Śiva Pañcākṣarī Yantra
Design and recording © SYDA Foundation®. All rights reserved. Do not copy, post or distribute.
This image is for viewing on the Siddha Yoga path website only.

Introduction by Achala Woollacott

During this month in which we celebrate Mahashivaratri, I invite you to meditate on the Shiva Panchakshara Yantra, a mystical practice that draws you toward the goal of merging into the infinite sky of Consciousness, into Shiva.

The Shiva Panchakshara Yantra is a diagram that serves as a visual representation of the mantra sacred to Lord Shiva, Om Namah Shivaya. An artist and practicing Siddha Yogi adapted the traditional yantra with gradations of blue, reminding us of the color associated with divine Consciousness. A yantra is a portal, a visual entryway, that gracefully supports a spiritual seeker’s journey inward.

In this word, the syllable yan comes from yam, which means “to sustain or support,” while tra means “to protect.” A yantra simultaneously sustains and supports your inward journey and protects you from any distraction from the goal. The mystery of a yantra is that it can lead awareness from the mind into the Heart, from form to the depths of formlessness.

Om Namah Shivaya, the initiation mantra of the Siddha Yoga path, is referred to as the panchakshara mantra, the “five-syllabled mantra.” Each syllable is associated with one of the five elements that compose the human body. Na represents the element earth; ma, water; shi, fire; va, air; and ya, ether. As you practice meditation through japa, the regular repetition of a mantra, the powerful vibrations of the Guru’s grace that enliven the mantra purify your physical body and your mind.

You are welcome to embark on a mental pilgrimage into the temple of the Heart, which vibrates with Shiva’s indrawing power. Bear in mind that the visual terrain of the yantra is holy ground, and that each step has significance that can be only hinted at here.

Place the image of the yantra at eye level and in your mind’s eye allow your focus to move through the yantra’s elements toward the depths of its Heart, where Om is enshrined.

Enter the yantra through one of the four doorways into the bhupura, the “outer square,” which acts as a boundary that contains the power of the yantra. As you move into the bhupura, be aware that this space represents both the physical world and the temple of the human body, for it is within the earthly realm that the spiritual realm is revealed. The syllables of the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, which you see throughout this outer square, remind you to focus on the vibrations of the mantra as you travel toward the Heart.

Threading your way inward, traverse the second element of the yantra—a kamala, “lotus,” which is the symbol of purity and spiritual unfoldment. This energy center is constantly vibrating with light and the divine sound of the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. You can linger here awhile, listening to the exquisite sounds of the mantra vibrating as they cause the lotus petals to unfold and lead your awareness further inward.

Then, go deeper by entering the second lotus. Once again, you can linger here awhile as you listen to the inner repetition of Om Namah Shivaya.

Moving further into the yantra, enter the third lotus, which is suffused with even subtler vibrations of Om Namah Shivaya.

Continuing to move inwardly, enter the core of the yantra. Here you behold a radiant star comprised of five rays—one for each syllable of Namah Shivaya. The five syllables of this great panchakshara mantra continue to purify your body and your mind as they draw your awareness toward the subtlest of inner realms at the very Heart of the yantra. In this space you merge into the primordial sound, Om, the source of all mantras. As you rest here, your awareness rests in the supreme abode of Shiva. Enjoy the blissful peace of Shiva’s Heart.