Mantra and Japa Yoga
Japa yoga is the repetition of mantra. The sound of the mantra keeps the mind focused on one pure vibration, thus counteracting the constant jumping and restlessness of the mind on many objects. One can repeat the mantra verbally or mentally, daily, at all times or at specific times, using mala beads, or by writing the mantra.
A mantra is Divinity. It is Divine Power manifesting in a sound body. The mantra is a significant word or series of words which give it a special power. Sometimes this word is a sound which harmonizes with the key-note of the individual using it. Sometimes this word expresses the essence of the flower springing from the seed.
A mantra can be chosen by you on the basis of the sound that it makes, the meaning of it or the image of the deity which it may include. But to get the most benefit from a mantra practice, you need to get initiation to the mantra. The process of initiation links you spiritually to the sages and empowers your mantra with the Shakti of the Guru.
All genuine mantras will lead you to the same realization. If you are unfamiliar with mantras, you may wish to begin with the mantra “Om” – the first one listed. Below that are other Sivananda-inspired mantras that you may wish to explore. And when you feel ready, Swami welcomes requests for individual mantra initiation.
More on Japa Yoga Theory in this essay by Swami Sivananda.