Worship and Japa
A woman devotee once asked the Mother to teach her how to offer Puja (ritualistic worship) to the Master. The Mother said to her, “You lead a worldly life. You will not be able to do the worship. I have given you his Name. Practise Japa. Through that you will achieve everything.”
A devotee asked the Holy Mother, ” Is it of any use to be merely repeating His Name without intense devotion ? ”
Mother: Whether you jump into water or are pushed into it, your cloth will get drenched. Is it not so ? Meditate every day, as your mind is yet immature. Constant meditation will make the mind one-pointed. Discriminate always between the real and the unreal. Whenever you find the mind drawn to any object, think of its transitoriness, and thus try to withdraw the mind Backto the thought of God. A man was angling. A bridal party was going along the road with music. But the angler’s eye remained fixed on the float. The mind of a spiritual aspirant should be steadfast like that.
* * *
A monastic disciple said to the Holy Mother, ” Mother, it is my desire to select a place where I can practise spiritual disciplines, but my health is not good.”
Mother : Now for some time engage yourself in a little work, but later on, when you feel a strong inclination to practise austerities, you may give up work.
Disciple: I practise Japa, but I cannot concentrate my mind.
Do a fixed number of Japa daily
Mother : Repeat the Name of God, whether your mind is concentrated or not. It will be good for you if you can repeat the Name of God a fixed number of times every day.
Disciple : Mother, shall I practise the repetition of the holy Name, keeping in mind a fixed number of repetitions ?
Mother: If you repeat with an eye to number, your mind may be concentrated on the number alone; therefore I would advise you to repeat the Name of God without being particular about the number.
Disciple: Why is it that our mind is not absorbed in God when we repeat His Name ?
Concentration and Japa
Mother: It will come in due course. Even if the mind be not concentrated, do not give up the repetition of the holy word. You do your duty. While repeating the Name, the mind will be fixed of itself on the ideal, like a candle flame in a place protected from the wind. It is the wind alone that makes the flame flicker. In the same way, our fancies and desires make our mind restless. Again, the concentration is delayed if one does not utter the holy word correctly. There was a woman who was asked by her teacher to repeat the sacred word ‘ Rukmini-nathaya ‘. The woman could not utter such a big word, so she would repeat ‘ Ruku, Ruku ‘, For that reason her progress was stopped for a few days, but later on, through the grace of God, she found the correct word.
While the Mother was staying at Jagadamba Ashram, Koalpara, she held the following conversation with a devotee :
Devotee: Should one wash one’s face ceremonially before repeating the holy Name of God ?
Mother: Yes, one should observe these rules when one happens to be in one’s own house. But while one is in the street, one may repeat the Name mentally.
Devotee: Should we, in the second case, repeat only the Name of God, or the sacred word we get from our teacher as well ?
Efficacy of Japa with concentration
Mother: Yes, you must repeat the sacred word also. Repeating the Name of God once, when the mind is controlled, is equivalent to a million repetitions when the mind is away from God. You may repeat the Name for the whole day, but if the mind be elsewhere, that does not produce much result. The repetition must be accompanied by concentration. Then alone one gets the grace of God.
Devotee: Is it sufficient if I continue the spiritual practices I am now doing or should I do something more ?
Mother: Continue what you are doing now. Sri Ramakrishna has already accepted you as his own.
Devotee: It is said that one realizes God by praying to Him sincerely for two or three days. I have been praying for such a long time, but why do I not get any realization ?
Mother : Everything will come in time, my child. The words of Sri Ramakrishna, which are as true as the words of Siva, can never be otherwise. Be devoted to Him and take shelter at His feet. It is enough to remember that there is some one* call him father or mother, who is always protecting you.
Devotee: I have absolute faith in your words.
* * *
Once disciple said to the Mother:” Mother, I cannot count the Japa while performing it with the beads. If my fingers move, my tongue remains silent. When my hands and tongue become active, the mind does not remain steady.”
Mother: You will find later on that your fingers and tongue will remain inactive, but the mind will continue to think of God.
* * *
Japa on fingers
Once a devotee forgot how to count the repetitions of the Mantra on his fingers. He wrote to a disciple of the Mother to ask her about it. At this the Mother said, ” What does it matter ? It can be done in any way. The purpose of all this is to direct the mind towards God.”
* * *
Regularity and time in spiritual practice
Regarding meditation and Japa, the Holy Mother said to a disciple, ” It is very necessary to have a fixed time for time in spiritual practice these things. For it cannot be said when the auspicious moment will come. It arrives so suddenly. No one gets any hint of it beforehand. Therefore one should observe regularity, however busy one may be with duties.”
Disciple: There are periods of illness, and there are also moments when one is bothered by work. Therefore it is not always possible to observe regularity of time.
Mother: One has no control over illness, but even in the midst of the most intense activity, one should at least remember God and salute him.
Disciple : What is the best time ?
Mother: The conjunction of day and night is the most auspicious time for calling on God. Night disappears and day arrives, or day disappears and night arrives – it is the conjunction of day and night. The mind remains pure at this time.
Regarding the weakness of mind, the Holy Mother said to the disciple, ” Child, this is the law of nature. Have you not noticed the full moon and the new moon? Likewise the mind is sometimes dominated by good, and sometimes by bad, tendencies.”
* * *
Japa while travelling
A certain disciple asked the Holy Mother at Jay-rambati how he should practise Japa while travelling by train or steamer. At this she said, ” Repeat the Mantra mentally. Gradually your fingers and tongue will stop functioning. Only the mind will work. The mind itself becomes the teacher in the end.”
On a festive occasion an athlete was demonstrating various feats, one of which consisted in breaking a big stone placed on his chest. While it was being broken, the Mother was heard saying, ” O Lord, save him ! O Lord, save him ! ” After this performance the Mother asked me, ” My child, do they know any Mantra, or have they any other secret ? “
Disciple: No, Mother. It is nothing of that kind.
It is the result of continued progress practice. I have heard the story of a man in America carrying a calf in his arms every day to the pasture ground. He went on with this practice every day until it grew into a big ox. Even after it had grown up, he could carry it with as much ease as in its early days. He used to make a display of this feat before all. These are all the results of practice.
Mother: Yes, it is so. Just see the power of habit. In the same way man attains realization by continuous practice of Japa.