I am writing this as a easy way to tell those who consult with me as to how to recite these mantras. I am not advocating willy-nilly recitation of these powerful sounds by readers. Now when I think a mantra is appropriate for someone, I can point them to this post instead of individually explaining to everyone:
Chanting to be completed in 21 days at most. Can complete earlier if you increase count. Chanting to be done everyday in the same spot, facing the same direction (East) and at the same time (+/- 5 mins at most). Sit on an aasana.
2) Sankalpa (to be done on just the first day):
Light a ghee lamp. Sit facing east the lamp in front of you and with a empty plate or vessel in between you and the lamp. Take Rs 1/2/5/10 coin in your right palm. Take some haldi-kumkum, any 1 flower, a little rice and spoonful of water in the same palm. Touch your right arm at the elbow with your left hand finger tip. Hold your right hand in front of you. Close your eyes and pray to the graha (whose mantra you will be reciting) and to your kuladevata to a) solve the specific problems your are reciting the mantra for (mentally detail the issues) and b) to help you to complete your sankalpa. Then pour contents of the hand into the vessel in front of you. You can keep the coin with you or give it to a temple. The other contents can be put at the base of any plant or tree (preferably flowering ones).
Chant the prescribed number of malas ( mala of 108 beads to be used) everyday. Do not vary the number. For example, if you are supposed to chant 8 malas, then you cannot do 7 one day and 9 another 8. 8 means 8.
4) Can I use a counter instead of a mala?
Yes. As long as the count is the same. I prefer a mala.
5) What time is best for chanting?
Anytime. but keep it fixed. Preferably late at night, but not compulsory.
6) Can I chant twice or thrice a day (ie 4 malas in the morning and 4 in the evening)?
Yes. As long as you keep this EXACTLY constant and not vary it. Also follow the rule regarding time, place and direction.
7) Can I chant on a full stomach?
Keep an hours gap atleast from a full meal and chanting. Keep a glass of water close to you to sip in the middle if you so require. Sit comfortably. It is important that you are not physically disturbed during the chanting, ie. someone touching you, or you getting up to answer the doorbell or talking on the phone, or petting your dog etc.
8) Do I light the cow ghee lamp everyday?
Not necessarily, but I feel a positive change in environment when I do light it and I prefer to.
9) Can I eat non-veg and drink alcohol during the days I am chanting?
No. In fact if possible then try to maintain brahmacharya to the extent doable.
10) Can a woman chant during her periods?
Ideally try start on a day so that chanting does not coincide with the monthly cycle. But if unavoidable, then its ok to chant then.
11) How loud to chant?
Just so much that you can hear yourself.
12) What are the Mantras for the Grahas?
May Bhairavi give you whatever is the best for you!