Aum Namah Śivāya (IAST transliteration, refer to Sanskrit for pronunciation, Devanagari: ॐ नमः शिवाय) is among the foremost mantras. The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration ( IAST) is a popular Transliteration scheme that allows a lossless Romanization of Indic Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical A mantra ( Devanāgarī मन्त्र (or mantram is a religious or mystical syllable or poem typically from the Sanskrit language Its general translation is "adoration (namas) to Śiva", preceded by the mystical syllable Aum. Namasté, Namaskar or Namaskaram (Sanskrit नमस्ते from internal Sandhi between namaḥ and te Shiva:(pronunciation; Sanskrit: शिव Śiva, lit "Auspicious one" One of the Trimurtis Shiva is the supreme God in the Shaiva Aum (also Om) ॐ is a mystical or sacred Syllable in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions It is called Panchakshara, or "having five syllables". Śaivite mystics hold that within its celestial tones and hues resides all of the intuitive knowledge of Śaivism. Shaivism, also spelled "Saivism" names the oldest of the four sects of Hinduism. Shaivism, also spelled "Saivism" names the oldest of the four sects of Hinduism. The Aum namah Śivāya mantra appears for the first time, yet without the Aum, in a traditional Vedic prayer to Rudra called Śri Rudram (Rudra is considered an earlier aspect and name of Lord Śiva). Aum (also Om) ॐ is a mystical or sacred Syllable in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions Rudra ( Sanskrit: रुद्रः is a Rigvedic god of the storm the wind and the hunt The Shri Rudram Chamakam ( Sanskrit श्रि रुद्रम् चमकम् is a Vedic Stotra dedicated to Rudra (an early epithet In this context, śiva retains its original meaning as an adjective meaning "auspicious, benign, friendly", a euphemistic epitheton of Rudra.
The meaning of the Namah Śivāya mantra was explained by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami:
"Namah Śivāya is the most holy name of God Śiva, recorded at the very center of the Vedas and elaborated in the Śaiva Agamas.
Na is the Lord's concealing grace, Ma is the world, Śi stands for Śiva, Va is His revealing grace, Ya is the soul. The five elements, too, are embodied in this ancient formula for invocation. Na is earth, Ma is water, Śi is fire, Vā is air, and Ya is ether, or akasha. Vedic Meaning Akasha (or Akash, Ākāśa, sa आकाश is the Sanskrit word meaning " aether " in both Many are its meanings.
Namah Śivaya has such power, the mere intonation of these syllables reaps its own reward in salvaging the soul from bondages of the treacherous instinctive mind and the steel bands of a perfected externalized intellect. Namah Śivāya quells the instinct, cuts through the steel bands and turns this intellect within and on itself, to face itself and see its ignorance. Sages declare that mantra is life, that mantra is action, that mantra is love and that the repetition of mantra, japa, bursts forth wisdom from within.
The holy Natchintanai proclaims, Namah Śivāya is in truth both Āgama and Veda. Namah Śivāya represents all mantras and tantras. Namah Śivaya is our souls, our bodies and possessions. Namah Śivāya has become our sure protection. "