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Many spiritual traditions view sound as the origin of all manifestations.  In the Bible, there is first the Word of God, as divine speech, and then here are light and manifestation.  Similar descriptions can be seen in ancient Hindu scriptures.  In these texts, mantra are often described for spiritual transformation and for accessing higher states of consciousness.  Hindu mantra such as OM are based on the ancient Sanskrit language which like Hebrew is an energy based language.

Mantra work at the level of energy rather than meaning; they create a vibration that permeates the cells and helps dislodge and release stored tensions, memories, feelings and thoughts.  They are the language of the chakras, an energy language.  Mantra can be used for solving problems as well as for spiritual unfoldment.  Mantra help evoke states of consciousness that are linked to higher principles of being.

Affirmations, unlike mantra, work on the subconscious in helping  reprogram or reinforce certain parts of our self that need alteration given our early conditioning.

Seed mantra are the smallest units that can be used, such as OM, AIM, etc.  These units can be combined for different purposes.  There are mantra for each of the chakras that when intoned can help their unfoldment.
These are:

root — LAM,  Ohhh as in pope
belly — VAM,  OO as in due
solar plexus — RAM,  AH as in father
heart — YAM,  Ay as in say or sam
throat — HUM,  EE as in see
mind — OM,  MMM or NNN
crown — silence or SO HAM,  AUM

A few other seed mantram are the following:

AIM — for enhancing artistic, scientific and educational endeavors
KLEEM — the principle of attraction
SHRIM — the principle of abundance
DUM — principle of protection from negation or what is feared
GUM — for removing obstacles
HRIM — to see through illusions

Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. practices acupuncture in his Bethesda, Maryland, Reston, Virginia,  and Washington D.C. office locations.