Back of the Book
The repetition of God's name or of a mantra containing God's name, otherwise known as japa, is a religious ritual, generally meant for the emancipation of the self. The present book on japa-yoga has not neglected this aspect. But, it is more comprehensive and a broad-range book. That japa is a branch of yoga, an easily attainable one and simultaneously a very effective one, has been emphasized. The theory and methology of japa in Patanjala Yoga, in the Vedas, in the Vedanta and in the Tantra, in the perspective of knowledge and devotion, have clearly been outlined. The book ha been divided into three Chapters. Chapter 1 expounds the theory of japa based on classical scriptures. Chapter 2 presents the practice of japa in a clearly graspable style, easy to be followed by the practice of japa in a clearly graspable style, easy to be followed by the readers. Chapter 3 deals with the applications of japa for the uplift of human personality and spirituality, for attaining the liberation of the self, for mental peace and tranquility, and for physical health inclusive of the prevention and treatment of diseases, both physical and mental. The last part of this book tries to explain the effects of japa-applications on a scientific footing, a successful attempt made for the first time.
The approach to japa has been holistic - religious, spiritual, scientific, Vedic, Vedantic, Yogic and Tantric.
Nrusingh Charan Panda is the 1929-born scientist Emeritus - having retired from the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, from he post of the Dean of the Veterinary Faculty. He is essentially a versatile personality combining in him the endowment of a scientist, a Sanskritist, a philosopher, a psychologist, a litterateur (novelist, story-writer, poet, essayist) a yogi and a Tantrist. His achievement have been recognized, at different times, with a number of prestigious awards in both science and literature.
Professor Panda is internationally reputed for his scientific interpretations of the Vedas and the allied Vedic literature. He has also authored a number of widely acclaimed books. His approach is truly integral, synthetic and holistic.
The yoga of devotion (bhakti-yoga) lays a great deal of importance of the japa (the repeated utterance - silent, whispering or vocal - of the name of God), Which appeals to the religious persons. The Bhagavad-Gita has eulogized the japa. As a matter of fact, all religions hold similar opinions on the benefits obtained from the repeated utterance of God's name. The philosophy related to bhakti yoga is mostly dualistic in some sense or other.
The yoga of the realization of the Reality (Jnana-yoga) uses the pranava-japa and the pranava-dhyana as a ladder to ascend the steps to reach the summit. Philosophically speaking, the Jnana-yoga is primarily non-dualistic. None the less, the onkara-japa plays a prominent role in the spiritual practices of non-dualism.
The Patanjala-yoga of eight limbs, otherwise known as the Astanga yoga or the raja-yoga, advocates the japa of the pranava, the om that designates Isvara (God). If properly done, the japa becomes dhyana, one of the higher limbs of the eightfold yoga.
Mantra-japa is vitally important in Tantra. Although Tantra-Yoga is an important branch of yoga, a few realize that Tantra has anything to do with yoga. The Kundalini Yoga is an exclusive branch of Tantra. One can hardly separate hatha-yoga and Tantra. Bandhas, mudras and nyasas are the contributions of Tantra-Yoga. A tantrika can hardly achieve anything without the purascarana japa. Notwithstanding these facts, any book on japa rarely deals with any tantrika japa.
It is heartening to note that yoga has been popularized throughout the world. Most yoga schools limit their activities to physical postures (yogasanas), sometimes with a little addition of Pranayama and meditation. Most yoga schools do not give much emphasis on the three higher limbs of the yogic practices, namely, Dharana, dhyana and Samadhi, Yoga practices, for the improvement of physical health and for preventing and curing diseases, are not discredited here. At the same time, it is emphasized that the mental and the spiritual health can hardly be neglected. Further, it is to be noted that the primary goal of Yoga is spiritulization of oneself and that liberation (moksa) is to be sought by making Yoga a means.
We have a conviction that the japa technique of Yoga is comparatively easier than the other ones. In spite of this fact, many yoga schools hardly give any importance to this technique.
We went through the scanty number of yoga books on japa. A few of them are reasonably good and we have been immensely benefited by them. Nevertheless, we have a feeling that a lacuna does exist and it is to be got over. And hence is this attempt to write this book.
With regard to japa-yoga, our approach has been holistic and synthetic. Essentially, we are non-dualistic and monotheistic in a wider frame, which binds diverse theories of dualism, polytheism and pantheism. We are firm and steadfast about the fact that Being is formless and a single one only. At the same time, we do accept forms and multiplicity by accepting the phenomenon of manifestation from the Unmanifest and also by recognizing the psychological need of forms for avoiding abstractions and for better mental concretization. Thus, we have drawn no line of demarcation. Thus, we have drawn no line of demarcation between yoga and Tantra, Vedic and non-Vedic systems, dualism and non-dualism, form-worship and formless worship, devotion and knowledge, science and spirituality and the sundries.
This book on japa-yoga has systematized japas of diverse systems. It has elaborated the techniques in simplified ways. It focuses on the methods of doing the japa. It is up to the reader to choose one or more of the techniques of japa for his/her adoption out of the cafetaria-presentation.
The japa is usually regarded as a religious activity. We have not denied that. But we have philosophized it and that is the reason for short discourses here and there on different philosophical systems. As a religious activity, it is based on faith. As part of philosophy, it is based on rationality, logicality and analysis. We have leaned more on spirituality than on religion.
It is hard for some people to accept the japa as a science. We do not agree with them. This book on japa-yoga has a lot of science, especially medical science with special reference to the treatment of diseases. Any reader can practise the japa methods and ascertain the benefits obtained. Any medical scientist may do experimentation on the efficacy of the japa-methods for preventing and curing diseases. It is hoped that doctors, in the future, may prescribe the japa-techniques in addition to their medical and/or surgical therapies.
The japa-sadhana is partly subjective and partly objective. Objectivity which is a key-word in scientific experimentation may not wisely exclude this partial subjectivity while evaluating the experimental result.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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