna. Ajna is situated at the top of the spinal cord in the mid-brain. It corresponds to the pineal gland, which at present is also inactive in most of us.
There is some interrelation between mooladhara and ajna. If you practise moola bandha or maha bandha, the effect will be felt at ajna chakra. If you practise pranayama, the lungs are de-carbonized and charged with extra oxygen, and the nerves are purified. The effect is felt at the little nerve at mooladhara and the kundalini power becomes active. But one must be prepared to awaken it. Before starting the rite, it is better to know the procedure. When there is excess carbon, there is sleep. A yogi must be thin. If there is more oxygen, there is less fat. This affects the kundalini.
How will you initiate us into bhakti yoga and karma yoga?
Bhakti yoga cannot be taught. Bhakti is a sort of kinship with the divine. It is an elective affinity with God, Love, reverence, surrender and faith form the core of bhakti, karma yoga is much misunderstood. In a way each one of us does karma, but very few of us do karma yoga. This is because the yogic consciousness is absent. The emphasis should be on karma as well as yoga.