Friday, November 6, 2009

Om Nama Shivaya

Magnificent altar to God at the Basilica Notre-Dame

Many thanks to Kim for her question "what does Om Nama Shivaya mean?"
Today's posting is my answer that I emailed to Kim earlier this afternoon.  If you have any questions, post them on the blog in the comments section or email me.

Om Nama Shivaya is a classic mantra and one that I play in my yoga studio. There are many different CD's available containing variations of the accompanying tune, and they are also listed on the blogsite in the music section.

Om Nama Shivaya is one of the most powerful and sacred mantras and repetition of it is said to purify the practitioner. The phrasing and energy of the sounds are designed to create a transformation in your consciousness and enable you to attain a higher state of awareness.

The six syllables of the full chant refer to the first six chakras that run from the root of the spine to the ajna chakra (3rd eye.)

While there is no direct translation it can mean "I bow to God" and repetition should be done with full awareness of its meaning, rather than simply repeating it for repetition's sake.
Om refers to the universal Energy, or sound of God
Nama, as two syllables, na ma, can mean "I bow before you."

The trinity of syllables of Shi va ya refers to Shiva, or God and asks that all God's energies be directed to you to bless you and lead you to the highest state of peace and meditation, which we refer to as Bliss.

Shiva is also the image of God which is said to bring to a close the trinity cycle of Creation, Destruction, and Rebirth.
Some people think of the mantra and God as the destroyer of our illusion (maya) and ignorance that stands in the way of perfect union and enlightenment.

When I say this mantra I see it as a means of cleansing (removing illusions), praising God and receiving blessings, and a means of entering and attaining the state of Bliss.

The two words, namah and shivaya, are also referred to as the panchakshara (five letter) chant. Pancha means five.
Tradition has it that when you chant these five sacred sounds while meditating on Lord Shiva (God) you will be blessed by visions of Shiva (God) - the Lord of the yogis.

As with all mantras, as a minimum it should be invoked morning and evening 108 times. You can repeat it mentally or out loud, fast or slow. But as mentioned above, the mantra should be repeated with respect and awareness of what you are saying as though you are actually bowing before God.

Mantras act like a shield to block unwanted thoughts and energy, however the vibrational sounds of mantras are powerful and protect you by their energy too.

As you continue to repeat this mantra, I hope that you will feel the vibrational energy as though you are being merged as one into God's loving embrace.

Om Shanti
God is Peace


  1. Hi Margaret,
    You have wonderfully explain the mantra "Om Namah Shivaya".This is a powerful mantra.My personal experience is-
    After I lost my father 12yrs back I was completely shattered, don't know what to do and my family was going through major problems probably in all areas of life. May be words can never explain the support of Almighty God but a feeling from then onwards keeping me strong and in peace that Lord Shiva is acting like my supreme father looking after me and my family and will never let anything worng to happen.Though the fight is not over yet but I am sure we will soon be on the winning stand and He will gift us a blessed life.
    May God Bless us all.
    Margaret I have shared a befriened button in my Halloween post.I hope you will like it.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience.

    I am deeply moved by your personal story and know that it will help others in the same situation.

    Thank you for the button too.

  3. "OM NAMAH SHIVAYA" When I chant this mantra I feel very happy... I love you god...

  4. Hi Margaret,

    Om Namah Shivaya. I don't know how I landed here but had to comment on this mantra as it is my life long mantra and only mantra that is so dear to my heart. I never shared this experience with anyone except with my mom. I guess what caught my eye was where you had mentioned that
    "Tradition has it that when you chant these five sacred sounds while meditating on Lord Shiva (God) you will be blessed by visions of Shiva (God) - the Lord of the yogis.

    I never knew this but from my own personal experience I can say that this is True. I was truly blessed with his vision when I was going thru some tough times and decided to take up this mantra...& this was no dream as I was wide awake and at work when I had my vision. I chanted the mantra 108 X 10 daily for 2 weeks and as Shiva is the most loving and easy to please God, he hears us thru this prayer even more easily...but the condition is as you mention, you must chant with full awareness and while meditating on Shiva knowing the full meaning of the mantra which is simple as "I Bow to Shiva, who is the higher self within all of us, who is pure bliss, who is pure unconditional love". As you repeat every word of the mantra with those feeling, your energy level will completely shift and you will feel the energy throughout the day. Continuous chanting of this mantra is sure to free us from the worries that we tie ourselves down with what life throws at us.

    May Shiva's Blessing be upon all of us :)


    1. Hi Sonal

      I am really inspired by your experience - I have some questions and curiosities and want to talk to you about, not sure how to contact you - please send me an email at


  5. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA...i can not define the greatness of this mantra in words but one thing i would like to say here.these 6 words keep doing great changes in my thought pattern and behavior..i tell you one thing about myself. i was very obsessive towards girls and money in my adulthood and every time i felt very restless and frustrated .but from the moment when i took this mantra and chanted on daily has transformed me totally a days i can not be able to think bad about even my wife :) ..OM NAMAH SHIVAYA



Related Posts with Thumbnails