Anuvāka 11

This anuvāka has 12 mantras and are in the form of prayers to Rudragaṇa-s.

सहस्राणि सहस्रशो ये रुद्रा अधि भूम्याम्।

तेषा सहस्रयोजनेऽव ध्न्वानि तन्मसि॥

sahasrāṇi sahasraśo ye rudrā adhi bhūmyām |

teṣā sahasrayojane'va dhnvāni tanmasi || (11:1)


There are innumerable Rudragaṇa-s on the earth. We pray to them to keep their bows untied far away from us.


Rudra is the source of energy and His energy is divided into innumerable categories and each such divided category of energy is known as a Rudragaṇa. Rudra is the cause and effect is manifested through Rudragaṇa-s. The source gets itself multiplied into various objects; Hence Shiva is known as omnipresent. If Rudragaṇa-s are treated as separate entities, omnipresence of Shiva is jeopardised. The entire universe is only the manifestation of Shiva. We pray to Rudragaṇa-s not to harm us.

अस्मिन् महत्यर्णवेऽन्तरिक्षे भवा अधि।

asmin mahatyarṇave'ntarikṣe bhavā adhi | (11:2)


In this vast intermediate space between heaven and earth, Rudragaṇa-s exist……

नीलग्रीवाः शितिकण्ठाः शर्व अधः क्षमाचराः॥

nīlagrīvāḥ śitikaṇṭhāḥ śarva adhaḥ kṣamācarāḥ || (11:3)


Rudragaṇa-s who exist below the earth have part of their necks dark in complexion and rest of their necks are white in complexion …………..

नीलग्रीवाः शितिकण्ठाः दिव रुद्रा उपश्रिताः॥

nīlagrīvāḥ śitikaṇṭhāḥ diva rudrā upaśritāḥ || (11:4)


Rudragaṇa-s who exist in heaven have part of their necks dark in complexion and rest of their necks are in white in complexion.

Notes for 2, 3 and 4:

These four mantras (1 to 4) are often considered as one mantra. These Rudragaṇa-s exist in the heaven, mid world, earth and below the earth. Rudragaṇa-s also mean every living being right from a tiny grass to human beings. This also indicates that Rudra exists as the soul in all the living beings, without whom, no existence is possible in all the four worlds referred above. This also augurs well that Brahman’s reflections are the beings.

Shiva is Prakāśa (the principle Self-revelation; consciousness; the principle by which every other thing is known.) form represents Śiva and vimarśa (Self-consciousness as opposed to Self-revelation of Śiva; the awareness of Śiva, full of knowledge and actions that bring about the world process) form represents Śaktī. There is an important saying in Yogavasiśtā, “I have two forms, ordinary and supreme.  The ordinary form of mine is with hands and legs.  This form of mine is worshiped by ignorant men.  The other one is my supreme form, the formless form without a beginning and an end.  This form of mine has no qualities or attributes and is called the Brahman, Ātman, Paramātman, etc.”

Therefore, these four mantras mean two things. One, they refer to both sentient and insentient in the universe. Two, they mean different energies that are required to keep the universe together. They form the gravitational force that keeps the planets in place, thereby avoiding collision and resultant great dissolution.

Therefore these prayers are addressed to Rudragaṇa-s to give us a peaceful living. This is the reason why Rudra yajña-s are performed both during drought and flood.

ये वृक्षेषु सस्पिञ्चरा नीलग्रीवा विलोहिताः॥

ye vṛkṣeṣu saspiñcarā nīlagrīvā vilohitāḥ || (11:5)


Rudragaṇa-s who are in trees and having the complexion of grass and whose necks are blue in colour.


In the trees mean birds who live on the trees. This mantra could be referring to birds like peacocks, etc. This mantra again emphasizes the omnipresence of Rudra and His energies. The word saspi is also used in mantra 2:3, which means yellowish red young grass. Rudragaṇa-s are always very active and the moment they come across some sinners, they do not hesitate to destroy them in no time. Destruction does not mean death only. They cause them miserable pains, both physically and mentally. At the same time, they always protect virtuous people. They ensure perfect balance between good and bad. “If I did not perform actions in a balanced way, the universe would be annihilated and I would be the cause of improper admixture of duties (Bhagavad Gītā III.24).”

ये भूतानामधिपतयो विशिखासः कपर्दिनः॥

ye bhūtānāmadhipatayo viśikhāsaḥ kapardinaḥ || (11:6)


Rudragaṇa-s preside over bhūtagaṇa-s (the host of living beings and multitude of spirits or ghosts). Some of these Rudragaṇa-s have shaven head and some of them have braided hair.


Rudragaṇa-s preside over different living beings and also spirits and ghosts (as discussed in Garuḍa Purāṇa. Prayer to them is not to harm us and our fellow beings and animals.

ये अन्नेषु विविध्यन्ति पात्रेषु पिबतो जनान्॥

ye anneṣu vividhyanti pātreṣu pibato janāan || (11:7)


Rudragaṇa-s cause diseases by entering into unclean food and drinks and cause trouble to the sinners.


They take the forms of bacteria and even cause death. That is why, prayers are offered to gods and goddesses before we eat our food, which is called annaśuddhi. It is a prayer to Rudragaṇa-s to purify our food. If we eat unclean or stale food, they enter the food and cause serious diseases. ‘Whatever beings exist in this world are products of food.  They are sustained by food and in the end they dissolve into food.  Food is called the remedy of all ills of living beings’, says Taittirīya Upaniṣad (II.2).

ये पथां पथिरक्षय ऐलबृदा यव्युधः।

ye pathāṁ pathirakṣaya ailabṛdā yavyudhaḥ | (11:8)


These Rudragaṇa-s protect two paths that are generally followed by human beings.


The two paths are Vedic path and kula path, path followed by traditions. Kula path varies from lineage to lineage and in Vedic path, there are no variations. These Rudragaṇa-s feed and nourish people who follow both the paths and protect them too. Kula also means the sum total of senses, both internal (antaḥkaraṇa) and external. Rudragaṇa-s protect those who follow virtuous path.

ये तीथानि प्रचरन्ति सृकावन्तो निषङ्गिणः॥

ye tīthāni pracaranti sṛkāvanto niṣaṅgiṇaḥ || (11:9)


Rudragaṇa-s, with spheres and quivers protect water bodies and in particular sacred waters like river Ganges.


It can also be said that they not only protect such waters externally, but also protect them by remaining in such waters. This also subtly conveys the sacredness of holy rivers and taking bath in them to remove accrued sins in this birth.

य एतावन्तश्च भूयासश्व दिशो रुद्र वितस्थिरे।

ya etāvantaśca bhūyāsaśva diśo rudra vitasthire | (11:10)


There are so many other Rudragaṇa-s doing different jobs assigned to them by Rudra.


Rudragaṇa-s penetrate length and breadth of the universe by remaining either as Rudra’s energies or as normal beings. Ultimately everything in this universe is Shiva.

तेषा सहस्रयोजनेऽव धन्वनि तन्मसि॥

teṣā sahasrayojane'va dhanvani tanmasi || (11:11)


Please untie your bows and keep them far away from us.


Mantra 10 and 11 together considered as one mantra. If this is accepted, then there are only 11 mantras in this anuvāka. Through our prayers, we are making these Rudragaṇa-s to keep away their bows in a faraway place.

नमो रुद्रेभ्यो ये पृतिव्यां येऽन्तरिक्षे ये दिवि  येषामन्नं वार्तो वर्षमिषवः तेभ्यो दश प्राचीर्दश दक्षिणा दश प्रतीचीर्दशोदीचीदर्शोर्ध्वाः तेभ्यो नमस्ते नो मृडयन्तु ते यं द्विष्मो यश्च नो द्वेष्टि तं वो जम्भे दधामि॥

namo rudrebhyo ye pṛtivyāṁ ye'ntarikṣe ye divi  yeṣāmannaṁ vārto varṣamiṣavaḥ tebhyo daśa prācīrdaśa dakṣiṇā daśa pratīcīrdaśodīcīdarśordhvāḥ tebhyo namaste no mṛḍayantu te yaṁ dviṣmo yaśca no dveṣṭi taṁ vo jambhe dadhāmi || (11:12)


Salutations to Rudragaṇa-s on the earth, in the mid region, in the heaven and whose arrows are food, wind and rain. We salute them with folded hands facing, east, south, west, north and facing upwards. Those who do not like us and fight with us, we place them unto your mouths (Rudragaṇa-s).


Chanting this mantra gives prosperity.

There are three types of Rudragaṇa-s mentioned here. Each of them hurt us in different ways. The first category affect us through food such as starvation or overeating. The second category affect us through thunder, lightning and torrential rains. Third category affect us through wind like tornados and cyclones. Mostly, all of them work in tandem, indicating deluge and disaster. In order to appease them, we pray to them. We also seek protection from our enemies both external and internal.

End of anuvāka 11