Japa Thoughts: Yogic Chanting III

October 30th, 2007

October 30, 2007
Sri Govardhana

Japa Thoughts

Yogic Chanting III:

A Buddhist subscriber to the journal, an old high school friend, sent a short message in response to my journal entry where I recommend “to focus on the holy name, stop the mind, and reveal the soul”:

“Very nice. Even a Buddhist would agree! (Is that good?)”

Yes. As I mentioned in a previous journal, yoga is not so much a particular philosophy as it is a mental technique that can be applied to all spiritual practices, although yoga is generally connected to the Sanhkya philosophy.* For example, in Bhagavad-gita Sri Krishna says, “When the mind is controlled, the Supersoul is at reach,” so yoga here is used for god-realization. It is not surprising that, especially in Buddhism, the same mental techniques that I talked about are the focus of practice, although the goals of Buddhism and Sankhya are technically different.*

When meditating this morning I realized that although a Vaisnava can also use mental concentration and restraint (yoga) to help realize the soul, his mediation is more than that. A Vaisnava must also consciously search the heart for emotion. Without such devotion chanting becomes mechanical, although of course, one?s chanting must start with yoga (constant practice and detachment).One can’t, however, remain satisfied to just be yogic chanters without some heartfelt sentiment for the object of his concentration.

* There are popularly six major philosophies in India: Vedanta, Mimamsa, Vaisesika, Nyaya, Yoga and Sankhya. They are also popularly grouped in couplets of philosophy and practice. Sankhya as philosophy is linked with yoga as practice as are Vaisesika with Nyaya and Vedanta with Mimamsa.

**Buddhism, unlike Sankhya, teaches that consciousness (the soul) is not a separate entity from the object of consciousness. In other words, although Buddhism also applies yoga techniques its goal is not the realization of the soul.

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