Recited by the music ensemble in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
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Shri Rudram, Chapter 1, lines 10-11
Click here to learn more about the music notation of Shri Rudram.

May the Whole World Be Friendly and Happy

by Pramod Srivastava

In this verse, Lord Shiva is addressed as the Resident of the Mountains. The Shaiva Puranas, which recount diverse stories about Lord Shiva, describe him as residing in the Himalayas, dedicating his time to meditation and to overseeing the welfare of the world he is creating. Although the Lord is invoked as a deity who lives in the mountains, the seeker understands that within this specific form reside the infinite nature and the omnipotent powers of Lord Shiva.

The seeker approaches Lord Shiva with the intimacy of one who knows that the Lord is of the most benevolent nature. The petition is straightforward—acchā vadāmasi: “We appeal to you directly.” To me, this means that Lord Shiva is one’s own inner Self and the most direct way to petition the Lord is as one’s own Self.

The seeker’s address is made in what the verse calls “auspicious words,” which means speaking with utmost respect, courtesy, and reverence. This form of speech is in harmony with the understanding that the power of words, what Shaiva philosophers refer to as mātrikā-shakti, has an impact on the listener as well as on the speaker. Addressing the Lord in such a way elicits the beneficial power residing in the letters and words of mātrikā-shakti.

The recitation of Shri Rudram is in itself an exercise to elicit the higher power in words by pronouncing and intoning them correctly and by worshipping the Lord with devotion. Many Siddha Yogis who recite Shri Rudram regularly—and I include myself in this company—observe that as a result of this practice, an immense energy and deep peace persists in their being long after the recitation is concluded.

The prayer in this verse includes the forms of life to whom ancient seekers were connected, that is, their relatives and the livestock that served as means of sustenance. For us today, this would be the equivalent to our family members and the people relevant to our welfare and work. The seeker requests “that they may be prosperous and free from disease, and also that they may be benevolent toward each other.” The significance of this appeal to the Lord is hard to overstate, especially in times of health, economic, and cultural challenges.

Learn more about Shri Rudram

Three marks—underline, accent, and double accent—are used to show musical notation. The melody of this recitation consists of four notes. A central note—for example, C—is sung when there is no musical notation above or below a syllable. A lower note (B flat) is sung when a horizontal line appears below a syllable (for example, kavim). A single accent above a vowel (for example, namaśte) means a higher note (either C sharp or D). A double accent above a vowel (for example, namő) indicates holding the note for two beats and going up to a higher note (either C sharp or D) on the second beat.

The best way to learn to recite Shri Rudram is to listen to a recording or to someone who knows it while reading and reciting the words.

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