Benefits of Chanting God’s Name


What are the benefits of chanting the name of God? Please give me details.

—Roby, India


Chanting God’s name, called japa in Sanskrit, is a central practice for the devotee who wants to spiritualize daily life. Japa is silent, superconscious chanting. With japa, we bring our spiritual life together with our daily activity. We may have a deep, daily meditation practice and then forget all about God as we become involved in our daily duties. Sister Gyanamata, one of Yogananda’s most advanced disciples said that our religion is tested in the cold light of day, meaning that to truly love God, serve God, become one with God, we must keep God in our awareness constantly, regardless of our activity or challenges. Mentally chanting to God throughout our day helps tremendously.

Why chant superconsciously? The superconscious is our higher state of awareness that connects with God’s presence. Much of our daily activity may be primarily done from the subconscious. Our subconscious is that part of our consciousness that operates mainly outside of our awareness. It is the repository of our habits, old memories, old reactions; it is our autopilot. If you stop to listen to the subconscious play of thoughts, you will find much there which actually pulls us downward. Chanting done subconsciously is automatic, habitual and we are minimally aware of it. The greatest benefit comes when we chant superconsciously, which magnetizes and uplifts our entire consciousness including the subconscious with a positive vortex of energy. Just as darkness no longer exists when we turn on the light, superconscious chanting will interrupt the loops of subconscious thoughts. Maintaining a devotional mood will help keep your japa from becoming automatic and subconscious.

Another way to understand the benefit of japa is to think about attunement. Yogananda said thoughts are universally not individually rooted. Our subconscious thought habits actually have their source, not internally, but in dark, negative or low consciousness thought patterns in the universe. Japa attunes the radio of our consciousness to positive, uplifting and God-reminding thought patterns. What station do we want our radio tuned to?

Japa can help you get stronger in your realization that God is always present for you. It can teach you that, through every test and trial, God is with you.

What words do we chant? Choose words that are spiritually inspiring for you. Chant with a deep inner consciousness of its purpose, and from the fullness of your own being, You may choose to chant “Aum”-the holy vibration, or a phrase such as “I am Thine, receive me” “Reveal Thyself” “Lord, I am Thine” “I want only Thee”, or a name of God. Gandhi chose to chant “Rama.” Your chant may be words and melody from a devotional song. Whatever you choose, practice it deeply and continuously.

Although easy to do, this simple practice can have amazing effects. It fills in idle times with a constantly uplifting force. You can do it any time you don’t need full concentration on the task at hand. Train yourself to look for opportunities to do your japa, such as when you are commuting, or waiting in line, or cooking. Japa can transform mundane activities into spiritual experiences.

I encourage you to take up the practice of japa, chanting God’s name, or if you have practiced in the past, to deepen your practice now.

Many Blessings to You,
Nayaswami Mukti