A Totally Different Approach to Counting Mantras

Most of the time we try to chant a certain number of “rounds” (mālā of 108 beads) in a day. Most of the time most all of those “rounds” are rubbish, and we are just trying to get the “rounds” finished. So, here is a different approach.

The goal is to chant one mālā of manasika japa (i.e. the mantra is contemplated silently) without being distracted from the mantra’s meaning. In other words, rather than trying to produce a lot of rubbish, lets produce a even a little gold.

If you find you have become distracted from the mantra, start over – go back to the start of the beads.

You probably will have to give yourself a buffer of three or four mantras. If you catch yourself being distracted quickly, within this buffer, consider it a “catch” and keep going on the mālā without restarting. Without this it’s nearly hopeless.

If you have to restart the mālā a few times, step down from manasika japa to japa with your mouth moving to the syllables. If you still fail a few times, step down again to vacika japa (audible mantra). When you finally complete one good mālā of vacika japa, “level up” and try for the mouthed syllables, and when you get that, “level up” and go for the manasika mālā. Then put your beads away from the day and get an orange juice!

Unfortunately, you will probably have to set an hour or two or more as a time limit, because you will probably discover that it is etremely difficult to do even one solid round of manasika japa without significant distraction. You may want to shoot for just vacika japa for a week or two, and gradually step up to manasika. If somehow you start getting good at doing a single mālā of manasika you might want to step up the goal to two, etc.

Consider this a “rehabilitation program” for “critically injured” or “critically handicapped” chanting.

Vraja Kishor

[This is an experiment, not the technique of any parivar as far as I am aware.]


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  1. I feel that the Mahamantra is too long for Meditation. There’s a reason why Patanjali recommended the mono-syllabic Pranava mantra as the ideal object of meditation. Wouldn’t it be better instead to use one of the Sampradayika deeksha mantras as meditational objects?.


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