Om Namah Shivaya (ॐ नमः शिवाय) is the mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva. It means “adoration to Shiva” or “I bow to Shiva.” It is one of the most important mantras in Shaivism and an equally powerful Hindu Mantra.
The Om Namah Shivaya mantra goes back to thousands of years and is mentioned in Yajurveda in the Shri Rudram hymn.
The mantra appears without the initial Om in the eighth hymn of Namakam (TS 220.127.116.11) in Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna Yajurveda.
Namaḥ śivāya ca śivatarāya ca (नमः शिवाय च शिवतराय च)
This means “Salutations unto Shiva the auspicious one, unto Shivatara the one than whom none more auspicious can exist.”
Om Namah Shivaya Meaning
Om Namah Shivaya means “adoration to Shiva” or “I bow to Shiva” – Shiva is revered as the supreme reality, the inner Self, or Supreme Self. (Nirguna Brahman)
The Breakdown of Om Namah Shivaya
Om – Before there was the universe, there was a void of pure existence and vibrationless or nothingness. Out of this void came vibration, which is known as Om or Aum (ॐ). Then slowly, the creation of the universe began.
Namah – It means to bow or adoration.
Shivaya – Shiva or the inner Self (or Supreme Self).
In Siddha Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta Shaivism tradition, Namah Shivaya is considered as Pancha Bodha Tatva of Lord Shiva and his universal oneness of five elements.
Na – Earth
Mah – Water
Shi – Fire
Va – Air
Ya – Sky or ether
Meaning that “universal consciousness is one.” These five components manifest the absolute of the universe according to Hindu philosophy.
The “NA” drops into the first chakra, the foundation place which embodies earthiness and solidity. It has a lot to do with survival issues on an emotional level, the right to belong and to have. It is found at the base of the spine in the tailbone area.
The “MA” rises to the second chakra, represented by the water element and issues around sexuality on an emotional level, the right to feel and desire. It is located a little below the navel.
The “SI” rises to the third chakra or jeweled city located in the solar plexus. The element is fire, and emotional issues center around themes of personal power, the right to act, and standing in one’s power.
The “VA” rises a little further to the fourth chakra or heart center. The element is air. This chakra is the first to move beyond the lower three densities of the animal soul and allows an opening to love, the right to love and be loved.
The “Ya” resonates in the fifth chakra or throat center and is associated with the ether and space. It often deals with issues around expression and the right to speak and be heard.
The five letters “Namah Shivaya” also represents
Na – Lord’s concealing grace
Mah – World
Shi – Shiva
Va – Lord’s revealing grace
Ya – Atman or soul
The Practice of Om Namah Shivaya mantra
No rituals or ceremonies are involved with this Om Namah Shivaya mantra, just a simple chant, and concentration is required. You can practice and chant this mantra anywhere, being attentive, focused, and straight body structure if necessary. You can chant Om Namah Shivaya, verbally or non-verbally, in your mind.
The purpose of Chanting the Om Namaha Shivaya mantra is to purify your mind so you can become one with Shiva or your inner Self. Also, you should avoid chanting verbally because chanting mantras non-verbally is more beneficial to purify and strengthening the Mind. (according to Ramana Maharshi)
A pure mind can only transcend and remain in Samadhi during meditation. Repeating the mantra over and over again leads you to more deep concentration. Deep concentration leads you to Dhyana, or Meditation.
To gain the true benefits of the mantra, you can visualize your surrender to your inner self or Shiva while chanting Om Namah Shivaya. But, without knowledge or information about a few attributes of Self or Shiva, it is not easy to surrender.
Traditionally Om Namah Shivaya mantra is repeated 108 times a day while keeping count on a strand of rudraksha beads. Counting 108 times is another way to improve your concentration on the mantra.
Benefits of Chanting Om Namah Shivaya Mantra
Chanting Om Namah Shivaya leads you to the transcendental mode. Its significance is vast as it heals your toxic emotions and thoughts accumulated through different difficulties and bad life environments.
The most important benefit of chanting this mantra is it will purify your mind, and you will slowly start to realize the immense possibility of your own self. Everything will start to tune with the universal consciousness and you may experience freedom.
As you chant the Om Namah Shivaya mantra your mind becomes strong and pure, you send positive energy to the Cosmos, which will reciprocate by sending you back in ten folds. Some of them are highlighted below.
- When you chant mantras you will discover the path to peace and clarify how you view things.
- Chanting the Om Namah Shivaya mantra helps develop the intellect that helps you to prosper in your life.
- Om Namah Shivay mantra tempers your ego and relieves stress from your burdened mind.
- Om Namah Shivay mantra sways away negative energies and binds you with positivity.
- Astrology reveals that this mantra sways away from the negative energy of Grahas (planets) and minimizes the bad influence on your natal chart during your bad times.
- And most importantly, this mantra helps you to understand yourself or your inner self and open up your true potential.
In the Om Namah Shivaya chant, the energy starts in the highest center, resting in the source, then dips down and rises up, purifying the five elements, the 7 chakras, and the emotional issues surrounding them.
The goal of the chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” should always be to merge with the mantra and self or Shiva; you may realize how close you are to the auspicious one, Shiva. The Ultimate purpose is to realize Shiva – All is Shiva, Om Namah Shivaya 🙏🙏🙏
Last Updated on October 3, 2022