Matra is utterance of a sacred word or a group of words that can create some psychological and spiritual vibrations in your mind and body. Uttering/chanting/hymning of a mantra is usually called as Japa in Sanskrit (Holy language from Vedic period. Hindu sacred books of Vedas and Upanishads are written in this language). A Mala is traditionally used for Japa to keep count of the repletion of mantras. Mantras can be found in religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Most of mantras found in Hinduism are formed during Vedic period ( 1000BC to 500 BC ). Simplest form of a mantra is chanting of ॐ (pronounced ‘Aum’, Read more )
There are different schools on thought on this topic. Some believe that mantras chanted have a meaning that are tied to the core philosophies of Hinduism. But some think that mantras cannot be literally translated. There are mantras that are transmitted to next generation verbally over last 1000 years. It is the music and mathematical precision in composition that draws devotees into it.
Irrespective of their meaning or meaninglessness, practitioners of Japa can feel a positive sensation and peacefulness.
Japa of mantras can also be used as an instrument for Dhyana Yoga . Yogi can opt a mantra or a word that they want to vibrate in their mind during meditation and use a beaded Mala to chat them. Mala will help the practitioner to disengage their mind from counting. A mantra can be repeated for an auspicious number of times, the most popular being 108, and sometimes just 5, 10, 28 or 1008. If you are using a 108 beaded mala, yogi can choose to repeat the mantra for another cycle. Once can decide how many cycle they want to do on particular day.
Read more about some of most notable mantras from Hinduism.
Read More: Gayatri Mantra
Read More: Pavamana Mantra
Read More Shanti Mantra