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MANTRA
Derivation of the word
The word 'Mantra' is derived from Sanskrit. The verb 'man' means 'to think' or 'to do some mental activity'. 'Manas' means mind, 'manasik' means mental. The suffix 'tra' means 'tool'. So a literal translation of the word `mantra' would be "instrument of thought".

According to another interpretation, the suffix 'tra' is derived from 'trana' which means protection or liberation from bondage. The combination of man-tra would thus mean "thinking which protects or liberates the mind / body from the bondages of the world".

Origin and purpose
Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition and some other traditions as well. Their textual source is to be found in Vedas, Puranas and other religious texts.

According to ancient Indian belief, in the beginning there was sound, which reverberated as 'Aum' and from that sound everything came into existence.

A Mantra is a power word or group of words, creating sound waves, a transcending thought — a compelling force that vibrates not only in the body of the one who chants, but also subtly in the entire universe. Mantras are considered capable of creating transformation. Chanting of Mantras has a profound impact on the Astral and Causal Body. Mantras are said to have the power to heal, protect, relax, energize and recharge. Mantras are primarily used as spiritual conduits of concentration in the devotee. They invoke specific / special vibrations or sound waves that promote healing, insight and spiritual growth.

Mantras are energy-based sounds. Studies in sound symbolism suggest that vocal sounds have meaning ¬— we may or may not be aware of it. So even if we do not understand them, Mantras are not meaningless.

A Mantra is a divine combination of divine syllables or sounds which, when chanted with devotion, faith and emotion, gravitate towards the concerned god or goddess or deity and secure their divine blessings. Their textual source is to be found in Vedas, Puranas and other religious texts.

Thus a Mantra is a religious or mystical syllable or hymn. By repeated and regular chanting of a Mantra, a subtle link is formed between the human and the divine, and one could then obtain a desired boon within the power of the deity. There are specific / special Mantras for each purpose such as to obtain health, wealth, progeny, prosperity, fame, courage, success and spiritual advancement. Some Mantras are supposed to each have a deity who is propitiated by the chanting and the ritual prescribed, the most fundamental Mantras, like 'Aum,' the 'Shanti Mantra,' the 'Gayatri Mantra' and others all focus ultimately on the One reality.

Chanting of Mantra — Japa
It is important to pronounce the Mantra properly and as per the method or ritual, prescribed with it. Improper pronunciation of a Mantra can boomerang and inflict losses. For this reason great emphasis has to be put on correct pronunciation of Mantras and care should be taken while chanting them. One can enjoy the Mantra chanting and have better association with it if one has an understanding of its meaning.
'Mantra Japa' means repetition of Mantra, usually in cycles of auspicious numbers

The Mantra is internalized in five stages:
Likhita through writing
Vaikhari / Baikhari through speaking, by chanting aloud and which can be heard easily
Upamshu through whispering or in low voice that only the practitioner can understand
Manasa / Manasik through thinking, without chanting aloud or whispering, repeating it in mind
Ajapa through uninterrupted inner repetition
 
Effects
On a personal level, a Mantra impacts on the mental and psychological plane in a positive way. Chanting of a Mantra gives benefits such as increasing inner and outer radiance, providing the tonic that nourishes the inner being. It is said that regular chanting of Mantras stirs up positive emotions of love, peace, and contentment and dispels negative programming existing so far in the form of worry, anxiety and fear. Another benefit is said to be the enhancement of mental and physical vitality /energy.

On a general level, Mantras also affect the surroundings in a positive way, effecting purification of macro cosmos and micro cosmos.
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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TWELVE HOUSES IN A HOROSCOPE
What is a Horoscope?
A Horoscope is a picture of the Zodiac taken at a particular time and place on the earth, where the detailed layout of the planets is captured. Such a picture, cast with 12 Zodiac signs and with specific position of the planets in the sky, posited in 12 astrological Houses, and other details for a moment specified by the date of birth, time of birth and place of birth of an individual, is called the Horoscope of that individual.

In order to analyze a Horoscope, it is essential to understand what the different Houses of the Horoscope signify.

Generally, the 12 Houses signify the following aspects of an individual's life:
THE FIRST HOUSE
(The House of Self, also called the Ascendant)
It is the most important House as it represents the individual himself / herself. Thus, this House governs and signifies a lot of things connected with the individual in an overall manner such as body, character, strength, courage, general personality and vitality. It also represents physical appearance, general temperament, complexion, form and shape of an individual.

THE SECOND HOUSE
(The House of Wealth)
From the Second House you can judge the wealth and affluence, accumulation of wealth (bank balance), fortune, profits and gains, jewelry, precious stones, stocks and bonds. All the money matters are governed by this House.
This House also governs face, speech, eloquence, right eye, neck, memory, tongue, nose, teeth, chin and family, family relations, family members, truthfulness or falsehood, inclinations towards food tastes, choice of clothes. Buying or selling in general, areas of growth and opportunity, self-control, earning through self-effort. This is also a "maraka sthana" or a death-inflicting House.

THE THIRD HOUSE
(The House of Siblings and Courage)
You can get the information about the siblings (brothers, sisters), the neighbors and the people in general around you from the Third House, besides hobbies, talent, cleverness, individual prowess, courage, skill and short journeys. The Third House deals with mental and intellectual disposition, ability to achieve things and complete tasks. It influences communications, writings, relationships with siblings, messages, selfishness, sports, fights, and friends.
In medical astrology, it connotes right ear, neck, throat, shoulders, and longevity.

THE FOURTH HOUSE
(The House of Mother and Property)
The Fourth House deals with the mother, native place, residence, domestic environment, landed property, dwelling place, native place, personal vehicles, comforts and discomforts. This House influences landed property, fields, mines, buildings, houses, pastures, farms, orchards besides telling you about academic educations. The Fourth House indicates chest, lungs, heart and breast.

THE FIFTH HOUSE
(The House of Progeny)
The Fifth House denotes progeny (children), mental abilities, advanced learning and knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, psychological disposition and morals (good or bad). This House also indicates inclination, recreation, pleasure, analytical capabilities, gambling, speculation, creativity and use or misuse of our creative energies. It is the House of fascination for the members of the opposite sex, love affairs both legal and illicit, and influences / creates the sense of excitement and the craving of pleasure. Physically, it relates to stomach, upper abdomen, mind, back and pregnancy.

THE SIXTH HOUSE
(The House of Enemy, Debts and Disease)
The Sixth House deals with enemies, competition, hurdles, roadblocks, impediments, disappointments etc. You can get various other kinds of information from this House such as debts, health or lack of health, types of diseases, whether they will be curable or chronic. Also, this House indicates employment, employment-conditions / stability, lack of availability in the job, servants, subordinates, legal matters, maternal uncles, mental anguish, thefts and quarrels. Medically, it represents intestines, navel, accidents, wounds, illnesses and operations.

THE SEVENTH HOUSE
(The House of Marriage and Partnerships)
The Seventh House shows your spouse, marriage, sexual relationships and influences on these matters / aspects of life. This House deals with matters like partners in business, business ties and associations, journeys including travel to foreign countries. It represents type of spouse, conjugal life, relationship with spouse, secret love affairs.
In medical astrology, it represents the loin region, the urinary tract and the anal canal.

THE EIGHTH HOUSE
(The House of Accidents and Death)
The Eight House reflects your married partner's family system. Suddenness, unexpectedness, accidents, misery, misfortune, sorrow, strife, worries, disgrace, delay, dejection, disappointment, loss, obstruction, theft and robbery are represented by this House. It is the House that deals with sex, mystery, intrigue and the occult. It deals with taxes, fines, drugs and punitive measures. This House influences inheritance, legacy, wills, unearned income, insurance, pension, gratuity etc. Medically, it represents generative organs, place and surroundings of death, chronic disease, longevity and span of life.

THE NINTH HOUSE
(The House of Fate)
The Ninth House deals with luck, religious / spiritual inclinations, religious and devotional learning, law, philosophy, higher education, dreams, visions, intuition, and perceptions. This House shows faith, worship, pilgrimage, philosophy, fortune, meditation and charity. It represents distant places, foreign travel, long journeys, father, Guru, preceptor. It deals with experiential learning and your partner's brothers and sisters. In medical astrology, it represents thighs and hips.

THE TENTH HOUSE
(The House of Profession)
The Tenth House is given rules over important aspects such as profession, career, one's standing, social status, fame, acclaim and position in the world. It shows honor, dignity, public esteem, power and prestige. It deals with credit and recognition received for a task completed, success and status. Fame, ambition, authority, permanence in job, promotion, advancement in job, appointments, government, political power, and honor from government / ruler are usually seen from this House. Physically, it relates to knees and knee caps.

THE ELEVENTH HOUSE
(The House of Incomes and Gains)
Usually, the income and the gains of all kinds are associated with the Eleventh House. This House represents friends, society, community, favorites, ambitions and wish fulfillment, gain of wealth, success in undertakings, incoming wealth, prosperity, and dawn of fortune. Elder brother is represented by this House. It influences the nature of earning, money earned from profession and rewards. Medically, legs, ankles, left ear, recovery from illness are seen from the Eleventh House.

THE TWELFTH HOUSE
(The House of Expenses)
To know about expenses, loss of money, dissipation of efforts, and obstacles in life, you will examine the Twelfth House of the Horoscope. This House is associated with hospitals, diseases, prisons, losses, secrets, waste and extravagance, expenses — good or bad, deception and donations etc. It is also concerned with pleasures of the bed, distant travel, life and activities in foreign places. It is related with life after death and with psychic experiences.
Medically, the Twelfth House denotes feet, left eye, sleep disorders. Of course, different astrologers have slightly different experiences and opinions regarding the significance of the Houses in a Horoscope. Also, many new meanings keep emerging with passing time and changing context when it is applied to a Horoscope for interpretation, implying that astrology is an evergreen and live subject.

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