Lahiri Mahasaya Mentions of the Tantrasar and Mantras
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Mantras are sounds - syllables and medleys of syllables. Such sounds, syllables, words, or groups of words are considered capable of "creating transformation". Their uses and types vary - Mantra use is an essential part of the Hindu tradition and a customary practice within Buddhism too. 
The Sanskrit word mantra(m), comes from 'man' and 'think' and 'tra' (tools or instruments). Thus, the mantra is the tool of thought. Mantra Japa is repetition of mantra. These ways of repeating the mantra are considered the topmost ones: by thinking; by uninterrupted inner repetition. The effecs of a bija mantra are said to develop more readily in deep meditation. Simply by uttering the Bija [Seed] Mantras that are written in Tantra, one cannot have the greatest results. But if the mind is focused well enough and long enough in a deep, interior state, then the mantra becomes awakened, effective, it is held. [cf. introduction by the First Publisher, p. 128]
We hope the beneficial effects of the mantra and how it is used are strong enough to counteract those of routines, company, destinty and whatever. There could also be better ways to solve some situations or tangles we are in, for that matter.
There are simple mantras, as those Sivananda shows. [Link] And there are more complex, involved mantras. Many mantras are devised on top of formulas that consist of "building blocks" of standard Sanskrit words and phrases. Such mantras fairly often contains a root mantra that relates to the aim of chanting, or to whose presence is invoked. It could be God!
Namah implies "I honor and salute".
Shri denotes success.
Jai means victory to, i.e., hail.
Phat (start with an f) is said to shoo disturbing influences.
According to such a pattern, Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah involves Om and salutations to the god involved, and that is Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, in this case.
There are simpler mantras or ways to use mantras for deep meditation too, and without OM. Transcendental Meditation is well researched, and uplifting.
Mantras serve different ends. Many are for developing the enlightened mind. And here are some by which gurus like Lahiri probably fight – such mantras are at any rate used by yoga magicians, for attaining wealth, long life, and eliminating enemies. I give you some examples from Lahiri's mantra collection right here:
The Tantrasara is a work attributed to Abhinavagupta (ca. 950-1020 CE). He was a philosopher, aesthetician, musician, poet, and logician, and a proponent of Kashmir Shaivism philosophy, which is is rooted in the Tantras.
Practice Kriya Pranayama and See the Ocean is the All-Heart. Then go on from there
In the beginning, Oceans are seen, Voidness are seen, and the bright day is felt. 
One who has become tranquil sees many things. 
Whatever is seen at the After-effect-poise of Kriya should not be removed forcibly. 
"The Self is the self-luminous state, the omniscient ultimate Self." 
One who dies without having Kriya will go to the hell called Rorab . . . So practice Kriya. 
Practice Kriya every day. ▫ The field of practicing Kriya is the center at the heart. 
Whether one practices Kriya well or otherwise, Kriya is the means to achieve Oneness with the ultimate Self. [132, mod]
During the practice of Pranayam, the sound is heard from the left, the right and in the center. The sound is a honey-drunken fly, a flute, a ringing bell and the sky. Thereafter, one sees everything. 
One should not give Omkar Kriya to one who does not practice Kriya well. ▫ Drink milk and ghee, and eat sugar, sesame, coconut, Haritoki (yellow myrobalan) and Dluuri (an Amalaka fruit). Have a light meal. [135, 138]
Prostitutes who attract the body and mind, polluting both, consider themselves to be good.  (2)
It is written in Matsya Sukta that the food of one who has not received Kriya is like toilet and urine. 
"Give only Kriya to the Sudras. Give them Yonimudra and Kriya." 
Do not Ignore how to Practice for Sound Benefits
One should take care how to practice Kriya perfectly in a righteous way.  (3)
When one's behavior obstructs the Kriya practice, then one feels happiness which is really unhappiness. ▫ Kriya should be practiced not for benefits but rather abandoning expectations for results. [131, 132]
These seven persons are Adham, or lower grade Kriyabans: One who listens to the Sound; One who sees the Kutastha once; One who practices, asserting oneself; One who practices just to show others. [ [135, abr]
Through Kriya labour, nothing is impossible. ▫ One who does not practice Kriya goes to hell. ▫ It is written in the Gobinda Vrindavan, "One becomes a ghost if one does not practice Kriya." [136, 131, 135]
The Kularnaba Tantra says, "The Self is the Guru." Also the Vedas say the same. 
Kriya should not be given to the beastlike ones.  (4)
Practice Some Rounds of Kriyas to avoid Hell, Is the Teaching
"Perform all works practicing Kriya." ▫ "Somehow one should practice Kriya." [as quoted] [136, 138] (5)
Twelve Pranayams make Pratyahar. One hundred and forty four Pranayams make Dharana. [139 - maybe]
Practice Kriya three times a day - morning, noon and evening. When one becomes very old, one should practice at least once a day.  (6)
By doing kriya one may hold onto the Beatitude of the ultimate Self. This is called "kindness" [etc.]. ▫ Practice Kriya sitting straight. [131, 134] (7)
If the self is displeased, then Kriya practice resets him in Tranquility. 
Gbt: Mason, Paul. 108 Discourses of Guru Dev: The Life and Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath (1941-53). Vol 1. Penzance, Cornwall: Premanand, 2009.
Hw: Satyeswarananda, swami, tr. The Commentaries' Series Vol. III: Hidden Wisdom. With Lahiri Mahasay's
Commentaries. 2nd rev. ed. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1986.
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