1. Mantram is tightly connected to Aagamaas and Tantram . The root for Mantra is “mann” or to think . Therefore Mantram is a Bhakti-driven thought based utterance . When recited , it produces spiritual benefits and brings one close to the UpAsanaa Moorthy and ultimately lead to Moksham
2. There are Vaidhika MantrAs and Loukika Mantras for gaining some worldly benefits ( wealth , Freedom from disease etc). Vaidhika Mantraas like Gaayatri and AstAkshari are for spirtual upliftment and deliverance ultimately from the cycles of SamsAra. MantrAs have to be received thru an AchAryan .
3. MantrAs consist of aksharaas ( letters) arranged in a particular sequence with a Chandas ( poetic meter) , Rishi , Deavataa and other unique features. Atarva Veda is considered the source of all MantrAs . There are additional Mantra Texts which describes the details on drawing the YantrAs ( diagramatic representations of the Mantra for external worship) . Kerala has deep involvement in Mantra SaastrAs and using Tantram for AaarAdhanam at their temples . When we visit the 13 dhivya desams sung by AzhwArs in KeraLa , we will not see the use of VaikhAnasa or PaancharAtra Aagamaas there . Taantric worship has been adopted in Kerala . NaarAyaNa of Kerala ( 16th centrury ) has authored Tantrasaara Sangraha with a lot of details on mantraas /Tantraas . Mantra Saastram is an ocean and it is better to stick to a few MantrAs given to one by an AchAryan .
4. Even for One Moorthy , there are many Mantrams starting from YekAkshari to maala Mantrams consisting of long passages used for Homams and Japams . The shorter ones need more spirtual discipline compared to Maala Mantrams . There are YekAkshara , shadakshara , dhvAdasa akshara Mantrams . Swamy Desikan in many of His stotrams incorporated the mantrams for us , who might not have the rigorous approach to practice Mantra Japams . For Sri Sudarsanar , there are 41 separate Mantrams but there is no need to go after all of them and loose one’s concentration. For Sri Hayagrivan , there are Mantrams and linked DhyAna slOkams for (1) Sri SantAna Hayagrivan ( for progeny) , Sri VaageeSa Hayagrivan for power of speech , Sri Vidhyaa Hayagrivan for becoming an AchAryan, etc
5.0: Every Mantra has six parts : (1) Rishi (2) Chandas (3) Devataa (4)Beejam (5) Keelakam and(6) Sakti .
5.1: Rishi is the person who saw these Mantras thru tapas and did the Japam first .
5.2: Chandas is the way to pronounce the mantra . It can also be a meter like Anushtup or Sragdara if the Mantram is in the form of a slOkam .
5.3: DevatA is the God who confers the blessings due to the performance of the Mantra Japam
5.4: Beejam is the seed utterance linked to the Mantra Tattvam .
5.5 : Keelakam is the key to open the lock of the Mantram to get the Phalans .
5.6: Sakti is the power of the Mantram .
In addition , there are Kavacham , sankalpam and Artham ( Meaning) for the individual mantrams. Kavacham is like an armour to ward off obstructions to Mantra Japam . Sankalpam is the statement of the reason for performing the Japam . This is very important portion of the Japam . Artham is the Meaning for the Mantram .above are collectively called Shadanga NyAsam
associated with Mantra Japam .
It must be remembered that BhagavAn or the UpAsanaa Moorthy relates only to the BhAvam and devotion of the devotee . Without that Bhakti and BhAvam , any number of recitation will not yield any result . With Bhakti and BhAvam , He overlooks any errors in chanting and rushes to the devotee .