One of the most beloved and ancient Hindu mantras is Om Namah Shivaya. It comes part of a Hindu prayer, the shri rudram chamakam, which is found in the second oldest of the Vedic texts, the Yajurveda. It is a hymn to Shiva, the deity of destruction and transformation, and Om Namah Shivaya chant helps to get rid of internal imperfections, limitations and sins, and elevates the psyche and awakens higher states of consciousness.
There is no exact meaning of this mantra that capture into English. It is salutation to Shiva, meaning “I bow to Shiva”. It is also seen as a salutation to divine. The author Elizabeth Gilbert, it can also mean “I honor the divinity within myself” and the translation is,” May the greatest that can be created within myself, within others, and within the world.”
The mantra’s meaning is quite complex. It is a panchaskara mantra, meaning it, made up of five syllables or literally the five holy letters. It is preceded by Om or Aum, which is said to be the sacred primordial sound. The five vowels are the seed sounds of the five elements of creation – earth, water, fire, air and ether – as one chants it, one is working through the process of creation in reverse, and hence perhaps the mantra’s reputed power of destroying manifestations of sin. The interpretation of these five syllables represents aspects of a person within the different dimensions and culminating in “om”, and this sound is a symbol of the eternal divine.
Om Namah Shivaya chant should be practiced in a calm, relaxed and mindfulness, and this mantra is a salutation to the divine forces of life.