Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Namaha Mean?

Namaha is a Sanskrit term, often used within mantras as a humble salutation. The literal translation of namaha is "not mine," derived from the Sanskrit negation na, paired with ma, meaning "mine’."

Namaha can be affixed to Hindu prayers or Sanskrit mantras as a means of expressing total dedication of oneself towards the Divine or to whomever the salutation is offered. As such, it is an expression of humility and a means of submitting to a higher power, reflecting the notion that one’s life is in the hands of the universe.


Yogapedia Explains Namaha

In yoga, mantra chanting can be used to develop concentration and still the mind in preparation for meditation. Namaha is commonly used in yogic mantras, helping to release the practitioner from ego and serving as a reminder of their connection to universal consciousness and the higher self.

Unlike bija or seed mantras, namaha is not generally chanted alone; it is most commonly used as a suffix to pay respect to a deity or combined with other terms or sounds to make a complete mantra. Some examples of popular mantras which include namaha are:

  • Om Namaha Shivaya – one of the most well-known mantras, translated as ‘I bow to Lord Shiva,’ and symbolic of honoring the divine within. In this mantra, namaha is often pronounced as namah.

  • Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha – a mantra in honor of Lord Ganesh, offering respect and invoking his energy as the remover of obstacles.

  • Om Sri Kali Durgaya Namaha – used to dispel negativity and provide protection. Namaha is used in this mantra to pay respect to the warrior goddess, Durga.

  • Om Sri Ramaya Namaha – a mantra to honor Lord Rama, incarnation of Vishnu. Namaha offers salutations to Rama in order to connect the practitioner with Divine truth.

  • Om Namo Namaha – a mantra of respect, used as a means of offering humility to any force greater than ourselves.

Humility and surrender are central virtues in yoga, and so this humble salutation reflects the core values of the practice. Mantras can be chanted aloud or internally and should be practiced with a focus on the vibration created by the sound.

Generally, mantra chanting takes place in a stable, seated posture in which the practitioner is able to maintain an upright spine, for example padmasana (lotus pose) or sukhasana (easy pose).

In order to enhance concentration, mala beads can be used to count each recitation of a mantra, generally in rounds of 108 repetitions.

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