Ideas for Engaging in the Study of the Guru Gita: Reciting

A question was asked, “Shall I recite the Guru Gita out loud or just read it silently to myself?”

It’s a great question – and invites thinking about what is the difference between these two styles.

In the west, we tend to think of these as different versions of the same thing, as though they were no more different than drinking a cola or a glass of milk. Both are drinking – what’s the big deal difference?

But the Yoga Tantra reveals a more penetrating understanding of the difference, and teaches that there are actually four levels of speech. This was a topic Baba Muktananda loved to teach about as well.

The ancient text of the Rig Veda says:

“Four are the levels of speech. 
Those of spiritual wisdom know them all. 
Three placed in secrecy cannot be manipulated. 
Mortals speak only with the fourth.”

The Four Levels Of Speech
Vaikhari Audible Speech
Madhyama Thought
Pashyanti Illumined Speech
Para Transcendent

When we recite the Guru Gita out loud, we are operating from the level of Vaikhari, which has its seat in the throat chakra.

When we read the Guru Gita silently to ourselves, we are operating more on the level of thought, and are able to enter Madhyama, which has its seat in the heart chakra. We are best able to speak from this refined level when we also deeply contemplate what we read and think about it, not just go through the motions of reading.

To operate on the third level of Pashyanti, means to perceive the truth underlying what we speak or read. This level of cognition best occurs when we take time after our recitation to drop into silence… as though we take the seeds of the verses of the Guru Gita and drop them into the fertile ground of a still mind, to see what clarity, understanding or revelation sprouts. Pashyanti has its seat in the navel chakra.

The fourth level of speech – Para – is the silent speech of the Infinite Ocean of Pure Consciousness, and is found as awareness merges into the sushumna, the central nadi.

Want a powerful experience? .. As you recite the Guru Gita, think of doing so with the intention to move through all four levels of speech. Here are three ideas for how to do that:

1) You can do this verse by verse – reciting it aloud, contemplating it, dropping it into silence, dissolving into silence yourself.

2) You can do this over the course of a sadhana session: recite the entire Guru Gita out loud; take some time to contemplate what you’ve just read; take your contemplation into meditation; take your meditation into complete pratyahara and stop the mind.

3) You can dedicate each day’s session to one level of speech. Day One – recite out loud; Day Two – read silently and engage thought; Day Three – contemplate the meanings you have extracted from the Guru Gita in the silence of meditation; Day Four – listen to one of the three Pratyahara guided meditations and stop the mind completely.


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