Each Mantra includes the name of the Rishi-Muni who gave it to the world. It also consists of the name of the Devata or a supernatural being as the informing power.
The Bija or seed is a significant word which gives it a special power. Sometimes this word is a sound which harmonises with the key note of the individual who is using it and expresses the essence of that Mantra.
The overall result is analogous to the Mantra as a flower springing from its seed. All the Mantras have potency or power. There is no higher or lower category.
Once, Maharshi Narad asked Brahma, about crossing the evil Kali Yug while traveling the entire world.
Brahma told him the importance of Mantra Jaap. One can shake off the evil effects of Kali just by uttering the name of Lord Narayana.
This removes veil of ignorance of Jiva surrounded by evils. Like the sun shines in full effulgence after the clouds are dispersed, Para Brahman alone shines in full splendour.
All the sins are purified, and he attains total oneness with Brahman. So in KALI-YUG [iron age] Mantra Jaap is the easy way to overcome miseries.
It is difficult for common individuals who have unstable stages of mind and possess common feelings.
There are numerous stories of saints in all religions who cured illnesses, brought people back from the dead, etc.
Those saints had attained this position just by chanting the name of their respective Gods. They already knew the answer to the question, “what is Mantra?” So there must be some truth to this matter.
We are but lowly commoners. Granted, that we do not have the immense devotion like those saints. And we do not know the exact, deep knowledge and answer to the question, ‘what is Mantra?’.
But that does not necessarily mean we cannot do something about it.
For example, just by chanting OM, we can cure some diseases like blood pressure, heart troubles etc.
In Maharashtra, peasants, or villagers, walk miles and miles to reach Pandharpur in thousands of numbers.
Where does this strength, endurance and determination come from?
They just chant ‘Vitthal…Vitthal’, the name ofone of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Likewise, those who are very old and weak also undertake a long and arduous journey to Amarnath.
How do they do this?
They keep chanting the Mantras of Lord Shiva.
Do these people know what is Mantra?
No. They don’t have an answer to that. But they have something better – faith.
So you see the power residing in the name of our Gods?
Do you need any more proof?
If these ordinary people can understand the power, we, as urban citizens can also chant some select Mantras regularly.
And get rid of our depression, misery, infertility, enmities, failures and all other vices in our lives while doing so!
As mentioned above, it is actually the science of sound and mind. The sound of these Mantras involves vibrations at specific frequencies. The energy or ‘Shakti’ exists in the form of vibrations generated by these sounds.
It has been proved by many scientists and ‘Siddha’ yogis.
An experiment performed by Mrs. Watts Hughes showed that when she played her special instrument called as Idiophone, the viewers saw different figures. For example, dust, geometric patterns, stars, snakes, etc.
Just by hearing some typical sounds with our eyes closed we canimagine various forms of deities. Everyone is a devotee of different deities.
So chanting their respective Mantras fill their hearts with ‘Satvik Gun’ (optimal virtues) from those specific deities, to overcome the evils of Kali Yug.
Our life has four aims to get by peacefully, which are specified in the holy books of our religions - Dharma (duty), Arth (money), Kaam (desire) and Moksha (immortality, or release from our physical form).
If we achieve this in proper order, we are freed from the cycle of life, death and rebirth. This can be done with a sound mind in a sound body.
When life is full of miseries such as sadness, disappointment, jealousy, etc., the mind becomes fickle. It prevents us from taking appropriate decisions.
In such times, our Gods appear to us in the form of their respective Mantras. They pacify our troubled minds and show us the right path.
Our Rishis have formulated them with extensive research and experimentation.
For example, if you want to be loved by everyone, the following Mantra of Mahamaya helps you out:
For perfect usage, you have to follow some strict rules. But due to day-to-day commitments, we are not able to comply properly.
In such cases, we should sit in front of the deity in which you consider yourself to have maximum faith.
Then concentrate on the form of that deity and chant the respective Mantra 108 times.
For optimal results, does this on a daily basis without fail, just like you brush your teeth and take a bath. So there you have it.
You do not need a comprehensive explanation for the question ‘what is Mantra?’. Just enough to let the deities know that you still remember them and know their importance.
And, you will start to find positive things happening in your life, as if they are miracles.