Shiva 5 Syllable Mantra
Om Namah Shivay
“Shiva Panchakshari Mantra” (Shiva’s 5 Syllable Mantra). This is Shiva's simplest, and yet most effective mantra till date. Starting off with basics, the word by word, literal Meaning of Shiva's 5 Syllable Mantra is
Om.. = ..Om..
Namah = I Bow
Shivaya = to Shiva
Om Na-mah Shi-va-ya = Om I Bow to Shiva
(Actually Panch-akshari Mantra is only “Na-mah Shi-va-ya” ,Om is added for special purpose, which is dealt in later half of this writing)
Purpose of this Mantra:
Now bowing is done to someone who is Great… someone who is helping you, doing good for you by his magnanimity of heart or capable of helping you.
If you take him as a master, then he is the Master of the Masters, and you accost him with an intention to receive knowledge and wisdom, and the receiver always has to be in an attitude of gratitude right.
If you take him as god, then he is the God of the Gods, you accost him with an intention to fulfill some wish.
The one worshiped by masters and gods of this world and the others in 14 universes, hence even greatest of words said to describe his greatness, actually fall short by far and almost sound like an insult to him. So obviously we hail to such supreme stature who grants us material (wishes) as well as spiritual boons (higher consciousness, knowledge and peace).
Origin of this Mantra:
If one tries to track the Origin, then there are various divided beliefs and opinions regarding the Origin on this Great Mantra..
The Vedanta’s Believe Words by Brahma as in Vedas, are first Origin of everything,
The firs epigraphical writing as evidence is said to be found in “Rudra Adhyaya” of “Yajur-veda” where a Anuvaak (sanhita ke adhyay ka up vibhag = first part of paragraph) starts with “Namah shivaya”.
If you read Viniyog (Mantra Declaration) as in Mantra Shastra, then Vamdeva himself is the Rishi (Seer) of this mantra.
Some say, Lord Siva Himself was the guru of the Saivite saint Manickavachagar. He taught Manickavachagar the ‘Na-mah Shi-va-ya' mantra, and he forwarded this to rest of mankind.
While A principle of Tantra studies indicates, that when Shiva wanted to create universe, then he took his Damru in his hand and started playing it, from the sound of that instrument all the vibration and strings were born, shakti (energy) was produced, which later took various forms of subtle and solid in nature. (This is the theory which I work on, that’s why Mantra science says universe is actually “Mantra-may” = made of mantra, because everything is nothing but Vibrations, energy)
Mantra Shastra is in itself a complete science of sounds, that’s why one needs to chant “Om Namah Shivaya” instead of “I bow to Shiva”, because its not just meaning, but the specific sound pattern created by combining specific syllables that matters, hence by repeated chanting it produces a distinct effect. Knowing exactly why only these syllables make the right combination would require in depth understanding, actually mastery of each and every syllable and sound, the 36 Tatva Table can help, so for the enthusiasts, that’s the way to go, but this work of developing Mantras, is better left to Rishis (Seers) and Gods.
Deeper of Meanings of this Mantra:
The literal meaning of this Mantra is actually only a superficial meaning, and meant to be used for setting up a preliminary base for understanding its deeper meaning, hence different ways of contemplating and meditating on sound of this mantra.
Shiva is said to have many forms, but his ultimate from (that’s after he gets a form from his formless self), is first that of Ardhanarishwara (Half Male Female God), then masculine part separates as that of Adi-Deva (Primordial God) Sada-Shiva who is Panch-vaktra Shiva (5 Faced Shiva).
Every letter in the Panchakshara mantra has significance and a deeper spiritual inference, these can be categorized on various basis as :
5 Forms of Shiva: These five faces are:-
Na = Sadyojata faces West.
Ma = Vamadeva faces North.
Shi = Aghora faces South.
Va = Tatpurusha faces the East.
Ya = Isana faces North-east.
5 Duties of Shiva: The Lord is said to have five duties :-
Na = creation (Sadyojata)
Ma = protection (Vaam-deva)
Shi = destruction (Aghora)
Va = bringing on the deluge (Tat-purusha)
Ya = showering us with mercy (Ishaan)
5 Characteristics of Shiva:
Na = Adi-Deva (First Lord) of All Lokas (Worlds)
Ma = Provider of Supreme Knowledge
Shi = Silent and Benevolent, Benefic
Va = Vrish Vahan (Vehicle of Bull), Vasuki (Cobra Snake on Throat), Vaamangi (Left Hand Path)
Ya = Supreme Bliss Form
5 Physical Attributes of Shiva: (from Natraja Form)
Na = Hand with Fire
Ma = Feet squashing the Demons
Shi = Hand Holding Damru
Va = Forward Palm
Ya = Abhay-hast (Fear Dispelling Palm)
5 Cosmic Elements Represented: (Panch-Mahabhoot)
Na = Earth (Sadyojata)
Ma = Water (Vaamdeva)
Shi = Fire (Aghora)
Va= Air (Tat-purusha)
Ya = Sky (Ether = Vacuum) (Eeshan)
5 Chakras Activated:
Na = Mooladhar (Root Chakra)
Ma = Swadhishthaan (Sacral Chakra)
Shi = Manipur (Navel Chakra)
Va= Anahat Chakra (Heart Chakra)
Ya = Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat Chakra)
** Om Activates Agya (Third Eye Chakra) and Shastrar (Crown), as these two chakras dont belong to Tatvas, rather, they are cause of Tatvas (all elements).
5 Bodies : (Panch-Kosha)
Na = Anna-may Kosha (Physical Body)
Ma = Pran-may Kosha (Energy Body)
Shi = Mano-may Kosha (Astral/Emotional Body)
Va= Vigyan-may (Intellectual Body)
Ya = Ananda-may (Pure Consciousness Body)
5 Colors of Shiva:
Na = Golden hued
Ma = White
Shi = Red,
Ya = Grey in colour
Addition of Om:
When Om.. is Added to these 5 Syllables, it actually becomes a 6 Syllable Mantra. This Om Makes this Divine mantra supremely sublime and further more apt for meditation with breath.
“Om Namah Shivaya”
Yantra for the Mantra:
The Yantra for Shiva Panchakshari Yantra is basically : (A Yantra= Geometrical Energy Representation Diagram = Tool for establishing link with energy+astral body of related spiritual entity)
“An Upward Pointing 5 Point Star”
(Note: Some people may use Shiva Lingam as visual means, or Idol/Picture of Shiva, but most authentic Yantra/Medium is this 5 point Star one)
The 5 Steps of drawing Shiva Yantra’s 5 Point Star are:
1 = Bottom Left to Tip = Sadyojaat
2 = Tip to Bottom Right = Vaam-Deva
3 = Bottom Right to Left = Aghora
4 = Left to Right = Tat-Purush
5 = Right to Bottom Left = Eeshaan
So we start from Bottom Left and again End at Bottom Left,
And then we fill the syllables in Yantra with, “Om” as core energy of Yantra in Center, then Starting from Top Node, in Clockwise Manner we write Na, Ma, Shi, Va, Ya.
The 5 Tips of this figure is like 5 tips of Torso a Human Body Structure
The top tip = Forehead
Left Tip = Left Pectoral Girdle (Left Shoulder)
Right Tip = Right Pectoral Girdle (Right Shoulder)
Left Bottom = Left Pelvic (Left Hip)
Right Bottom = Right Pelvic (Right Hip)
(Entire Theory of Body Syndrome and healing is based on this, and I won’t be explaining that here, but even all that can be dealt with using this single mantra)
And then moving from inside to out, the 5 Point Star is followed by a circle, then 8 petal lotus and then 4 directional gates of Temple. As here:
Now that the base “Theory” is clear, let hop over to the Practical
Practical Application of Mantra:
Practical part deals with “how” to practically apply this knowledge to our Spiritual and even Material Growth. (We will primarily cover spiritual one here, that’s for mental stabilizing, the material one require more ritualistic preciseness, which is being avoided here to keep simplicity)
Most meditation techniques have to essentially start from any one of the 5 Sense Organs (Gyan Indri) as primary door, and then move into conscious mind, then subconscious and then the silence beneath.
This mantra technique actually has many parts, and ritualistic way is the most powerful way to meditate on it, but that will use a few Tantra technical terms which are too elaborate to write here, also too complex to understand for a new comer (if you want that, then just message me)
Still if I combine the essential basics of using this mantra, then it includes sitting, breathing, gazing and mental voice control.
Sitting at one place is in itself a great Technique… (Earth-Nose)
All the forms of Asan Siddhi (Yogic Postures Mastery) is based on this, to promote proper energy flow in subtle bodies hence stillness in mind through stillness in body. Infact even if not totally still sitting like a statue, if one just sits at a place with less movement, that also helps to great extent.
Controlling the movement of Tongue is in itself a great technique … (Water-Tongue-Taste)
All techniques of Khechari Mudra, Conscious eating meditation etc, come under this category. Even The technique of Maun (Silence) come under this category. So controlling tongue by making it mechanical with oral chant or stable with mental chant also helps moving inwards.
Constant Staring or even Gazing is in itself a great technique… (Fire-Eyes-Vision)
All the Visual meditation Techniques come under this. And its a fact, whenever a person moves into any sort of trance or meditation, first two physical eyes become stable and then they point more and more to Third Eye as he goes deeper... or in simpler words, if you move to trance you move to third eyes, if you move to third eyes, then you move to trance, its a true statement with double implication sign.
Conscious Breathing in itself is a great technique…. (Air-Skin-Feeling)
All the Pranayams, Vipasna Meditation and other forms of Vigyan Bhairav come under this. As they say. Control breath to control mind. The fluency and frequency of ones breath is in direct proportion to calmness and stability of ones mind.
Mental Chanting in itself is a great technique… (Sky-Ear-Hearing)
All the mental voice control techniques, mantra chanting and subtle Name chanting come under this. If individual comparison is made amongst ones discussed so far, then of course mental chanting works from most subtle element ‘Sky’ and accounts for highest mental stabilizing, silencing and spiritual growth.
And when, stable sitting, tongue stabilizing, constant gazing, conscious breathing and mental chanting are combined, it forms a Supreme Technique
That is the technique of chanting Shiva Mantra, encompassing the 5 principles of meditation and emerging as one of the supreme meditative techniques. Most important part here is that it’s done by chanting syllables in this manner:
Ommmmmm…. Na-Mah (Inhale)
(The Ommm in inhalation can be extended as one desires but exhalation is always slightly Longer than inhalation. Here we have 3 Syllables for Inhalation and other 3 for exhalation)
When you Sit Stable in a Posture
Fix your Eyes on Only One Diagram which brings Specific Energy
Make your breath very slow and deep
Mentally Chant Specific syllables with your mental voice for each inhalation and exhalation
Doing this for atleast 10-21 minutes, you come very close to a state of totality in Shiva Consciousness
Anyhow, one must not confuse oneself with so many technicalities though… because in reality, while chanting, the supreme importance needs to be given to chanting itself. The stable sitting, gazing on diagram, slow breathing and all this just needs initial setting up and later becomes mechanical… only thing that takes time to become mechanical is mental voice, the mental chanting. One should only give utmost priority and attention to relevant mental voice on inhalation and exhalation.
In “Vachik Japa” (Oral Chanting) often the mouth, tongue becomes mechanical… but mind keeps hovering… that’s because a part of conscious and even minor part of subconscious gets under control,
While in mental chanting this way, its directly the major share of subconscious mind which becomes mechanical… and since 10% of thoughts come from conscious mind while 90% come from subconscious, so most stop as subconscious gets busy producing only one sound in mind, that of mantra.
Hence one experiences mental silence by chanting! Because Mind chants, not you! So the real you are revealed, that’s the essence of Shiva Consciousness.
Still, one must remember, this takes time, practice, and one must concentrate on means rather than end. The chanting is means and state of one sound in mind is the end, one just reaches closer to end gradually. That’s why its called a Sadhna, a spiritual practice, one only improves with practice.
Infact why keep things just as theories, one must see+feel it to believe it right? So just to give a sip of what this Ananda Mantra (Bliss Chant) feels like, here is one musical rendering of the Mantra as a Song,
Simple Lyrics : “..Om.. Namah Shivaya… Om Namah Shivaya… har har bho-lay Namah Shivay
(Please Note : This was a song form, just to help get the pronunciation of Mantra right, but in practical way, Chanting is more Monotonous and not to be done by Singing (songs have various sounds and they involve emotions, but chanting has only one sound of mantra and its quite serious silent kind of thing) so for absolute experience, you will just have to do it for few weeks and feel it and find it out.)
If you have read this blog till here, and tried the technique even for 5 minutes, then please feel free to leave a comment on your experience.
Tasmayi Shee Guru-vay Namah (To that Master Self I bow)
Guru-devo Maheshwaro Namo Namah (I Bow to Guru Shiva/Maheshwara)