Guiding Light: Nama Japam

Guiding Light: Nama Japam

Prof S AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 06:44 PM IST
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‘Nama’ means name, and ‘Japam’ is the chanting. There are means of mind’s focusing on the divine matter and nama japam is practiced often by people, and the same is collectively done as ‘nama sankeertanam’.

What is there in the name should not be the question by a serious seeker for he knows that name may comprise of ‘beejas’. Each beeja is a root word that has in-depth meaning. For instance, the very name of RaMa comprises of two beejas. Names also have proper meanings, and when the seeker is chanting the name, the inner meaning of the name fills the mind. Thus, there shall be ‘rasa filled mind’ when one is chanting the divine names with purpose and sincerity.

Often the Almighty’s deeds themselves get captured as names. Sometimes the quality or dimension gets listed as name. For instance, in Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram, GOD is described as ‘Vishwam’, meaning one who is engulfing everything, ‘sarva vyapta’. Similarly, GOD is addressed as ‘Avyaya’, meaning in-exhaustible. Thus, when one chants the names silently or in a group loudly and with chorus, the quality described by the name fills one’s mind.

Maternal nature of the mother Goddess is exemplified in the name ‘Sri Mata’. The benefit of getting married to the ‘Suitable Boy’ is given in the name ‘Aparna’. Seeker of a position or job calls out the mother as ‘Rajyadayini’. Lack of contentment or heart’s desire is addressed through the name ‘Nitya-Trupta’. The one who increases the abundance is referred as ‘Dhana-Dhanya Vivardhini’. The mother serves as the treasure for the devotees, and hence is called out as ‘Bhakta Nidhi’.

Nama sankeertanam is often done in groups and japam in solo. When done in silene and as a contemplative exercise, japam is done often with beejaksharas too. In such a case, there shall be number of regulations and rules to be followed. On the other hand, the Bhakti movement democratised the japam tradition and group chanting became the practice for the last five centuries. Number of bhajana sampradaya groups came up in different parts of the country.

The ‘nama japam’ helps like the ‘switch words’ practiced in other parts of the world too. These names carry meaning, have divine context, and hence easy for the seekers to appreciate and practice.

Prof S Ainavolu is a Mumbai-based teacher of Tradition and Management. Views are personal. https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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