The Practice of Writing Japa


Recently, I have been drawn to likhita japa practice, but I have as yet been unable to find anything which states either Paramhansa Yoganandaji's thinking on this practice, or that of Swami Kriyananda. Is it beneficial for one on this path?

—Casey, England


Dear Casey,

I have not read or heard Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda mention this practice, likhita japa (writing japa).

However, I know that Yogananda explained that even normal japa (mental repetition of a mantra) should become listening to AUM, meditating on it. So my guess is that he would tell you to try to take this practice gradually to a stage in which you don’t write anymore, but lift your gaze and feel the japa. In time it should take you to a superconscious experience of it, in silent meditation.

Yogananda teaches the same “outward-to-inward” approach with his Scientific Healing Affirmations and Metaphysical Meditations: first you use the phrase outwardly, loudly, then more softly, then mentally, taking it into a superconscious inward experience. The same he taught for chanting his Cosmic Chants. So I would try to apply this principle to your likhita japa.

Is it beneficial for you, being on this path? Of course it should never become a central practice for you. Central must remain what Yogananda gave as his principle techniques: Hong Sau, energization exercises, the AUM-technique, and Kriya Yoga. If those are your stable spiritual sadhana, but you still feel inspired to add likhita japa, fine, I don’t see that it is a contrasting technique. I think many of us have things with with which we inspire ourselves personally, from time to time. Maybe likhita japa helps you to develop concentration or devotion, I don’t know, or it simply increases your spiritual inspiration or enthusiasm at this moment.

By the way, Yogananda didn’t teach much of the Indian mantras or japas, nor does Swami Kriyananda. They recommend to use mantras in our own language, for example “Lord I am Thine,” or “Reveal Thyself.” You may try writing those if you feel inspired to. Or a good one to write might be “Om Guru” or simply “Yogananda.” Then slowly, slowly transcend that outer writing, taking the words inside to the spiritual eye, letting them become a motionless meditation. In this way the practice might indeed be beneficial for one on this path.

Master bless you with inner japa-bliss, jayadev