Japa; 14 Definition(s)


Japa means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Japa (जप) refers to a “muttering” of mantras; it is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Nāṭyaśāstra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Japa (जप) is a Sanskrit technical term translating to “the muttering of a mantra”. It is used throughout vedic and purāṇic literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Purāṇas

Japa (जप).—A group of Gods (devas) of the third Manvantara (age of Manu). In that Manvantara the Manu was Uttama, Indra was Suśānti, and the Devagaṇas (groups of gods) were Sudharmas, Satyas, Japas, Pratardanas, and Vaśavartins, the five groups, each consisting of twelve members. (See under Manvantara).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Japa (जप).—A group of gods of Uttama epoch.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 1. 4.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Japa (जप, “recitation”).—There are three kinds of japa: reciting in oneʼs mind,in a low voice, and aloud. The first is applied for śāntika (expelling evil), pauṣṭika (increasing welfare), and mokṣa (liberation); the second for vaśya (controlling others) and ākṛṣṭi (attracting others); the third for minutiae of daily life.

Source: Shodhganga: Mantra-sādhana: Chapter One of the Kakṣapuṭatantra
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Japa (जप) is a Sanskrit term referring to “mantra repetition”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

When repetition or meditation (japa) of a mantra is coupled with ideation it gives the desired result. The meditational form of a mantra is rhythmic and ideational. It starts with a single note and develops into chord and symphony. When the musical vibration created by the mantra-jap becomes one with the inner cosmic vibration, man hears the hitherto unheard sound of Praṇava and secs the unseen effulgence of Vajra-Sattva. He is lost into the utter state of motionlessness, the tranquil void which is the origin of all waves and vibrations. The process of repetition of a mantra is not mechanical. 

When a mantra is rehearsed over and over again with the ideation of God it produces the spiritual condition essential for the ascent of consciousness. After a long practice and devotion, the meditation of a mantra can be perfected and mastered. The mantra  is not to be read and re-read or to be recited without any esoteric and ethical discipline but it is to be worked out and every devatā must be made a living devatā. The potential power of a mantra is made kinetic when it is vivified and drenched with consciousness and incantation. With the incantation of a mantra, mind becomes pure and sublime, and the Sādhaka penetrates into the mystic and richer realm of consciousness and is united with the Bodhi-citta.

Source: Google Books: Tantra, Its Mystic and Scientific Basis

Japa (जप): A spiritual discipline in which a devotee repeats a mantra or the name of God. The repetition can be aloud, just the movement of lips or in the mind.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Japa is the repetition of a mantra for a fixed number of times. Normally this is in multiples of 108. Based on the teachings of Harihara in Praśna Mārga, we advise that this mantra should be recited for 8000 times in a period of forty days.

Source: Sanjay Rath: Maha Mrtyunjaya Mantra

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

japa : (m.) muttering. || japā (f.) China-rose.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Japa, (& jappa vv. ll.) (fr. japati) 1. muttering, mumbling. recitation A. III, 56=J. III, 205 (+manta); Sn. 328 (jappa) (=niratthaka-kathā SnA 334).—2. studying J. III, 114 (=ajjhena). (Page 278)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

japa (जप).—m (S) Repeating, in a muttering manner, passages from the Vedas, charms, names of a god &c.: also counting silently the beads of a rosary. 2 fig. Reiterated mention or expression (of a purpose or desire). v dhara & ghē.

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japā (जपा).—f S Shoe-flower or China rose,--the flower or the plant.

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jāpa (जाप).—m (Corr. from P) An answer. 2 A word uttered, an utterance or expression. 3 An engagement (i. e. a petition or requisition backed with a promise or menace) contracted before an idol.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

japa (जप).—m Repeating in a mattering manner names of a god, also counting silent- ly the beads of a rosary. Fig. Reiterat- ed mention or expression (of a pur- pose or desire).

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jāpa (जाप).—m An answer. An utterance. An engagement contracted before an idol.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Japa (जप).—a. [jap-kartari ac] Muttering, whispering.

-paḥ 1 Muttering prayers, repeating prayers &c. in an under-tone.

2) Repeating passages of the Veda or names of deities &c.; Ms.3.74; Y.1.22.

3) A muttered prayer.

4) Counting silently the beads of a rosary &c.

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Japā (जपा).—[jap-ac ṭāp] The China rose (the plant or its flower); सान्ध्यं तेजः प्रतिनवजपापुष्परक्तं दधानः (sāndhyaṃ tejaḥ pratinavajapāpuṣparaktaṃ dadhānaḥ) Me.36; निजदृशा स निपीय जपावलिम् (nijadṛśā sa nipīya japāvalim) Rām. Ch.4.73; जपापुष्पमिव रक्तलोचनः (japāpuṣpamiva raktalocanaḥ) Pratijnā.

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Jāpa (जाप).—[jap-ghañ]

1) Muttering prayers, whispering, murmuring.

2) A muttered prayer.

Derivable forms: jāpaḥ (जापः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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