This month there is a Sanskrit Mantra again. Aum Namah Shivaya is probably one of the most famous mantras ever. This Panchakshara Mantra (consisting of five syllables without Om) is a Mahamantra (maha = big).
Why mantra chanting?
Mantra is one of the simplest forms of sadhana (spiritual practice). Most spiritual paths use them. Prayer is also nothing more than a sentence that you recite over and over again to make it true. Most people need the help of a mantra to activate themselves and take their mind to the next level.
Aum Namah Shivaya – what does it mean?
Aum is the primal sound of the universe, the cosmic sound. You can read more about Aum here. Namah means obeisance or bowing. Shivaya – refers to Shiva, the kind or the loving. Shiva is also part of the Trinity and represents destruction. When we chant Aum Namah Sivaya, we DO NOT worship Shiva as a person and as a separate entity from ourselves. We worship the Divine, the Cosmic itself. We chant about the unity of the Divine. I myself am part of the Divine. Aum Namah Shivaya means overcoming duality and melting in the oneness of the Cosmic Energy.
Shiva as the first yogi
For all yoginis and yogis, Shiva is especially important. Shiva is also called Adiyogi, the first yogi. According to legend, 15,000 years ago, Shiva was the first yogi to pass on the science of yoga to his seven disciples. He taught them 112 ways to raise consciousness and live out the ultimate potential. The gifts of Adiyogi are the tools for individual transformation – Yoga. The basic idea is: The only way out is the way in. More about the beginnings of Yoga you can read here.
So Shiva takes an extraordinary role in Yoga. As a special tribute, a 112 feet (approx. 34m) high bust of Shiva was built in India.