नमः सस्पिञ्चराय त्विषीमते पथीनां पतये नमः।

namaḥ saspiñcarāya tviṣīmate pathīnāṁ pataye namaḥ | (2:3)\


He is appearing in reddish yellow in complexion and is Self-radiant. Salutations to Him, who shows us the righteous path.


Saspi can also be interpreted as the one who destroys enemies (could be both external and internal). External enemies are the source of internal enemies. Enticing external world causes afflictions in the mind and as a result, our consciousness continues to remain distracted. Unless the consciousness is purified with the help of the mind, Liberation is not possible. Mind can be purified with the help of prāṇāyama. If we meditate on Rudra, He will shower His Grace and protect us from both external and internal enemies. If we meditate on Him, He leads us to Liberation through Vedic path (righteous path). Bhagavad Gītā explains this beautifully.

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (VIII. 23 - 26) about two paths. “Arjuna, I shall now tell you the different paths pursued by yogis at the time of leaving their bodies, one to return and another, not to return.  Self-realised persons, at the time of relinquishing their physical body, follow the path of fire, light, day time, bright half of the lunar month, six month period of northern course of the sun and go to the Brahman.  They are led to the Brahman by these presiding deities.  The other path is where yogis leave their bodies during smoke(smoke is generated due to improper fire), night, the dark fortnight of the lunar month, six month period of southern course of the sun and are led by the presiding deities of the above and reach the moon.  After exhausting the effects of their good karmas, they come back.  The two paths, the bright one and the dark one are eternal.  Proceeding through the first of them, the yogi reaches the supreme state never to return.  Proceeding by the other one, he returns to the mortal world.”  

Two paths can also be interpreted as Vedic path and Tantric path. Though, śāstra-s do not accept Tantric path, all the Tantric Scriptures are revealed by Shiva to His Consort Pārvatī. Tantra Śāstra lays emphasis only on Consciousness.

नमो बभ्लुशाय विव्याधिनेऽन्नानां पतये नमः॥

namo babhluśāya vivyādhine'nnānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (2:4)


Salutations to the one who is seated on the bull (His vāhana), who smites the evil doers and the Lord of food.


Bull subtly conveys diffusion of His energies (vimarśa). Babhluśa means brown in colour. His vāhana bull is brown in complexion.  Rudra is the cause and source of energy and His energies are disbursed through His vehicle, bull, in order to create, sustain and destroy the worlds. Food is again of two types. Food for sustenance and food for thought. He presides over both. Food for thought is caused by māyā (an unreal or illusionary or deceptive).

Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (IV.7) “Whenever righteousness is on the decline and adharma is rising, I incarnate and destroy evil doers.” (VII.25 & 26) “These ignorant men think that I have assumed an ordinary form and fail to understand Me as the Supreme Spirit, the embodiment of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss and beyond mind and senses.  Because of the supreme power of my māyā, I stand veiled.  Hence, the ignorant are not able to understand Me as the immutable and unsurpassable state.  Arjuna, I am aware of the past, present and future of all the creatures, but no one knows Me.”

नमो हरिकेशायोपवीतिने पुष्टानां पतये नमः॥

namo harikeśāyopavītine puṣṭānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (2:5)


Salutation to the fair headed (harikeśa) one (harikeśa is also explained as dark hair referring to non-ageing), the one who is wearing a sacred thread and the Lord of nourishment.


Harikeśa subtly means unbiased (because of being fair-headed). As far as He is concerned, everyone is same for Him. He distinguishes beings, based on the path they follow – dharmic path and adharmic path. He nourishes those who follow the path of dharma.  Harikeśa also means that He alone is eternal. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (IV.v.14) describes Brahman as “the Self is indeed immutable and indestructible.” Puṣṭa means nourishment. There are ten types of nourishment and they are speech, knowledge, health (including sharpness of sensory organs), riches, children, cattle (in today’s context it is vehicles), flourishing cities and villages, predominance of dharma, eight occult powers and homes. This mantra conveys two things. One, He showers all these nourishments to those who surrender unto Him. Second, it could also mean that He presides over these nourishment.

नमो भवस्य हेत्यै जगतां पतये नमः॥

namo bhavasya hetyai jagatāṁ pataye namaḥ || (2:6)


Salutations to the Lord who is the Creator and the Lord of the universe.


Bhava means coming into existence, birth, production, origin, state of being, existence, life, etc. He is not only Bhava, but also jagatāṁ pati. His Supremacy is emphasized in various verses of Śrī Rudram.

{Further reading: Lalitā Sahasranāma 112 is Bhavānī. Consort of Bhava is Bhavānī. Though grammatically, Bhava and Bhavānī may differ, but the actions of both Bhava and Bhavānī remain the same.  There She is said to bless Her devotees with absorption. Absorption means the mental state that is completely filled with God consciousness.  Individual consciousness submerged in God consciousness is absorption. The word Bhavānī is intended by the devotee as an address to Lalitāmbikā in the vocative case.  But, as a verb in the first person of the imperative mood, it would mean ‘let me become’.  As soon as She is addressed as Bhavānī, She rushes to grant him absorption into Her own Self. She becomes so elated and happy of being addressed as Bhavā’s consort. This translates into mahā vākyā “Tat Tvam Asi”.  This process is called sāyujya that gives immediate liberation. This way of contemplating Him is more efficacious than japa and homa.  Liberation is of four types: Sālokya, co-existence with the Lord in His world.  Sārūpya, attaining the same form as that of the Lord.  Sāmīpya, proximity as that of the Lord. Sāyujya, absorption into the Lord Himself. The first one progressively leads to the last one.  But the thought process of identifying the self with the Lord (sāyujya) leads to fast track emancipation.}