A “mantra” Sanskrit: मंत्र is a sacrosanct expression, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or gathering of words in Sanskrit accepted by experts to have mental and profound forces. A mantra could conceivably have syntactic structure or exacting significance. The Sanskrit word mantra-(likewise n. mantram) comprises of the root man-“to think” (additionally in manas “mind”) and the postfix – tra, assigning apparatuses or instruments, thus a strict interpretation would be “instrument of thought”
The utilization, structure, capacity, significance, and sorts of mantras change as per the school and theory of Hinduism and of Buddhism. Mantras serve a focal part in tantra. In this school, mantras are thought to be a hallowed recipe and a profoundly individual custom, viable simply after start.
Mantras come in many structures, including ṛc (verses from the Rigveda for instance) and sāman (melodic serenades from the Sāmaveda for instance). They are normally melodic, numerically organized meters, accepted to be thunderous with numinous qualities. At its most straightforward, the word ॐ (Aum, Om) fills in as a mantra. In more modern structures, mantras are melodic expressions with otherworldly elucidations, for example, a human yearning for truth, reality, light, everlasting status, peace, love, information, and activity.
Mantra japa is a practice of repetitively uttering the same mantra for an auspicious number of times, the most popular being 108, and sometimes just 5, 10, 28 or 1008. Japa is found in personal prayer or meditative efforts of some Hindus, as well during formal puja (group prayers). Japa is assisted by malas (bead necklaces) containing 108 beads and a head bead (sometimes referred to as the ‘meru’, or ‘guru’ bead); the devotee using his/her fingers to count each bead as he/she repeats the chosen mantra. Having reached 108 repetitions, if he/she wishes to continue another cycle of mantras, the devotee turns the mala around without crossing the head bead and repeats the cycle. Japa-yajna is claimed to be most effective if the mantra is repeated silently in the mind (manasah).
Notable Hindu mantras
Guru Mantra – Om Namah Shivay ॐ नमः शिवाय
Its translation is “salutations (namas) to Shiva”, preceded by the mystical syllable “Om”. The syllable “ya” at the end of the mantra denotes an offering. Thus the mantra Om Namah Sivaya actually means “I offer to Siva a respectful invocation of His Name”, and not merely “I respectfully invoke His Name”. Om Namah Shivaya mantra is sung by devotees in prayers and recited by yogis in meditation. It is associated with qualities of prayer, divine-love, grace, truth, and blissfulness.
Traditionally, it is accepted to be a powerful healing mantra beneficial for all physical and mental ailments. Soulful recitation of this mantra brings peace to the heart and joy to the [Ātman] or Soul. Sages consider that the recitation of these syllables is sound therapy for the body and nectar for the soul [Ātman]. The nature of the mantra is the calling upon the higher self; it is the calling upon Shiva, the destroyer deity, to aid in the death (destruction of ego) and rebirth achieved during meditation. This goes generally for mantras and chants to different gods, which are different aspects of the higher self.
The Gayatri mantra is considered one of the most universal of all Hindu mantras, invoking the universal Brahman as the principle of knowledge and the illumination of the primordial Sun. The mantra is extracted from the 10th verse of Hymn 62 in Book III of the Rig Veda.
ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्
Oṁ Bhūrbhuvaswaha Tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥa prachodayāt,
“Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine Light (Vivifier, Sun). May he stimulate our understandings (knowledge, intellectual illumination).
असतोमा सद्गमय । तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय । मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥ asato mā sad gamaya, tamaso mā jyotir gamaya, mṛtyor māmṛtaṃ gamaya.
(Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.3.28)
“from the unreal lead me to the real, from the dark lead me to the light, from death lead me to immortality.
Oṁ Sahanā vavatu
Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ.
“Om! Let the Studies that we together undertake be effulgent;
“Let there be no Animosity amongst us;
“Om! Peace, Peace, Peace.
– Taittiriya Upanishad 2.2.2
There are numerous other important mantras.