A Prayer of Gratitude

An Introduction to Tvameva Mata by Swami Shantananda

For a student of the Guru, gratitude is a natural outcome of the recognition of grace in one’s life. Gurumayi writes of gratitude in her book Enthusiasm, saying that it arises spontaneously in a seeker’s heart with the remembrance of the bounty of blessings and gifts received from the Guru’s grace. Such a heart seeks ways to praise the Guru in thankfulness.1

Prayer is a way to express gratitude and cultivate this exquisite virtue. It is a tradition for Siddha Yogis to sing a prayer of gratitude at the conclusion of their recitation of Shri Guru Gita. This prayer, Tvameva Mata, was created by one of Baba Muktananda’s early students, Hari Om Sharan, in the late 1960s, when he also composed the hymn Jyota se Jyota Jagao.

This prayer opens with the phrase tvameva mata—“you are the mother”—from a verse that originates in a Sanskrit hymn titled Pandava Gita. Queen Gandhari addresses this verse to Lord Krishna in the sacred epic poem Mahabharata. As a disciple, the queen praises her Guru with devotion and reverence, recognizing him as the supreme progenitor, the friend of all, the source of knowledge and also wealth. With true understanding, Gandhari sees the Guru as the Self of all and, thus, the source of every blessing in her life.

The next four verses, written by Hari Om Sharan in Hindi, entreat the Lord as the Guru, the one who removes inner suffering and illumines the mind. These verses laud the power of worship, devotional love, and chanting the divine name as means to experience the presence of the Lord.

Aware of indebtedness to the Guru, the disciple reflects, “O Lord, you have given me everything. What shall I offer to you?” The question arises from heartfelt appreciation, and the answer that comes is this: “With folded hands, I offer salutations.” By offering salutations, namaskara, the disciple venerates the Guru with devotion and expresses thankfulness. Throughout this prayer, gratitude is conveyed by the disciple’s recognition of the blessings that come from the Guru. At the core of these salutations pulsates the feeling, the bhava, of love and worship of the Guru.

After the prayer, a well-known Sanskrit verse from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is recited, which begins with the words om purnamadah. In the previous five verses the disciple has addressed the Guru as the embodied Master. This final verse evokes purna, the “perfection” and “fullness” of the highest Truth. This perfection, the supreme Self, exists in the Guru, in oneself, and in everything in creation.

This final verse serves as a reminder of the essential awareness the disciple is to hold when honoring the Guru, whether through worship, prayer, or the practices of sadhana—that is, the awareness of the disciple’s identity with the supreme Self, which bonds everything in oneness. It is with this awareness that the disciple finds inner peace.

I invite you to sing Tvameva Mata with Gurumayi and remember the meaning of the words as you sing. In this way, you can connect with your own feeling of gratitude for the Guru’s grace and love in your life.

1In her book Enthusiasm, Gurumayi speaks of gratitude as an inborn attribute of a human being and goes on to teach how spiritual seekers can cultivate this divine virtue. Swami Chidvilasananda, Enthusiasm (South Fallsburg, NY: SYDA Foundation, 1997), p. 173 – 74.

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Tvam Eva Mātā

About Swami Shantananda

Swami ShantanandaCopyright SYDA Foundation Swami Shantananda began following the Siddha Yoga path in 1972. In 1977, he took monastic vows to become a Siddha Yoga Swami. Swami ji serves Gurumayi as a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, teaching in Siddha Yoga workshops, courses, satsangs, Sadhana Retreats, and Shaktipat Intensives. He also serves as a member of the Siddha Yoga Teachings Council, which plans how the Siddha Yoga teachings will be presented on the Siddha Yoga path website and in global teaching and learning events.

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. Swami ji has also authored many of the letters and expositions featured on the Siddha Yoga path website. He has an extensive knowledge of the Indian scriptures, and his writing elucidates the teachings of these scriptures in a way that is accessible to contemporary seekers.

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