Shiva Shambo Song Meaning and Origin

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My favorite part of my yoga teacher training was not the physical asanas, but the yogic traditions and spiritual practices that we immersed ourselves in throughout our three week course. Kirtan was a particular joy for me, which is a call-and-response style of chanting or singing within a group. 


Over a year down the line from my training, I often find myself singing some of these songs in my head because they had such a profound impact on me - one such example is a song we sung frequently called “Shiva Shambo”.


Of course, these chants are more than just “songs”, they’re mantras with meanings and roots in yogic traditions. Singing them in a group can have powerful healing effects, not only because of gathering in Satsang, but due to a deeper spiritual connection with the words you are chanting (often even if you don’t understand the context yourself).


Nonetheless, I think having a deeper understanding of the meaning of the mantras you chant is important to connect on a higher level, and also acknowledge and pay respect to the cultures and traditions in which they originated.


So for those reasons, I’d like to delve deeper and explore the Shiva Shambo song meaning in more depth.

shiva shambo mantra origin and meaning


About Shiva


Shiva, or Lord Shiva, is a Hindu deity who is known as the god of destruction. He is seen as the “angry god” and represents darkness, which has resulted in him being one of the most feared deities in Hinduism.


So why is he so widely worshipped? Well, because his destruction isn’t inherently bad. Shiva is often known for destroying negative presences like evil, ignorance and death. In this way, his destruction is gladly welcomed.

blue depiction of lord shiva


Not only this, but Hinduism views destruction as a precursor to creation. Lord Shiva is therefore viewed as a reproductive power, destroying the old and welcoming in the new from Brahma, the god of creation. 


Shiva is also not limited to his destructive qualities, but is also viewed as being the all-knowing, all-seeing creator - he is pure consciousness. He is known by over a thousand different names, and faces too.


What does Shiva Shambo mean?


So what does the Shiva Shambo mantra and song mean? It is essentially a devotional chant to Lord Shiva, which acknowledges him as pure consciousness and calls on his powers.


Shambho in Sanskrit translates as “the auspicious one” and chanting this sound is said to have the power to liberate you into higher consciousness. The full mantra also includes the Sanskrit words “Jaya”, meaning “victory” or “glory”, and Máha Déva, which translates as “Great God” or “the Almighty”. 


Performance of this mantra with good intention is thought to clarify the mind, increase wisdom and help to overcome obstacles to growth.


Shiva Shambo Song Lyrics


The traditional mantra and the Shiva Shambo song that we often sung at our yoga training has the following lyrics…


”Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambo

Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambo

Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambo

Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambo

Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo

Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo

Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo

Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo

Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo

Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo

Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo

Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo.”


If you want to work with the mantra, you can try listening to it while meditating on its meaning - I personally like this video for this purpose. You may also wish to chant the mantra yourself to really connect with the words.

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About Esther

Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, and author of the Breakthrough Manifestation Workbook.  Her mission is to guide others to grow to their full potential and create their dream life using spiritual and personal growth practices. Read more about her story here!

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