The main difference between japa and ajapa is that japa generally functions on the conscious plane of the mind, whereas ajapa reaches down into the subconscious plane. At this present moment, while reading this book, you are conscious of the external world and of the surface levels of the mind. But the mind is also functioning at other levels below the level of conscious perception. The subconscious mind is a turmoil of fears, worries, tensions, desires, etc. We generally only experience the reflection or manifestation of these deeper aspects of the mind when they rise to surface perception. Ajapa is a method of consciously perceiving these hidden levels of the mind. The practice of ajapa makes one’s sensitivity and perception more subtle so that one begins to explore the mind.
Ajapa Japa – Stage 3
We are teaching the practice of ajapa which is done for a fixed duration every day. If you are inclined, there is no reason why you should not try to do ajapa twenty-four hours every day. But we warn you: it is difficult and requires sustained effort. If you wish to adopt this twenty-four hour a day sadhana then there is no need to slow down the breathing rate as described in stage 1 and 21. Only try to be aware of the breath and the sound Soham, that it makes. It does not matter whether the breath is fast or slow; only be aware of it and the associated mantra. It can be done while walking, talking, eating, working, sleeping or whatever you do in your daily life. Everyday activities are continued but with a background of the Saham mantra.
This is an extremely powerful technique that has been utilized by many of the great yogis such as Kabir Das. It is a method that is widely mentioned in many well-known scriptures such as the Yogasiksha Upanishad and the Kularnava Tantra. In the Yoga Chudamani Upanishad it says: “The breath comes out with the sound Ha (Ham) and is taken in with the sound Sa (So). Thus each individual continuously repeats the mantra Hamsa . . . Hamsa . . . Hamsa (Soham … Soham .. . Soham). Therefore, this mantra is repeated throughout the day. This is called ajapa gayatri and can bring liberation to yogis.” (v. 31, 32, 33)
This indicates the power of continuous ajapa. This is further emphasized in the Kularnava Tantra: “The more you repeat this mantra (Soham or Saham), the greater the fruits both temporal and spiritual. Therefore, with intense effort, in all conditions, at all times, you should repeat the mantra.” (chapter 3)
Continuous repetition makes the mantra penetrate the deeper layers of the mind, and the mind becomes harmonized and one-pointed, leading to meditation. If you have the determination, then follow the advice given in the scriptures. It is by no means an easy undertaking, but the fruits of your effort will be to unlock the potential of your mind.