Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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See also Naarad Puraan, 1/27 --- for more elaborated explanation; Keelak, Mantra (in Astrology); Panchaakshar; Poojaa; Soham,
Mantra; Mantra Hare Krishn; Mantra Jaap (for "How to do Mantra Jaap"); Mantra-Mrityunjaya; Mantra-Panchaakshar; Mantra-Planets;
Mantra-Principles (How Mantra works); nbsp; Mantra-Recitation (for the method of recitation of Mantra); Mantra-Saadhanaa; Mantra, Tantra, Yantra,
Mantra-Principles; Importance of Number 108 Jaap;
While the Hindu Vedic astrology believes in the theory of fate, it also advocates that you must make efforts to improve your destiny and counteract your fate by performing various remedies like Poojaa, Stotra Paath, Jap and charity etc. Some of the time-tested and trusted remedies prescribed in the various astrological and other important scriptures are given below. Specific problems and remedies should be consulted with a Pandit. But otherwise performing a Vedic Poojaa, or reciting Mantra or making charity does improve one's overall progress.
Any overnight miracles should not be expected. One should start learning Poojaa, Yog, meditation etc from the age of five. By the time the children are 15 or 16 years old, they may attain a fairly good level of spiritual standards and when they perform Poojaa with devotion even the gods may appear before them. The Jaap of "Om Namah Shivaaya" or "Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra" Jaap at the time of illness relieves the patient. However one thing is sure, whether these remedies show any tangible results or not, but they slowly wash away the negative Kaarmik influences and improve the positive effects. By performing these Poojaa one's troubles may not vanish totally but the intensity of trouble is reduced greatly and you get the inner strength to face them with courage and confidence.
Rules and Regulations
A lot of people are worried about the rites and rituals to be followed for performing Poojaa, reciting Stotra and doing Mantra Jap. There are several types of Poojaa of the deities and some of them can take a whole day. The way a Poojaa is performed also varies depending on one's regional and traditional background. Various Poojaa books and Web sites prescribe long preparations and rituals for Poojaa. Everybody cannot perform Poojaa like an ordained Vaidik priest. Hence our scriptures allow one to do a Poojaa as per one's capability and convenience. Doing it with faith is what really matters. The minimum is: Take bath, wear clean clothes, light a lamp and an incense stick and offer some Prasaad - if you don't have anything at home, simple milk or sugar will do. Preferably keep an idol or photograph of the deity in front of you, east-faced.
Time and Breaks - All Poojaa, Mantra recitation, etc should be done in the morning. Mantra chant can be done in installments. Maximum 6 breaks may be taken during the Jaap.
While doing Poojaa or Mantra Jaap - One should choose a Mantra, fix a quiet and lonely place (under a tree, temple, or bank of river), set a time and then do the Jaap of that Mantra. Never sit on a bare floor, always use some woolen or silk spread under. Preferable to set aside a particular place to sit, facing east or north. The chosen Mantra should be pronounced correctly. The Jap can be done either according to the convenience or by counting (for Saadhanaa). Still if one cannot manage these he should not stop doing Poojaa or Jap.
How Many Times and Use of Maala - Normally one should recite a Mantra minimum 108 times, but then why 108 times? We have 27 Nakshatra with 4 Pad (Charan or parts) each. Thus 27 x 4 = 108. Each Charan has 3 degree and 20 minutes so if you multiply 3 degree and 20 minutes to 108 it comes out to be 360 degrees ie one cycle (Circle). This cycle represents the whole Brahmaand because all the Raashi (Signs), planets and Nakshatra are within these 360 degree in 2 dimensional horoscope. So chanting a Mantra completes one cycle of this Brahmaand. It is said that each part of the Nakshatra is pacified when one recites a Mantra 108 times. The Nakshatra are nothing but physical manifestation of the Supreme Lord and one of his countless attributes in the Universe. If the Nakshatra are pacified, in turn the planets are also modified in our individual charts, because the planets all appear in one or the other constellation. Therefore continuous recitation of Mantra or Naam Jap always tends to decrease the malefic tendencies in one's Horoscope. (Read more explanation about number 108)
Recitation of Mantra does have a conclusive effect if done properly. By continuous recitation of songs and Bhajans we just reduce our Paap Karm of the present and the previous lives, at the same accumulate good Karm for our future lives. So by doing this number of Jap we are able to increase our bank balance. Mantra Jaap cleans your Karm. The more Jaap you do, the more cleansing of your past Karm is possible. Gaayatree Mantra (read more about Gaayatree Mantra here) which is mentioned in Ved several times and is Divine, while all other Mantra are man-created (Laukik or Paurusheya).
So to count the number of these Mantra there is a Maalaa. A Maalaa is a chain of 109 beads - 108 beads to work on and the 109th bead denotes that there is nothing greater than Paramaatmaa and nothing beyond Him, that is why while doing Maalaa, one should never cross the 109th bead (known as Sumeru). One should never touch the index finger and the smallest finger also to the beads. Turn the beads only by the help of medium finger and the thumb towards oneself. (If you are not comfortable with using Maalaa, use the time.)
A-Khand or Unbroken Jap - The starting and ending time of A-Khand Jap should be the same, in the forenoon or afternoon. When it is meant for 24 hours, it includes the day and night in equal portion. Traditions permit the vocal chanting in the day and mental chanting in the night time. If it can be conveniently adopted, adopt it, otherwise mental Jap is always preferred for the sake of uniformity.
For Daily Recitation - A lot depends on the type of Mantra you intend to recite and the purpose. Some people recite some Mantras daily. It is up to your convenience. The normal number of times a Mantra is recited is 3, 11, 21, 27, 54 and 108 or more.
For Specific Graha Shaanti - To pacify any specific planet, the number of times of recitation of the Mantra is prescribed. The prescribed time limit to complete the Jaap is called one Mandal (40 days). This period (Mandal) can be extended to eight days more if any emergency or illness arises. So the maximum period is 48 days. If one has taken a vow to do X number of Jap in Y number of days - one should do it as vowed. No short cuts and no excuses. This is one failure for which the gods make you pay. So one should take the vow carefully and fulfill it promptly.
For Most Other Mantras, for Specific Purpose or Siddhi - The time limit for such Mantra is 48 days. The minimum number of times the Mantra has to be recited to give results, is 100,000 (1 Lac) times with an extra 25% prescribed to compensate for any mistakes in pronunciation, counting and wavering of concentration - so 125,000 times in total in 48 days. (1250/48 = 26 Maalaa of 108 beads daily)
Other Conditions - There are no restrictions for daily Jap. For specific purposes and period oriented recitals, one should take vegetarian food (if possible without onions and garlic too) with minimum spices, and should keep away off alcoholic drinks and sex outside marriage.
There are some highly ritualistic Taantrik Mantra and Poojaa also. While doing Jaap of these Mantra, one is prohibited from sex, telling lies and being angry for the whole period. They have some other strict restrictions also.
Kinds of Jap - There are three kinds of Jap - (1) Mantra is audibly repeated; (2) No audible sound, only the movement of lips; and (3) Repetition is purely mental. Geetaa says that of all the Yagya, Jap Yagya is the highest; because in other Yagya, the man sacrifices other things, while in Jap Yagya he sacrifices his own self.
Chanting Shaanti Mantra - One should chant "Shaanti Mantra" three times after the Jap. This is to invoke peace at cosmic, phenomenal and subjective levels.
Purification - One should take bath before starting his Jap. But in case he cannot take bath, he can wear at least clean clothes after wiping his body with a wet towel. If one is required to go to toilet in between, the Jap may be resumed after cleaning the hands and feet. It is not necessary to take bath after each disruption. On sneezing, passing the wind, yawning etc, purification can be achieved by taking three Aachaman only. Unclean women should do only mental Jaap. This rule applies to those situations also when a discharge is through nose, eyes, boil or sweat etc.
Environment - Although it is not necessary, but keeping an image (idol or picture) of the Deity whose Mantra you are reciting is helpful. Dhoop and Deep should be continuously burning during this period. A small pitcher (Lotaa, or Kalash) filled with water should also be kept all the time in case you need to do Aachaman. At the end that water should be poured in Tulasee plant or in some other plant.
40-Day Practice of Jaap
The period of 40 days has been widely recognized as an auspicious period both in the East and the West since ancient times. A traditional way to do an extended Mantra practice is to choose a number of repetitions per day, and to do that for 40 days. The mind likes to have a beginning and end to a practice, such a sense of completion comes with a 40 day (or longer) practice.
Fixed time per practice session - Mind finds comfort in knowing that it will do the practice of one round of 108 repetitions (or some other number of rounds), and that each round will take a predictable amount of time (18 minutes per round of 108 repetitions of Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra).
Same number of rounds - Mind also likes the predictability of doing a certain number of rounds done per day. Mind may resist at times, but once it gets started in the practice, mind likes the habit.
Specific number of days - Mind also likes the plan of knowing how many days or months a practice will take to complete. This can be very beneficial in stabilizing a noisy mind, which is a very common complaint.
While doing one Maalaa (108 times), only 100 are counted, with the other 8 considered an offering to the Deity, whoever you personally hold. You might choose to do 1, 2, 3, or 4 rounds of 108 Mantras per day. Or, you can use the Mahaa Mrityunjaya Mantra CD instead of the Maalaa beads, You might also want to alternate between doing some with the recording and some without.
It has been said that there is freedom in discipline; choosing to do a regular practice frees the mind from wondering what practice will be done that day. It is also important not to do the Mantra practice with just repetition, but rather with feeling and awareness too. By running your own experiment for 40 days, you can decide for yourself whether or not the practice was beneficial.
Difference Between Daily Upaasanaa, Anushthaan and Purashcharan?
Daily Worship - is a part of a routine worship for day to day living.
Anushthaan - is a worship of higher order in which the devotee is bound by many restrictions and has to follow specified rules and regulations. Consequently special benefits accrue in this Jap. Jap and Havan are basic ingredients of Anushthaan. After Deekshaa (initiation) one surrenders to Gaayatree and Yagya (his spiritual parents) which are inseparable. Invocation is done by a specific process during the Anushthaan. After Poorn Aahuti in Havan, traditionally it requires feeding Braahman or Kanyaa.
Purashcharan - is still higher form of Saadhanaa. For Purashcharan a specific number of specific Mantra and rituals are to be followed. Only an individual with advance training is capable of performing of these. An ordinary person should do only Anushthaan. A noticeable level of Mantra Siddhi (power of the Mantra) is said to come after 125,000 repetitions of a Mantra (this practice is called a Purashcharan). This is equivalent to 1,250 rounds of a Maalaa and takes a considerable time. If these rounds can be finished in 40 days, it is very good. It means 1250/40 = 31 Maalaa per day. This can be done by doing 20 Maalaa in the morning and 10 Maalaa in the evening. If somebody takes some 20 minutes to recite the Mantra 108 times, 20 Maalaa will take approximately 7 hours, and 10 Maalaa 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Saadhanaa is carried out in two ways - Dakshin Maarg and Vaam Maarg (Tantra). Dakshin Maarg practices involve only Mantra etc practices. Vaam Maarg is the technique of pulling out bio-energy from living beings and utilizing it for exercising psychic control over others and for exorcist activities. Taantrik call this energy as Durgaa and Kaalee. In practice the Taantrik excites the the bio-energy of an animate being by violently killing it or inflicting excruciating pain on it by extraction its flesh or blood. This practice is extremely complex and dangerous.
Mantra For Healing
One should sit and consciously chant the Mantra mentally, after doing a prayer or a Poojaa, singing or loud chanting. One has to do it for a length of time for the healing process to begin. It is like having to achieve a minimum threshold of exertion during exercise, to work your heart. Only after a certain absorption, is it healing. This is only about healing, but in addition, there is Bhagavaan’s grace also, because it is a Mantra. You have to sit and do it seriously. Doing a Poojaa before the beginning of chanting invokes the Saatwik attitude in you. Besides, having one's own Karm Phal, healing also takes place.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/13/12