I have written in my earlier post on the Definition of Mantra .
In this article I shall deal with the sources of Mantras.
The uniqueness of Hinduism is that it is not Theories,but are experiences of the Seekers.
An individual,who seeks Truth,arrives at it through various paths, according to his disposition and abilities.
So, strictly speaking,there is no path that is superior or interior to others.
Experiences are unique.
So are the Mantras.
Mantras are one of the sources for Self Realization.
There are numerous Mantras as there are numerous practitioners and consequently numerous experiences.
As these are personal,they were not classified or grouped for easy reference.
Later when people wanted to look for mantras, classifications were made.
Most of the Mantras are from Vedas.
Another source is Tantric Texts.
Classifications based on
Letters with meaning and without meaning.
According to Gender of the deity.
Yet another classification classification is based on the number of letters.
. With meaningful words: Mantrassuch as the Gayatri mantra have a specific meaning.
B. Without meaningful words:Some mantras pertaining to spirits and others like ‘Gan gan ganata bote’ as chanted by Saint Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon or monosyllables such as lam, vam, sham, etc. which represent various spiritual energy chakras in our body appear meaningless at face value. Some of these seemingly meaningless mantras too have a deep meaning. For instance the Sanskrut letter Om is composed of the three letters a (अ), u (उ) and m(म). These represent the sattva, rajaand tama components respectively. Om, a combination of the three components (trigunas) is in fact a symbol of the one beyond the three components (trigunatit). Vowels have high frequencies, most consonants have medium frequencies, whereas y (य), r (र), v(व) and h (ह) have low frequencies. Om, however has all these three frequencies.
4.3 According to the number of letters
A. The Bija Mantra,monosyllable
Moola mantra two to ten letters
Pinda Mantra,,12 to 20 letters
Mala Mantra,more than 20,one uses Rosary or Japa Mala to count.
4.According to the gender
In the science of Tantra masculine and neuter mantras are called mantras while the feminine ones are known as vidya(knowledge).
A. Masculine [solar (soura)] mantras: Mantras concluding with words like ‘hum, phat’ are considered as masculine mantras. Such mantras help in vanquishing enemies or in changing the minds of others. Mantras of the Sun deity too are masculine mantras.
B. Feminine [lunar (som)] mantras:Mantras concluding with words like tham, svaha or svadha should be considered as feminine mantras. Such mantras are useful in curing illnesses. Mantras of the moon are considered to be feminine mantras.
C. Neuter mantras: Mantras ending with ‘namaha’ are considered as neuter mantras. Such mantras are used to fulfill some desire.