This ariticle is from Wikipedia. Japa. (2009, May 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:57, May 17, 2009, from
Japa (Sanskrit: जप) is a spiritual discipline involving the meditative repetition of a mantra or name of God. The mantra or name may be spoken softly, enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be spoken purely within the recitor's mind. Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture, while performing other activities, or as part of formal worship in group settings. The practice of repetitive prayer is present in varied forms within most religions in the world, although the religions of India generally give more emphasis to it as a specific discipline.
Varieties of Japa
In most forms of japa, the repetitions are counted using a string of beads known as a japa mala. Within Hindu traditions Vaishnava devotees commonly chant on beads made from the Tulsi plant (Holy Basil), held as a sacred manifestation of Tulsidevi; whereas Shaivites use Rudraksha beads. The number of beads in the japa mala is generally 108, which has great significance in both traditions. It is not uncommon for people to wear japa beads around their neck, although some practitioners prefer to carry them in a bead-bag in order to keep them clean.
Independent of all beads or prayer devices, many Hindus will recite mantras, either under their breath or in mental introspection, at any given time of the day. This sort of casual chanting is said to be a way of inspiring reflection on either the self or God at all times, thereby attaining a life which, though interrupted by daily chores and concerns, is a constant flow of prayer.
Some Catholic prayer forms that involve repetition of prayers, such as use of the Rosary or one of various chaplets, could be classified as forms of japa, as with other Christian prayer forms (see Hesychasm). Also Tibetan Buddhists include japa meditation as a large part of their religious practices.
The aim, or goal of japa varies greatly depending on the mantra involved and the religious philosophy of the practitioner. In both Buddhist and Hindu traditions mantras may be given to aspirants by their guru, after some form of initiation. The goal could be moksha, nirvana, bhakti, or simple personal communion with God in a similar way to prayer.
Popular Japa mantras
- Aum Namah Sivaya
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
- Om Namo Narayanaya
- Om Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram
- Om Tare Tuttare Ture Swaha
- Hail Mary
- Japa mala
- Jesus Prayer
- Maha Mantra
- Pranava yoga
- Svayam bhagavan
 External links
- 'Hare Krishna' Japa Meditation
- Japa Group - Daily discussion on all aspects of chanting Hare Krsna
- Japa Room - A friendly and constructive way to improve your Japa online in an audio/visual chatroom environment
- Japa Yoga by Swami Sivananda