Monday, December 3, 2007

Greatness of the Panchakshara

|| ॐ नमः शिवाय ||

Na-mah Shi-va-ya, known as the Panchakshara (Pentasyllabic) mantra, is the holiest of mantras for all schools of Shaivism, past and present. Unlike many other commonly used holy mantras, the Panchakshara mantra comes to us from directly from the Vedas. The Panchakshara is found for the first time in the heart of the Yajurveda Samhita, within the Sri Rudram (Rudradhyaya) hymn. Volumes have been written about the meaning and esoteric significance of the Panchakshara. Mantra science tells us that mantras are essentially verbal embodiments of the Deity. The Panchakshara, therefore, holds the essence of Shiva Himself. Prefixed with Aum, the seed-syllable that holds the quintessence of the manifest universe, the Panchakshara becomes known as the Shadakshara (Hexasyllabic) mantra. Together, Aum + Namah Shivaya brings together the manifest reality and the unmanifest reality, as well as the inseparability of the two. Below are two short excerpts from the Parameshvara Agama from a chapter entitled Recitation of the Panchakshara mantra. The Speaker of this scripture is Shiva, and the One being spoken to is Shakti (Devi).

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All attainments are achieved by chanting the six syllable mantra, Aum Namah Shivaya. By the onset of grace all are able to attain, in all circumstances, the wisdom of the Supreme Lord manifested in the form of hamsa (swan, symbol of prana, life-breath). (5)

The five syllable mantra prefixed by Aum is the supreme among all mantras and is capable of fulfilling all the aspirations of the Shaiva devotee. (6)

The mantra consisting of a few letters is the essence of the Veda, and is the bestower of both enjoyment and liberation. This mantra is only accomplished by His grace, and undoubtedly is the form of Shiva Himself. This mantra as the form of Shiva Himself is undoubtedly self-evident by this injunction. (7)

This divine mantra is endowed with various spiritual attainments and is also pleasant to the common people, and possesses a specific esoteric meaning revealed by the Lord Himself. (8)

This mantra can easily be pronounced and is the fulfiller of all desires. Yea, it is the essence of the Veda in a few syllables, and is the provider of both enjoyment and liberation. (9)

Pārameshvara Agama XI:5-9

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All the mantras, Ishana and Panchabrahma mantra etc., remain inherent in the union of the monosyllabic mantra (Aum) and the pentasyllabic mantra (Namah Shivaya). (16)

Shiva is the form of the pentasyllabic mantra is existent in a subtle way in the letters of this mantra symbolizing the perceiver and the perceived. (17)

Shiva is the object of knowledge and so, it is known that He is the perceived (vācya) and also the perceiver (vācaka) of this mantra. It (this mantra) is the means by which attainment of Shiva is possible, and thus both (perceiver and perceived) are united beginninglessly. (18)

O Shive (Devi)! It is but I, the omniscient Lord, who created this mantra. There are no other mantras equal to it. (19)

The whole scripture of the Veda with all its divisions and subdivisions are existent in this mantra. So there can never be any mantra equal or superior to it. (20)

All the seven crores of mantras along with innumerable auxiliaries are inseparable form of this hexasyllabic mantra just as the details inhere in the sutras. (21)

All the Agamas propounding the knowledge of Shiva and also other sources of knowledge are merely the elaboration and interpretation of the hexasyllabic mantra. (22)

What is the necessity of having various mantras and voluminous scriptures for the devotee who heart is adorned with the hexa-syllabic mantra? (23)

O Devi, one who has established himself in this mantra by constant recitation should be considered to have read and heard everything, and to have accomplished all good dispositions in his conduct. (24)

Blessed is the life of the devotee whose tongue utters Shivaya along with Namah. (25)

The devotee who recites pentasyllabic mantra with all sincerity and devotion attains freedom from bondage be he of any caste, a wretch, a moron or a learned person. (26)

Pārameshvara Agama XI:16-26

Aum Namah Shivaya.

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