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Nama Japa: Prayer of the Name In the Hindu and Christian traditions
Nama Japa: Prayer of the Name In the Hindu and Christian traditions
Description
Back of the Book

For many years Vandana Mataji used to spend six months of the year in Rishikesh, Himalayas, in prayer, study and dialogue with Hindu masters and sadhakas from India and abroad. With her Guru-behn Ishpriya Mataji, she gives retreats and courses based on yogic spirituality in different parts of the world wherever invited. She has been spending the rest of the year at Jeevan-Dhara Ashram in Jaiharikhal, Garhwal (Himalayas) where God-seekers of all denominations are welcomed.

With an M.A. in History and Politics and a post-graduate qualification in Hindustani Classical Music, she lectured at Sophia College, Bombay, for 18 years. Her special concern has been to promote inculturation of Christian spirituality and theology so that the Church in India may recognize her genuine Indian identity and to absorb the riches of other faiths especially Hinduism.

Her books and many articles have emerged from her own spiritual experience shared with God-seekers in many ashrams both Hindu and Christian.

Here she presents us with a study, at once practical and theological, of The Prayer of the Name in the Hindu and Christian traditions. As Swami Chidananda says, it should be of immense benefit to seekers both in the East and in the West.

"I have made THY NAME known to them, and will make it known: that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them." – (John 17.26)

Foreword

Homage unto the Universal Divine Spirit Supreme That is the One God behind and beyond all existing religions of the world. Worshipful adoration unto the NAME Divine of God, for verily the name is identical with God. "NAME" and "NAMI" are not two nor different from each other. Nama and Nami are indeed one. This is the central truth upon which the sacred Sadhana and the science of the practice of the Divine Name (Japa) are firmly based. This mystical identity is the secret of its efficacy and power to confer illumination upon the practitioner. The transforming and enlightening power of the Divine Name is the power of God and no other. Name is "Prakata Svarupa Paramatma" meaning thereby God Himself in His manifestation. This mystical manifestation or outer expression is referred to in the sacred scriptures of India as Nada-Brahma or Sabda-Brahma. That is, the Divine Reality manifest as Sound or as the "Word" primeval. The Divine Name thus becomes the mystical bridge between the finite and Infinite. The Divine Name is the direct link that links up the individual soul with the Universal Soul, the human with the Divine. The faithful practice of the Divine Name may be poetically described as an ascent upon "the ladder from earth to heaven". When the name is received and enshrined in the human heart, God's power works from within to bring about an awakening of the Sadhaka's spiritual consciousness and ultimately confers liberation upon the individual seeker through Divine enlightenment. Patient and persevering practice with unswerving faith and undivided devotion is the way of attaining success in this path of Japa Yoga. This has been the invariable experience as demonstrated in and through the lives of many renowned mystics (Bhaktas) of India like Samartha Ramdas, the spiritual preceptor of King Shivaji, Sant Tukaram, Sant Mirabai of Rajasthan and numerous similar others. This is true even to this day.

Sister Vandana is rendering an immense spiritual service to the people of present day world by expounding the great tradition and the practice of this specific Sadhana Path, through this present book "NAMA-JAPA". This treatise will indeed benefit innumerable seekers upon the path of God all over the world. I wish this valuable book the widest possible circulation which it most certainly deserves in every way. It contains a veritable wealth of valuable book the widest possible circulation which it most certainly deserves in every way. It contains a veritable wealth of valuable information and instruction culled from numerous authentic sources. It will inspire the readers to adopt this Sadhana into their practical spiritual life. It has given me great pleasure to write this Foreword to this spiritual manual. The Divine Grace of the Almighty Lord and choicest blessings of my worshipful Guru Sri Swami Sivananda and of all the saints and mystics of the East and the West, be upon Sister Vandana, the author and upon all the readers too. Homage unto the Divine Name.-Swami Chidananda

Preface

This book has been written over a period of years and across three continents. Its significance, as I see it, lies in the fact that it draws from three traditions of the Divine Name: that of the Hindu, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Latin Western Church. Many good books have been written on the practice of Name-Japa in the Indian tradition, and as many, or more perhaps, on the Prayer of Jesus in the Christian Orthodox Church. But, as far as I know, there has been no study written on both.

My hope is that this venture will help in bringing together Christians (of both India and the West) and Hindus – both of whose traditions use the Prayer of the Name. Christians who are familiar with the Jesus Prayer may be glad to discover the beauties of Japa Yoga of India. Hindus will be happy to find in the Eastern Christian tradition of "ceaseless prayer" much of what they possess and practise in their Nama Sadhana (spiritual practice of the Name). It is my hope then that this book, like the prayer of the Name itself, will become a 'Hindu-Christian meeting point', for surely it is at this level- of the prayer of the heart – that the truest inter-faith dialogue can take place.

The recent increase in interest in interest in eastern religions by young people of the West has led at times to confusion. Bits and pieces of Hindu spirituality have been picked up with no real understanding. The word mantra, for instance, is used with more enthusiasm than understanding.

May this study help to sort things out, for if there is only one practice of necessarily ecumenical significance about which it is not possible to have theological reservations, it is the practice of authentic and personal prayer, such as prayer of the Name. We need to recall constantly that the Spirit of God alone can pray in us (Rom. 8.15/16) without whom we cannot say 'Lord Jesus' and the Spirit is but ONE. (1 Cor. 12.4) The prayer of the Name is thus the prayer of 'one-ing' and simplification. 'Father, glorify your Name was the prayer of Jesus Our Lord.

Above all, this book is written simply to glorify His Name – the Name of Him who, while He has a thousand names, is truly beyond all names. Jesus Himself is there ias "the Way"- as He called Himself – to lead us to the Unmanifested Father who is beyond all names and forms. He, who as the Word (Logos or Aum) came forth from the Eternal silence of the Father, leads us back to the silence of the Father. For the utterance of the Name, like the pierced open Heart of Christ – is an open door through which we are meant to enter that Eternal Silence of the Nameless One who is Love or who simply is.

May those who read this book enter into that silence of Love which knows no differences – only Oneness.

Jaba Rama – Nama kahi gavega,
Taba bhed – abhed samavega
When one sings the Name of God,
All differences melt away.

Introduction

1. What is this Nama Japa?
Nama means 'Name'; Japa means 'repetition' – repetition of a Name of God.

2. Why should we do it? One answer might be that it has been done for long ages in both east and west, and the practice never discarded. So it is at least worth a try to see whether you should be one to continue it! And, you know, it is not a 'way out' as it may seem at first sight. Modern 'charismatics' have been known to act similarly. A friend tells me how a neighbour at meeting bombarded her ear with incessant 'Jesus! Je-sus!' for a period of half an hour which made a tremendous impact on her.

If you are a Christian in the old fashioned term, a 'Bible Christian', the Japa provided one answer to the puzzling injunction to 'Pray without ceasing'. Or, to be 'in meditation, in the eastern sense of the word, in an 'unceasing flow of God consciousness'. Just as Jesus was constantly in the presence of his Father, you can be with Him in your ordinary daily duties, with Nama Japa.

If you would like first to see how it has worked out for someone else read 'The Way of Pilgrim', a fascinating tale of a Russian peasant's search for someone to tell him how to pray non-stop.

3. Is there any reason why you should not begin Nama Japa?

The verse in St. Matthew's Gospel may come to mind – 'when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathens do'. (Mt. 6.7 as many of us are familiar with in the King James version.) But this is now recognized to be a poor translation. 'Do not heap up empty phrases is how the RSV expresses it; or Do not babble as the pagans do for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. (Jerusalem Bible) You will not be using 'empty phrases' but the Name of God and not saying 'many words' but possibly only one!

So now we can begin, for the best way is to plunge into the Japa and build up the theory of it afterwards from experience. The aim of this and all other Yoga is constant awareness of God's presence because He is your heart's desire. So don't delay.

Give yourself to the Japa in one or more of the ways I shall describe but remember always that the virtue is not in the technique. All you receive is given by the grace of God, even the very desire to call upon His Name.

CONTENTS
Forewordxi
Prefacexiii
Part I: Praxis
Introduction1
Chapter 1:Doing your Japa - Visualisation3
Chapter 2:Japa with Mala11
Chapter 3:Japa with Pen27
Chapter 4:Japa with Music33
Chapter 5:Japa with Rhythm39
Chapter 6:Japa with Breath-awareness43
Chapter 7:Japa with Concentration and Relaxation53
Chapter 8:Japa Anusthana and Purascarana59
Chapter 9:Japa with the Word of God65
Chapter 10:Japa in Groups73
Part II: Theory
Introduction77
Chapter 1:The Name in Christian Scripture and the Early Church81
Chapter 2:The Name in Hindu Scriptures and tradition95
Chapter 3:The Power of the Name107
Chapter 4:The Prayer of the Name in the Eastern Orthodox Church125
Chatper 5:The Prayer of the Heath in the Byzantine and Hindu Traditions141
Chapter 6:The Mantra169
Chapter 7:An End and a Beginning187
Part III:Singers of the name
Hindu192
Sikh232
Muslims237
Buddhist239
Jewish243
Christian248
Japa-Sadhana265
Bibliography267

Nama Japa: Prayer of the Name In the Hindu and Christian traditions

Item Code:
NAB378
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1997
ISBN:
81-208-1286-7
Size:
8.5" x 5.5"
Pages:
280
Other Details:
(B&W.illus.: 6)
Price:
$18.50   Shipping Free
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Back of the Book

For many years Vandana Mataji used to spend six months of the year in Rishikesh, Himalayas, in prayer, study and dialogue with Hindu masters and sadhakas from India and abroad. With her Guru-behn Ishpriya Mataji, she gives retreats and courses based on yogic spirituality in different parts of the world wherever invited. She has been spending the rest of the year at Jeevan-Dhara Ashram in Jaiharikhal, Garhwal (Himalayas) where God-seekers of all denominations are welcomed.

With an M.A. in History and Politics and a post-graduate qualification in Hindustani Classical Music, she lectured at Sophia College, Bombay, for 18 years. Her special concern has been to promote inculturation of Christian spirituality and theology so that the Church in India may recognize her genuine Indian identity and to absorb the riches of other faiths especially Hinduism.

Her books and many articles have emerged from her own spiritual experience shared with God-seekers in many ashrams both Hindu and Christian.

Here she presents us with a study, at once practical and theological, of The Prayer of the Name in the Hindu and Christian traditions. As Swami Chidananda says, it should be of immense benefit to seekers both in the East and in the West.

"I have made THY NAME known to them, and will make it known: that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them." – (John 17.26)

Foreword

Homage unto the Universal Divine Spirit Supreme That is the One God behind and beyond all existing religions of the world. Worshipful adoration unto the NAME Divine of God, for verily the name is identical with God. "NAME" and "NAMI" are not two nor different from each other. Nama and Nami are indeed one. This is the central truth upon which the sacred Sadhana and the science of the practice of the Divine Name (Japa) are firmly based. This mystical identity is the secret of its efficacy and power to confer illumination upon the practitioner. The transforming and enlightening power of the Divine Name is the power of God and no other. Name is "Prakata Svarupa Paramatma" meaning thereby God Himself in His manifestation. This mystical manifestation or outer expression is referred to in the sacred scriptures of India as Nada-Brahma or Sabda-Brahma. That is, the Divine Reality manifest as Sound or as the "Word" primeval. The Divine Name thus becomes the mystical bridge between the finite and Infinite. The Divine Name is the direct link that links up the individual soul with the Universal Soul, the human with the Divine. The faithful practice of the Divine Name may be poetically described as an ascent upon "the ladder from earth to heaven". When the name is received and enshrined in the human heart, God's power works from within to bring about an awakening of the Sadhaka's spiritual consciousness and ultimately confers liberation upon the individual seeker through Divine enlightenment. Patient and persevering practice with unswerving faith and undivided devotion is the way of attaining success in this path of Japa Yoga. This has been the invariable experience as demonstrated in and through the lives of many renowned mystics (Bhaktas) of India like Samartha Ramdas, the spiritual preceptor of King Shivaji, Sant Tukaram, Sant Mirabai of Rajasthan and numerous similar others. This is true even to this day.

Sister Vandana is rendering an immense spiritual service to the people of present day world by expounding the great tradition and the practice of this specific Sadhana Path, through this present book "NAMA-JAPA". This treatise will indeed benefit innumerable seekers upon the path of God all over the world. I wish this valuable book the widest possible circulation which it most certainly deserves in every way. It contains a veritable wealth of valuable book the widest possible circulation which it most certainly deserves in every way. It contains a veritable wealth of valuable information and instruction culled from numerous authentic sources. It will inspire the readers to adopt this Sadhana into their practical spiritual life. It has given me great pleasure to write this Foreword to this spiritual manual. The Divine Grace of the Almighty Lord and choicest blessings of my worshipful Guru Sri Swami Sivananda and of all the saints and mystics of the East and the West, be upon Sister Vandana, the author and upon all the readers too. Homage unto the Divine Name.-Swami Chidananda

Preface

This book has been written over a period of years and across three continents. Its significance, as I see it, lies in the fact that it draws from three traditions of the Divine Name: that of the Hindu, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Latin Western Church. Many good books have been written on the practice of Name-Japa in the Indian tradition, and as many, or more perhaps, on the Prayer of Jesus in the Christian Orthodox Church. But, as far as I know, there has been no study written on both.

My hope is that this venture will help in bringing together Christians (of both India and the West) and Hindus – both of whose traditions use the Prayer of the Name. Christians who are familiar with the Jesus Prayer may be glad to discover the beauties of Japa Yoga of India. Hindus will be happy to find in the Eastern Christian tradition of "ceaseless prayer" much of what they possess and practise in their Nama Sadhana (spiritual practice of the Name). It is my hope then that this book, like the prayer of the Name itself, will become a 'Hindu-Christian meeting point', for surely it is at this level- of the prayer of the heart – that the truest inter-faith dialogue can take place.

The recent increase in interest in interest in eastern religions by young people of the West has led at times to confusion. Bits and pieces of Hindu spirituality have been picked up with no real understanding. The word mantra, for instance, is used with more enthusiasm than understanding.

May this study help to sort things out, for if there is only one practice of necessarily ecumenical significance about which it is not possible to have theological reservations, it is the practice of authentic and personal prayer, such as prayer of the Name. We need to recall constantly that the Spirit of God alone can pray in us (Rom. 8.15/16) without whom we cannot say 'Lord Jesus' and the Spirit is but ONE. (1 Cor. 12.4) The prayer of the Name is thus the prayer of 'one-ing' and simplification. 'Father, glorify your Name was the prayer of Jesus Our Lord.

Above all, this book is written simply to glorify His Name – the Name of Him who, while He has a thousand names, is truly beyond all names. Jesus Himself is there ias "the Way"- as He called Himself – to lead us to the Unmanifested Father who is beyond all names and forms. He, who as the Word (Logos or Aum) came forth from the Eternal silence of the Father, leads us back to the silence of the Father. For the utterance of the Name, like the pierced open Heart of Christ – is an open door through which we are meant to enter that Eternal Silence of the Nameless One who is Love or who simply is.

May those who read this book enter into that silence of Love which knows no differences – only Oneness.

Jaba Rama – Nama kahi gavega,
Taba bhed – abhed samavega
When one sings the Name of God,
All differences melt away.

Introduction

1. What is this Nama Japa?
Nama means 'Name'; Japa means 'repetition' – repetition of a Name of God.

2. Why should we do it? One answer might be that it has been done for long ages in both east and west, and the practice never discarded. So it is at least worth a try to see whether you should be one to continue it! And, you know, it is not a 'way out' as it may seem at first sight. Modern 'charismatics' have been known to act similarly. A friend tells me how a neighbour at meeting bombarded her ear with incessant 'Jesus! Je-sus!' for a period of half an hour which made a tremendous impact on her.

If you are a Christian in the old fashioned term, a 'Bible Christian', the Japa provided one answer to the puzzling injunction to 'Pray without ceasing'. Or, to be 'in meditation, in the eastern sense of the word, in an 'unceasing flow of God consciousness'. Just as Jesus was constantly in the presence of his Father, you can be with Him in your ordinary daily duties, with Nama Japa.

If you would like first to see how it has worked out for someone else read 'The Way of Pilgrim', a fascinating tale of a Russian peasant's search for someone to tell him how to pray non-stop.

3. Is there any reason why you should not begin Nama Japa?

The verse in St. Matthew's Gospel may come to mind – 'when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathens do'. (Mt. 6.7 as many of us are familiar with in the King James version.) But this is now recognized to be a poor translation. 'Do not heap up empty phrases is how the RSV expresses it; or Do not babble as the pagans do for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. (Jerusalem Bible) You will not be using 'empty phrases' but the Name of God and not saying 'many words' but possibly only one!

So now we can begin, for the best way is to plunge into the Japa and build up the theory of it afterwards from experience. The aim of this and all other Yoga is constant awareness of God's presence because He is your heart's desire. So don't delay.

Give yourself to the Japa in one or more of the ways I shall describe but remember always that the virtue is not in the technique. All you receive is given by the grace of God, even the very desire to call upon His Name.

CONTENTS
Forewordxi
Prefacexiii
Part I: Praxis
Introduction1
Chapter 1:Doing your Japa - Visualisation3
Chapter 2:Japa with Mala11
Chapter 3:Japa with Pen27
Chapter 4:Japa with Music33
Chapter 5:Japa with Rhythm39
Chapter 6:Japa with Breath-awareness43
Chapter 7:Japa with Concentration and Relaxation53
Chapter 8:Japa Anusthana and Purascarana59
Chapter 9:Japa with the Word of God65
Chapter 10:Japa in Groups73
Part II: Theory
Introduction77
Chapter 1:The Name in Christian Scripture and the Early Church81
Chapter 2:The Name in Hindu Scriptures and tradition95
Chapter 3:The Power of the Name107
Chapter 4:The Prayer of the Name in the Eastern Orthodox Church125
Chatper 5:The Prayer of the Heath in the Byzantine and Hindu Traditions141
Chapter 6:The Mantra169
Chapter 7:An End and a Beginning187
Part III:Singers of the name
Hindu192
Sikh232
Muslims237
Buddhist239
Jewish243
Christian248
Japa-Sadhana265
Bibliography267
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