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Goumukhi Japa Mala Bag
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The word gomukhi means 'in the shape of a cow's mouth'. It is a small bag which resembles the shape of a cow's mouth. The mala and your right hand are both placed inside the gomukhi so that they are obscured from view. With your hand in the bag, you then begin to rotate the mala, the bottom of which is supported by the bottom of the bag.

A gomukhi is very light, doesn't interfere with the practice of japa and prevents other people interfering or becoming curious about your practice. It can be used when you walk along a street or when you leave your house. It is widely used by those who do anusthana (sustained practice for long, fixed periods of time), perhaps 50,000 to 60,000 beads per day. For them it is almost a must.


Japa Technique

 

    1. Need for a mala

    2. Meaning of the mala

    3. Use of the mala

    4. Position of the right hand

    5. The flow of breath

    6. Use of a gomukhi

    7. Errors in japa

    8. Pronunciation of mantra.


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Use of a gomukhi
Use of a gomukhi

If you do long periods of japa practice every day, then the use of a gomukhi is highly recommended. The word gomukhi means 'in the shape of a cow's mouth'. It is a small bag which resembles the shape of a cow's mouth. The mala and your right hand are both placed inside the gomukhi so that they are obscured from view. With your hand in the bag, you then begin to rotate the mala, the bottom of which is supported by the bottom of the bag.

 

A gomukhi is very light, doesn't interfere with the practice of japa and prevents other people interfering or becoming curious about your practice. It can be used when you walk along a street or when you leave your house. It is widely used by those who do anusthana (sustained practice for long, fixed periods of time), perhaps 50,000 to 60,000 beads per day. For them it is almost a must.

Errors in japa

 

There are several wrong ways of doing japa. These errors, in time, can have adverse effects on the psyche. Firstly, the practice of japa should be done when alone. If, however, five or ten serious people wish to practice as a group, then that is different and acceptable. Otherwise you should practice alone.

 

There is a spiritual law that if yogic practices are done in front of others, perhaps for show, then they will lose their effect. This law applies to japa. Also don't try to explain your experience to other people who are against yogic practices; they are not ready to listen and will not understand. Instead they will probably laugh at you and deplete your precious spiritual inspiration and impetus. Practice alone.

 

Secondly, don't change your mantra. Sometimes, it happens that a mantra is given to someone but he becomes attracted to another mantra. He begins to feel that another mantra is better than the one he is using, and so he adopts a new mantra. This is more than likely a mistake, since it can create more harm than good. It can easily cause much confusion in the psyche. Such confusion, once created, is very difficult to correct. I know this very well from personal experience.

 

Whatever mantra you have, Sanskrit mantra, Buddhist mantra, Christian mantra, whether it has meaning or no meaning, please go on using that same mantra. Don't change it. If in the future you seek guidance from some person other than the person who gave you the mantra, then this is all right; but don't change your mantra. To do so is to commit a serious error in japa practice.

 

The third most common error is to practice too much. Some people are over-enthusiastic for self-realization and they practice for hours and hours every day. This can easily lead to what is called, in the language of psychology, extreme introversion and perhaps even a catatonic state.

 

You should not overdo japa. You know very well that any medicine which is powerful should not be taken above the prescribed dose. In the same way you should not take too much 'medicine' in the form of japa.

 

 

The purpose of a mantra is to make an impression on the psychic superstructure of the mind. To get the right effect, the pronunciation should be perfect. The correct articulation will create the exact sound vibrations in the unconscious mind. Incorrect pronunciation will possibly do harm if continued for a long period, but more likely will bring about no effect at all. Likewise, you should not change the pitch or intonation of the mantra without good reason.

 

Bhaktas (devotees), however, are lucky - they do not need this correct pronunciation of the mantra. All they have to do is constantly remember the name of their chosen deity, repeating it mentally or otherwise. Their bhava (strong feeling of love) alone will take them to their goal. For them, there is no need of correct pronunciation, a mala or anything else. Devotion is enough. But most people are not inclined towards bhakti yoga; these should take great care in the pronunciation of their mantra. If you take a mantra from a book, be careful. It is said that mantras selected from a book or even from the scriptures are as dangerous for a person's mind as arrows are for his body. If you don't have a mantra at the moment, then we strongly advise you to seek the guidance of an experienced teacher. Only this way will you reap the fullest benefits of japa sadhana.

 
 
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