Sri Rudram

This is part II of Shiva the Supreme. We have seen that there are 11 Rudras. Sri Rudram has 11 anuvakas. Anuvakas can be called as stanzas. There is no relevance between the names of 11 Rudras and the 11 anuvakas. Let us briefly look into the interpretation of Sri Rudram. It begins with salutation to Rudra’s arrow and his bow. It is said that these arms of Rudra are auspicious and give happiness and blessings. Shivam amongst other things means blessings. He dwells in a mountain called Kailash or Maha Kailash (Maha Kailasa nlaya – LS 578) Maha Kailasam means top head chakra or sahasraram. He guides one’s speech. His neck is blue in colour due to the swallowing of poison. On seeing Him swallowing poison, His consort held Her hand in His throat to prevent the poison entering His system (humanity). Here the poison means the worldly attachments. Rudra in his prakasha form prevents the poison of material attachments percolating into the humanity. Obeisance is paid to Him to give right frame of mind and for protection against diseases. Here disease means disease of our mind and action. He is also prayed for wealth and knowledge. He is called satvanam, the lord for people with satvic (one of the three gunas) qualities. He is called the killer of enemies. Enemies mean our inner qualities such as greed, anger etc. He is prayed to destroy such undesirable qualities. He is called a thief as He steals the hearts of His devotees. He is in the heart of everybody, irrespective of a person being a thief. He is in the form of atman and exists everywhere and thieves cannot be an exception. Taskaraanaam means thieves. Then, permeating qualities of Rudra is expressed. The attendants of Rudra are praised. Rudra is called Bhava meaning exists everywhere. Bhairava originated from the word Bhava. Rudra is saluted as the lord who destroys sins. Rudra is addressed as vamana an incarnation of lord Vishnu. In another verse he is praised by saying that he is old in age whose glory is enhanced. This epithet is a clear indication that we gain knowledge as we grow old. He is called prathamaya meaning the first, possibly first created. As a matter of fact no body has created him. He has created himself. In Sanskrit He is called aathi and anaathi. Please remember that we have already discussed that Vimarsha form of Shiva created the prakasha form of Shakthi. Rudra is also called as the controller of Yama, the lord of death. He is present in all the mantras. It can be recalled here that all the tantra sastras are in the form of teachings by Shiva to Shakthi.

We have discussed that Prakasha form is self illuminating. To substantiate this theory Rudra is called bilma meaning illumination. He is praised as the one in the form of shrutha. Shruthi means Vedas. His trishul (trident), drum, bow and arrow are considered auspicious and rich tributes are paid to them. He is also worshiped as the lord of rain. When there is drought, Rudra is invoked and Sri Rudram chanted for getting rain. Kanda IV, chapter 5, auvaka 8, verse 11 says nama shivaya cha shivataraya cha. This is the panchakshari mantra. In this mantra Shiva is invoked as auspicious form of paramatman or the absolute. We know that the absolute is the combination of prakasha and vimarsha forms. In the whole of Sri Rudram Shiva is invoked in every form beginning with grass to the form of the absolute. As a matter of fact he is worshiped even in dust. Rudra gives two aspects of life; one is materialistic pleasures and another jnana or knowledge. Here knowledge means self realization or the knowledge of the Brahman within. Rudra is also worshiped to protect our parents. Pitaram mota mataram says Sri Rudram. Rudra is said to be vital force for any living being and the cause for evolution. He makes everyone to progress. He makes everyone to think about this moment and the life after death. He does not encourage people to think about the past and the future. Rudra wants cleanliness of both body and mind. Sri Rudram ends by worshipping Him in all the directions and with a plea to destroy enemies. Enemies should not be taken in literal sense. Enemies are the materialistic pleasures and attachments that go against the path of self realization.