om namah shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya: Lord Shiva Mantra Meaning, Essence & Existence

Today let’s dive deeper into an old Hindu Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” and it’s meaning. Everything in the world is made up of atoms-Atoms that are identified into three subatomic particles- The Proton or the Positive, the Neutron or the charge less sustaining particle and the Electron, the negative subatomic particle.  These three particles of existence were discovered way earlier in the history of Mankind, specifically in the Hindu Sanatan Dharma. The Proton is compared to Brahma, the creator or the Positive of the Trinity. The Neutron is compared to Bishnu or the Neutral sustaining part of the existence and the Electron or the Negative part of existence which is compared to the true one and only, Lord Shiva.

What is the meaning of Om Namah Shivaya?

Om Namah Shivaya (Devanagari: ॐ नमः शिवाय)means “Gratification and Reverence to the Almighty Shiva, the Gods of the Gods and the Deity of Destruction.” Om Namah Shivaya is often chanted to generate a sense of courage and fearlessness in oneself.

Om

It would not be ethical or complete to write an article about the Mantra and not explain Om properly first.

Om or Aum in Om Namah Shivaya is a mystical syllable used in the Hindu and Tibetan cultures especially in the sacred, religious texts. The word Omni is its closest counterpart in the west with its roots being in the Latin etymology. However, it has its different forms spread out to different cultures of the world with words such as Ameen or Amen. While in various cultures, it might relate to a lot of other different things, in the east, it is majorly associated with the all-pervading sound of existence.

Everything in existence is vibrating and therefore has its frequency, and because it has its frequency, everything creates a distinct sound. Similarly, the all-pervading existence, or space, is vibrating on its own frequency and that vibration also creates its own distinct sound. Let’s try to understand this in another way.

We have the ocean. A dolphin in the ocean makes a sound. A whale, on the other hand, makes a distinct sound. An octopus might make different sounds, and a shark might sound like something else. They all make their own sound. Also, the ocean makes its own sound. Swooosh! And all the creatures are living inside this sound.

It’s a similar case with existence. The entire existence or say space is the ocean. Inside it, we are vibrating on our own. But the space in itself vibrates too, and we are living inside the vibration. Yes, that vibrating space creates a sound, and that sound is Om.

In Hindu scriptures, sages and mahatmas try to explain the metaphysical; they try to explain the God element. They try for hours and hours, they say all in their knowledge and all in their power about the spirit realms and still, in the end, they feel like they have not been able to convey the exact meaning of the spirit, or God or the metaphysical, so in the end, they say, “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!” which means, “And beyond that is Om, peace out everybody!”

Therefore, Om is the all-pervading space and the sound created by it inside which all existence occurs.

Namah

Namah is another word that is used abundantly in mantras. Namah means to pay reverence, Namah means to worship, Namah means to remember, Namah means Salutation. Namah means to pay respect. Namah implies that you acknowledge the supremacy of whoever you are talking to and have nothing but love and respect in your heart for them.

Shivaya

Shivaya refers to the Almighty Lord Shiva or/and his qualities. So what are the qualities of Lord Shiva?

Lord Shiva is one of the three elements of the Trinity, the D (Destroyer) element in GOD (G-Generator O-Operator D-Destroyer). The Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” which means I pay my Respect to Reverent Shiva, is the Mantra that removes all sadness and anxiety and connects me to the Divine Consciousness. Nature of Mantra: As the Mantra Plays, ambient elements are gradually added to increase the intensity of the Mantra. This helps the listener dwell deeper into the vibrations of the Mantra. The Best time to Meditate upon this Mantra is Dawn and Dusk. Chanting this Mantra brings stability in me and builds confidence in me.

Alike the electron Lord Shiva is the most movable part of the Trinity and the closest to his devotees. He is responsible for all the chaos and destruction that happens in existence. He is usually in a trance state, meditating on his own. However, if he gets disturbed untimely, then the world faces his ruthless wrath. It is very difficult then to calm him down or pacify him. He is the Adiyogi or the first Yogi.

Shiva is a Godly being with long dreadlocks for hair and meditative transcendental eyes. He bears the crescent moon on his head. What an ornament to wear! The moon itself for God’s sake! Anyway, his hair also constitutes of Ganga, the eternally flowing river that connects the heaven and the earth. In other symbologies, Ganga is referred to as the eternal bliss which flows through Shiva’s Head and gets transferred into a human beings Auric body. Shiva is sometimes referred to as Nilakantha, which means Bluethroat. Remember the story that I told you about the Gods and the Demons uniting to churn out the Divine Elixir of life from the ocean? If not click here and read it in the Mahalakshmi Goddesses introduction. 

So anyway, when the demons and the gods were churning out a lot of divine things from the ocean, they arrived upon the Ultimate Poison, which started killing everything in the world. Nobody had a clue as to how to protect the world and its beings from the hazardous effects of the poison. Guess who came to the rescue to save the day? Yes, it was our very own Lord Shiva, the ultimate badass God. He drank the whole poison whole but before it could pass down his neck, Devi Parvati, his consort, strangled him and made sure the poison remained in his neck. It did, but the poison was so potent that it turned Shiva’s throat blue. From then onwards he was known as the Nilkantha Shiva.

Another cool thing about Lord Shiva is that he wears a serpent, (that many of us fear as it sends chills down our spine) as a necklace! AN ornament! Well, symbolically it signifies a lot of things, like the Kundalini energy, or the overcoming of all earthly lusts, passions, and desires. But I find the aesthetic sense of the whole snake being around Lord Shiva’s neck more intriguing.

He holds a trident which represents the three different qualities of humankind,

  • Sattva- The Truth
  • Rajas- The Valour
  • Tamas- The Darkness

Also, he holds a Dumaru, a small beaded drum which he used when he performs the Nataraja Dance. People have a belief that the Sanskrit Language is the first language of the world and the language of the Gods, and it is also believed that it was this Dumaru of Shiva, which first produced the Sanskrit sound and hence eventually the whole language.

Oh, I could speak on and on about Lord Shiva for an eternity, and it wouldn’t end. I could speak about his fight with Lord Bishnu, I could explain about Nandi, his Animal Ride or his Gana, his Army of the Dead (Sounds cool, I know right!) But we need to move on.

So, Shiva is basically everything; he is graceful but wild; he is benevolent and malevolent at the same time. Shiva is an ascetic and a householder; he is the generator and the destroyer, he is the moving kinetic energy and the dormant potential energy, Shiva is a hermit, and he is the possessor of the entire creation. Shiva is the First Yogi and the Last yogi; he is the mediator and the dancer, he is the transcendental Guru and a Marijuana Worshipper. He is the destructive third eye and the worshipped lingam (Phallus). Shiva pervades all theologies, all cultures, and all religions. He is the purest form of energy and hence the most vital one and the most potent.

Lord Shiva Mantra Om Namah Shivaya:

Translation of the Mantra: Namah Shivaya means “adoration (namas) to Lord Shiva,” preceded by the devotional syllable “Om.” The syllable “Ya” at the end of the mantra denotes an offering.

Thus the mantra Om Namah Shivaya actually means “I offer Shiva a respectful invocation of His Name,” and not merely “I respectfully invoke His Name.”

In Siddha Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta Shaivism tradition Nama Sivaya is considered as Pancha Bodha Tatva of Lord Shiva and his universal oneness of five elements:

“Na” sound represents the earth

“Ma” sound represents water

“Śi” sound represents fire

“Vā” sound represents Pranic air

“Ya” sound represents sky or ether. Its total meaning is that “universal consciousness is one.”

The five letters also represent :

Na is the Lord’s concealing grace

Ma is the world

Śi stands for Shiva

Vā is His revealing grace

Ya is the Ātman or soul.

Lord Shiva is one of the three elements of the Trinity, the D (Destroyer) element in GOD (G-Generator O-Operator D-Destroyer). The Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” which means I pay my Respect to Reverent Shiva, is the Mantra that removes all sadness and anxiety and connects me to the Divine Consciousness. Nature of Mantra: As the Mantra Plays, ambient elements are gradually added to increase the intensity of the Mantra. This helps the listener dwell more in-depth into the vibrations of the Mantra. The Best time to Meditate upon this Mantra is Dawn and Dusk. Chanting this Mantra brings stability in me and builds confidence in me.

So this was the introduction to the Mantra

Om Namah Shivaya

Do let us know if we have missed anything. Comment and let us know what you want to read about next.

Until Next time.

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