I dont understand the power of stotras and mantras that you are discussing in the blog here. I understand that they are all powerful. I have few questions. Please answer them if you dont mind. a) Definition of a Mantra b) Definition of a stotra
A Mantra - is nothing but the Subtle form of the Deity. Thats why its called Moola Mantra.
The Mantra and the deity are not Two different entities..
While the physical form of the Lord (gross form) is identified by his color, attire, weapons etc his subtle form is known by the mantra. Thats why we call it powerful.
Each deity has a separate mantra - the mantras are filled with beejas (cryptical words) which has the potential to invoke the divinity. And people may or maynot be able to sustain the enery generated by the moola mantra.
Only a Guru can know which mantra may suit the sishya and help the sishya. This is why Iam keep on insisting that Guru Upadesham is a must.
In simple IT language the Moola Mantra upadesham is the password for you. But the mere password is of no use. For that you need a login id - which can be given only by the Guru.
So only with both login id and password you can enter the world of upasana.
For this reason shastras insist that Mantras has to be got only from a Guru and not learnt on own.
The Golden Rule is -
The Mantra, the Deity and the Guru - All the three are one and the Same
Stotras are poetic texts which praise the particular deity. This is also called as Stuti. These are generally called Slokas. This may be written by any Rishis, Devas or Poets...
These can be chanted by anyone to get the blessings of Devi, Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha or Sastha.
Certain stotras are made out of divine intervention and these stotras easily pleases the Lord and gets his grace.
For example Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram was chanted by Bheeshma at the end of the Mahabharata war by Bheeshma while he was lying in the arrow bed. This was imparted to everyone by Vyasa and till now we are chanting it and earning the blessings of the Lord.