Tag Archives: mantra

The Amazing Power of Japa by Vicharinee (Su) Chafin and Deborah Woodward

337Vibhuti (Sandra) Courtney, is one of our sevites who will be leading the japa session in our upcoming Japathon! She describes her experience with japa this way, “When I repeat mantra out loud as preparation [for meditation], then the mantra is firmly established in my mouth as I begin silent repetition. I feel as though I am chewing on something. As I continue, the mantra is more prevalent than it is normally. It is closer. Front row! Now that it is closer, I can feel that it is a living breathing entity. It is closer to me and we are in relationship.  The mantra is not just words. What is it? What are we? Very exciting and a little scary!”

In a satsang talk, Swami quoted Baba’s teaching, “Japa is the heart of meditation. Japa fills and purifies the mind and then meditation comes automatically.” Whether repeating mantra silently or out loud, preparing for mediation or going about daily activities, japa keeps you in closer relationship to the Self.  She goes on, “Mantra gives you meditation. Meditation gives you the Self.”

Baba said your mind is so powerful; it can pull you away from your own Divinity. Your mind usually runs the same 3 or 4 thoughts over and over, in what Baba referred to as “mundane mantras.” These stir up your mind and keep it turning outward.

Why not repeat mantra?  Why not imprint Consciousness on your mind? Why not give your mind a much needed cleaning, a good brain bath? Bring the purifying flow of the Ganges River to your home.

Japa helps reprogram these old worn out sound-bits with the juicy nectar of Divine Consciousness.  It’s so easy and available.  It can harness your minds’ tendency toward constant repetition and turn it toward God, toward your own Self.  With japa, you turn your mind away from all the distractions; you become free from states of anxiety, frustration, depression, irritation, and deep insecurity (to name only a few).  You know this because you have experienced “svaroopa,” the bliss of your essential nature.

Rudrani Nogue, another japa leader in our Japathon! says, “Our upcoming Japathon! has three wonderful elements merging together for me.  First, I will be part of a seva team leading our group repetition of Om Namah Shivaya.  What an opportunity to give from my heart to our community; yet I suspect I will receive way more than I could ever give. Another joy is that this may be the biggest coming together our community has ever had, which means deep reciprocal adaptation. Most important, we will be repeating our mantra, the sound form of Grace and Consciousness. What could be better than that?”

The enlivened mantra given to us by Swami Nirmalananda has been repeated many thousands of times, for thousands of years.   The mantra breathes.  When you visit the Ashram or Downingtown Yoga, you can feel the Shakti in the meditation areas, where so much japa is performed. The walls hum with divine vibration.   You can make your walls hum, too.  Join us for our Japathon!

  • On your own or in a group
  • On the phone with us, Saturday September 28 at 10 am (Eastern Time)
  • Or any time over our Birthday Weekend, September 28-29
  • Share your experience with us (see link below)
  • Tell us about your event and share photos

Resources:

Japathon! web page with articles, recordings of Swamiji’s talks on japa, event details

Poster for our phone event on Sat. 9/28,10 am Eastern Time

Register for our phone event and get the phone codes

Share your experience or your event on our FaceBook page

Give a Birthday Gift to the Ashram

Shop for japa malas (beads) and meditation supplies

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Birthday Celebration & Japathon!

By Gayatri (Barbara) Hess

337Let’s set our community ablaze through japa, the repetition of the enlivened mantra of this lineage, the mantra that imprints your mind with Consciousness.

Together let’s make this the largest Japathon! event and Ashram birthday celebration ever imagined.  Register for our Japathon! and  host your own local event; dedicate the month of September to igniting your and your students’ japa practice.

The Japathon! Team is asking all Svaroopis to participate in this mind-changing event.  Swamiji declared 2013 The Year of Japa.

Click here to register.  You can also learn more about how to participate in our Japathon! and weekend celebration, download the Japathon! poster, access Swamiji’s japa talks, order mala beads and post on Facebook.

We hope you will share about your practice and group gatherings on our Facebook page.  Your events can make japa repetition fill every minute of September 28 – 29, our Ashram birthday weekend.

FREE Japathon! Sept 28

by the Japathon! Team

146When you do mantra repetition aloud or silently, it has a powerful and beneficial effect.  When you do japa with another person, it is even more powerful for both of you.  Each of you contributes to what the other person is getting.  So what about when we’re all doing it together, no matter where we live?  That is our upcoming Japathon!

The Japa Team is excited about this event.  While we’ve been doing seva yoga meeting and planning it, we have also found we are all doing japa with more focus and consistency. We often lovingly remind each other in our conference calls “Do more japa!”

Says Vicharinee (Su) Chafin, “Consciousness weaves into my everyday life and relationships more easily through my participation on the Japathon! team.  I am reminded of Baba Muktananda’s writings, ‘…[through seva] you make that thing yours, you take it into yourself.’ I can’t help but repeat japa with a new devotion and purpose.”

Team leader Ellen Mitchell describes her experience this way, “I have learned so much about japa. I have been listening to Swamiji’s recordings about japa on the website and reading about it on the internet.  I repeat mantra more often than before. It helps me to focus and clear my oh-so-busy mind, bringing me back to center.”

Join us in our Japathon! on Saturday morning, September 28; plan your own japa session, celebrating the Ashram’s 4th Birthday.  Post your experience on Swami’s Facebook page.  Use these links to access all the resources we’re gathering for this event:

SVA Japathon! webpage
Enroll in the FREE event
Swamiji’s FaceBook page

Yogis Report on Japa

by Pooja (Erica) Andersen

146Why japa? If you are asking this question, you are not practicing japa or maybe not enough of it yet.  Jump start or support your japa practice; join in the Japathon!, a free chanting event on September 28th, the Ashram’s birthday.

I recently spoke with four yogis in the Svaroopa® yoga community about their experience with japa.  Each of their accounts expresses how japa is manifesting changes in their lives.

Saguna Goss says japa is her lifeline. “It’s such a key tool for my mind, a mind that needs so much TLC… I don’t know what I would do without it. I am infatuated with mantra and japa.”  Her voice conveyed such intense enthusiasm and she even commented on how exciting it was to be discussing it.     Saguna first started her japa practice 4-5 years ago when she was finding it hard to consistently carve out 30 minutes a day to meditate.  She decided to commit to 5 minutes of japa each hour throughout her workday.  In the beginning she set an alarm to remind her to practice.  At first she didn’t always have time to stop doing what she was doing to practice, but noticed that by making the time to do even two japa breaks in her day she got results.

Today her japa is more spontaneous.  She does japa throughout her day, often while driving or routine activities.  She added, “Now when I am struggling with something, having an emotional reaction to a situation, or notice I am not based in my Self, the mantra just appears and brings me back to my Self.  It is my ‘tool on the go’ for my mind, and it is so easy. It gives me my Self, because it is my Self.”

Purna (Amanda) Schmidt was inspired to do japa by the 2009 Svaroopaâ Yoga Conference.  She had a very difficult start.  “My mind was all over the place in the beginning; it resisted and wanted to stay busy. But I kept at it and made it part of my daily practice. Now I look forward to it.“ Purna uses her regular japa practice to prepare for meditation, doing silent and out loud mantra repetition from 20-60 minutes. She finds that silent japa occurs spontaneously, in the midst of her daily activities such as driving, chopping vegetables or doing simple chores.  Her whole practice has shifted to a deeper level.  She attributes the shift to japa.

Purna continues, “Japa practice causes me to want to do more japa, and it continuously becomes a richer and deeper experience. It has shifted my desire for practice towards the non-physical practices; yet I also experience physical changes and openings from it.  At times I can feel rushed and harried, and say, ‘I’m only doing ten minutes of japa,’ but once I start, everything expands and it’s effortless to continue for longer.”

Pat Morrison told with me that when she sits to do japa, “It’s like I am living and breathing the words. It evokes an incredibly strong experience of the sacred, and being one with my mala.  Japa clarifies my mind, and eases my way into meditation. At times it initiates the flow of Kundalini up my spine.”

Pat also said at first it wasn’t easy for her to practice japa.  When she first began, five minutes a day was difficult for her.   She struggled with a busy mind and not wanting to sit for any length of time.  When Pat said this to Swamiji, she suggested Pat begin to dedicate  a round of mantra on the mala to Swamiji, and another round to Shiva, to Ganesha, to her husband, and so on.    This technique she said got her through the rough and awkward beginning.  Her practice today, about 5 years later, includes 25 or more minutes a day, often as her meditation preparation.  Now she looks forward to japa and loves it.  She said she encourages others that are just starting out to stick with it if they find it hard in the beginning.  They may find, like she did, that they end up loving it.

Sheynapurna Peace said japa gives her the ability to function in life while experiencing the Self.  She followed with, “I remember that I have a tool, and when my monkey-mind gets going, mantra is there to smooth my path.  Mantra doesn’t fix outer things, but I can feel it re-training my mind.”

Sheynapurna carries her mala in her pocket at work, a medical office, so her scrub tops have large pockets.  While waiting for a patient, walking down the hallway, or seated at her desk, she finds her hand in her side pocket and her mind engaged in mantra.   She said, “It’s such a simple practice but calming and grounding.  I love to recite mantra at my desk while looking at my mini-puja with Swamiji, Muktananda, Nityananda and Ganesh.  This practice has changed the ‘feel’ of my work area.”

Sheynapurna has been repeating manta for about 10 years. At the 2009 Conference she attended a few sessions which inspired her to create a more regular practice, saying that what you put into something is what you get out if it.

While each of these yogis has her story, so much of it is my story too.   I have been focused on  japa for the past 4-5 years, and my practice has deepened.  It is no longer something that feels uncomfortable or awkward; it’s quite the opposite.  Japa has become part of me and my life:  my sacred “tool on the go.”  Om Namah Shivaaya is almost like my personal radio station that I tune into, or it tunes me in. The mantra consistently sweeps me up into it and returns me to that solid place of knowing my own divine essence.  The portability of the practice means I use it to cultivate the ability to function throughout all areas of my life, while remaining immersed in the knowing of my own Self.

Up to the point of conducting these interviews my own experiences of japa has remained private.  It’s just not something I have talked about with the majority of people in my life.  I have often thought to myself that if my husband, kids, family, or work associates had any idea how much I am focused on my manta they would be shocked.  But, then again, if I shared what repeated in my mind before I started practicing japa  they may have been just as shocked.   So I felt privileged to have the opportunity to have such an honest and pure conversation with each of these yogis in our community about the sacred practice of japa in their lives.

Maybe you will find part of your story here, too.

Did you find you could resonate with any of these stories?  When I ask you now “Why japa”, what is popping up for you?  Is it the mantra? Is it the Self?  Are you practicing japa?  Why not?

Click here to join the Japathon!, a free community japa event via conference call, September 28th at 10am.

The Ashram Nursery

by Kusuma Sachs

I love plants! You get to know that pretty quickly if you have spent any time at the Ashram or in the Exton Studio. I have plants that have moved from Rehoboth Beach to 3 different living locations in PA, and they are still thriving. One of the sevas I do at the Ashram is taking care of the plants.

African violet babies gather the Shakti

African violet babies gather the Shakti

Because of this seva, the Gardening Team asked me to make African violet babies for a project later in the year! Until they asked, I had never considered propagating anything besides a few stands of philodendron. In addition, I have always felt intimidated by African violets and really had no idea how they grew or what kind of care they needed. The ones I have bought over the years have thrived by watering when dry and not letting water get on the leaves. Despite being intimidated, every time I go to the local plant store and see African violets that are in the ‘marked down section’ (what I call the ‘infirmary” which really means they are on their way to being compost if someone doesn’t save them soon!), I buy them and save them. Periodically, when I need a plant fix, I come home with a few slightly sickly-looking African violets, which flourish beautifully in the Shakti-filled Ashram, even when I forget to water them or when they dry out in the sunroom quicker than I expected.

At first I was reluctant: Really?…all you have to do is plant a leaf and it will propagate into a whole new plant? I was an intimidated yet curious indoor gardener. I went online and found a plethora of YouTube videos on propagating African violets. You can propagate not just from leaves, but also by splitting the plants up; they grow babies all by themselves if left to their own devices. In one video, there was a pathetic-looking 3-inch pot of straggly African violet, but it turned out to be 7 separate plants growing in that one container. I was fascinated and motivated!

I excitedly took on the challenge, bought supplies and happily collected leaves from the 15 or more plants around the Ashram. I made up special potting soil and filled plastic serving cups gifted by the Ashram cooks. I stuck one leaf in each of 60 cups, adding a bit of rooting compound before planting them. They looked just like the YouTube videos!

Jade, too!

Jade, too!

The baby nursery continued to grow over the next few days until I ran out of African violet potting soil. Then I remembered that the second part of the memo from the Gardening Team was about making jade plant babies. We had one jade plant in the Ashram, so now there are about 20 potentials. I went on YouTube for these guys, too. You can propagate jade plants from the stem, or a leaf, putting it halfway in or even on top of the soil. I tried a bit of each.

The original plan was to set up grow-lights and a timer in the basement, for the babies to incubate, so I bought the supplies. The day I planned to set it up, Swamiji walked by the nursery on one of the dining room tables (my workstation) and said, “Let’s keep them here so we can see them and let them fill with Shakti from the Ashram.” Yea! They get natural light here, and we stop by and visit them throughout the day. They are doing well so far. The African violet leaves have not withered, and the jade looks healthy, although the leaves on top of the soil don’t seem to be doing anything.

You will be able to buy these Shakti-filled African violet and jade Ashram babies at the Svaroopa® Yoga Conference in October. By then, I expect many miracles will have happened with these babies. Ashram guests, residents and staff stop by and spend time with them many times a day. When I stop I feel just like a parent looking at their kid through the nursery window. These babies are in their own yogic way very fascinating and full of potential!