Om Namo Narayana is one of the most popular Hindu mantras used for worshiping Narayana, which is referred to as Lord Vishnu – the supreme God.
This mantra is a powerful Ashtakshara mantra or 8 syllable mantra and is one of the most popular maha mantras from ancient India. Back then people would greet each other with this maha-mantra as it symbolized seeing that spark of divinity within every sentient being that has the capacity to elevate our consciousness to the highest state of being.
“Narayana” is one of the names of Vishnu, the Vedic Supreme God (the Supreme Purusha) according to Vedas, Purusha Sukta, Itihasas, and Bhagavata Purana. The fifth verse of the Narayana Sukta, a hymn in Yajurveda, states that Lord Narayana pervades whatever is seen or heard in this creation from inside and outside alike.
Another meaningful translation of ”Narayana” is ”The one who rests on water”. In Sanskrit, “Nara” can also refer to all living entities or human beings. Thus, another significance of Sanskrit word ”Narayana” is ”Resting place for all living entities”.
He is described in the Bhagavad Gita (or The Song of God) as having a ”Universal Form”, which is beyond the ordinary limits of human imagination or perception. In Hindu the Vedas and Puranas, He is depicted as having the divine blue colour of water-filled clouds, four-armed, holding a lotus flower, mace, conch and a Sudarshana chakra.
Om Namo Narayanaya meaning:
Om – the eternal source-sound-vibration of creation. AUM symbolises the infinite Brahman and the entire universe. It aligns our energy, creates a feeling of openness and expansion, and it connects our inner world to the greater outer and beyond.
Namo – To honor or solute. Another meaning of this word is “Na” meaning ”not”, “Ma” meaning ”mine” – signifying ”nothing in this world is mine”. By reciting ”namo” (nothing is mine), we are saying that Paramatma (Supreme Soul or Spirit or Absolute Atman) himself is the way to reach him.
Narayanaya – is a name of Lord Vishnu – the preserver of the universe. It also stands for the alpha and omega of the universe: Supreme lord, who is the ultimate destination. Another interpretation of the word: ”nara” means “human” and ”ayana” means “direction/goal”. Thus. Narayana translates as the “direction of a human” (or the one that guides a human being to his/her goal, i.e. towards moksha – liberation).
Together this mantra translates that Jivatma is always a servant of Paramatma, his destination is Paramatma, the way to reach him is also Paramatma’s lotus feet itself and once he reaches that point, he will do eternal service to his lord.
Another simple translation: ”I bow to the divine.”
Chanting Ashtakshara mantra benefits:
The repetition of a Sanskrit mantra has a mystical power of bringing about a manifestation of the divinity, just as the splitting of an atom manifests the tremendous force latent in it. Like a seed planted with the intention of blossoming into a beautiful perennial, a mantra can be thought of as a bija (seed) for energizing an intention. A mantra is also a mass of radiant energy. It accelerates and generates the creative force and can grant siddhis (supernatural powers). Spiritual life needs harmony in all parts of our being.
This mantra is chanted to invoke His all-pervading power of mercy and goodness. Constant practice with this potent mantra confers infinite prosperity, love, power, abundance, glory, wisdom, and total liberation. Furthermore, chanting the mantra gives the capacity to dissolve hindrances resulting from ignorance and egoism. It is a mantra of peace, bringing balance to an off-centered world.
In addition, reciting the mantra of Lord Vishnu relaxes the entire nervous system and gets one in tune with the natural harmony that is at the core of one’s being.
”One who recites this mantra is free from fame with a sincere heart and attains all: life, offspring, health, wealth, and cows.” – Upanishads
Developing a daily meditation practice (minimum 30 minutes) helps you to cultivate a more peaceful, present, and balanced lifestyle, which spreads out into every other aspect of your life. Mantras can help bring you back to that present state of mind.