How can worship help to get self-realization?

If I chant 'Om Namah Shivaya' continuously, then will that give me moksha?

If Chanting is also part of worship, what is the connection between chanting and self-realization?

Please let me know if any underlying process that relates both?


2 Answers 2


I am posting some excerpts from Swami Swahananda's writings on mantra that will answer your question. Mantra Japa is used to purify one's mind. Only in a pure mind devotion to God dawns. Devotion to God is a way to God realization. If you are interested in self realization (i.e. Jnana), then also the purification of the heart due to mantra japa will be helpful.

Japa should be performed a prescribed number of times. Angirasa says that japa repeated without keeping track of the number is fruitless. The Kularnava Tantra says that if the prescribed number of japa is not done, the japa does not bear fruit. The Vishvasara Tantra also supports this view.....

The Tantras especially put much stress on ritualistic japa. According to the Kularnava Tantra the number of japa may be counted on the joints of the fingers or on a rosary. Various rules are prescribed regarding japa and the choice of the rosary...

Japa is to be performed neither very slowly nor rapidly but at an even rate, moving from one head to another on the rosary. If the japa is done imperfectly, then this can be rectified by various prescribed means or by more japa. The devotional schools have always tried to lessen the rigidity of these prescriptions about japa, placing emphasis instead on developing a devotional attitude with the help of japa. They claim that through japa alone even the external signs of devotion can be manifested. The Vira Tantra says that japa alone can bring success. It may be done with or without meditation.........

Regularity in the practice of Japa has been highly extolled. .....

Other helpful factors are a secluded place, a suitable seat, and proper articulation of the mantra. Alertness, of course, is essential. .............

Tantrasrah speaks of twelve practices which help in the fruition of japa. Some are austerities, such as sleeping on the ground, continence, taking a vow of silence, taking three ceremonial baths a day, and giving up activities that distract from the ideal. Others are observances, such as worship, giving gifts, supplication, singing to the deity, occasional worship of the deity, as well as faith in one's preceptor and in the deity. ...

The Kularnava Tantra considers mauna, keeping the vow of silence, itself as the best form of japa. Again, the sage Brihaspati has enumerated observances that contribute to success in japa, restraint of the mind, purity, silence, reflecting on the meaning of the mantra, freedom from distractions, and absence of indifference towards the mantra. The Chandogya Upanishad says, "Reflecting in the mind, one should repeat the mantra attentively"......

The devotional schools, however, believe that even if the mantra is repeated without proper pronunciation or knowledge of its meaning, it will still be efficacious if the devotee is sincere and has intense devotion. Valmiki is said to have attained realization by repeating "Mara", reversing the name of Rama, because he was too sinful to repeat the Lord's name correctly...... But best results can come through a combination of devotion and understanding..... So japa, normally speaking, becomes spiritually effective if it is done with faith and with knowledge of its meaning. Yet, even if an aspirant lacks these, through japa, faith in the mantra and knowledge of its meaning will eventually come. The Name of God itself has great power and is capable of creating devotion even in a stony heart if it is repeated for some time.

Meditation and other spiritual disciplines by Swami Swahananda

  • "Reflecting in the mind, one should repeat the mantra attentively" Does this mean that mantras should be recited in the mind not loudly from mouth?
    – Just_Do_It
    Jul 13, 2018 at 17:26
  • 1
    Mental or manasik japa is considered to be much more effective for preparing the mind for God or Self realization than loud repeatation. Jul 14, 2018 at 11:09

I recommend you study Sri Sikshastakam by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

You have very good books on the science of mantra meditation just to name a few:

Sri Namamrita

Art of Chanting Hare Krshna

Japa: Nine Keys From the Siksastaka to Improve Your Japa (I recommend this one the most)

As far as I have studied I haven't found more information on Japa meditation than in Gaudiya Vaishnavism especially ISCKON (I'm not a follower of ISCKON, yet have a respectful attitude for The Founder Acharya and His sincere students, out of whom you can get many tips and books on Japa meditation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaSWed_holw

Now I have also studied and I'm currently studying Kriya Yoga under the guidance of Paramahamsa Hariharananda in which it is taught that mantra meditation without introverting ones own senses withing, is just a waist of time. I very much recommend also Kriya Yoga The Scientific process of soul-culture and the essence of all religions and A Collection of Instructions on Kriya Yoga both books from the same author Paramahamsa Hariharananda.

I wish you all the best, yours sincerely.

Om Tat Sat

  • 1
    Please try to improve the answer with more qualitative references.
    – hanugm
    May 9, 2019 at 8:45

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