A type of support that can be given to the mind for concentration is that of a name or word. Let us consider this now. The support maybe in the form of one name, or in the form of any mantra. The mantra is a phrase or formula bearing a certain meaning that affirms the existence of God and embodies a certain idea of feeling in relation to God, such as surrender unto the Lord or the feeling of the divine presence, or it may inspire devotion with a certain prayer raised unto the Lord. Any one name of God or Mmantra or phrase is selected according to one's faith and conviction. It is to be mentally or vocally chanted. It is to be repeated gently and calmly. Gradually consciousness is centred on hearing of this name or mantra. This practice is called Japa. Science may not prove it today, logic may also fail to do so, but experience has proved that such intonation and repetition of God's name has a marvelous effect in tuning The mind with God - the spirit that is all and beyond all. There is tremendous power in the name of the Lord. The Lord's Grace does descend through His name on one who has faithfully and wholeheartedly repeats it. This is a fact confirmed and reconfirmed by the saints of all religions. The proper place for concentration on the Lord's name or on Mmantra is in the Heart Centre, which corresponds to the anahata chakra in yogic parlance.
Let it be pointed out here at the shorter the mantra or word the better it is, because it becomes easier to concentrate on.
The japa of any name of God or mantra can also be practiced by connecting that name or Mantra with the rhythmic incoming and out coming of breath and by chanting it mentally. And in this practice the attention of the mind should not be focused on the navel centre because through this practice the vital being becomes active which might cause a severe agitation or sudden explosion of the pranic force. If the discriminating power in the sadhaka is not sufficiently developed, if he does not possess complete mastery over his senses and mind and if above all he is not single- mindedly devoted to the ideal of God- realisation, the violent awakening of the proanic force may lead him astray in his Sadhana and consequently, throw him into the absyss of sin and sorrow. Unless the centre of command what is the aajnaChakra and the heart centre of the aspirant have been adequately purified and unless they have resumed full control over the navel Centre, it is not proper for a man to practice Japa with the incoming and outgoing of breath by fixing the mind on the navel Centre. This practice should not be performed by anyone. If a practitioner wants to do Japa by associating with incoming and outgoing of breath then he or she should keep the attention at the heart Centre. There is no danger in doing this. The practice of Japa can lead even if performed to the exclusion of all other methods of concentration to the highest spiritual recognition. In fact in its advanced stage the Japa itself turns into deep and dynamic spiritual concentration. As such by becoming a dynamic concentration, it brings about an extraordinary transformation in the external life of that sadhaka, who practices it regularly and sincerely.
Chanting of the Lord's name is an exercise divine and spiritually rewarding indeed. There have been many Saints who devoted themselves to this method of spiritual concentration alone and to none other and realised the Lord.
Sri Chandra Swami Udasin