MANTRAS - CHANTS - PRAYERS - AFFIRMATIONS
The traditional concept of a Mantra is so foreign to Western thinking that it is very difficult for many people to wrap their head around it. As a result, its definition has been media-morphed to synch up with what almost everyone identifies with these days - the latest feel good self-help book or TV talk show version of the old classic "Every day and in every way I am getting better and better".
But let's get back to basics.
A Mantra is a set of sacred sounds or syllables, which, through mental repetition, creates a vibration which breaks through psychical/physical barriers to reveal what are normally hidden aspects of reality.
Different Mantras may reveal different aspects. Words could never adequately describe these aspects, but consider actually experiencing every grain of sand in the Universe, or quantum entanglement, transcending time and space. Or keep it simple, with a Love Mantra, or a Mantra that accesses the mind-set of a great saint.
(I know - How can a thought create a vibration? And how can a nonsense syllable be more powerful than words? You just have to try it and you will see.)
A Prayer is a mental or verbal call for intervention by an external force.
Prayer is an extremely powerful force for effecting change.
An Affirmation is a meaningful phrase which, when repeated mentally or verbally, creates a deep furrow of thought in the mind which plows over the mental ruts of previous bad habits. In other words, it is an internal call on the mind to change itself.
In this case, words and their meaning are of key importance in actually effecting a change to the thought processes of the brain.
A Chant is - well, if you have a deep affection for music then you realize that singing (chanting), whether it be meaningful words or rhythmic nonsense, can excite one both physically and emotionally into a state of profound ecstasy.
KRIYA YOGA MANTRA
Remember the two fundamental rules of Kriya Yoga:
Rule #1: There are no rules to be broken.
Rule #2: When in doubt, refer to Rule #1
I could list dozens of draconian rules from the various traditions surrounding the ancient practice of Mantra, but it can be summed up with: "Step on a sidewalk crack - you'll break your mother's back". If you want to believe in that kind of thing, fine, but don't let anyone put their own personal guilt trip on you about rules.
With intuition, you can choose your own Mantra.
Your Mantra is empowered by the act of asking God to empower it.
The power of your Mantra cannot be lost, stolen, forfeited or revoked.
Mantra can be performed at virtually any time of the day during virtually any activity by a person in virtually any state of health. (Yes, with practice, you can do Mantras in your sleep.)
This discussion of Mantra is concluded with the Durga Mantra (shown phonetically) which deflects negative vibrations and neutralizes evil influences.
OM HREEM DOOM DURGA DEVYAY NAMAHA!