Strotam is a type of popular devotional literature and is not bound by the strict rules as some other ancient Indian scriptures, such as the Vedas. In Sanskrit literature, poetry written for the praise of God are called Stotras. Such Stotras like the Shiva Panchakshara Stotram can be chanted like Mantras and also sung like a bhajan.
The word “Panchakshara” (Sanskrit: पञ्चाक्षर) literally means Panch Akshar, i.e. “five letters” in Sanskrit and refers to the five holy letters ‘Na’, ‘Ma ‘,’Si’,’Va’, ‘Ya’. Shiva Panchakshara Stotram is a prayer to Lord Shiva and is associated with Shiva’s Mantra Om Namah Shivaya, of which Namah Shivaya is also called the Panchakshari Mantra.
The holy word chant to worship him is made of five letters and is popularly called Panchakshara- Na Ma Si Va Ya. According to Hindu traditions, the human body is considered to be made up of five elements and these holy letters represent these elements. Na Consecrates Prithvi Tatva, Ma does the same with Jal Tatva (Water factor) Shi energizes Agni Tatva (Fire element) Va energizes Vayu Tatva (Air factor) and finally Ya energizes Akash Tatva (Sky element).
In this popular Stotra, each of these holy letters is considered as representing MAHADEV and the Lord is praised for his great qualities and is written by the great Shri Adi Shankaracharya, who is also considered as the incarnation of Shiva.
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram
भस्माङ्गरागाय महेश्वराय ।
नित्याय शुद्धाय दिगम्बराय
तस्मै न_काराय नमः शिवाय ॥१॥
तस्मै म_काराय नमः शिवाय ॥२॥
सूर्याय दक्षाध्वरनाशकाय ।
तस्मै शि_काराय नमः शिवाय ॥३॥
तस्मै व_काराय नमः शिवाय ॥४॥
पिनाकहस्ताय सनातनाय ।
दिव्याय देवाय दिगम्बराय
तस्मै य_काराय नमः शिवाय ॥५॥
पञ्चाक्षरमिदं पुण्यं यः पठेच्छिवसंनिधौ ।
शिवलोकमावाप्नोति शिवेन सह मोदते ॥६॥
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram Meaning
Bhasma-Angga-Raagaaya Mahe[a-Ii]shvaraaya |
Nityaaya Shuddhaaya Dig-Ambaraaya
Tasmai Na_Kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||1||
My salutations to the letter “Na”, which is Shiva, Who wears as garland the king of snakes. Who has three eyes and Who wears ash all over Him, Who is the greatest Lord, Who is forever, Eternal, Who is the most pious and pure, And who wears the directions themselves as His Clothes, (signifying that He is ever free). Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable “Na”, The first syllable of the Panchakshara mantra “Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya”.
Tasmai Ma_Kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||2||
My salutations to the letter “Ma”, which is Shiva, Who is bathed by waters of the Rivers Ganges and Mandakini, Who applies sandal paste all over him, Who has Lord Nandi as his chieftain, Who is the greatest Lord, And who is worshipped by flowers like Mandaara and many other flowers. Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable “Ma”, The second syllable of the Panchakshara mantra “Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya.
Suuryaaya Dakssa-Adhvara-Naashakaaya |
Tasmai Shi_Kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||3||
My salutations to the letter “Shi” , which is Shiva, Who is peace personified, Who is auspicious like the Sun, causing the Lotus face of Ma Gauri to blossom, Who destroyed the fire sacrifice of Daksha and his arrogance, Who has a blue throat because of the lethal venom, And who has a symbol of a bull as an emblem on his flag. Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable “Shi”, The third syllable of the Panchakshara mantra “Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya”.
Tasmai Va_Kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||4||
My salutations to the letter “Va”, which is Shiva, Who is worshipped by the Great sages like, Vasishta, Agasthya, and Gautama, As also the devas and who is the Crown of the Universe. And who has Sun (Surya), Moon (Chandra) and Fire (Agni) as his three eyes. Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable “Va”, The fourth syllable of the Panchakshara mantra “Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya”.
Pinaaka-Hastaaya Sanaatanaaya |
Divyaaya Devaaya Dig-Ambaraaya
Tasmai Ya_Kaaraaya Namah Shivaaya ||5||
My salutations to the letter “Ya” , which is Shiva, Who is the Embodiment of Yajna (Sacrifice) and Who has Matted Hairs, Who has the Trident in His Hand and Who is Eternal, Who is Divine, Who is the Shining One and Who has the Four Directions as His Clothes (signifying that He is ever Free), Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable “Ya”, The fifth syllable of the Panchakshara mantra “Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya”.
Pancaakssaram-Idam Punnyam Yah Patthe-Shiva-Samnidhau |
Shivalokam-Aavaapnoti Shivena Saha Modate ||6||
Which means, Whoever Recites this Panchakshara Strotra(hymn in praise of the five syllables of Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya) near Shiva (Lingam), Will Attain the Abode of Shiva and enjoy His Bliss.
Importance of Shiva Panchakshara Stotram
Shiva Panchakshari Stotra is very effective in impressing Lord Shiva and acquiring his blessings. Lord Shiva’s worship and fast are also extremely important. Chanting this mantra helps a person to be free from the circle of life and death and from all obstacles. Also, chanting this strotra regularly, a person is blessed by Lord Shiva and achieves success in all fields and lives a prosperous life. If you are facing a lot of hardships then reciting it while help you overcome the situations. Regular recitation helps your mind in being stable, calm and wise. Makes you healthy, and prosperous. This mantra can purify the body, mind, and soul and help perfect the different aspects of human personality.
The Shiva Panchakshari mantra corresponds to the Chakras in the body. Starting from the Muladhara, the five syllables denote the five Charkas as we ascend towards the head Chakra. The ultimate benefit of this mantra is the attainment of liberation or the final goal of human life.
Best advice would be to recite it every day after a bath, in the early morning. Do memorize it’s meaning to maximize the effect. This mantra should be chanted with faith, devotion, and dedication. There are no hard and fast rules to chant this mantra.