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what is the difference between these?

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I see there are so many things like

and maybe more - which I maybe obviously missing.

Could somebody please provide information on what those are in general (what is meant for),
and when they should be said (on what occasion)

thank you,

Sthothram or slokam, I think both are same which are like hymns in praise of a god.

Asthakam is also a kind of slokam which consists of 8 stanzas

Sukthams are not slokas as they belongs to vedic hymns, which should be sing with proper notes of tones

Nyasam, dhyanam, and mantram are totally different from slokam and Nyasa and dhyana forms a separate preface for a mantra or sometimes even sloka (like LS or VS).

Nyasa is touching the parts of human body and creating the power over that particular place and cleaning the body by this.

Dhyanam is to clean the mind and also to create focussed thought or form of that particular god/goddess which we are going to worship further.

Mantra is the actual words or alphabets which invokes the corresponding god. It is not like sloka and mantras are very short when compared to slokas.

Slokas are of many types. As you asked, Asthaka is one. If the same is in the meter of Bhujanga, its called "bhujanga". Similarly, "dasakam" for 10 stanzas, Vrutham is a kind of sloka in tamil, where similar verses are formed with the meter of "vritha".

very nice sri durga, it is great to see a prospective bridegroom of these days of different field with so much word power. All Durgakataksham; what else!!!
Sthothram is derived from the root स्तु to praise. So sthothram means a praise.

Sloka is concerned with prosody. When something is said in the form of a verse it is called a sloka. Some sthothrams are in verse (sloka) form and others in prose which are called 'gadyam'. All slokas need not be sthothram. Some slokas tell about mundane things.

Ashtakam is a collection of 8 verses. There are dasakams (10 verses), satakams (100 verses) and so on.

Suktam literally means 'well said'. All good sayings are suktams.

Nyasam literally means 'placing'. Touching the various parts of the body with the specific mantras is called nyasam.

Dhyanam means meditating, where the mantra is not audibly pronounced but the object of worship is pondered over.

Mantra refers to that word or phrase which is thought about repeatedly and that which protects the thinker.
Nyasam literally means 'placing'. Touching the various parts of the body with the specific mantras is called nyasam.
Please allow me to elaborate further.

nyAsa in Sanskrit also means putting down or in, fixing, inserting, applying, impressing, drawing, painting,
writing down. By means of doing the nyAsa what the devotee is supposed to be doing is to imagine that the various characteristics as denoted by the nyAsa mantras are impressed or embedded on his respective organs which are either touched or some sign is made. Thus the divinity which is worshipped is imagined to have been invited (avAhana) into the worshipper's body.

Usually nyAsa consists of rishi, chandas,dEvatA, beejam, Sakti, mantra, keelaka (peg, bolt, wedge), astra (dart, bow, arrow), nEtra, kavaca (shield), yOni (place of origin or abiding), digbandha (binding the directions), dhyAna and then japa of the mantra.

while saying "rishi" one touches the top of the head - it signifies that he bows down to the rishi for the mantra.

chandas - this refers to the poetic meter of the mantra; it also means the unrevealed aspect. The lips are touched while saying the chandas. But touching the lip will make the hand impure and so the portion just above the lip is touched. The mouth utters the mantra in proper meter while the mind should (try to) grasp the hidden meaning of the mantra.

dEvatA - the deity invoked by the mantra; the heart is touched. The dEvatA is placed in the heart.

Similarly there are signs for the other items also. This is called "anga nyAsa". In addition to the above there are "kara nyAsa" and "hridayAdi nyAsa" as well. When all these are completed, the person chanting the mantra is supposed to have embedded in his self the various aspects of the deity. It is also a requirement that after doing these nyAsas one should not rise from his seat till the chanting of the entire mantra is completed and no other type of disturbance is answered.

These nyAsas are a mild aspect of the tantric mode of worship. Our vEdas did not approve of tantra as a desirable form of worship. Nevertheless many aspects of tantra have crept into our rituals.
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