The Significance of Shri Guru Gita on the Siddha Yoga Path
A Letter from Swami Shantananda

August 22, 2013

Dear Siddha Yogis,

Namaste.
Namaste.
Namaste.

I have a very special invitation for you to participate in a Siddha Yoga teaching and learning event entitled:

Shri Guru Gita Recitation Satsang
Live Audio Stream from Shree Muktananda Ashram

A treasure-house of wisdom and spiritual power, Shri Guru Gita—Sanskrit for “Song of the Guru”—is a scripture to be studied and a mantra to be repeated.

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda’s Message for 2013 is Mantra Japa. I know that many of you have explored Gurumayi’s Message and discovered ways to put it into practice. The benefits of mantra japa are immeasurable.

Baba Muktananda, in his introduction to The Nectar of Chanting, 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 swadhyaya, 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, that 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 the Guru, the power of the Guru’s grace, the importance of devotion and service to the Guru, and the ways 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.

In 2006, at Gurumayi’s request, a team of sevites in the SYDA Foundation was assigned to conduct research on the scriptural origins of Shri Guru Gita and its history on the Siddha Yoga path, for the Siddha Yoga legacy. Since that time, sevites on this team have consulted scholars both in India and worldwide, researched extant versions of Shri Guru Gita, found rare source materials, studied and compared numerous scriptural texts, and interviewed Indian devotees who met Baba in the 1950s and '60s. Their research has resulted in one of the most comprehensive and detailed studies of the scriptural origins of Shri Guru Gita ever created.

The Indian scriptures contain several versions of Shri Guru Gita. 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.

The 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 Guru Charitra, a sixteenth-century text on the life of Lord Dattatreya. This text includes a version of Shri Guru Gita attributed to the 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 Guru Charitra to create the version of Shri Guru Gita recited on the Siddha Yoga path.

On January 7, 1972, Baba established the recitation of Shri Guru Gita as part of the Ashram Daily Schedule in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the first Siddha Yoga Ashram in India. On that occasion Baba 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 satsangs and 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 swadhyaya. 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 devotees 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 devotees’ 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 deepen one’s sadhana:

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

On September 1, in the Shri Guru Gita Recitation Satsang Live Audio Stream from Shree Muktananda Ashram, become immersed in the sacred sounds of Shri Guru Gita! Relish the ambrosia of mantra japa and recognize its transforming power in your life!

Warm regards,

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Swami Shantananda
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher

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