A mantra is a set of sacred names or syllables, combined in such a way that it attracts spritual power like a magnet. Most relegions believe that a mantra has the power to create or destroy.
The underlying principles of mantra work in a defenite sequence. When a mantra is repeatedly chanted in the right style, a stage comes when it acquires a self - generating power and the mantra is imbibed by the practitioner effortlessly. Continued repetition of a mantra, releases the potency of the mantra and a spritual awakening is experienced and the practitioner is united with the god.
With regular chanting, a mantra begins to purify the practitioner, it eliminates the concern, justification, gratification of the "self " and finally turns powerful emotions towards God, culminating in the realization of the Self / God. This is an unparalled benefit of mantras. It is better if one understands the meaning of the mantra and meditates on it's meaning while chanting, this increases the speed of attaining the goal, however the mechanical chanting also bears results but at a slower pace.
A certain number of repetitions are required for a mantra to bring about the desired results and the counting may go upto few lakhs. You may calculate how many times you are repeating it in 2/3 hours, or whatever time you are chanting daily and then how many months or years are required to complete the number. It is best to fix daily hours for chanting and then continue till the results begin to show and then pass on to the next discipline.
The result of concentrating on anything is to attract its qualities towards oneself. As we meditate, on the meaning of the mantras, it's virtues begin to enter our body and mind.
Gayatri mantra is ,perhaps, the most ancient mantra, which is capable of liberating the humans from the bondage of " maya " (illusion) if chanted with proper understanding of its meaning. This mantra alone is capable of providing self/ god realization .
Om, Bhuh, Bhavah, Swah,
Tat Savitur Vareneyam,
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi,
Dhio yo Nah Prachodayat.
It means :
Since the Earth (Bhuh), the planets (Bhavah) and the galaxies (Swah) are moving at a very great speed, the sound Om (the name of formless God) is produced.
That God (Tat), who manifests Himself in form of the light of the stars (Savitur) is worthy of respect (Vareneyam).
We all therefore should meditate (dheemahi) upon the light (Bhargo) of the deity ( Devasya) and should also do japa (chanting of Om).
May he (Yo) guide our (Nah) intellect (Dhio) in the right direction (Prachodayat).
In more simpler words it would mean :
Oh! God you are omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. You are knowledge and bliss. You are the destroyer of fear and the creator of the universe, and you are the greatest of all. We bow and meditate upon your light. You guide our intellect in the right direction.
Gayatri mantra is chanted for the sole purpose of liberation from the bondage of maya or illusion and for achieving enlightment. There is no desire to demand anything from God. Then there are other mantras, which help in achieving specific goals, which would be dealt with, in forthcoming articles.
Till then happy reading