Om Namah Shivaya

Last Updated: July 13, 2018

Definition - What does Om Namah Shivaya mean?

Om namah Shivaya is one of the most beloved Hindu mantras. It is a salutation to Shiva, one of the three primary deities of Hinduism, and literally translates to “I bow to Shiva.”

Om namah Shivaya is also known as the five syllable mantra, as it has five syllables which are preceded by the Om (or Aum). Among other things, these five syllables represent the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space.

In yoga, this mantra is chanted during meditation in order to help realize the inner Self and possesses the qualities of prayer, divine love, grace, truth and blissfulness. It is also the initiation mantra of the Siddha yoga lineage.

Yogapedia explains Om Namah Shivaya

According to Hindu mythology, there are three gods who together represent the Supreme Divinity: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer). Though Shiva is considered a destroyer, he also symbolizes the inner self that remains intact even after everything ends. In this mantra, the chanter bows to Shiva, or the true Self.

Traditionally, this mantra is believed to be a powerful healing mantra, beneficial for all physical and mental ailments. The mantra should ideally be chanted twice a day, morning and evening, 108 times each. It is believed that those who chant these five holy syllables while meditating on Shiva will be blessed by visions of the lord of the yogis.

Om namah Shivaya is the most important mantra in Shaivism, which is one of the four most widely followed sects of Hinduism that accepts Shiva as the supreme being.

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