Shiva sahasranama is a list of a thousand names of Shiva. The Shiva Sahasranama Stotram is a very ancient hymn. It, first, came from the mouth of Lord Brahma. So the parampara begins from Brahma. He imparted this secrect hymn to Sakra(Indra), From him, it was communicated to Mrityu,the death. Mrithyu communicated it to Rudras(Maruts). The Marut ganas imparted it to Sage Tandi. He later taught the same to Sukhracharya. From Shukra, it was imparted to Gautama Maharshi. Gautama, one among the saptarshis, communicated the secret names of Brahman to Vaivasvata Manu. The Supreme Sage Narayana who was mantra drasta of Purusha Suktam, learned Sahasranama from Manu. Narayana imparted it to Yama. Yama communicated the secret hymn to Nachiketa. Nachiketa imparted it to Markandeya Maharshi. Sage Upamanyu learned it from Markandeya. Later, Sage Upamanyu communicated the same to his satsanga mitra,Krishna. Krishna imparted it to Yudhisthira Like that, Siva Sahasranama is being communicated through a great parampara from time Immemorial.
The Anushasana Parva of Mahabharata ( 13:17: 164 - 169 ) explains about parampara as follows :
stavam etaṃ bhagavato brahmā svayam adhārayat
brahmā provāca śakrāya śakraḥ provāca mṛtyave
This hymn is a great mystery. It formerly resided in the breast of Brahma the Creator. Brahma imparted it unto Sakra. Sakra imparted unto Mrityu.
mṛtyuḥ provāca rudrāṇāṃ rudrebhyas taṇḍim āgamat
mahatā tapasā prāptas taṇḍinā brahma sadmani
Mrityu imparted it unto the Rudras. From the Rudras Tandi got it. Indeed Tandi acquired it in the region of Brahman as the reward of his severe austerities.
taṇḍiḥ provāca śukrāya gautamāyāha bhārgavaḥ
vaivasvatāya manave gautamaḥ prāha mādhava
Tandi communicated it to Sukra, and Sukra of Bhrigu's race communicated it to Gautama. Gautama in his turn, O descendant of Madhu, communicated it to Vaivaswata-Manu.
nārāyaṇāya sādhyāya manur iṣṭāya dhīmate
yamāya prāha bhagavān sādhyo nārāyaṇo 'cyutaḥ
Manu communicated it unto Narayana of great intelligence, numbered among the Sadhyas and held exceedingly dear by him. The illustrious Narayana, numbered among the Sadhyas and possessed of glory that knows no diminution, communicated it to Yama.
nāciketāya bhagavān āha vaivasvato yamaḥ
mārkaṇḍeyāya vārṣṇeya nāciketo 'bhyabhāṣata
Vaivaswat Yama communicated it to Nachiketa. Nachiketa, O thou of Vrishni's race, communicated to Markandeya.
mārkaṇḍeyān mayā prāptaṃ niyamena janārdana
tavāpy aham amitraghna stavaṃ dadmy adya viśrutam
svargyam ārogyam āyuṣyaṃ dhanyaṃ balyaṃ tathaiva ca
From Markandeya, O Janarddana, I obtained it as the reward of my vows and fasts. To thee, O slayer of foes, I communicate that hymn unheard by others. This hymn leads to heaven. It dispels disease and bestows long life. This is worthy of the highest praise, and is consistent with the Vedas.'
Paramartham and Phala Stuthi : (Greatness of Shiva Sahasranama )
Sri Krishna explained to Yudhisthira about the greatness of Shiva Sahasranama Sotram which was learned by him from Sage Upamanyu. The Anushasana parva of Mahabharata ( 13:17: 151 - 163) explains the paramartham of Shiva Sahasranama as follows :
yaṃ na brahmādayo devā viduryaṃ na maharṣayaḥ
taṃ stavyam arcyaṃ vandyaṃ ca kaḥ stoṣyati jagatpatim
Who is there that can hymn the praises of the lord of the universe, that great Lord of all who deserves our adorations and worship and reverence, whom the very gods with Brahma at their head are unable to praise and whom the Rishis also fail to sing?
bhaktim eva puraskṛtya mayā yajñapatir vasuḥ
tato 'bhyanujñāṃ prāpyaiva stuto matimatāṃ varaḥ
Aided, however, by my devotion to him, and having received his permission, I have praised that Lord of sacrifices, that Deity of supreme puissance, that foremost of all creatures endued with intelligence.
śivam ebhiḥ stuvan devaṃ nāmabhiḥ puṣṭivardhanaiḥ
nityayuktaḥ śucir bhūtvā prāpnoty ātmānam ātmanā
By praising with these names that enhance one's auspiciousness of the great lord of blessedness, a worshipper of devoted soul and pure heart succeeds in attaining to his own self. These names constitute a hymn that furnishes the best means of attaining to Brahman
etad dhi paramaṃ brahma svayaṃ gītaṃ svayambhuvā
ṛṣayaś caiva devāś ca stuvanty etena tatparam
With the aid of this hymn one is sure to succeed in attaining to Emancipation. Rishis and the deities all praise the highest deity by uttering this hymn
stūyamāno mahādevaḥ prīyate cātmanāmabhiḥ
bhaktānukampī bhagavān ātmasaṃsthān karoti tān
The illustrious deity is always full of compassion towards his devotees. Endued with omnipotence, he it is that gives Emancipation to those that worship him.
tathaiva ca manuṣyeṣu ye manuṣyāḥ pradhānataḥ
āstikāḥ śraddadhānāś ca bahubhir janmabhiḥ stavaiḥ
So also, they among men that are foremost, that are possessed of faith and devotion hear and recite for others and utter with reverence the praises of that highest and eternal Lord viz. Isana, in all their successive lives and adore him in thought, word, and deed, and adoring him thus at all times,
jāgrataś ca svapantaś ca vrajantaḥ pathi saṃsthitāḥ
stuvanti stūyamānāś ca tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
janma koṭisahasreṣu nānā saṃsārayoniṣu
when they are lying or seated or walking or awake or opening the eyelids or shutting them, and thinking of him repeatedly, become objects of reverence with all their fellowmen and derive great gratification and exceeding joy.
jantor viśuddhapāpasya bhave bhaktiḥ prajāyate
utpannā ca bhave bhaktir ananyā sarvabhāvataḥ
When a creature becomes cleansed of all his sins in course of millions of births in diverse orders of being, it is then that devotion springs up in his heart for Mahadeva.
kāraṇaṃ bhāvitaṃ tasya sarvamuktasya sarvataḥ
etad deveṣu duṣprāpaṃ manuṣyeṣu na labhyate
It is through good luck alone that undivided devotion to Bhava who is the original cause (of the universe) fully springs up in the heart of one that is conversant with every mode of worshipping that great Deity. Such stainless and pure devotion to Rudra, that has singleness of purpose and that is simply irresistible in its course, is seldom to be found among even the deities, and never among men
nirvighnā niścalā rudre bhaktir avyabhicāriṇī
tasyaiva ca prasādena bhaktir utpadyate nṛṇām
yayā yānti parāṃ siddhiṃ tadbhāvagatacetasaḥ
It is through the grace of Rudra that such devotion arises in the hearts of human beings. In consequence of such devotion, men, identifying themselves wholly with Mahadeva, succeed in attaining to the highest success.
ye sarvabhāvopagatāḥ paratvenābhavan narāḥ
prapanna vatsalo devaḥ saṃsārāt tān samuddharet
The illustrious Deity who is always inclined to extend his grace towards them that seek him with humility, and throw themselves with their whole soul upon him rescues them from the world.
evam anye na kurvanti devāḥ saṃsāramocanam
manuṣyāṇāṃ mahādevād anyatrāpi tapobalāt
Except Mahadeva,the great Deity who frees creatures from rebirth, all other gods constantly nullify the penances of men, for men have no other source of puissance that is as great as these
iti tenendra kalpena bhagavān sad asat patiḥ
kṛtti vāsāḥ stutaḥ kṛṣṇa taṇḍinā śuddhabuddhinā
It was even thus Tandi of tranquil soul, resembling Indra himself in splendour, praised the illustrious Lord of all existent and non-existent things,--that great Deity clad in animal skins.