This is a good discussion to share our knowledge one another. As all of us are not sarvagnas, we have to share our knowledge.
Generally Chanting of mantra is of for two reasons. One for to fulfill our desires and another for to reach god. Based on these mantras are classified as Loukika mantras ( used to fulfill our desires) and moksha mantras ( Used to reach god). But some mantras can be used for both purposes.
Every mantra has Shadangas ie. six parts. 1.Rishi 2. Chandas 3. Devatha 4. Beejam 5. Keelakam 6. Shakti. If we chant mantra with knowledge about these six parts of that mantra, then we will get benefits quickly.
Rishi means the person who did japa of that mantra for the first time and get sidhi of that mantra. Some rishis also discover mantras, then they will become rishi of that mantra.
Chandas says actual pronunciation of that mantra. That is how should we pounce that sound ( mantra) while doing japa.
Devatha is the god who will give benifits, when we are doing that mantra. Generally for each mantra there will be a Adhisthana Devatha with specific dhyana rupa.
Beejam resembles the basic character (tatva) of the mantra. for example jala tatva(soft), agni tatva (hard) etc.
Keelakam is the key to open the lock to get results. As we can not see or get any thing from the house with out opening the lock, in the same manner we can not get any result from that mantra with out performing keelakam. In doing mantra japa, we should do this for getting results.
Shakti is the power of mantra. This is the power we get, when we chant a mantra.
These are the six parts of Mantra japam (Shadangas). Inspite of these there are some other things also present in manta japam. They are Kavacham, Sankalpam and Ardham.
Kavacham is the protection from bad elements to obstruct mantra japam. Some times there may be some dangers will come based on our capacity and suitability to do chanting of that mantam. to over come these we have to wear this protection coat ie. Kavacham
Sankalpam, this is the most important thing of mantra japam that gives results for chanting. Sankalpam means the reason for what we are doing this chanting? We have to setup a goal to do mantra japam. ie. to reach god or to fulfill any desire etc. With out goal setting the manta japam may not continue for lomg time and the benifits for doing mantra japam are not recognisable. That means the effect of mantra japam will be useful in any other means, we may recognise that or not. So to get perfect result from mantra japam we have to put sankalpam.
Ardham is the meaning of that mantra, Knowing meaning of that mantra will clarify several doubts regarding that mantra.
These are all for mantra japam to fulfill our desires ie. Loukika mantras. But in case of Moksha mantras ie. like Rama mantram or Namasshivaya (panchakshari) we should care for the devoyion to wards the diety, not for Shadangas of Mantra japam. Although Moksha mantras will have shadangas, they can give result only thrugh chanting. Valmiki is the best example. He did Rama nama japam in reverse, with out knowing meaning, Shadangas. But he reach his goal, get moksha, became a maharshi and wrote Ramayana.
The god sees only the devotion towards him and not his knowledge about mantram. With out devotion, God will not take into consideration, even though the person is fully aware of mantra and did crores of japam. Doing only japam with devotion will give full results.
Sarada matha (wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) also specifies this point. Do the Nama smarana at least with minimum of devotion. This will surely give the ultimate result, and you can get moksha.