In Hinduism, Lord Shiva is considered as the most powerful deity among all. Lord Shiva is also known as ‘Mahadev’ that means Lord of the Lord as the universe is started from him and will end within him. Lord Vishnu and Lord Bramha are born from him and the trio is known as Trimurti or Tridev (including Lord Shiva). Shiva protects the universe from evil forces and demons by destroying them and hence, known as ‘Destroyer’. Therefore, he is worshiped by trillion of peoples and they please him with different types of offerings like bhaang, dhatura, milk, etc. Devotees often chant Panchaakshar mantra i.e. “Om Namah Shivaya” to impress him and gain his blessing.
This panchakshar mantra is said to be very powerful but there is a similar mantra which is derived from this panchakshar mantra and is pronounced as “Om Shivaya Namaha”. Although these two mantras appear to be same there is a slight difference in their appearance and meaning too. “Om Namah Shivaya” is a Sthula Panchakshar and is chanted for fulfilling worldly objective whereas “Om Shivaya Namaha” is Sooksham Panchakshar mantra and is chanted for attaining Moksha or liberation.
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Most of the people don’t realize the significance of the “Om Shivaya Namaha” mantra. They believe that both the mantra means ‘Salutation to Lord Shiva’ and he will be more impressed if they sing the poetic version of this mantra (Om Namah Shivaya) rather than directly saying his name.
As both these mantras are Panchakshar that means five-syllable mantras and therefore each letter has its own significance. The letter ‘Na’ represents our pride whereas ‘Mah’ represents the impurities that prevail in our minds. The letter ‘Shi’ represents Lord Shiva and ‘Va’ symbolizes Goddess Sakti or Parvati, and ‘Ya’ represents the soul or Atma. When we chant ‘Shivaya Namah’ then the Atma or the soul falls between the pride, ego or impurities of our mind and the mighty Shiva and Shakti. That means the almighty comes before our ego and impurities. Therefore the power of Shiva and Shakti removes the pride and impurities from our soul and help us in attaining moksha.
Whereas when we chant ‘Namah Shivaya’, our ego, pride, and impurities come before Shiv and Shakti and it shows that we value our ego more than the almighty. Thus, by chanting Namah Shivaya we can only get worldly objectives that too because we are taking the name of Shiva and Shakti but this mantra will never help us in attaining moksha. Now the choice is yours, whether you want to satisfy your ego or you want to attain liberation.