JAPAYAGNA
September 23, 2003
Des Plaines Mandira

There are many ways to categorize mantras. For example, paroksha (beyond sight) and pragata (present). Those that are pragata or jeevanta (living) are the most powerful. Mantras are also known by the number of letters they have: sadaakshara (6-letter), ashtaakshara (8-letter), etc. From the Jain "navakaara" mantra, Kakaji explained remembering 9 gunaateeta saints or 9 personal incidences. Finally, Kakaji showed that a divine message or prayer given by a gunaateeta guru is also a mantra.*

The Gayatri mantra is popular because it offers obeisance to the wife of Suryadev (the Sun god). Its power also lies in remembering God along with His devotee. The "SwamiNarayan" mantra is a pragata sadaakshara mantra. The significance of all types of mantras is to help the aspirant achieve inner peace and awaken the chaitanya (spirit).

The value and power of japayagnya has been shown in scriptures and the lives of great saints. In Gita 10/25, Lord Krishna states, "Of the great sages I am Bhrigu, of vibrations I am the transcendental AUM, of sacrifices I am japayagnya, and of immovable things I am the Himalayas." Chaitanya Mahaprabhu propagated the power of mantra through the sankeertana movement (joyously chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama").

In Vachanamrut Loya 6, Swaminarayan Bhagwan asks, "While meditating on God, just as large waves arise in the ocean, countless different waves of horrible thoughts arise in the mind. When such thoughts arise, how can they be suppressed?" Swaminarayan Bhagwan Himself answers, "When such horrible thoughts arise, one should stop meditation, and, without shame, clap and chant 'SwamiNarayan, SwamiNarayan' aloud." In Vachanamrut Jetalpur 3, Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains, "The method for eradicating impure desires is as follows...one should repeatedly chant 'NaraNarayan, SwamiNarayan' aloud..."

Gunatitanand Swami has explained the unique glory of the SwamiNarayan mantra in Swami Ni Vato 1/24, 4/38, 5/132, and 5/248. In Swami Ni Vato 1/154, Gunatitanand Swami states, "There is no mantra today more powerful than the SwamiNarayan mantra. Through it, a black cobra's poison has no effect, attachment to vishayas (objects to which our senses are attracted) is removed, the soul becomes brahmaroopa, and the hold of kaala (time), karma (past deeds), and maayaa (illusion) is broken. That is how powerful this mantra is, and thus, always chant it."

Japayagnya (offering to God through chanting a mantra) creates an auto-feedback system in which our speech is heard by our ears. Similarly, when done in a group, we hear the chanting of those around us and they hear our sound. This creates a chain reaction and the power of the mantra is multiplied.

In order to unlock the true power of japayagna, we should chant with devotional love, recognizing and accepting its power. By remembering God and experiences with our guru, the method produces incomparable results. The most important part of japayagnya is the faith of the person chanting. Just as a person has faith in modern medicine and doctors, there should be unshakable faith in the mantra, God, and one's guru.

The solution to all problems, social or spiritual, is japayagnya. We too can experience this by forming the habit of chanting 15-20 minutes a day, and eventually with every step taken (or linking the mantra with one's every breath!). Kakaji lived this way: he incessantly chanted the SwamiNarayan mantra.

*During one of Kakaji's visits to America, He had traveled to St. Louis and met a lady doctor who had come from India but could not find a suitable job here. Kakaji told her, "I will give you a mantra, and if you repeat it, you will find a job." The next day Kakaji wrote a long mantra on a notebook: "He Mahaaprabhu Svaameenaaraayana, he Moola Akshara Gunaateetaananda Svaamee, he gunaateeta svaroopos - hu aapano sevaka chhu, aapano bhoolako chhu, aapa akhanda maaraa antara maa biraajamaana rahejo, aapa maaraa hradaya maa rahejo." After repeating this prayer with faith, in the next couple days, she found a job in a nice hospital.

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