Anniversary of Shri Guru Gita

The Significance of Shri Guru Gita on the Siddha Yoga Path

An Exposition by Swami Shantananda

Forty-five years ago, on Friday, January 7, 1972, in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Baba Muktananda inaugurated the daily recitation of Shri Guru Gita as a morning practice in the Ashram Daily Schedule. Each year Siddha Yogis honor this anniversary as an important day in the history of the Siddha Yoga path.

Shri Guru Gita—Sanskrit for “Song of the Guru”—is a scripture to be studied and a mantra to be repeated. In the introduction to The Nectar of Chanting, Baba describes the 182 verses of Shri Guru Gita as “one long mantra” and extols it as “the one indispensable text” of the Siddha Yoga path. Baba teaches that reciting Shri Guru Gita is a form of svadhyaya, study of the Self. The recitation of Shri Guru Gita is an immersion in sacred sounds and a form of mantra japa.

Shri Guru Gita is a hymn, composed in traditional Sanskrit verse forms, which describes a dialogue between Lord Shiva, the primordial Guru, and Goddess Parvati, his consort and disciple. In this dialogue, Lord Shiva expounds on the nature of Shri Guru, the power of the Guru’s grace, the importance of devotion and service to the Guru, and the ways that the Guru leads the disciple to the knowledge of the Self.

Lord Shiva praises the greatness of this hymn by referring to it as “mantraraja,” literally, “king of mantras,” a supreme mantra—in verses 52, 61, 107, and 133. In verse 133 the Lord says:

verse 133 of Shri Guru Gita

Even one letter of the Guru Gita is a supreme mantra.
One should repeat it.

There are several versions of Shri Guru Gita found in different scriptures of India. One of the sources of this text is identified in the final lines of the version recited on the Siddha Yoga path:

last line of Shri Guru Gita

Thus ends the Guru Gita, which occurs in the dialogue between
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the latter portion of
Shri Skanda Purana.

Shri Skanda Purana is one of India’s ancient books, containing stories, philosophical teachings, hymns, and guidance on how to live a virtuous life. Verses in Shri Guru Gita have also been found in older scriptures, including certain Upanishads and Tantras. Historically, more than four hundred verses have been found among the various versions of Shri Guru Gita.

In 1951, while Baba was performing sadhana in Suki, in the Indian state of Maharashtra, he read the Guru Charitra, a sixteenth-century text on the life of Lord Dattatreya. This text includes a version of Shri Guru Gita attributed to Shri Skanda Purana. Baba was immediately drawn to the depth and beauty of this scripture and began reciting it. Baba subsequently included additional verses from this section of the Guru Charitra to create the version of Shri Guru Gita recited on the Siddha Yoga path.

On January 7, 1972, when Baba established the recitation of Shri Guru Gita as part of the Ashram Daily Schedule, he said:

Just today, we have started reciting Shri Guru Gita in the morning…. It bestows all powers and realizations…. The name of this Ashram is Shree Gurudev Ashram, it is dedicated to Gurudev, and we chant Shri Guru Gita ... because the Guru is our supreme deity.

Gurumayi has taught Siddha Yogis how to deepen their understanding, practice, and experience of Shri Guru Gita. For over three decades Gurumayi has given teachings about this sacred text in satsang and in Shaktipat Intensives, and has guided scholars and Siddha Yoga meditation teachers in conducting workshops and courses on Shri Guru Gita. Gurumayi has instructed students in refining their pronunciation, posture, and breathing in order to strengthen their practice of svadhyaya. Gurumayi has also introduced musical refinements to the recitation of Shri Guru Gita to support students in sustaining their focus and singing with cohesive unity.

Gurumayi has recited Shri Guru Gita with Siddha Yogis and new seekers in many countries, awakening the love for this scripture in thousands of hearts. In Siddha Yoga Ashrams, Shri Guru Gita is established as a morning practice within the Ashram Daily Schedule; in Siddha Yoga meditation centers and in Siddha Yogis’ homes, it is recited at different times throughout the day and week. At this very moment, somewhere in the world, blessings are being invoked by the recitation of Shri Guru Gita.

I am delighted and grateful that the SYDA Foundation has published translations of Shri Guru Gita from Sanskrit into 15 other languages. This has made it possible for people of many different nationalities to study and recite this sacred text. Stories abound of how people have received blessings from Shri Guru Gita and how this practice has deepened their sadhana. What is stated in Shri Guru Gita is most certainly true—through the recitation of this sacred text, one attains the four goals of life: dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation).

From my own study, contemplation, and experience, and from what I have heard from other Siddha Yogis who recite Shri Guru Gita with regularity, this practice has countless benefits. Here are a few of the benefits that further one’s sadhana:

Invokes grace
Nurtures devotion
Quiets the mind
Strengthens and frees the breath
Purifies the intellect and emotions
Increases concentration
Grants protection

In honor of this forty-fifth anniversary, relish the ambrosia of mantra japa and become immersed in the sacred sounds of Shri Guru Gita. Recognize its transforming power in your life.

 

Swami Shantananda

Swami Shantananda Copyright SYDA Foundation Swami Shantananda received shaktipat initiation from Baba Muktananda over forty years ago, when Baba gave him the mantra in Gurudev Siddha Peeth in Ganeshpuri, India. In meditation, Swamiji experienced the letters of the mantra dissolving into a vibrant, luminous power that rose up his spine to his head and gently wrapped itself around his mind. He then entered a deep inner space of silence and sweetness, from which he witnessed his quiet mind. Later, he learned from Baba that the Witness is the Supreme Self. He recognized, “This is who I am!” In 1977, he took monastic vows to become a Siddha Yoga Swami. Swami ji serves Gurumayi as a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, drawing on his own profound experiences in sadhana and his extensive knowledge of the Indian scriptures. Swami Shantananda is the author of the book The Splendor of Recognition, an illuminating commentary on the Pratyabhijña-hrdayam, a key text of the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism.

 
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Reciting Shri Guru Gita is a divine pleasure for me. Since reciting it every day for a week in December, I don't feel right unless I recite it every day. Shri Guru Gita fills me with peace, and keeps me positive and focused on gratitude for the Siddha Yoga path.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I have been chanting Shri Guru Gita daily because I love chanting this sacred text.
 
Last week, after having a challenging day, I also read the English translation of the text. I shared this with another Siddha student, and I learned that it was the 45th anniversary of Shri Guru Gita. I felt my Guru’s grace supporting me.

a Siddha Yogi from Massachusetts, USA

Shri Guru Gita has been my best friend and most stalwart companion for nearly four decades. Therefore, I speak to Shri Guru Gita as a dear, personal friend. I thank this beloved text for tolerating, without complaint, my many years of mispronunciation and musical missteps. I have recited Shri Guru Gita in the morning, in the evening, and while traveling. This dear friend has helped me celebrate the splendor of each day and comforted me when I was touched by grief. It has brought me joy, hope, and guidance–and, sometimes, ecstasy.
 
Shri Guru Gita, for me, is a living being, a gift from the Guru. I love Shri Guru Gita, and I love the ones who brought this sacred text into my life.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you, Baba. Thank you, Shri Guru Gita.

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

I have recited Shri Guru Gita every morning since September of 1975. It is the central practice of my sadhana. I began reciting Shri Guru Gita for the purpose of becoming wealthy. That didn't happen. Instead, I have come to live a life filled with the grace of the Guru, in big and small, obvious and subtle ways. I cannot express my gratitude for the divine power and joy that pervade every moment of my life. Every time I recite Shri Guru Gita, I learn fresh lessons about my relationship to the divine grace of the Guru. Eternal bliss wells up and fills me with joy. My heart overflows with gratitude every day.
 
Thank you, my dear and perfect Guru, for this astonishing, exquisite path.


a Siddha Yogi from Missouri, USA

I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita daily. I find that reciting the verses makes me feel strong and confident to begin my day. Issues at work seem to be nonexistent after recitation of Shri Guru Gita. It quiets my mind. Sometimes I will wake up in the night and recite the verses if I feel anxious, and then I sleep deeply afterwards.
 
Shri Guru Gita is a gift that is priceless.

a Siddha Yogi from Washington, USA

Reciting Shri Guru Gita is pure delight for my heart and strong medicine for my mind. On this anniversary day after reciting it, I sat for meditation. Even after my timer rang, I remained in meditation! As I sat quietly, the eyes of Lord Ganesh appeared, and then I saw Bada Baba and then Baba. This experience filled me with love and gratitude.

a Siddha Yogi from Missouri, USA

Since 1989, I have regularly recited Shri Guru Gita. The pocket edition of Shri Guru Gita is always with me in my purse. I often play the recording of it in my car. It reminds me that God is ever-present.
 
At one point in my life I realized that I no longer felt the need to tell others my worries and seek their consolation. I was no longer so fearful and angry. What had happened? Why was this so? The constant recitation of Shri Guru Gita was the answer that came to my mind.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

Recently I was remembering that the very first time I recited Shri Guru Gita was when I met Gurumayi in Mexico City in 1993. We all went on a pilgrimage with Gurumayi to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The priest who welcomed us was so happy to see Gurumayi! We all sat in the church and recited Shri Guru Gita.
 
Although Shri Guru Gita was quite new to me, I recognized its beauty and power—and also understood that it could take years of practice to be able to recite it all comfortably. Now it's twenty-four years later, and my recitations of Shri Guru Gita help me to clearly see a "before" and "after" in my spiritual growth.
 
Now, whenever I recite Shri Guru Gita, I remember all those blessed moments and I'm filled with gratitude for the Siddha Yoga path and the guidance and protection of our Guru.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

As I continue to recite Shri Guru Gita, I become more and more appreciative of the many benefits of this sacred gift. It feels like Shri Guru Gita and I have a grace-filled relationship. Reciting the verses fills me with peace and offers ever-new insights into who I am and how to relate to Shri Guru.  
 
What a special day! I extend my gratitude to Shri Gurumayi and to Baba Muktananda for this gift. Happy forty-fifth anniversary of the recitation of Shri Guru Gita!

a Siddha Yogi from North Carolina, USA

I recite Shri Guru Gita every morning in order to remember that all is transient besides the Self, to lose myself in the grace of the Guru within and without, and to offer supreme devotion to my beloved Sadguru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.
 
This morning once again, tears of joy, love, and gratitude streamed down my face, as I experienced an abundance of love and grace from the Guru, overflowing from my heart. Gurumayi has given everything to me.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, and thank you, Baba, for this spiritual boon. I am renewed and reborn in your love and grace every time I recite Shri Guru Gita.

a Siddha Yogi from New Jersey, USA

Shri Guru Gita has become an incredible support for me since I first recited this supreme spiritual jewel twenty-one years ago.
 
For the last year I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita on a daily basis, and I can report that my life has changed greatly. Difficulties have disappeared or been controlled, I found a wonderful job, and I have received many other external and internal blessings.
 
Baba Muktananda has been, and continues to be, a tremendous blessing for humanity to a degree that is incalculable. His gift of Shri Guru Gita is something miraculous, and something for which I will forever be grateful.

a Siddha Yogi from Madrid, Spain

In the summer of 1974, I was sitting by a river reading a spiritual book and came across the name of Swami Muktananda. After reading his name, I felt drowsy and began listening to the sound of the water flowing past. Slowly, I began hearing a group of people singing in a language I didn't know. Looking around, I saw that no one was there, but the sounds of men and women singing in turn continued. When I told my husband about this very unusual experience, I shared how peaceful and filled with love I had felt.
A month later I met Baba Muktananda, and was invited to an early-morning chant at his Ashram. When Shri Guru Gita began, with awe and a sense of wonder I immediately recognized the mysterious song I had heard by the river! I had met Shri Guru Gita even before meeting the Guru! 
 
Reciting Shri Guru Gita over the past 43 years, I have thought of it as a special emissary of the Guru's love, and an immediate way to connect with the Guru's grace.

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I have been practicing the recitation of Shri Guru Gita for sixteen years and it has become my favorite part of my life. If one day I don't recite it or at least listen to it, I find my state is at a different level, in which I am bothered by my emotions and unnecessary thoughts. Each time after I recite it in the morning, my inner state is uplifted and purified. I am rejuvenated. I feel I have much creative energy and I am refreshed to face the new day with a peaceful state.
 
Thank you so much, Shri Gurumayi and Shri Baba Muktananda, for bestowing this powerful and beautiful gift on us!

a Siddha Yogi from Shenzhen, China

As I read Swamiji's letter about the greatness and benefits of this sacred text, I was reminded of my own experience. After I met Gurumayi twenty years ago, I began the practice of daily recitation of Shri Guru Gita. I loved it from the start and felt great waves of love and connection with both Gurumayi and Baba Muktananda. The feeling of bliss grew daily. After six months of this daily practice, I was blessed by a feeling of Baba's presence which stayed with me for years and really cemented my connection with the Guru and helped me to establish my sadhana.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you, Swami Shantananda, for bringing back to me the importance of this practice which I now intend to resume on a regular basis.

a Siddha Yogi from London, United Kingdom

I am very grateful for this exposition on Shri Guru Gita, and for all the many interesting historical facts and details about it.
 
The way Baba loved and valued this sacred text, and then prepared it for us to recite, makes it an even more precious gift. It opens my mind to appreciating the magnitude of the blessings that this text conveys, and the unique oportunity we have to be able to recite it.
 
Thank you so much, beloved Gurumayi, for continuing Baba's initiative. Today is really a very significant day. Happy 45th Anniversary of Shri Guru Gita!

a Siddha Yogi from New York, USA

I feel that every time I recite the verses of Shri Guru Gita, I am connecting to the Guru. Shri Guru Gita is truly a blessing that shows the Guru's love for the disciple. I feel very grateful for it and for all the benefits it bestows.
 
Thank you, Baba Muktananda, with all my heart for this gift!

a Siddha Yogi from Madrid, Spain

I recited Shri Guru Gita this morning to celebrate and honor the forty-fifth anniversary of Baba Muktananda's adding it into the Ashram Daily Schedule. Today I experienced that this "long mantra," in some way, has its source within me, and it makes me feel sacred.
 
Thank you, Baba, for making this, and other, sacred texts available to all of us, and showing us that place of knowledge within. How compassionate of you! This is such a powerful gift!

a Siddha Yogi from Mexico City, Mexico 

Shri Guru Gita has provided me protection many times over the years when I've needed it most. I recited Shri Guru Gita every day when a loved one was going through a serious illness and facing death. I felt that I was enveloped by grace. It was an amazing feeling that everything is perfect, and that I was being cared for by God. Even though I was about to lose my closest friend, I felt that I was not alone. I felt protected by the Guru's love.

Thank you, Gurumayi, Baba, and Bade Baba, for showing me that your loving presence is with me at all times.

a Siddha Yogi from Hawaii, USA

Swami Shantananda's letter speaks to me of love—the profound love with which Baba and Gurumayi take care of their disciples by creating a daily practice of reciting Shri Guru Gita and continually honing our practice through refinements. What else other than love could motivate the Guru to put so much time and attention and focus on helping us attain all that Shri Guru Gita has to offer? When I recite Shri Guru Gita, I experience that love.

a Siddha Yogi from Ohio, USA