Shri Shiva Mahimnah Stotram
Throughout India, Shri Shiva Mahimnah Stotram or “Hymn to the Glory of Shiva” is one of the most well-known and beloved Sanskrit poems written in praise of Lord Shiva. The hymn is attributed to Pushpadanta, a gandharva, a celestial musician, who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. The legend says that Pushpadanta once offended Lord Shiva by unwittingly stepping on bilva leaves, which are used for worship of the Lord. To atone for his error, Pushpadanta composed and offered this magnificent stotram to Lord Shiva, who was so pleased by it that he instantly forgave any offense his devotee might have caused through carelessness.
As one might expect from a celestial musician, the verses are composed in Sanskrit poetic meters that lend themselves to being sung in lyrical melodies. Various verses sing Lord Shiva’s praises by referring to well-known stories that illustrate his unrivaled power over all that exists, as well as the boundless compassion and benevolence he shows to his devotees. Other verses are more philosophical, and exult Lord Shiva as the goal of meditation, as the all-pervasive source and sustenance of the Universe, as dwelling beyond the senses and the mind—in short, as the inner Self that is the goal of sadhana.
One such verse says:
“Different paths to realization are prescribed by the three Vedas; by the Sankhya, Yoga, and Shaiva doctrines; and by the Vaishnava shastras. People follow different paths, straight or crooked, considering one best or most appropriate for their temperament, but all paths lead to you, just as different rivers flow into the same ocean.”1
Shri Shiva Mahimnah Stotram was recited as part of the Siddha Yoga Ashram Daily Schedule at its inception by Baba Muktananda in Shree Gurudev Ashram in 1967 and remains, today, an oft recited svadhyaya text on the Siddha Yoga path. Over the years, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda has often led recitations of Shri Shiva Mahimnah Stotram in Siddha Yoga Ashrams and on her Teachings Visits around the world.