Panchakshara is a Mahamantra which is composed of five letters, Namassivaya. A Mantra is that which removes all obstacles and miseries of one who reflects on it and bestows eternal bliss and immortality. Panchakshara is the best among seven crores of Mantras.
There are seven Skandhas in Yajurveda. There is Rudradhyayi in the centre of the middle Skandha. In this Rudradhyayi there are one thousand Rudra Mantras. Namassivaya or the Siva Panchakshara Mantra shines in the centre of these one thousand Rudra Mantras.
Yajurveda is the head of Paramesvara, who is the Veda Purusha. Rudram which is in the middle is the face, Panchakshara is His eye, Siva which is in the centre of the ‘Namassivaya’ is the apple of the eye. He who does Japa of this Panchakshara is freed from births and deaths and attains eternal bliss. This is the emphatic declaration of the Vedas.
This Panchakshara is the body of Lord Nataraja. This is the abode of Lord Siva. If you add ‘Om’ to the ‘Namassivaya’ in the beginning, then it becomes Shadakshara or six-lettered Mantra. ‘Om Namo Mahadevaya’ is the eight-lettered Mantra or Ashtakshara.
Panchakshara is of six kinds, viz., Sthula Panchakshara (Namassivaya), Sukshma Panchakshara (Sivaya Namah), Karana Panchakshara (Sivaya Siva), Mahakarana Panchakshara (Sivaya), Mahamanu or Mukti Panchakshara (Si).
‘Namah’ means ‘Prostration’. ‘Sivaya Namah’ means ‘Prostration unto Lord Siva’. The Jiva is the servant of Lord Siva from the Deha-Drishti. ‘Namah’ represents Jivatman. ‘Siva’ represents Paramatman. ‘Aya’ denotes ‘Aikyam’ or identity of Jivatman and Paramatman. Hence ‘Sivaya Namah’ is a Mahavakya, like ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ which signifies the identity between the individual and the supreme soul.
Pranava denotes the external form (husk) of the Lord (paddy) and Panchakshara, the internal Svarupa (rice). Pranava and Panchakshara are one. The five letters denote the five actions or Pancha Krityas of the Lord, viz., Srishti (creation), Sthiti (preservation), Samhara (destruction), Tirodhana (veiling) and Anugraha (blessing). They also denote the five elements and all creations through the combination of the five elements.
‘Na’ represents Tirodhana; ‘Ma’, the Mala or impurity; ‘Si’, Lord Siva; ‘Va’, the Arul Sakti; and ‘Ya’, the individual soul.
Take bath or wash your face, hands and feet. Wear Bhasma and Rudraksha Mala. Sit on Padmasana or Sukhasana, facing East or North, in a quiet place or room. Repeat silently the Panchakshara and meditate on the form of Lord Siva. Keep the image in the heart or space between the eyebrows.
If you practise meditation regularly, your heart will be purified. All Samskaras and sins will be burnt in toto. You will attain Siva-Yoga-Nishtha or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. You will attain the glorious Siva-Pada or Siva-Gati and become one with Lord Siva. You will enjoy the eternal bliss of Sivanandam and become immortal.