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Fruits of Japa Yoga
Q. I have been wanting to take up the practice of Nitai-Gaur Lekhana (Writing) Yoga for a while now to strengthen my loud chanting. There is a verse from one of the scriptures on that page:- "If one desires siddhi or the supreme perfection of life, then one must engage in Mental Japa Yoga. If one desires spiritual and material prosperity, then one must engage in Upamsu or Murmuring Japa Yoga. And if one desires perfection at the time of death, then Vachaka or Loud Japa is most suitable." This might appear to be a straight forward and obvious verse but it isn't to me. I always thought that the goal of all chanting was the same. But now it appears in this verse that there are actually different fruits to different chanting. Does one who engages solely in Loud Japa not attain siddhi or spiritual and material prosperity? Does one who engages in Mental Japa not attain perfection at the time of death? Is this all the same goal but in different phases? - Amala Gauranga dasa, South Africa.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
This verse describes the general fruits or results of Japa Yoga. But when you chant Japa of the direct Namatmaka Mantras or Holy Names of the Lord like Nityananda, Gauranga, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, etc. which are the Holy Names for Kali Yuga, all the above three fruits or results of liberation, prosperity and perfection at death are available in all the three types of Japa Yoga: loud, soft and mental. So the goal is the same for all kinds of Japa Yoga. Through Loud Japa Yoga, the chanter can give the same benefit of these perfections to the hearers also whereas through Soft and Mental Japa Yoga, the chanter can go more internal and deeply meditate on the Holy Names.
I would personally recommend Loud and Soft Japa Yoga at least up to the point where the chanter reaches a stage in the Japa Yoga where the mind becomes fully peaceful, undisturbed and absorbed in the Holy Names. At that stage one can try to chant Japa Yoga mentally for some time in the day but Loud or Soft Japa should never be given up fully as it nourishes our taste in the Holy Names when we directly hear the Holy Names audibly through our ears. Even the greatest chanter of Japa Yoga of all times, Shrila Namacharya Haridasa Thakura would chant Loud Japa, Soft Japa and Mental Japa in equal proportion - 64 rounds each and he would make it a point to chant loudly most of time so that he could benefit all the souls around him at all times.
Nityananda Gauranga Lekhana (Writing) Yoga is a very powerful and unique means to instantly focus our mind on the Names and Forms of Lords Nityananda Gauranga and Shri Shri Radha Krishna. It should be done in addition to the normal loud or soft chanting and kirtana and not as a replacement because nothing can replace Kirtana - the Yuga Dharma of Kali Yuga.