Thoughts on Mantra: 333 is the New 1000
Time is the most precious commodity
It is virtually indisputable that of the rare commodities a person could waste, time is the most precious. A sadhak living the lifestyle of a busy student or corporate persona must indeed carefully ration their time.
In this regard, I would like to present a modest help for those practising mantra yogis who find it difficult to incorporate a fixed time for japa in an unpredictable routine.
The ‘Easy’ Thousand
There is a short cut which is prescribed in scripture – if one cannot complete a full 1000 recitations of any mantra during an ongoing daily routine, then one is permitted to chant exactly 333 as an equivalent. This is known as the Easy Thousand.
Why does this work? First, like a teacher excusing a student from a rare indiscretion, know that for Vedic mantras and practices, the Devas are all-knowing and merciful in excusing the dedicated aspirant from exceptional circumstances. Secondly, it is noteworthy that 333 sums to 9 – a symbolic figure for infinity (read the prior post on Why 108? for more information). Therefore, it may be considered a sanctified count. In practical terms, it is a shade below half-way; thus freeing up more than enough time from meditation practices for the sadhak to complete whatever extraordinary duty they may have to.
When, where and how
Remember: this technique should be used on that rare occasion when one interrupts their usual nityakarmas due to some one-off time management difficulty. Straight after japa one should mentally prostrate themselves before the deity of the mantra and apologise for taking such a shortcut.
On the other hand, for a beginner of mantra japa moving to an intermediate level and looking to increase their count beyond 108x to a new plateau, chanting 333x daily is an easy stepping stone to 1000x later on.