Om Namah Shivaya
Its translation is "adoration (namas) to Śiva", preceded by the mystical syllable "Aum". Om Namah Shivaya mantra is sung by devotees in prayers and recited by yogis in meditation. It is associated with qualities of prayer, divine-love, grace, truth and blissfulness.
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. Sages consider that the recitation of these syllables is sound therapy for the body and nectar for the soul [Ātman]. The nature of the mantra is the calling upon the higher self; it is the calling upon shiva, the destroyer deity, to aid in the death (destruction of ego) and rebirth achieved during meditation. This goes generally for mantras and chants to different gods, which are different aspects of the higher self.
It is also called Panchakshara, or Panchakshari, the "five-syllable" mantra (viz., excluding the Om). Panchakshari Mantra Namaḥ Śivāya is the most holy salutation to Śiva. The Panchakshara can be recited by Shiva devotees during pooja, Japa, Dhyana, homa and while smearing Vibhuti.
The Tamil Saivaite hymn Tiruvacakam begins with the five letters 'na' 'ma' 'ci' 'vaa' 'ya'.It is part of the Shri Rudram Chamakam, a Hindu prayer taken from the Yajurveda, and thus predates the use of Shiva as a proper name, in the original context being an address to Rudra (later Shiva), where śiva retains its original meaning as an adjective, meaning "auspicious, benign, friendly", a euphemistic epithet of Rudra.
In popular culture
In her autobiographical memoir, 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."
Om Namah Shivay was also a TV serial telecasted on an Indian TV Channel, DD National (DD-1).
- Elizabeth Gilbert (2007). Eat, Pray, Love. p. 133.
- "Other Prayers: Aum Namah Shivaya Mantra". www.AradiaGoddess.com. Retrieved September 9, 2010.