Shlokas or Verses of poetry are not the same as Mantras. Shlokas are poetic verses, that are beautiful and enjoyable. The verses of the Itihasas (Ramayana and Mahabharata), the Puranas, the Upanishads are mostly shlokas, some stotras and very few mantras.
The Vedas are full of many mantras that you can chant as you meditate. (It is risky to mispronounce them). Even today the word nimantranam means invitation. A Mantram is an invocation. Many Indians believe that the right sounds (sabdam) can invoke the Devas, even if you don’t know what they mean.
Shlokas also have chandas like Mantras, but Mantras have svaras which s’lokAs do not have.
That is why a blessing in Sanskrit by a sat (good) brahman is considered far more effective then a general one in another language. In some brahmin homes even today, english is not allowed at meal time and at dinner time, sanskrit words are preferred to the local languages.
See Also : Gayathri Mantram
It is believed that mantras can invoke the devas.
Our perception of time is 1 event at a time per place and 1 event at a time per person, with a clear idea of a past which influences the present and the future.
The reality is that all events and all times exist “simultaneously’. Every space time co-ordinate has an event in it.
Going to the right place, say Mathura, and shortcircuiting the time, you can be present at Krishna’s birth.
Standing in bangalore and short-circuiting, time-space, you can be in Mathura at the time of Krishna’s birth.
(You must occupy a space not occupied by other objects…)
When we invoke devas, say Ganesha, we offer a clean place, on which we place a Vigraham and we invite him into it. So he is present in a subtle form and occupies the gross object for the purpose of accepting our hospitality, listening to our needs and granting our wishes.
For this to work we say special mantras in Sanskrit. Mantras are special sanskrit sounds and words to be spoken in a special way. If we don’t know the mantras, we take a brahman’s help.
Holy places are places where Krishna, Rama, Buddha, and other holy people lived and walked. When you go to a place of piligrimage, you only need to short-circuit the time, place is already taken care of.
At the instant of short-circuit, Krishna is there as well as here, because the place-times have coalsced. You can connect with anyone from the past or from the future.. (if you have knowledge of future events.)
Similarly if you are good you can take birth in a ‘previous’… good… yuga!
The graph is one of space-time, with every co-ordinate marked by an event…
This is arough idea, I am writing down so I don’t forget it…, when I detail it, I shall put it on old thoughts…
If you invite any Deva/Devi into yourself, at any 1 instant, either you or he/she will be present in your body….
The anology is like gchat. The event occurs in my space time as well as in yours.
A very special sound is the Omkaram. More about this later.
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Astro-Mantras : As per this web-page, the vachika mantras have to be chanted loudly, the upansu mantras should be whispered quitely, the manasika mantras should be chanted mentally.