Stages of advancement in mantra meditation

Chanting on a japa mala

In the very beginning, when you are completely new to japa chanting, there might be many distractions. But at the same time, because the whole thing is new and fresh, you naturally stay alert and focussed.

If you are unsure how to chant the mantra properly, you should definitely try to hear someone saying it. This will give you a good start. Later you will naturally find your own rhythm and particular way to chant.

After the initial stage, when beginner’s excitement is gone you might come to a phase where you start repeating your mantra mechanically.

You have become so good at chanting your mantra it that you can repeat it perfectly without paying attention. This situation has to be avoided at all costs!!! If you do nothing about it your japa practice will be ruined.

You have to pay attention to your mantra otherwise it won’t have the effect of a meditation practice because it is not meditation. Chant slower, chant faster, chant a bit louder, chant softer. Focus on every word of the mantra, put the words of the mantra in front of you and read them. Stand up, sit down, chant the mantra walking. Pray to your mantra and ask for help. Do whatever it takes to get your mind on track. 

Different people need different methods, and you might want to try various methods at different times. The most important thing here is determination and perseverance. 

Crossing this barrier and thus coming to the platform of determined and attentive chanting means a great victory for you. You have started to learn how to control your mind. And, as we have said before, it is actually your mantra that gives you the power to do so.

At this stage you will feel clarity of mind, willpower, confidence, inspiration, and enthusiasm in life. Also increased intuition and empathy, and consequently much improvement in relationships.

You understand yourself much better, your roots. You come to a deeper understanding of bhakti, your inner nature.

From there on you will develop a more and more confidential relationship with your mantra. Almost from the very beginning you must have kind of felt the energy of the person the mantra is directed to. As your chanting becomes more intimate this person reveals himself or herself to you in different stages. After clear spiritual perception of the name comes the form of the person, then the qualities, and ultimately the activities. 

In bhakti, your mantra is directed to the Supreme Lord. So, by this simple japa practice you’ll come to know God on a personal level. That is the meaning and the goal of bhakti-yoga, connection to the Supreme through devotion.

As you are coming closer to the root of your existence, which is the root of all existence, you’ll also discover your own spiritual nature, your own spiritual form, qualities, and activities. These are completely individual; you can only know these by direct personal experience.