What is the repetition of the Name (Japa) for?
The repetition of the name is really important.
Constantly repeating the name of God leads to salvation. We can choose whatever name we love to worship in the form of the Lord. Continuous repetition or japa triggers in the individual a constant reminder that everything is God, that everything must be offered to him, that man is only an instrument and must live in his continuous adoration and companionship. It's like having a life preserver to hang on to whenever you feel the need.
All the greatest sages consider "the repetition of the Name" the greatest spiritual sadhana. Day by day, by developing love and surrender to God, it annihilates the ego and our illusion.
Sai Baba states that in this era of Kali Yuga the repetition of the name is enough and it is the royal way to reach the final liberation, transforming man into God.
The correct form for practicing japa is the following: OM + CHOSEN NAME OF GOD
Eg Om Sai Baba, Om Rama, Om Buddha, Om Jesus, Om Krishna etc ...
Some use to add NAMAH (I bow), so the phrase becomes Om Sai Baba Namah etc ...
The main names used are:
Om Namah Shivaya - Om Namo Narayanaya - Om Shri Nivasaya - Hari Om - Hare Krishna - Hare Rama.
It is also essential for the right practice not to change the name, once chosen, as it would be harmful to the right sadhana. The name of God resides in our heart and only when we pronounce it with love will we experience divinity. Repetition must not be mechanical, it must not start from the lips but from our heart.
On November 22, 1970 Sathya Sai Baba offers us a beautiful speech on the Recitation of the Name (taken from the volume Sathya Sai Speak Vol 10):
“Among the questions given to me, some ask what name to adopt for the recitation: the name of Rama, Namashivaya with five syllables or Om Namo Narayana of eight syllables or another suggested by me. The scriptures have already given a good answer. God is one without a second! So you can worship it according to your imagination and at your pleasure, because He does not change. It does not change according to the name with which you adore it or the forms with which you depict it. There are many sweets with innumerable names and shapes, but sugar is the only substance that makes them all sweets; You may prefer one to the other, very well, but do not condemn or hinder the choices of others. You can worship Krishna, if that name and that form give you greater joy or stronger emotion, but do not object if a brother worships the same God with a different name: Rama, Krishna, Shiva or any other; He has the same right that you have to worship God in the form he loves most.
Effectiveness does not lie in the mantra, in the name, in the form you focus on, it resides in the heart, in the yearning, in the thirst!
… When the baby in the crib cries and moans, the mother on the terrace will run down to rock and feed him; will not stop to understand if the crying is in the right intonation or in the correct key.
The Divine Mother in the Universe will also descend to console the son, provided that the yearning comes sincerely from a pure heart. It will not check the correctness of the pronunciation of the mantra or the accuracy with which the Divine is depicted. What matters is the feeling of the heart, not the time spent or the money spent! "