Om Namah Shivaya (Devanagari: ॐ नमः शिवाय; IAST: Om 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 Lord Shiva. This Mantra appears as 'Na' 'Ma' 'Śi' 'Vā' and 'Ya' in the Shri Rudram hymn which is a part of the Krishna Yajurveda and also in the Rudrashtadhyayi which is a part of the Shukla Yajurveda
This mantra is present in the Shri Rudram hymn which is part of the Krishna Yajurveda. Shri Rudram hymn is taken from two chapters in fourth book of Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna Yajurveda. Each chapter consist of eleven anuvaka or hymns. Name of both chapters are Namakam (chapter five) and Chamakam (chapter seven) respectively. The mantra appears without the initial Om in the eighth hymn of Namakam(TS 184.108.40.206) as Namaḥ śivāya ca śivatarāya ca (Sanskrit: नमः शिवाय च शिवतराय च). This means "Salutations unto Śiva the auspicious one, unto Śivatara the one than whom none more auspicious can exist".
This mantra also appears in the Rudrashtadhyayi, a part of the Shukla Yajurveda. In the Rudrashtadhyayi, the mantra appears in the 5th chapter (also known as Namakam) verse 41.
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:
Its total meaning is that "universal consciousness is one".
In Shaiva Siddhanta, the five letters also represent:
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
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This mantra is repeated verbally or mentally, drawing the mind in upon itself to Lord Shiva's infinite, all-pervasive presence. Traditionally it is repeated 108 times a day while keeping count on a strand of rudraksha beads. This practice is called japa yoga. It is freely sung and chanted by everyone, but it is most powerful when given by one's guru. Before this initiation which is called mantra diksha, the guru will usually require a period of study. This initiation is often part of a temple ritual, such as a puja, japa, homa (fire ceremony), dhyana or and while smearing vibhuti. The guru whispers the mantra into the disciple’s right ear, along with instructions on how and when to chant it.
This mantra is associated with qualities of prayer, divine-love, grace, truth, and blissfulness. When done correctly, it allegedly calms the mind and brings spiritual insight and knowledge. It also keeps the devotee close to Shiva and within His protective global fellowship.
Traditionally, it is accepted to be a powerful healing mantra beneficial for all physical and mental ailments. Soulful recitation of this mantra brings peace to the heart and joy to the Ātman or soul. Many Hindu teachers consider that the recitation of these syllables is sound therapy for the body and nectar for the Ātman.[failed verification] The nature of the mantra is the calling upon the higher self; it is the calling upon Shiva.
The mantra has gained wider use outside India as a result of Siddha Yoga, founded by Swami Muktananda, in which it is the main mantra used for meditation and chanting.
In the film Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (2007), Elizabeth Gilbert explained that the first chant provided by her guru was "Om Namah Shivaya." Gilbert wrote that this meant "I honor the divinity within me."
In the 1984 action-adventure film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the sacrificial victim had his heart ripped out by Mola Ram Amrish Puri, but he was still alive. As he was lowered into the lava pit, he chanted Om Namah Shivaya repeatedly.
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Ashram de Swami Muktananda ... Et puis, quelle surprise de retrouver le mantra Om Namaha Shivaya