Jap – Repetition of Names

Jap means repetition. It includes the mastery of mantras (set forms of words) as well as the method of succeeding in its practice. The aim of these methods is to touch the feet of the Lord. 

They are of five kinds:

  1. Repetition (Jap)
  2. Offerings in fire (Homa)
  3. Water oblations offered to ancestors (Tarpan)
  4. Special prayers to deities (Abhishek)
  5. Feeding of Brahmins (Brahm Bhog)

According to the scriptures, mantras are repeated for attaining various desires. They are practised in several ways. Sometimes a mantra is added both before and after another mantra, as in 'Om Ram Om' (Sampat). Sometimes a mantra is read as it is, as 'Om Nameh Rama' (Alom). Sometimes it is repeated in the reverse order, as 'Rama Nameh Om' (Wilom) Similarly, various other methods are adopted, each leading to different results. In this way various powers are said to be acquired through the practice of mantras relating to Bhairon, Kali, Lakshmi, Hanuman and various other gods and goddesses. These mantras are called a Bhairon shield (Bhairon Kawach), Kali Shield (Kali Kawach), Durga Shield (Durga Kawach), etc. They are said to protect the body just as a coat of mail protects the arms and body of a warrior. 

But in the various hymns of the Gurus the name of the in-dwelling Lord is described as the shield of the devotees.

Rama is the coat of mail which protects the devotee. It cannot be harmed by the enemy.

Gori M5, 868

I am surrounded by Rama on all sides and no trouble can come to me, my brother.

Bilawal M5, 819

To get the benefit of the jewel of Ram Naam (the Name of God) is the purpose of repetition (Jap). The four Vedas, all point out that the treasure of salvation lies in the Name of the Lord (Ram Naam), and to find the treasure is the purpose of all repetition (Jap).

The priceless Jewel of the Name is the essence of all repetition.

Ramkali M1, 931

After studying all the four Vedas, the learned have come to the conclusion that the way to achieve happiness and salvation is the recitation of the Name of the Lord (Ram Naam).

Gori M5, 267-10

For this reason stress is laid in the hymns of the saints on the repetition of the immortality-giving Name.

Repeat the Nectar of Naam, oh tongue, for it makes the humble devotee its own.

Kabir, Gori, 331-6

What is this Repetition? This repetition is the Lord Himself. He is also the reciter. This recitation is nectar personified.

He Himself makes us repeat, and He does the repetition Himself. He Himself is the Nectar, he is the dear one, and He Himself is the taste of the Nectar.

Sorath M3, 605-15

The repetition of the Name of the Lord (Gobind) is the essence of happiness and its remembrance is the highest flight of thought. With such repetition human life becomes successful. The mind becomes satisfied when it drinks this water of immortality and attains everlasting life.

These efforts result in bliss, for remembrance is the essence of happiness. Therefore repeat the Name of the Lord (Gobind), the essence of wisdom.

Bilawal M5, 815

Life is fruitful when it hears the Name of the Lord. Recitation leads to a happy life. Drinking the nectar of the Name satisfies the mind.

M5 Mam 1018-15

Those on whom the Lord showers His Grace repeat His Name.

He who obtains His Grace is the one who contemplates. He ever recites the Name of the Lord and by this he gains happiness.

Maru M4, 998

It is mentioned in the hymns of the Gurus that of all the paths, the best path or the purest action is to repeat the Lord's Name. (see the Chapter on Naam)

The best of all religions (Dharam) is the pure action of repeating the Name of the Lord.

Gauri M5, 266

The Lord is unknowable and unfathomable. Man has only a very limited capacity, and without the Master's help is not competent to perform His repetition (Jap) or to understand Him.

Nothing can be gained from repetition, austerity or self-control without the Master's help. From the very beginning the Lord is unknowable and unfathomable.

Maru M5, 1005

The real recitation is that in which the mind finds God. This is the highest knowledge. That recitation is the best in which man finds God and gets the highest knowledge.

Magh M5, 900

The technique of remembrance and repetition of the Name of God is obtained by the company of the Master (Guru). It is only through the Grace of the Lord that man sings His praises and can continue to do so.

Remember the Lord in the company of the Master, oh Nanak! Repetition brings salvation by dyeing one in the colour of His Name.

Gauri M5, 298

Let us always sing the praises of the Lord. You have always enabled us to do so, oh Master and merciful Lord.

Asa M5, 399