Anniversary of Shri Guru Gita

The Significance of Shri Guru Gita on the Siddha Yoga Path

An Exposition by Swami Shantananda

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 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.

 

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   About Swami Shantananda

Swami Shantananda Copyright 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.

 

Click here for the audio recording of Shri Guru Gita recitation.

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I have been listening to an audio recording of Shri Guru Gita on a daily basis for the past fifteen years, and I can feel its vibrations resonating within my home. Every time I listen, I experience a refinement in my understanding of the mystical relationship between Guru and disciple. Through this practice, I feel protected by my Guru’s immense love and blessings.
 

Bedford Gardens, South Africa

Shri Guru Gita has transformed my life. I’m not naturally musically inclined, so the first time I heard it ten years ago, I had no idea that I would be able to recite it beautifully. I struggled during the following years to recite it during satsang.
 
Then, on my birthday some years later, I was inspired to study and learn Shri Guru Gita in earnest. In daily practice, I studied each verse for the next three years. As I committed myself to this, I experienced amazing transformations and breakthroughs in my sadhana.
 
Now Shri Guru Gita is my constant companion. I am so grateful for this priceless gift, which continues to bear fruit.
 

Florida, United States

Every day begins for me with the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. I feel it realigning me with the divine within as my heart and mind become illumined by the Guru’s love and inspiration. This heightened state of being follows me throughout the day, and I sense it touching and uplifting those I meet along the way. 
 
I’m so grateful for Shri Guru Gita’s infinite blessings.
 

St. Laurent, Canada

I am so grateful for the grace that is manifest in the recitation of Shri Guru Gita. Even listening to it brings me great peace and reconnection to my inner Self.

In 1989 when I was quite new to the Siddha Yoga path, I participated in a Shri Guru Gita pronunciation course in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. I longed to be able to recite this sacred text correctly. One morning, in the absolute stillness of the courtyard, I prayed with all my heart, my longing to fully experience this text so strong. Then it happened--the syllables flowed and the nectar of Shri Guru Gita poured forth and through me! I will never forget that moment. To this day, each time I recite Shri Guru Gita, I experience this bliss. I am so grateful to my Guru for this gift.
 

California, United States

When I recite Shri Guru Gita, I feel serene inside. Reciting Shri Guru Gita has given my mother inner strength which has helped her heal after she was hospitalized. My mother and I have decided to recite Shri Guru Gita every day as we feel blessed by reciting it.
 

Dombivali, India

Since my introduction to the Siddha Yoga path in 2009, Shri Guru Gita has been both a guidepost and a spiritual practice.

As scripture, Shri Guru Gita has been my anchor in learning about Siddha Yoga philosophy and teachings. As I learn more and more, I refer again and again to its beautiful and mysterious poetry.

As mantra, Shri Guru Gita is also a form of active meditation for me. I pay attention to my breath to hold awareness of the light of the Self. I coordinate my breathing with the recitation of the verses, I focus on the pronunciation, and I unite my voice with the voice of the sangham.
 

California, United States

I have always been drawn to Shri Guru Gita. After reciting it with Gurumayi during a live stream from Shree Muktananda Ashram several years ago, I started reciting it every day. I did this for about a year and a half. After that I decided to recite 26 verses every day, which allows me to recite Shri Guru Gita in its entirety in one week. I usually recite it in the morning, and it sets the tone for my day and reminds me of the Guru principle and my connection to Gurumayi. For me, it is a source of grace, protection, insight, learning, beauty, wonder, gratitude, remembrance, and wealth of every kind.
 

New York, United States

I am truly grateful to Baba and Gurumayi for giving us Shri Guru Gita as a daily practice.
 
Before I began reciting it daily, I struggled with myself. When I began reciting it daily, I noticed how wonderful I feel after my recitation. There is an inner confidence, and I feel in the flow of life. I know this is my natural state that I am connecting with through this glorious text.
 
The celebration on the anniversary of Shri Guru Gita helps me refresh my commitment to this daily practice. It is my lifeline—filled with grace. 
 

Nelson, Canada

On a daily basis in the morning, I recite Shri Guru Gita. Because of this practice, my mind is stable. I feel peaceful, fresh.
 

Nashik, India

Shri Guru Gita has been my most constant companion on the Siddha Yoga path. I stumbled over its pronunciation long before I began to understand its meaning or the meaning of the path I had begun to travel. Now, more than forty years after I began this practice, I feel I have been given the most luscious, succulent prasad. I find that there is still nothing more glorious than reciting Shri Guru Gita.
 

Washington, United States

Shri Guru Gita has had such a profound impact in my life. It is the wish-fulfilling cow that makes my dreams come true. It is the central pillar of my universe. I carry the book with me wherever I go, and I share its blessings with all those around me.
 

New Jersey, United States

I love Sri Guru Gita! Recently my epiphany was that Gurumayi is always with me in my heart. Today I was reminded to keep reciting this divine chant daily. Such love and connection flow through it.
 

Brisbane, Australia

I feel that Shri Guru Gita is the most valuable gift I have ever received. When I recite this sacred text, I feel immediately connected with my beloved Guru. I am in the right place.
 
After my recitation, it seems that I can accomplish even difficult and unpleasant tasks with love and ease. I find that my decisions are coming from a deeper level of understanding, and that I am more serene.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to dedicate Shri Guru Gita to someone as a way to offer help and support to them.
 
Even after reciting Shri Guru Gita for almost 30 years, the text continues to reveal new insights to me—and much love each time I recite it. It’s such a wonder!
 
Thank you, Gurumayi.
 

Duisburg, Germany

This inspiring introduction to Shri Guru Gita reminded me of the myriad recitations that I have performed over the years. I think of how, so often, a recitation has given me a new perspective on my life and my purpose.
 
I am so grateful that we have such a powerful, enlightening practice available at anytime. Reciting Shri Guru Gita feels to me to be the most beneficial, healing action I can take to uplift this world.
 

New York, United States

Some of my deepest experiences have occurred through the recitation of this most sacred text. I am so grateful for the ways this practice has the power to instill devotion to Shri Guru in my being and open me to perceive the world through the Guru’s light.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi. Thank you, Baba!
 

New Jersey, United States

In 1997 I made a commitment to recite Shri Guru Gita every Sunday at the local Siddha Yoga Meditation Center, and I have been doing so ever since, with rare exception. It is my touchstone. My life is very rich with the Guru's presence and grace.
 

New Mexico, United States

I have been eagerly waiting for the celebration of the auspicious day on which Baba Muktananda gave us this amazing gift.
 
I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita every day for several years, and I have received innumerable blessings from this practice: love, nurturance, protection, strength, prosperity, and faith in my Guru and the Siddha Yoga path.
 
I pray that I may have the good fortune to recite Shri Guru Gita every day of my life. To me, Shri Guru Gita is a world in itself. I love Shri Guru Gita with all my heart.
 

Madrid, Spain

When I first recited Shri Guru Gita 16 years ago, it felt familiar to me, as if I had recited it many times before. The syllables were somehow deeply ingrained in my being.
 
Over time I have come to understand that I was singing the praises of my Sadguru's infinite grace, love, and glory, and that I was also singing to my own Self within. As I have continued to practice the recitation of Shri Guru Gita, I have experienced that Shri Guru and my own Self are one.
 
For me, Shri Guru Gita is the ocean of the Guru's love and grace—a place of refuge and celebration. It gives me access to the place within that I had been searching for my entire life.
 
Thank you for this gift, Baba.
 

New Jersey, United States

Reciting Shri Guru Gita has been my foundational practice since 1975. I recite the full text every morning. Although I almost always sing aloud, if time is short or if we have guests whose sleep I don't want to disturb, I sing silently to myself. I sit in a relaxed, upright posture, holding my book comfortably, and focus on the text and the translation as I breathe in rhythm with the verses. 
 
As I do this, bliss arises from deep within, filling my body and making my heart sing with joy. After the recitation, I sit for a few minutes and quietly luxuriate in the ecstasy that Shri Guru Gita invariably evokes.
 
Shri Guru Gita is the heart of my day.
 

Missouri, United States

I am grateful for these beautiful words about Shri Guru Gita. They evoked memories going back 30 years—including the golden glow in my heart as I recited Shri Guru Gita with Gurumayi and Siddha Yogis in early morning halls throughout the United States and in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
 
I relish my memory of watching the sun come up in Shree Muktananda Ashram and hearing the birds’ chorus as we reached the close of the recitation.
 

North Carolina, United States

What beautiful gifts I have received from Gurumayi through the recitation of Shri Guru Gita! For over thirty-five years, I have been reciting Shri Guru Gita, and I now realize how this has strengthened my devotion to Shri Guru, and also helped me in my sadhana and day-to-day life.
 
As a daily practice, after reciting Shri Guru Gita, I focus on one verse and reflect and write about its meaning. Then, I relate it to my life and practice it throughout the day. In this way, I am able to go deeper in the understanding of Shri Guru Gita. Surprisingly, over the years, my understanding of every verse has deepened and new layers of meaning have arisen.
 
The recitation of Shri Guru Gita has nurtured me, protected me, and helped me stay connected with Gurumayi at all times and in all situations.
 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for the lovely gift of Shri Guru Gita and for helping me to understand its relevance in my life.
 

Lucknow, India

To me, reciting Shri Guru Gita is like being with a living teacher, reflecting my inner state, helping me explore answers to my questions, centering me, and providing soothing relief in times of difficulty.
 
What a blessing the recitation of Shri Guru Gita is!
 

Florida, United States

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 more than two decades 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.
 

New York, United States

Reciting Shri Guru Gita is pure delight for my heart and strong medicine for my mind. Today 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 Bade Baba and then Baba within. This experience filled me with love and gratitude.
 

Missouri, United States

As I read Swamiji's exposition on 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.
 

London, United Kingdom

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 more easily 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!
 

China

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.
 

Missouri, United States

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 repeated recitation of Shri Guru Gita was the answer that came to my mind.
 

New York, United States

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.
 

New Jersey, United States

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!
 

Madrid, Spain

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.
 

Hawaii, United States

Swami Shantananda's exposition 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.
 

Ohio, United States