Meditation versus Japa

Radhanath Swami speaks in “A Journey Home” about meditating next to the Ganges and in the Himalayas. I can only fathom that he meditated for hours on end, and I wonder how he did it. Did he enter samadhi? What did he experience during his meditations? This was before he was introduced to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna consciousness where meditations equals japa. But there isn’t really any speak about the experiences that japa gives or should give. What levels there are in Japa? Should we loose track of time, and what happens during it? On what level does time disappear?

In “Autobiography of a Yogi”, Yogananda Swami is into Kriya yoga and speaks about meditating. He tells about his experiences a little bit, but again I don’t understand what he experiences when meditating for hours. He talks a lot about having special powers like levitation etc. When Gaudiya Vaishnavas speak about powers is just in a bi-sentence with the warning that this is just material powers and does nothing towards attaining our goal.

But isn’t these experiences that people have doing kriya yoga also a part of japa, or are we talking a different process where we don’t have the same experiences? Shouldn’t doing japa award us these same powers that other yoga practitioners experience?

I’ve been craving silence lately. Not outward silence, but inwardly. The mind is like this chatty friend that hasn’t understood to let things go. It keeps on talking about the same subjects for millions of times, and after listening to it for hours you get tired. It’s no use in getting irritated or angry at this friend, because it’s all he knows. It’s old patterns and he hasn’t learned the new ones yet, but after hours on end, I just want silence. I need a break from this chattyness because I get exhausted.

So I meditate a bit in silence and begin to wonder why silence and solitude isn’t mentioned anywhere in our process. Japa seems to be a bit on the opposite side considering I chant orally 98% of the time. There isn’t much information about what should happen during japa even. The only message we get is that it’s important to chant attentively and avoid committing offences, but that’s not really instructive.

How does meditation in silence for hours and japa coincide?

I’ve read pages on pages on the struggles of Japa, but not on what happens when you don’t struggle. Where’s the book “The Science of Japa”? I would like to skip the whole chapters on struggles and offences, and get right to the good stuff.

One thought on “Meditation versus Japa

  1. One thing we’re meant to experience is the hearing of each syllable of each mantra for the whole japa session. In my 9 years of chanting I have only once (one round that is) been able to hear each mantra. That happened April 23 last year. I didn’t hear every syllable, but I never zoned out for a whole mantra.

    If you manage to become fixed in hearing every syllable in all of your chanting you will start to perceive the form of Krishna.

    It’s ok if that doesn’t happen, as long as that’s what you’re going for. It helps me to remember that I’m not reaching out to Krishna, not taking the initiative. I’m responding to his outreach. I actually talking to someone, not just doing some personal gymnastics. His love is like a message in a bottle, found here in the material ocean, and we respond.

    I heard something nice from Siddhasvarupananda, that people approach God realization like climbing a mountain. But this mountain is dancing!

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