Shri Rudram is a scriptural text that praises Rudra, a form of Lord Shiva that represents the resplendent fire of the Divine; this fire purifies limitations and restores the awareness of oneness in a yogi. For this reason, Rudra is also known as the lord of yoga. Shri is an honorific title that implies radiance, auspiciousness, and power—all qualities we associate with Lord Rudra and with this text that venerates him.
Baba Muktananda first established the recitation of Shri Rudram in 1978 as part of the daily practice of svadhyaya in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
The text of Shri Rudram is drawn from the Krishna Yajur Veda, one of the four Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of India. Shri Rudram has two main parts—the Namakam and the Chamakam.
In the Namakam, the first portion of Shri Rudram, salutations (namah) are repeatedly offered to the Lord in his innumerable aspects and attributes. Appearing within the Namakam is the Shiva Panchakshara Mantra, the five-syllable mantra honoring Lord Shiva: Namah Shivaya. These syllables form the basis of the mantra that the Siddha Yoga Gurus impart for spiritual initiation—Om Namah Shivaya. By studying the Namakam, one learns about the immanent and transcendent nature of the Supreme: the Lord has taken the form of everything in creation and, at the same time, exists beyond creation.
The second portion of Shri Rudram, the Chamakam, takes its name from the phrase cha me (“may I”), which is repeated with each line as one invokes the Lord’s grace for a bountiful worldly and spiritual life.
In India, Shri Rudram is often one of the recitations offered during yajnas, Vedic fire ceremonies. The enunciation of the mantras of this sacred text is in itself a kind of yajna, an act of worship so powerful that it becomes a means for reciters to experience the beneficial fire of yoga.
Recitation of Shri Rudram involves careful attention to the pronunciation and pace of the Sanskrit mantras. This effort strengthens the mind’s ability to stay focused and allows the reciter to glide into meditation after the svadhyaya is completed. In this way, Shri Rudram supports a seeker to develop inner stamina, achieve greater clarity of thinking, and recognize their own oneness with God.