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Tvam Eva Mātā

Introduction by Swami Shantananda

I have learned from Gurumayi Chidvilasananda to appreciate and honor the gratitude that naturally arises in my heart as I remember the bounty of blessings and gifts I have received since receiving Shaktipat Initiation. Every day, as I recall the transforming power of Gurumayi’s grace; her invaluable teachings that encourage me to cultivate noble virtues and hold on to the conviction that God, Guru, and my own Self are the same light; her unconditional love; and her steady protection that guide my steps on the inner journey—I find myself saying with heartfelt joy, “Thank you, Gurumayi, thank you, thank you!” A heart filled with gratitude seeks ways to praise the Guru in thankfulness.

It is a tradition for Siddha Yogis to sing this prayer of gratitude, including at the conclusion of their recitation of Shri Guru Gita. This prayer was created by one of Baba Muktananda’s devotees, the renowned singer Hari Om Sharan, in the late 1960s. To compose it, he combined scriptural verses in Sanskrit with verses in Hindi that he wrote himself.

The 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 these words to Lord Krishna in the sacred epic poem Mahabharata. As a disciple, the queen praises her Guru with devotion and reverence, recognizing the Guru 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 an indebtedness to the Guru, the disciple reflects, “O Lord, you have given me everything. What shall I offer to you?” The question arises from deepfelt appreciation, and the answer that arises is: “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 worship of the Guru.

After the prayer, a well-known Sanskrit verse from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is recited, beginning with the phrase 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.

The 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.