Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Japa Versus Meditation

Question: What is the most efficacious way to attain God?

Swami Yatiswarananda: Japa---repetition of the divine Name is a most efficacious first step. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life)

Question: I have been doing Japa but I do not see any evidence of my attaining God.

Swami Yatiswarananda: Japa is not to be done parrot-like. Patanjali says, "Tajjapastadartha-bhavanam" (Yoga Sutra 1:28). As you repeat the divine name, do the "arthabhavana". What is "arthabhavana"? Dwelling on the meaning. You find trhat as you progress in spiritual life, you understand the deeper and deeper 'meaning' of the mantra. first of all, let us think of the luminous, blissful Form of the Ista Devata. Then, think of Him as an embodiment of infinite purity, knowledge, devotion, compassion, love and bliss. Then, think that He is no other than the Paramatman---the all pervading Spirit dwelling in all beings. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

Question: I think, I am more into meditation (=dhyana) than chanting (=japa): Meditation appeals to me more.

Swami Yatiswarananda: We talk of dhyana or meditation. You say, 'I am meditating.' What are you meditating on? Going on brooding over something or other? That is not what is implied by that word.... (Meditation) will not come all of a sudden. Japa (=chanting) is a step towards that. Repeat the divine Name, thinking of Him; then, the mind becomes a little calmer, and even the sound drops off. As you  thus go on thinking of Him, the Ista Devata becomes more and more real than the things of the world. (Then, meditation takes place.) (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

Question: How often must I do Japa (=chanting) or all these that you have said before I see any results?

Swami Yatiswarananda: All this will happen if we undergo regular spiritual practice. (pg. 302, Meditation & Spiritual Life).

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