How to read sacred texts - The best time to read scriptures is in the morning when all is calm - Mahesh Bang

Q:  I would like to buy the Shiv Puran to read. Kindly provide me details on how to read the Shiv Puran.

A: The Shiv Puran is published by Gita Press in Gorakhpur. Gita Press was founded in 1923 by divine inspiration to propagate the Gita, serving humanity for truth and peace. It is the greatest non-profit organisation in India and promotes the most widely read spiritual text all over the world. You can buy texts online.

Sawan is around the corner. So, you can start on the first day of Sawan, that is July 5, and finishes on the last day of Sawan, which is August 4.

However, the Sawan fast starts on July 4 from Guru Purnima. You will get many benefits.

The best time to read the scriptures is in the morning as there is calmness in the mind, serenity in the atmosphere and you will be able to tap the brilliant cosmic energy radiating at that time.

But in today’s time it may not be practical so whenever you have available time you can read it.

Do not read it in the bedroom. Read while sitting and also after you bath and wash your hands. You can also finish reading in a year. It’s a very auspicious and fortunate opportunity to read Shiv Puran.You are lucky to have this powerful spiritual text in your possession.

Q: Please let me know how to use the Japa Mala.

A: Japa Mala is a personal, spiritual instrument and so should be treated with care and respect. Japa Mala should not be exchanged with another person, not placed on the ground or thrown around. It should be kept safe in a special type of bag.

This bag protects the mala and, used properly, ensures your index finger does not touch the beads while chanting.

The index finger represents your ego and a mind looking outside for faults and blame.

A conscious effort not to touch the Japa Mala with your index finger, reminds you, the practitioner, to be mindful of your own ego that might get in the way of spiritual progress.

A second rule is not to cross the Meru during chanting.

Japa Mala has a bead that stands out, called the Meru (same name as the spiritual mountain).

One starts to chant starting with the adjacent bead and ends with an adjacent bead on the other side of the Meru.

Please be reminded not to cross the Meru while chanting.

You need to sit on a proper seat for chanting, ideally on a seat covered with a red cloth, in a comfortable position.

If you have enough flexibility, you may sit in padmasana (lotus pose) or sukhasana (a cross-legged comfortable pose).

The body should not come directly in contact with the floor – hence a towel at least is recommended on the floor, if not a seat.

If you need back support, you may sit on a chair.

Please be reminded that the rules are guidelines for the best results and what is important is the attitude with which one pursues the practice.

Some mantras do not require strict rules and regulations.

You can chant while walking or even before sleeping or while in a deep rest state.

You may chant a mantra multiple times a day, each time using a mala of 54 beads or 108 beads.

A place that is quiet and free from disturbance is chosen for japa. You may choose the space around the altar at home or any clean place.

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