Mantra, exactly means 'revealed sound', means a sound or mixture of sounds which develop spontaneously.
In mantra meditation, definite sounds are repeated (japa) to accomplish a meditative state.
A Mantra is a combination of sound vibrations which have a result on the mental and spiritual consciousness.
Although traditionally given by a Guru, in the absence of a Guru, the practitioner may choose his mantra. An important criterion for mantra selection is that it must please the mind fully when spoken orally.
Mantra chanting creates powerful vibrations which are said to be focussed to the right "chakras" to draw divine forces. This procedure is said to mysteriously cure the pious, physical & psychological body. It is significant that when the mantra is chanted, the words and their rhythm must be enjoyed and one must give up oneself to this experience.
The power of Mantra lies not in the meaning of the word but through the vibratory effects of the sound that they produced when spoken verbally or psychologically. In fact, a Mantra should not be confused with religion.
A Mantra should not be translated as this has the result of altering the sound vibrations wherein lies the strength of the Mantra. Repetition of a Mantra forms the basis of Mantra Meditation. Mantras for pious evolution should be practiced for a fixed amount of time each day. Repeating a mantra too much may not be right for susceptible or psychic people as it may affect them adversely. Generally, if you repeat a mantra for about 10 minutes every day, then, within a few days you will know whether the vibrations feel right for you. Mantra Meditation is the easiest and safest form of meditation and can be practiced by anyone at anytime and under any circumstances. The most ordinary way of practicing mantra Meditation is Japa. Japa (exactly means 'rotate') is performed by repeating a mantra in sync with the turning round of a Japa Mala. A Japa Mala is a rosary of 108 beads where each bead is turned after the mental or audible recitation of the mantra. Using a Japa Mala for Mantra Meditation is very efficient as it provides an anchor to bring the mind back as it experiences wavering thoughts. The Mantra combined with the Japa Mala provides concrete anchors to which the thoughts are focussed back as they spin out of control. That is why; Japa Meditation is one of the most recommended forms of meditation for the beginner.