Shiva Mantra

Shiva Mantra

Shiva the Destroyer:

Hindu Deity of Freedom, Liberation & Joy

Shiva is part of the Hindu trinity that also includes Brahma and Vishnu. This aspect of God is the destroyer of evil, possibly akin to the Holy Spirit in the Christian trinity. Shiva is alternately depicted as benevolent and fearsome. He is associated with breath or air as well as fire.

Table of Contents

Shiva and the Chakras

As a fundamental energy in the universe, Shiva is associated with multiple chakras. Shiva is a powerful Hindu god manifesting throughout the cosmos. Shiva expresses freedom, liberation and joy. There are many forms of Shiva as well as many consorts. 

Shiva and the Third Eye
Shiva is primarily associated with the third eye chakra between the eyebrows at the bridge of the nose. This sacred spot is sometimes marked on the forehead by the red dot known as the bindu. The third eye is the door to prophesy and spiritual vision. Learn more in the article Third Eye Chakra Meaning.

Shiva and the Throat Chakra
One of Shiva’s forms is known as Sadashiva. This combination of five major forms is associated with the throat chakra. In this form, Shiva is shown seated in a meditation posture. he can be identified by the leopard skin that he wears. More about this chakra can be found in Throat Chakra Meaning.

Shiva and the Sacral Chakra
One of Shiva’s consorts is Parvati, goddess of love, fertility and the home. Parvati is connected to the sacral chakra. Accordingly, Shiva also resides in this chakra in his primary form. Parvati and Shiva are the parents of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Learn more about Ganesha Symbolism.

Shiva and an Ancient Flying Machine
Shiva & His Vimana, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Shiva and Ancient Flying Machines

Shiva is often depicted flying on a large celestial eagle called Garuda. In fact, most of the gods of India are believed to have descended from the sky. These gods brought knowledge and new skills such as agriculture, mathematics, and so forth to their devotees. Since Shiva appeared as an adult, there are no stories or records of Shiva’s childhood. In contrast with this, Krishna is believed to have taken a human birth. Learn more in the article The Amazing History of Blue-Skinned Krishna.

Powers of Shiva’s Eagle Named Garuda
In addition to the eagle Garuda being large enough for Shiva to ride on him, he also had many other-worldly powers. For example, Garuda could fly to the moon. In addition, he could fly out of the solar system. Unfortunately, Garuda could also drop bombs. In fact, scholars including Eric Von Daniken (author of the New York Times bestseller Chariots of the Gods) believe that Garuda is a flying machine called a vimana, not a mythological animal. Vimana is Sanskrit for “boat of the air.”

Temple in Jodhpur India
Temple in Jodhpur, India

Vimanas: Temples and Ancient Texts

Gods and kings used vimanas to travel across India, throughout the world, and to cities floating in the “firmament.” There are records of many types of vimanas with differing capabilities. The shapes of these vimanas are thought to be replicated in the tops of Hindu temples (see image above). There are extensive descriptions of various vimanas in Book 7 (Drona Parva) in the Mahabharata

Electromagnetic Field of Vimanas
Riders are said to have circled vimanas multiple times before entering the crafts. Descriptions include details such as the hair of travelers standing on end when close to a vimana. Moving around the outside of the vimana would help to adapt the body to the electromagnetic field. To this day, devotees may circle a temple multiple times before entering.

Vimanas in the Ramayana
The king of Lanka named Ravanna possessed one of the most famous vimanas called the pushpak vimana. Ravanna is the king who kidnapped Sita, wife of Rama, in the epic story told in the Ramayana. This vimana is said to have traveled at the speed of thought. Some resources believed that many vimanas were powered by mercury.

Vimanas in the Mahabharata
In the famous epic the Mahabharata, there are detailed descriptions of the impact of weapons released by ancient flying machines. For example, the elephants and other animals were dying. Birds were falling out of the sky due to heat and radiation. Unborn children were killed by the “rays of the gods.” Soldiers wearing metal armor had to remove their protective gear due to the sudden heat generated.

Characteristics of Vimanas

Smaller vimanas are referred to as flying chariots. Some say certain vimanas could also travel under water. Larger vimanas could fly great distances and destroy entire cities with a single weapon. Many of these vimanas also traveled to floating palaces or cities. According to some researchers, these cities were actually motherships. The vimanas were more like shuttles between the earth and larger ships.

Arjuna and the Three Cities
Arjuna, the personage discussing morality and the universe with Krishna in the Mahabharata, says that there were three cities in the firmament. Arjuna went many times to these cities. Two were destroyed and the other disappeared.

Types of Vimanas
Smaller vimanas could only transport two or three people. Larger vimanas could hold anything from 20 to 500 passengers. Some had wheels; others did not. Some made a thunderous noise when they traveled. Other vimanas moved silently. In addition to those powered by mercury, others were thought to run on mica and other components.

Shiva Ra Mantra: He Who is Like the Sun

Shiva is often shown with a serpent around his neck, a crescent moon as an adornment, the river Ganges flowing from his hair, the trishula as his weapon, and a damaru drum nearby. In the following mantra, “Ra” means “sun.” This chant honors “Shiva who is like the sun.”

Lyrics: Hari Om, Hari Om, Shiva Ra Namo

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Other Forms and Mantras to Shiva

Another form of Shiva is called Sadashiva. Sadashiva is the highest form of Shiva, a compilation of five major aspects. Sometimes Sadashiva is depicted with five faces representing five emanations of God or the four directions plus upward movement. Other sources view Sadashiva’s five faces as symbolizing the forces of the universe: creation, preservation, destruction, obscuration and grace.

Symbols of Sadashiva
Sadashiva wears a tiger skin indicating his victory over animal instincts. The snake around his neck represents the endless cycle of birth and death. The trishula held in one hand is a three-in-one symbol representing the divine as a trinity. 

Sadashiva Hindu Deity Illustration

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Nataraja: Hindu God and Cosmic Dancer

The lyrics of Shiva mantras help to explain the history of the Hindu god known as the Cosmic Dancer or Lord of the Dance. Nataraja (or Nataraj) is one of the presiding deities for the crown chakra. The dancing form of Shiva called Nataraja is a joyful being spinning and dancing through creation. Nataraja represents the ecstatic state of enlightenment.

Nataraja Mantra Meaning
The following is a traditional mantra associated with Nataraja. The meaning of this chant is “Salutations to the beautiful dancing Nataraja, the Lord Shiva, whose consort is Shivakami. Honor to Shiva who is the master of the sky of consciousness. Nataraja is the lord of the city of Parthi.”

Nataraja, Nataraja, Nartana Sundara Nataraja (2x)
Shivaraja, Shivaraja, Shivakami Preya Shivaraja (2x)
Chidambaresa Nataraja, Parthi Puresa Shivaraja

Symbols of Nataraja

Nataraj has multiple arms (usually four), each holding symbolic objects. In this form, Shiva represents all three states of life: creation, preservation and destruction. In other forms, Shiva may depict only his primary role, which is destruction. As Nataraja, he symbolizes the constant motion or dance of life all the way down to subatomic particles.

Ring of Fire: Nataraja dances within a ring of fire, symbolizing the circular nature of time. The ring of fire is called the prahbha mandala.

Drum: His upper right hand holds a drum (damaru) that makes the fundamental sound of creation. The drum has an hourglass shape. The sounds that are created are called Shrishti (creation, evolution).

Fearlessness Mudra: Nataraja’s lower right hand is in the fearlessness mudra or gesture (abhaya mudra). This is the energy of Sthiti (support, preservation). The gesture also represents protection.

Demon Under Right Foot: Nataraja’s right foot stands on a smaller being representing the human ego and ignorance. This is the energy of Tirobhava (illusion, veiling). Nataraja’s stance indicates that he is the master of understanding and has put down all forms of illusion.

Uplifted Left Leg: Nataraja’s uplifted left leg symbolizes grace and liberation. His upper left hand holds a blazing flame.

Lower Left Hand: His lower left hand points to the upraised left foot, indicating the path of freedom. This is the energy of Anugraha (grace, emancipation).

Serpent: The serpent often shown around Nataraja’s neck (and in most depictions of Shiva’s other various forms) symbolizes the kundalini or shakti energy. This is the energy at the base of the spine that rises to crown when enlightenment is reached.

Earrings: Nataraja’s earrings indicate that the Divine can be expressed as feminine, masculine, a combination of both or neither. In some depictions, he wears two different earrings. On the right side, he may wear a crocodile earring, tradition for men. On the other side, Shiva may wear a circular earring typical of women.

Nataraja and the Crown Chakra
Nataraja ©2018 Living Arts, LLC

The Dance of Nataraja
The dance of Nataraja is called Tandava. The dance is the source of all movement within the universe. The gestures of the Tandava indicate five activities of Shiva. They are creation (symbolized by the drum), protection (the upraised hand), grounding and claiming the earth (the foot on the ground), destruction (the hand holding fire), and release (the upraised foot). 

Nataraja: king of dancing
Sundara: beautiful or handsome
Shivaraja: variation on the name of Lord Shiva, the royal Shiva
Shivakami: the beloved (wife) of Lord Shiva
Preya or priya: dear
Chidambaresa: the sky of consciousness
Parthi: city of Parthi
Puresa: lord of a place or city

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Nataraja as the Beautiful One

The following is another mantra to Nataraja. “Dhimi dhimi” is the sound of Nataraja’s dancing feet. “Bam bam” is his beating drum. “Sundara” means “beautiful” and “lovely.” Nataraja Dhimi Dhimi Bolo Nataraja Bam Bam Bolo Nataraja Sundara, Nataraja Shivaraja Sundara

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Mantra of Praise to Shiva

This is a chant to Nataraja that simply means, “Praise to Nataraja, the royal Shiva, who is beautiful.” Lyrics: “Nataraja, Shivaraja, Sundara.” Shiva is often viewed as “the destroyer.” Likewise, Krishna or Vishnu is “the Preserver” and Brahma is “the Creator.” This Trinity alternately creates, preserves and destroys physical manifestation in the universe.

There are experts who view the ancient Vedas as scientific texts describing the processes of creation and destruction from a physics perspective. Each vowel and consonant in Sanskrit is said to carry a particular vibration and to create a specific form in the material world. Learn more in the article One Word Mantras.

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew, and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Shiva Mantra Article Summary

Shiva is a Hindu deity associated with breath or space. He is a powerful Hindu god manifesting throughout the cosmos. Shiva expresses freedom, liberation and joy. Shiva has many forms and names as well as many consorts. Shiva travels throughout space on an eagle named Garuda. Learn more about the forms of Shiva.

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