The Panchakshara Stotram is a Sanskrit hymn written in the praise of Lord Shiva and the 5 syllabled Panchakshari mantra, Nama: Shivaya. Panchakshara in sanskrit means “five letters” and refers to the five holy letters Na, Ma, Śi, Vā and Ya. The author of this stotra is Shri Adi Shankaracharya, who was a great Shiva devotee, non-dualist, and Dharmachakrapravarta. According to Hindus, he was an incarnation of Lord Shiva himself.
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram is one of the most popular works of Adi Shankara and is sung widely by Hindus across the world. It’s simple to understand, easy to memorize and one of the best possible ways to propitiate Lord Shiva and get His blessings.
It’s also important to note the greatness of Adi Shankara who composed Shiva Panchakshara Stotram. At the age of eight, he became proficient in the four Vedas, at the age of twelve he was well versed in all the scriptures, at the age of sixteen, he wrote the Shankarabhashya and at the age of thirty-two left his body. Adi Shankara is considered as Shiva Himself.
The mantra “Nama: Shivaya” has been given great importance. Saint Manikkavacakar hails, “Long live Namachivaya!” in his song. This mantra is considered Shiva himself.
Therefore, in a way, Shiva Panchakshara Stotram is so special as the composer is Shiva Himself, and the object of description, “Nama: Shivaya” is also Shiva Himself. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Phalasruti says the one who chants this in Shiva Sannidhi attains the abode of Shiva itself.
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram Lyrics
नागेंद्रहाराय त्रिलोचनाय भस्मांगरागाय महेश्वराय। नित्याय शुद्धाय दिगम्बराय तस्मै “न” काराय नमः शिवाय॥
मंदाकिनी सलिल चंदन चर्चिताय नंदीश्वर प्रमथनाथ महेश्वराय। मंदारपुष्प बहुपुष्प सुपूजिताय तस्मै “म” काराय नमः शिवाय॥
शिवाय गौरी वदनाब्जवृंद सूर्याय दक्षाध्वरनाशकाय। श्री नीलकण्ठाय वृषध्वजाय तस्मै “शि” काराय नमः शिवाय॥
वसिष्ठ कुम्भोद्भव गौतमार्य मुनींद्र देवार्चित शेखराय।
चंद्रार्क वैश्वानर लोचनाय तस्मै “व” काराय नमः शिवाय॥
यक्षस्वरूपाय जटाधराय पिनाकहस्ताय सनातनाय। दिव्याय देवाय दिगम्बराय तस्मै “य” काराय नमः शिवाय॥
पंचाक्षरमिदं पुण्यं यः पठेत् शिव सन्निधौ। शिवलोकमवाप्नोति शिवेन सह मोदते॥॥ इति श्रीमच्छंकराचार्यविरचितं श्रीशिवपंचाक्षरस्तोत्रं सम्पूर्णम् ॥
Shiva Panchakshara Stotram Meaning
The one who wears the Naga king as a necklace and has three eyes…
He is a great lord who has spread divine ashes on his body
Immortal, clothed in the four directions and ever pure
Salutations to that Shiva who represents the letter “Na”.
Who is worshiped with water from the Mandakini river and anointed with sandalwood.
Lord of Nandi, ghosts and devils, the great Lord,
He is worshiped with Mandara and many other flowers
Salutations to that Shiva who represents the letter “Ma”.
Exalted is He who is like the rising sun that illuminates the rose-watered voice of Gauri and who appeased Daksha’s sacrifice
Bull-shaped crested and blue-throated
Salutations to that Shiva who represents the letter “Shi”.
And by great and respected sages like Vasishtha, Agastya and Gautama.
Worshiped by the gods and the crown of the universe,
Fire, Sun, Moon and three eyes
Salutations to that Shiva who represents the letter “Va”.
The one with matted hair, the embodiment of Yajna
Who carries a Trident in hand and is eternal.
Divine, radiant, clothed in the four directions,
Salutations to that Shiva who represents the letter “Ya”.
Benefits of Shiva Panchakshara Stotram
The last 2 lines of the hymn, i.e., the Phalasruti, describe the benefits that accrue to the person who chants it. It says, those who recite this Shiva Panchaksharam in the presence of Shiva attain Shivaloka and experience bliss.
Here’s another blog by The Cowherd covering the significance of Maha Shivaratri.