The word Mantra is literally translated from Sanskrit as “instrument of thought”. It is often described as the equivalent of a hymn or sacred song. Mantras can often be intelligible in the form of a verse or can be unintelligible in the form of a word or sound for example the sound “Om”.
Mantra is said to quiet the habitual fluctuations of the mind and the consciousness and enable us to veer towards our true self. This is the spiritual purpose of mantra but sometimes mantras have been used for worldly purposes too such as a remedy for illness.
Mantra can be repeated in japa form as a whisper or utterance during meditation or in Kirtana form as a song or chant.
My favourite Sanskrit mantra is:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute to the happiness and freedom for all beings.
I like this as it reminds me that my own actions affect others and what I put out into the world has an impact and that my purpose is to ensure that impact is positive.
If you want to have a go at mantra then try sitting quietly and repeating the above to yourself.