Sadhana

Dhyan – meditation

"To meditate is to know ourselves as emptiness. The experience of nothingness awakens us to the reality of our immortality. When the mind evaporates, the only thing that dissipates is conditioning, the legacy of innumerable generations. It is our mental conditioning...

Seva

Seva is ‘selfless service to the Lord.’ The term comes from the Sanskrit root sev meaning “to serve.” It is a fundamental principle of Hinduism because authentic love manifests itself in actions. Selfless service is part of both karma-yoga and bhakti-yoga....

Retroprogressive Hatha-yoga

Retroprogressive Hatha Yoga is the result of Prabhuji’s efforts to improve his own practice and teaching. It is a system based solely on the teachings of his gurus and the sacred scriptures. Prabhuji has systematized different traditional yoga techniques to create a...

Nama Japa

A mantra is not a prayer invented by a human being or composed by some privileged intellect, but comes directly from the realization of a ṛṣi, or “realized seer.” It is a mystical energy contained within a sound structure. It consists of a sacred word or phrase containing a divine power whose effect cannot be verbalized. Just as it is impossible to verbally explain the taste of an orange or an apple, the mantra has to be experienced directly.

The repetition of mantra is called in Sanskrit japa, or “murmuring.” It constitutes a very ancient spiritual activity within the Vedic tradition. The Śiva-saṁhitā (4.9) states that “Through practice one attains perfection; through practice one attains liberation.”

Likewise, the sage Patañjali says in his Yoga-sūtra (1.13), “Abhyāsa is the effort to obtain stability in that state of cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” And he explains in sūtra 1.14: “But this practice is firmly rooted only after it has been cultivated properly and for a long time uninterruptedly.”

The Sanskrit word abhyāsa means “repetition.” Patañjali reminds us that to advance on the yogic path, abhyāsa is necessary. Only through repetition is it possible to achieve authentic transformation.

Attentive and devoted repetition purifies us and such power is released by deeply influencing the sadhakaMantra-japa helps us to transcend darkness and spiritual stagnation.

As stated in the last chapter of the Kulārṇava-tantra: “Japa is so called because it removes the accumulated sin of thousands of lives and reveals the Supreme Deity.” Sin refers obviously to the egoic phenomenon and to the ignorance of who we really are. Mantra is a bridge that leads the devotee to God. It is a relatively simple spiritual discipline because there are no restrictions on chanting the divine names with devotion. Hari-nama-japa is not just repeating the mantra automatically but with devotion.

Mantra-japa is mentioned in many scriptures as a highly effective means to transcend the negative influences of this age of Kali.

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare

iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ
kali-kalmaṣa-nāśanam
nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ
sarva-vedeṣu dṛśyate

“The sixteen names of the Hare Kṛṣṇa māhā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare destroy all the inauspiciousness of the age of Kali. This is the conclusion of all the Vedas.” (Kali-santarana Upanisad from Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda)

sāṅketyaṁ pārihāsyaṁ vā
stobhaṁ helanam eva vā
vaikuṇṭha-nāma-grahaṇam
aśeṣāgha-haraṁ viduḥ

“One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.2.14)

nama sankirtana deva tarakam brahma drsyate
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

“The nama sankirtana (public chanting) of Hare Kṛṣṇa māhā-mantra delivers a complete revelation of all of spiritual reality.” (Brahmanda Purana, 6.59–60)

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
sodasaitani namani dvatrimsad varnakani hi
kalau yuge maha-mantrah sammato jivatarane
varjayitva tu namaitad durjanaih parikalpitam
chandobaddham susiddhanta viruddham nabhyaset padam
tarakam brahma-namaitad brahmana gurunadina
kalisantaranadyasu sruti-svadhigatam hareh
praptam sri brahma-sisyena sri naradena dhimata
namaitad-uttamam srauta-paramparyena brahmanah
utsrjyaitan-maha-mantram ye tvanyat kalpitam padam
mahanameti gayanti te sastra-guru langhanah
tattva-virodha-sanprktam tadrsam daurjanam matam
sravatha pariharyam syadatma-hitarthina sada
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare: This sixteen-name, thirty-two syllable mantra is the māhā-mantra in the age of Kali by which all living beings can be delivered. One should never abandon chanting this māhā-mantra and take to other so-called purificatory processes which are practiced by rascals or engage in chanting other metrical compositions of the name of Kṛṣṇa that are against the pure conclusions of the scriptures or are filled with rasabhasa. About this divinely spiritual māhā-mantra, which delivers one from material existence, the original guru, Lord Brahma, has said, kali-santararadi srutite, ‘The srutis have declared this mantra to be the best means of deliverance in the age of Kali’. Having all heard this from Brahma, the sons and disciples of Brahma, beginning with Narada, all accepted the Hare Kṛṣṇa māhā-mantra and, having meditated on it, attained perfection.” (Ananta-samhita is part of the Narada Pancaratra)

harir eva samaradhyah sarva deve suresvarah
hari nama maha mantrair nasyatpapa pisacakam

“All the grievous sins of one who worships Lord Sri Hari, the Lord of all lords, and chants the holy name, the māhā-mantra, are removed.” (Padma Purana, Svarga Khanda, 50.6)

japato hari namani sthane sata-gunadhikah
atmanam ca punaty-uccair-japan srotrn-punati ca

“Compared to that person who is attached to chanting japa, the person who performs loud chanting of the holy name of Sri Hari is one hundred times better. This is because the person who chants japa purifies himself, whereas the person who chants the holy name loudly in kirtana purifies himself, all those who are with him, and everyone else who hear the holy vibration.” (Naradiya Purana, Prahlada-vakya)

It should be noted that for a mantra to be truly effective it must be received directly from a real master within an authentic line of disciplic succession. A mantra received from just anyone does not contain divine power. As stated in the Padma Purana:

sampradaya vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah

“Any mantra that does not descend through a line of disciplic succession (parampara) is considered useless.” (Padma Purana).

Prabhuji was initiated by his master into the māhā-mantra, devoting many years of his life to its nectarean repetition.