Welcome to the Siddha Yoga path
Sign In Subscribe to Update Emails

Svadhyaya: The Recitation of Scriptural Texts

Shri Rudram

Recitation of Shri Rudram

by Swami Shantananda

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.


Click here to share
I began reciting Shri Rudram daily a week ago. It feels like darshan. I have longed to go to Gurudev Siddha Peeth and India, and when chanting, I feel as though they have come to me! It feels as though a very intelligent presence is with me, guiding me on how to pronounce each syllable. Time slows down and even seems to hold still.
Afterwards my day is much easier. I live in a cocoon of love and peace. Interactions are easy and harmonious. I feel so fortunate, grateful, and protected to have this divine sacred text in my life.

Washington, United States

Even though I realized the importance of reciting Shri Rudram, at first I thought it was too difficult. But one day when I was alone, I intuitively opened the Shri Rudram book and started reading the first chapter word-by-word in Sanskrit. Soon I was engulfed in an exalted state of mind, and this feeling continued until the next morning. Thereafter I started reading Shri Rudram regularly. Soon I learned to recite the entire Shri Rudram and began a daily practice.
I have experienced many benefits from this practice: a peaceful and happy state of mind, slower and more easeful breathing, more harmonious and friendly interactions with others, and ease in solving problems.

Kalyan West Maharashtra, India

For me, reciting Shri Rudram is like experiencing God within me and around me. I have noticed that while I recite the verses, I am drawn within, and my breathing becomes very slow and stable. When I complete the recitation, I am very calm, at peace, and very focused as to what I have to do in my life ahead. I feel that I have received direction from within for leading a pure and satisfying life.

Lucknow, India

I started listening to Shri Rudram on audio, and I loved to listen to it and read it. I learned its rhythm. Then, reading the meaning of the text, I came to understand that Shri Rudram purifies my whole being. Gradually, I have mastered reciting it, and my mind has become more focused. The recitation has helped me to enter my deeper heart. After reciting it, I feel that I am standing right in front of Lord Shiva.
Reciting Shri Rudram regularly has changed my vision of the world. Whenever I recite it, I feel I am serving Lord Shiva.
Thank you, Gurumayi ji. Thank you, Baba, for giving me such a powerful text.

Ghoti, India

I have always found Shri Rudram to be a profound and deeply moving hymn. Something in the cadence of the recitation feels ancient and strikingly familiar and buoyant.

When I am reciting this hymn, my whole being becomes focused as I follow the pattern of the mantras and feel their vibrations fill my heart and mind. It is easy to move inward and glide into a meditative state after the chanting of these wonderfully potent mantras.

Afterward, I find my awareness is aligned with the shakti, and I am filled with a powerful sense of calm and connectedness to everything around me.

New Jersey, USA

Shri Rudram has become very important in my life. Last summer at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland, I learned to recite Shri Rudram, and I recited it daily for many weeks. I found this is to be a powerful, fiery, and mystical experience.
Recently when a family member had an extended illness, my husband and I found courage and solace in Shri Rudram. Shri Rudram is a gift that I know I can turn to if I’m needing to shift my state, feel happier, or move through an obstacle.
I am very grateful for this sacred text.

Texas, USA

I have been drawn to Shri Rudram since I first heard it during a visit to Gurudev Siddha Peeth in 2011. I participated in recitations while I was there, and back home, reciting Shri Rudram continues to support and uplift me. During challenges, it has enabled me to access discrimination and clarity, and to act from a place of awareness.

I am so grateful for this ancient text that guides me through the maze of appearances, allows me to let go of limiting thoughts and feelings, and opens my heart.

Tauranga, New Zealand

The first time I heard Shri Rudram recited was in 1978 in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. I was immediately drawn into another world and state of mind, and felt I had known this sacred text for lifetimes. I was not able to participate in the recitation that day, but I could listen. However, I prayed with all my heart to God that one day I would be able to recite it. When Baba included Shri Rudram in the daily Ashram schedule in 1979, I was so grateful. I honored that by reciting it regularly.

The cadence of its verses has an alluring rhythm to it. If I haven't the time to recite it, then I listen to it. I love its ability to draw me deep within, and to focus and still my mind.

Arizona, USA

I have been drawn to Shri Rudram since the early 1980s. Reciting it has always made me feel timeless. A certain feeling of familiarity overcomes me, as if I had recited it before in ages past.

I experience Shri Rudram as worship of my own inner fire. Reciting it in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, I experienced the fire of the divine will. I felt I was in the middle of Lord Shiva`s fire, the purifying fire of grace. How divine is Shri Rudram!

Florida, USA

Since childhood, I have loved listening to and reciting the sacred text of Shri Rudram. Over the years, I developed a deep affinity towards this scripture. During my high school and college years, whenever I found my studies challenging, I would wake up early in the morning, listen to Shri Rudram recitation, and then begin my studies, finding them much easier.

I realize that over the past several years, I’ve disconnected from the practice of listening to and reciting Shri Rudram. Yesterday, I experienced a huge wave of love wash over me as I read this posting with beloved Gurumayi’s words about Shri Rudram.

Then I reconnected with the practice of Shri Rudram recitation. Afterwards, I felt enveloped by a sweet, loving energy. Throughout the day, I easily finished my several hectic lists of things to do—and I enjoyed doing them. At the end of the day, I felt quite energetic. I feel the recitation has created a sacred space within me to which I can connect at any time.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for reconnecting me to the practice of reciting scriptural texts.

Pune, India

A few years ago, I was on retreat in Gurudev Siddha Peeth. During my stay, I was inspired by observing my fellow young adult Siddha Yogis recite Shri Rudram in the Shiva Temple each afternoon. At that time, I did not know the meaning of this powerful text, but I was drawn to the sound of it.

Later, I noticed Shri Rudram being recited during the abhishek, the ritual bathing, of Bade Baba’s murti in the Bhagavan Nityananda Temple. Then I decided to do this practice on a daily basis.

Over months of study and practice, I have come to enjoy reciting Shri Rudram. And I also feel a new closeness to Bade Baba, whom I see as a form of Lord Rudra, the omnipresent Lord.

Thank you to my Guru for this svadhyaya!

New Delhi, India

This morning after my hatha yoga practice, I felt a deep yearning to reconnect with the part of myself that is steadfast in remembering Gurumayi's immense grace and support throughout my life. As I rose from my mat and walked up to the statue of Lord Rudra that adorns my small puja, my eyes were moist with tears, and I could hear the same prayer in my heart—to always honor and keep sacrosanct the memory of all that I have received from Gurumayi. As I touched the feet of Lord Rudra, I felt the same sense of benediction and wisdom envelop me that I experience whenever I remember reciting Shri Rudram in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
In the afternoon, when I read the posting on the Siddha Yoga path website about Shri Rudram and the benefits of reciting it, I felt as though my experience earlier in the morning had been confirmed. It became clear to me that by making the recitation of Shri Rudram an important part of my spiritual practices, I will be able to strengthen my mind's capacity to remain steadfast.
I offer my heartfelt gratitude to Gurumayi!

Ghaziabad, India

Over the past year, reciting Shri Rudram has become a weekly highlight for me here in Shree Muktananda Ashram. At first, I was not able to keep pace with the syllables; but over time, with steady effort, I have been gaining greater proficiency. As I have done this, I've observed a growing experience of bliss associated with the correct pronunciation and pacing as described in this posting. As a result, I make every effort now to recite Shri Rudram regularly, because this experience continues to deepen. I have been feeling the effects throughout the week, through a growing experience of inner strength and detachment.

Last night while reciting it, I noticed in some moments that my breath was coasting along with the syllables, as if I were surfing the waves of an ocean. It was an experience of such perfection. After the recitation ended, I slipped into a state of meditation where my mind was completely free of thoughts, as if waves of shakti were flowing through it. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to repeat these mantras and to observe and experience their divine power.

Shree Muktananda Ashram

Whenever I recite Shri Rudram, whether I am chanting on my own or with other devotees, I always experience the beneficial fire of yoga throughout my being. My body feels lighter, my voice grows sweeter, and my mind becomes still from the vibrations of the mantras. My whole being feels bathed in light and joy.

I am immensely grateful to Baba and Gurumayi for giving us this sublime text to practice and study.

California, USA

Shri Rudram is one of my favorite text chants. I love to recite it, and over the past few weeks, I’ve tried to listen to it almost every night before going to bed. This morning when I saw this posting, I felt that I’ve been in alignment with my Guru's teaching.
Reciting Shri Rudram ignites my awareness and also supports my focus on the breath. In this way, reciting Shri Rudram gives me another opportunity to practice the focus for this month, prana-shakti.
Every time I recite Shri Rudram, I am drawn inside, and my experience of meditation flows more easily.
Thank you, Gurumayi.

Gurudev Siddha Peeth

Many years ago, a friend gave me a Siddha Yoga recording of Shri Rudram. I was dealing with a challenging family situation, so my friend advised me to listen to the mantras with an open heart. I had no written copy of it, so I did my best to focus on the pronunciation and pace of the chant. I kept up this practice for a long time. I felt this steady practice was giving me clarity and strength to make wise and loving decisions. I could perceive God’s presence in the world around me, even in what looked unfavorable to me. I understood that by invoking the various attributes and aspects of the Lord, I was performing a purifying sacrifice and worshiping the immeasurable facets of my inner Self.

When I first had the possibility of reciting Shri Rudram with the written text in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, I was surprised to see that I could follow the chant with ease. The mantras had taken root deep within me and bloomed.

Thank you, Gurumayi!

Buenos Aires, Argentina

For many years, I have been drawn to the recitation of Shri Rudram. On the one hand, I recite it as a prayer and praise to Lord Rudra. On the other hand, I recite it for the sheer exhilaration I experience in maintaining the intense focus required to stay aligned with the pace and complexity of the chant. And the meditations that follow my recitations are always unusually deep and serene.

I am so grateful for having Shri Rudram available to me—as one more way to purify my mind and my awareness, and as one more way to honor the divine force we call Lord Rudra.

Connecticut, USA