AUM NAMAHSSIVAYAH is Shiva Panchakshari. Aum is recited before every incantation, mantra. This is the most venerated among the Shaivite incantations. This composition brings out the power and efficacy of every sound in every letter of the mantra. This is taught first to the little child at the ceremony of initiation into learning called aksharaabhyasa and vidyarambham, which begins with the learning of the alphabet. This is one of the shodassa samskaaras, the sixteen sanctifications for human beings.
Omkaara bindu samyuktam nityam dhyayanti yohinah
Kaamadam mokshadam tasmatdonkaaraya namo namah
My salutations to aumkaara
The unity of aum and bindu
Yogis always contemplate on
The one that fulfills wishes and gives moksha.
nityaaya suddhaaya digambaraaya
tasmai "na"-kaaraya namah shivaaya
The one wearing the snake-king garland,
The three-eyed, ash-besmeared, Supreme Being
The eternal, the pristine and the one clothed in diks, (directions)
Salutations to You, Shiva! The one with ‘na’ sound!
Mandaakini salila chandana charchitaaya
nandeesvara pramadhanaatha mahesvaraaya
tasmai "ma" kaaraaya namah shivaaya
The one bathed in the waters of Mandaakini, sandal-anointed,
The master of Nandi and his band of servitors
The one offered worship with hibiscus and flowers diverse
Salutations to You, Shiva! The one with ‘ma’ sound!
sivaaya gauri vadanabjavrindasooryaaya
sree neela kanthaaya vrusha dhvajaaya
tasmai "shi" kaaraaya namah shivaaya
Shiva! With countenance like the rising Sun to Gauri
Destroyer of the ritual of Daksha
Blue-throated one, the one with Vrusha on the flag
Salutations to You, Shiva! The one with ‘shi’ sound!
Vasishta kumbhobhdava gautamaarya
muneendra devaarchita sekharaaya
chandraarka vaisvaanara lochanaaya
tasmai "va" kaaraya namah shivaaya
Master most sublime, offered adoration
By seers of the order of Vashisht the pot-born and Gautama
The one with eyes like the Sun, the Moon and Fire
Salutations to You, Shiva! The one with ‘va’ sound!
Yaksha svraroopaaya jataadharaaya
pinaaka hastaaya sanaatanaaya
divyaaya devaaya digambaraaya
tasmai "ya" karaaya namah shivaaya
The one with the appearance of Yaksha, wearing plaited hair
Trident wielding, the eternal one without beginning
The celestial, the stark naked clothed in directions
Salutations to You, Shiva! The one with ‘ya’ sound!
panchaaksharam idam punyam yah pathet-shiva-sannidhau
shivaloka mavaapnoti shivena saha modate
Five-lettered hymn – this
Merit earning, sung in His contemplation
Blesses one with Shiva’s domain
Filling Him with joy of approval!