The mantra Om Namah Shivaya in Devanagari script

Om Namah Shivaya (Devanagari: ॐ नमः शिवाय; IAST: Oṃ Namaḥ Śivāya) is one of the most popular Hindu mantras and the most important mantra in Shaivism. Namah Shivaya means "O salutations to the auspicious one!", or "adoration to Lord Shiva". It is called Siva Panchakshara, or Shiva Panchakshara or simply Panchakshara meaning the "five-syllable" mantra (viz., excluding the Om) and is dedicated to Shiva. This Mantra appears as 'Na' 'Ma' 'Śi' 'Vā' and 'Ya' in the Shri Rudram Chamakam which is a part of the Krishna Yajurveda[1] and also in the Rudrashtadhyayi which is a part of the Shukla Yajurveda.

Origin of the mantra


The mantra without the initial Om was originally a verse in the eighth hymn of the Namakam section of the Shri Rudram, (TS itself taken from the Taittirīya Samhita, a recension of the Black Yajurveda. It appears as, Namaḥ śivāya ca śivatarāya ca (Sanskrit: नमः शिवाय च शिवतराय च). The English translation of the mantra is, "Salutation to the auspicious one and to the more auspicious".[2]

This mantra also appears in the Rudrashtadhyayi, a part of the Shukla Yajurveda. In the Rudrashtadhyayi, it appears in the 5th chapter (also known as Namakam) verse 41.[3][4]

Translations among different traditions

Namah Shivaya means "Adoration to Lord Shiva"; this is preceded by the devotional syllable "Om".

In Siddha Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta Shaivism traditions, Namah Shivaya is considered as Pancha Bodha Tatva of Lord Shiva and his universal oneness of five elements:[5]

Its total meaning is that "universal consciousness is one".[5]

Panchakshara mantra
The five-syllable (Panch Akshara) form, omitting the Om

In Shaiva Siddhanta, the five letters also represent:[5]

The Tirumantiram (a scripture in Shaiva Siddhanta) announces that "His feet are the letter Na. His navel is the letter Ma. His shoulders are the letter Śi. His mouth, the letter Vā. His radiant cranial center aloft is Ya. Thus is the five-lettered form of Shiva.": Tirumantiram 941. TM[6][7]

In different scriptures

  1. The Mantra appears as 'Na' 'Ma' 'Śi' 'Vā' and 'Ya' in the Shri Rudram Chamakam which is a part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Thus predates the use of Shiva as a proper name, in the original context being an address to Lord Rudra (later Shiva), where Shiva retains its original meaning as an adjective, meaning "auspicious, benign, friendly", a euphemistic epithet of Rudra.[5]
  2. The mantra appears in the Rudrashtadhyayi which is a part of the Shukla Yajurveda.[8]
  3. Whole Panchakshara Stotra is dedicated to this mantra.[9][10]
  4. Tirumantiram, a scripture written in Tamil language, speaks of the meaning of the mantra.[11]
  5. It appears in the Shiva Purana in the chapter 1.2.10 (Shabda-Brahma Tanu) and in its Vidyeshvara samhita and in chapter 13 of the Vayaviya samhita of the Shiva Purana as Om Namaḥ Śivāya. It is also referenced many times throughout the Śiva Purana as the "5 syllable Mantra" and "6 syllable mantra" when including Om.
  6. The Tamil Saivaite hymn Tiruvacakam begins with the five letters 'Na' 'Ma' 'Śi' 'Vā' and 'Ya'.

See also


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  1. ^ Satguru Bodhinatha, Veylanswami (2017). What Is the Namaḥ Śivāya Mantra? from the "Path to Siva" Book. USA: Himalayan Academy. pp. chapter 16. ISBN 9781934145722.
  2. ^ "Rudram" (PDF). vedaunion. p. anuvaka 8 of Namakam at page-22.
  4. ^ "Introduction to rudrashtadhyayi". Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Veylanswami, Bodhinatha (2016). "What Is the Namaḥ Śivāya Mantra?". Path to Siva. Himalayan academy. p. 16. ISBN 9781934145739.
  6. ^ Dancing with Siva. Himalayan Academy. 1997. ISBN 978-0945497479.
  7. ^ Dancing with Siva. Scriptural Verses, Maṇḍala 28: Affirmations of Faith,403 Tirumantiram 941. TM: Himalayan Academy. 1997. ISBN 978-0945497479.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location (link)
  8. ^ "rudrashtadhyayi". p. Check first verse's second line. There you can see namah shivaya written in Sanskrit.
  9. ^ "Pachakshara stotram". Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  10. ^ "shiva panchakshara stotra".
  11. ^ "Dancing with Siva".