Book: Voice of Babaji
The mode of repetation of a mantra wth feeling and in a particular manner, a definite number of times, with right observances, until a fixed number of japa is reached, in order to obtain substantial benefit out of the mantra, is called a purashcarana. The practitioner has to observe certain rules and regulations in regard to purascharana and has to undergo perfect dietetic discipline, also in accordance with those injunctions.
The mantra when it is mentally recited in this manner will bring to the sadhaka all that he desires within its jurisdiction.
The sadhaka should face either the east or north during japa. During nights, north is better. Padma, Siddha, Swastika, sukha or vira asana is recommended for japa. Cotton, silk, deerskin, or tigerskin is the most preferred asana which brings saubhagya, jnana and early siddhi (accomplishment). Japa done while sitting on krishnajina bring quick jnana siddhi. Vyagracharma leads to bliss of moksa. When none of these are available then use asana made of darbha.
Sphatika mala, tulsi mala, or rudraksha mala maybe used for counting japa or you go by the watch for a fixed time. The mala should be respected and worshipped and kept in a sacred place. After finishing japa it must be kept pure and clean or worn round the neck if the mantra Guru has so instructed. An advanced sadhaka can use any mala or no mala at all. It depends on the stage of evolution of the sadhaka.
Removing the mind from all worldly objects, being merged in the inner meaning of the mantra, one should repeat the mantra neither too quickly, nor too slowly. In ancient times people’s chitta was purer and more powerful than now, so akshara laksha japa used to bring them siddhi or sakshatkara of the devata. These days however minds are fragmented so they won’t/can’t have darshan of the deity by only laksha japa. Television, cinema etc clogs the mind of men with impurities so they don’t achieve tangible progress following the rules of an earlier era. Today sadhakas must continue the purusarchana multiple times before sakshatkara of the deity actually happens. The first few purusarchana is needed only to purify the mind, then only the sadhaka can start having real experiences and finally a darshana of the mantra devata. A good sadhaka must not give up, he should do purusarchana over and over again until the mind is totally purified and the deity graces with tangible darshan.
Japa done during times of solar or lunar eclipse bring a tremendous effect. Concentrating the mind of the mantra and its meaning is very essential at all times. Japa is to be avoided if the upasaka’s mind is engaged in other activities. The mantra should not be mechanically murmured, nor should the face of the sadhaka be covered in any manner when doing japa. Brightness, clearness, tranquillity of mind can bring mantra siddhi quicker if the japa is done without any mundane desires. At the final stage the sadhaka will see a Divine effulgence everywhere and his own body will appear as made of light. He will see his istha devata alone everywhere and in everything, and whatever he wishes will manifest very soon. As a rule sadhakas must avoid purusarchana for selfish motives. The best purusarchana is done not for any mundane goal or even for moksha but only for the love of the deity. From the deity comes atmasaksathkara and then brahmasaksatkara.
I must reiterate again that japa of any mantra has tremendous purifying power in it. All the Shaktis are in the very name of God. They make the mind antarmukha (inward turning) and weeds out vasanas or latent desires which cloud our vision and judgement.