Over the next few lessons we will gradually introduce and progress through the meditation techniques of ajapajapa. It can consist of various numbers of stages depending on the method adopted; we will give five stages’.
Ajapa is an integral part of kriya yoga. Furthermore, it is a great help in developing breath and mantra awareness in preparation for kriya yoga. In fact, with good reason, it is said that kriya yoga practices must be preceded by extensive practice of ajapa japa. We therefore urge you to practise ajapa regularly; and by regularly we don’t mean once a week, but every day.
All of life throbs with pulsations of expansion and contraction, of intake and expulsion, of prana and apana. Every molecule, every aspect of existence vibrates with this pulse. Everything is in a continuous and spontaneous state of cyclical change. Everything is endlessly repeating a subtle mantra.
Man throbs with this pulse of life in many ways. The most obvious are the heartbeat and respiration. The ancient yogis developed a wonderful yet simple method of using this constant beat of life as a means to calming the mind and raising levels of awareness and understanding. They realized that the breath is constant rhythm that continuously repeats a mantra. This mantra is normally known as Soham or Saham. The practice is called ajapa.
Japa can be defined as the continuous repetition of a mantra2. The suffix ‘a’ in front ofjapa implies that the process ofjapa becomes spontaneous. That is, japa is transformed into ajapa when the mantra repeats itself without effort; the mantra has been planted so deeply through japa that one’s whole being pulsates with that mantra. Japa requires conscious effort, whereas ajapa requires no effort. It is said that japa comes from the mouth whereas ajapa comes from the heart. Japa is the preliminary practice and ajapa is the perfection ofjapa.