What measures should be taken to control thoughts and increase Naamjap (chanting) in the initial stage of Sadhana (spiritual practice) ?

malaIf Naam jap doesn’t occur continuously in the initial stages and excessive thoughts come to mind, then let’s take a look at what one can be  done in such a situation.

  • To begin with, make a conscious effort to sit at a Sattvik( spiritually pure) place for 15 minutes, viz in the place of worship or temple, and do chanting.
  • Try to attend weekly Satsangs (spiritual discourses). Attending a Satsang provides the requisite energy to do chanting. Just as in the case of a power-cut, an inverter compensates for it and provides electricity to run our gadgets, similarly, the effect of Saatvikta(purity)derived from a Satsang lasts for a week and we get the energy to do chanting. The best path to perform Sadhana in Kaliyug (the age of Kali) is chanting the God’s name. Though it sounds extremely easy; for maintaining continuity in chanting, a minimum spiritual level of 45% is required. In the present times, ordinary people have a spiritual level ranging from 20-30% and hence, continous chanting becomes difficult for them. Due to the excessive impact of Raj and Tam (spiritually impure) vibrations, the mind cannot concentrate and maintain continuity in chanting. Through an Anubhuti(spiritual experience), we will look at how attending a Satsang helps in developing consistency in chanting.

In 1999, when I was doing Dharma Prasaar in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand(then Bihar), two women came to a Pravachan (discourse).  Both were friends.  After listening to the Pravachan, both of them started  chanting too.  After three months, when I met both of them again, I learnt that  one of them had regularly started attending a weekly Satsang, and there was consistency in her chanting while the other woman’s chanting stopped after about a month.  Both the women were at the same spiritual level of 40%.
It should be kept in mind that below the spiritual level of 50%, regularly attending Satsang is a must for continuity in chanting (NaamJaap), otherwise chanting and increasing it effectively becomes quite difficult.  Attending a weekly Satsang regularly results in our receiving the requisite Chaitanya (divine consciousness) and we continue to receive the energy required for making spiritual progress.

  • For a qualitative and quantitative improvement in chanting, we must fervently pray to our benovolent or presiding deity.
  • Keep a photograph of your Sadguru or Kuldevtaa (family deity) or presiding deity within sight to decrease the flow of unnecessary thoughts into your mind and remain  focused  .
  • To get rid of the thoughts coming to one’s mind during chanting, one should give auto-suggestion. This suggestion can be about those thoughts that come to your mind most often during the course of the day, causing a hindrance to continuous chanting. To do this, note down the thoughts that come to your mind in a diary and also the duration of the thoughts in your mind.  It has been said in our scriptures, ‘मन एव मनुष्याणां कारण बंध मोक्षयो:’ “man aiva manushyanaam kaaran bandh mokshyoh”, meaning, our mind is the fetter or the cause of bondage and the cause of Moksha (liberation) too. Thus, studying the mind is important for making spiritual progress. The better one studies the thoughts in one’s mind, the more accurately one will be able to give autosuggestion to the mind.  Hence begin the study of the mind.
  • In the beginning, one can provide auto-suggestion in this manner, “Whenever useless thoughts will come to my mind, I will become alert of them and will start chanting.” When you start feeling drowsy, repeat this sentence 10 times, before sleeping. By giving auto-suggestions, the sub consciousness mind receives direction on what to do when unnecessary thoughts come, and the mind, starts chanting instead of getting immersed in worldly thoughts. Similarly, be aware that auto suggestions should be given correctly and should be focussed to the issues realted to the thoughts in your mind. If the subconscious mind receives improper suggestions, it will behave accordingly. Hence, while giving auto suggestions, it is very essential to pay attention to the direction being given to the mind.
  • For achieving increased concentration in chanting, salt-water treatment is highly beneficial and efficacious. This point has been discussed in our website.
  • Purifying the premises of the house too helps in chanting. This issue too has been discussed earlier in our articles in this website.
    Also practising Dnyan Mudra or Aakaash Mudra for a period of half an hour daily  helps in concentration. _ Tanuja Thakur.

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