By Bhavan Kumar
The mantra can be any positive affirmation but should be short and easily repeated. It could be Jesus, Buddha, Krishna - or a secular phrase my mind is free, etc. Any suitable mantra is good and beneficial.
What the mantra does
The mind is in constant turmoil in most people's lives. You are thrown into a multitude of stress situations daily and are susceptible to react to these negatively. Quantity is not important but the devotee should aim for about 3000 to 5000 repetitions of the mantra over a day especially before meditation and retiring for the evening, this is called Japam. Japam is the cornerstone of all serious meditators. The mantra clears the thoughts of negative and destructive influences and is a wonderful de toxification exercise for the whole being.
How and when can I practice the mantra?
When I was in an ashram we practiced Japam in our every day work. For example washing the dishes one can complete 200 mantra or digging the garden etc. but of course you must be meticulous in your work and study. In general people washing plates do it automatically and think of many thoughts mostly negative and somewhere in the future or dwelling in the past.
Japam is for the present. When I am out jogging or cycling I repeat my mantra for every turn of the pedals or step in jogging. As a student I used to box and when punching the bag every punch was a mantra. You can use your imagination and planning to incorporate the mantra into your own particular activity. You will find after some time peace and a great benefit.
Missed the transport and have to wait 20 minutes to an hour
The normal reaction to this situation is to mutter a sigh of boredom. However, one who has as a daily habit meditation treats this as a great unhindered opportunity and acts positively to practice the mantra. Furthermore if you can have a seat whilst waiting you can practice Paul’s Aura Chair Yoga which is splendid as well. On a long train journey much can be accomplished. Forget your mobile phones and fidgeting with the keys. Yoga will refresh you in every way. Moblile phones do the opposite.
Counting of the mantra
You can count on the phalanges of the fingers using the thumb. Starting with the middle phalange of the ring finger of the right hand we progress to the lower phalange and thereafter proceed clockwise round the outside phalanges and we have ten mantra in this way. We can have a count of ten in the left hand. You may use beads or indeed just repeat over a time period.
Method of counting is not important JUST PRACTICE JAPAM
I do hope you give this a try and the results are not immediate but after some years the benefits accrue as is common to all Yoga Practices. Yoga is not a quick fix; it is a slow percolation of practice with devotion and intensity.
Side Note: The mantra should be done in quiet not audible just in the mental repetition, and it is a good idea to incorporate syllable AUM at the start and finish. Eg Aum Padmi Mani Aum is a well known mantra.
HAVE A GOOD PRACTICE AND KIND REGARDS TO YOU ALL