A beautiful dark wood reminiscent of Lord Narayana's dark form, ebony is a dark durable wood that has strong protective qualities, especially for the home and one’s love life. Traditionally used for sacred objects, Ebony has long been the favorite wood among the royalty in India.
Japa Nam - Repeating God's Name
In order to focus one's mind on God, Babaji taught people to chant the ancient mantra Om Namah Shivaya. It is a Sanskrit phrase which means something like "I surrender to/bow to/take refuge in God," or "Lord, Thy will be done." The Name of God used in this mantra is Lord Shiva, the Supreme Manifestation of God. Constant repetition of the mantra (japa) focuses the mind on God - opens the heart and mind to God - and stops, or reduces, the tendency of one's mind to constantly plan (the future), worry (about the past), daydream (illusion), or otherwise idle away in essentially useless activity.
Repeating God's Name of Om Namah Shivaya is a protection and a purification of the consciousness. It is like a clear running stream, constantly washing and renewing the mind for higher purpose. Babaji's main purpose for re-appearing is to reform the hearts and minds of people. He comes to remove confusion and evil from mankind. Shri Babaji once said: "The mind can be purified only by japa. This is the only medicine for the disease of the mind. While your mind and heart are impure, how can God live in your heart? The water to clean your heart is the Name of God. Teach everyone to repeat the Name of God -- everywhere."
The mind that is generally focused on God's Name(s) responds, when the need arises, spontaneously to perform its required functions quickly, easily and well. Babaji emphasized Om Namah Shivaya but also gave other mantras on some occasions. The essence of his instruction is "Repeat God's Name." Shri Babaji said that when the great destruction comes to the world, those who believe in and worship God sincerely, and especially those who repeat His Name, will be saved by the power of the mantra. "God's Name is more powerful than a thousand atomic and hydrogen bombs."
How to perform Japa:
Usually, japa is performed on a mala (prayer beads, 108 beads per strand, like a rosary). In the morning, upon waking from sleep, a bath is taken immediately (pour water over all the body from a bucket with a cup). After bath and dressing in your prayer clothes, you sit peacefully in front of your altar. You touch the mala only with the right hand. You hold the beads without using the index finger (index finger is known as the "ego" finger so you leave the ego out of this). You begin where the mala has one larger bead and a tassle; you say one mantra per bead, working the mala around between thumb and middle finger. Once you have completed the 108 repetitions, you turn the mala around and go back the same direction you came. The large bead at the end is called the "guru" bead, so you "don't cross the guru," you keep turning the mala around and going back over the beads the opposite direction. Since 5 is a Shiva number, it is good to do a minimum of 5 rounds of the mala at a sitting. This is done morning and evening.
Japa Nam is also accomplished by constantly repeating the Name of God while working, eating, walking, and everything you do in a day, without always using the mala. When you repeat the Name of God while working, it is also called Karma Yoga.
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