Repeat the Name and Meditate – Sarada Devi
Repeating the name of God once, when the mind is controlled, is equivalent to a million repetitions when the mind is away from God. You may repeat the name for the whole day, but if the mind be elsewhere, that does not produce much result. The repetition must be accompanied by concentration. Then alone one gets the grace of God. One must repeat the mantra at least fifteen to twenty thousand times a day, then only one will get some results. One is sure to get it. One must practice first before one complains that one is not progressing. But then one must practice japa with a little concentration. People don’t practice and simply say, “Why am I not progressing spiritually?”
Do not give up japa even if the mind is unsteady and unwilling. You must go on with the repetition. And you will find that the mind is getting gradually steadier—like a flame in a windless corner. Any movement in the air disturbs the steady burning of the flame; even so the presence of any thought or desire makes the mind unsteady. The mantra must be correctly repeated. Incorrect utterance delays progress.
One should practice japa and meditation at regular times, giving up idleness. While living a Dakshineswar I used to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and practice japa and meditation. One day I felt a little indisposed and left the bed rather late. The next day I woke up still late through laziness. Gradually I found that I did not feel inclined to get up early at all. Then I said to myself, “Ah, at last I have fallen a victim to idleness.” There upon I began to force myself to get up early. Gradually I got back my former habit. In such matters one should keep up the practice with unyielding resolution.