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Ajapajapa In Hindu Religion – Silent Chanting Of Mantra

In Hindu religion, Ajapajapa is the silent recitation or chanting of mantra without uttering the name of the god or goddess. Ajapa Japa uses the sound made by breathing itself. During inhalation, the breath drawn in is said to make the sound ‘sa’ and during exhalation, the sound ‘ham’. The constant sound of breathing is, therefore, referred to as hamsa. The maintenance of this unpronounced sound of the breath is known as ajapa japa. Prana, being breath, and hamsa, being the sound of the breath, the two may be used in the same sense.

According to the Hindu measurement of time, one prana is made up of sixty svashas, a swasha being one inhalation and exhalation. Six pranas make one nadika and sixty nadikas make on ahoratra (full day and night). In effect, during one day, a person breathes 21,600 times, repeating, in way the word hamsa as many times, without being fully conscious of it. This goes on from birth till death.

The deity of this Hamsa mantra is Bhagavan Shiva in his ardhanarishwara form, or androgynous aspect. The deity is conceived as the rising sun, with the appearance of light. The hair on his head forms the sky. He bears in his four hand a noose, a spear, an axe and a gem. The crescent moon adorns his forehead, giving him the epithet Chandrachuda which literally means ‘moon top’. He has a third eye at the center of his forehead which is conceived as the vishvamula (root of the universe).

One is advised to consciously mutter the mantra constantly, after having been initiated in it by a Guru, in order to be released from the cycle of births and deaths. Continuous repetition of the Hamsa mantra transforms the sound to so’ham, which means ‘I am He’, i.e. ‘I am atman, the Self.’