Anuvāka 3 has 17 mantras and all the 17 mantras begin with namaḥ or namo (नमःor नमो) and end with namaḥ, same like previous anuvāka. Mantras 1 to 8 talk about thieves, in order to explain His omnipresence. There is no good soul or bad soul. Soul is always the same in everyone. A person’s quality is decided on the basis of karma and mind. Karma always manifests through three guṇa-s in one’s mind. It is finally the mind that makes a person good or bad. Whether good or bad, soul is always pure. Rudra is the soul of everyone and hence He is called Chief, as without soul, no being can exist. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (XIII.1 – 3) “Arjuna, the body is only a field, where all the actions take place and is known as kṣetra and the one who realises this is called kṣetrajña. Know Me as kṣetrajña in all the kṣetra-s. Knowledge about kṣetra and kṣetrajña is wisdom. Now, I will give you a brief about kṣetra and its nature, its modifications, its origin and kṣetrajña and its glory.”
Further reading kṣetra and kṣetrajña: Bhagavad Gītā XIII.1 – 3
नमः सहमानाय निव्याधिन आव्याधिनीनां पतये नमः॥
namaḥ sahamānāya nivyādhina āvyādhinīnāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:1)
Salutations to the one who condones wrong doings, who strikes enemies repeatedly and the chief of afflicting deities.
He easily forgives occasional wrong doers, provided he or she always thinks of Him (He should have pervaded their mind like a yogi’s mind) and not everyone. He protects His devotees from enemies (both internal and external). There are multiple enemies in our lives such as disease or natural calamities. Each such disease is controlled by one god and nature’s fury happens due to the anger of multiple gods. Rudra does not hesitate to destroy those enemies, provided they are not interfering in devotees’ karmic accounts. Law of Karma is His Law Book and He does not transgress it under any circumstances. At the same time, He is the chief of such afflicting gods. This is an interesting section. He does not hesitate to fight with tutelary gods if they cause pains for His devotees and at the same time, He is the chief of all such gods. This proves His omnipresence and omnipotent.
In other words, if we surrender to Him, He will protect us under any circumstances. But we have to surrender to Him through our minds.
नमः ककुभाय निषङ्गिणे स्तेनानां पतये नमः॥
namaḥ kakubhāya niṣaṅgiṇe stenānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:2)
Salutations to the one who is Supreme, who holds a sword (it is also mentioned as quiver; as quiver is mentioned in the next mantra, here it is taken as sword) and the chief of thieves.
Stena means thief. He is the protector of thieves and also the chief of thieves. This clearly shows that Brahman is both good and bad. There is no separate Brahman for wrong and right. Brahman is one, says Upaniṣad-s. He protects thieves who worship Him and at the same time He ensures that His devotees are not robbed of their belongings. Devotees are the ones whose minds are pervaded by Him (śaraṇāgati) due to intensity of their devotion.
नमो निषङ्गिण इषुधिमते तस्कराणां पतये नमः॥
namo niṣaṅgiṇa iṣudhimate taskarāṇāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:3)
Salutations to the one, whose arrow is ready to go from his bow, the one who has a quiver and the Lord of dacoits.
There are several mantras about his bow, arrow and quiver. But they are used to mean different contexts, as He is all pervading. There is difference between stena (thief) used in the previous mantra and taskara used in this mantra. Stena means an indirect robber (through cheating, etc.) and taskara means a direct robber who steals directly. He is the Lord for all types of thieves (as He is the Lord of all beings). His bow, arrows, and His quiver containing arrows mean that He is ready to protect those who have surrendered to Him. Even if thieves and dacoits surrender to Him, He protects them too, when they are transformed (transformation happens after surrender). Subtly it can be explained that robbers are distractions of mind and He does not hesitate to destroy those robbers causing such distractions.
The underlying conveyance is that if we surrender unto Him, He is bound to save us from evil influences which could bring us down from our higher spiritual levels. Even sages and saints have come down from the pinnacle of spiritual attainments. The mind becomes more vulnerable when we reach higher spiritual levels. The effect of His own Power called māyā is too powerful to resist.
नमो वञ्चते परिवञ्चते स्तायूनं पतये नमः॥
namo vañcate parivañcate stāyūnaṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:4)
Salutations to the cheater, deceiver and the Lord of cheaters.
Next few mantras also talk about thieves and robbers. Shvetashvatara Upanishad (VI.7) says, “He is supreme among all gods. He is the God of all gods, the Ruler of rulers. He rules the universe and is the sole object of worship in the world.” Thus, He is omnipresent and omnipotent and naturally He is both good and bad. If He is good only, then from where bad things originate? The world exists due to His perfect balancing between dharma and adharma. Thieves and burglars also pray to Him before they venture out. Good and bad arise out of imbalance amongst three guṇa-s, which are controlled by His Power called māyā.
नमो विचेरवे परिचरायारण्यानां पतये नमः॥
namo vicerave paricarāyāraṇyānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:5)
Salutations to the one, who always roams about for stealing and dacoity and who presides over dacoits of the forest.
This mantra subtly talks about the wandering nature of the mind. When the mind wanders wildly, it does not hesitate to do any sinful acts. When we surrender unto Him, the mind is controlled and perpetually fixed on Him. Rudra presides over wavering minds too.
नमः सृकाविभ्यो जिघासद्भ्यो मुष्णतां पतये नमः॥
namaḥ sṛkāvibhyo jighāsadbhyo muṣṇatāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:6)
Salutations to the one who is the Lord of those protecting themselves with weapons, those who torture others, those who steel grains (pilfer) from their employers.
It is said that He attains every form, both good and bad. He is doing all the acts by remaining within as the Soul, though He does not make one to act. He remains only as a witness. All the acts are performed according to one’s karmic impressions. This mantra again conveys His omnipresence. He is the cause for both movable and immovable. The glory of the Brahman cannot be truly described as He is the embodiment of glories. But this does not mean that the Brahman represents only the good. He is also present in evils as He is omnipresent. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā (VIII. 40 – 42) “Arjuna, I am the seed of all beings and none can be mobile or torpid without Me. There is no limit to My Divine Glories. This is only a brief of my manifestations. Whatever is brilliant, glorious or powerful in any being, know that to be a part of My Divine Glory. What are you going to gain in knowing all these details Arjuna? It is enough to know that I hold the entire universe by a fraction of my Yogic Power”
नमोऽसिमद्भ्यो तक्तं चरद्भ्यः प्रकृन्तानां पतये नमः॥
namo'simadbhyo taktaṁ caradbhyaḥ prakṛntānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:7)
Salutation to the Lord who is the chief of robbers who wander in the nights and kill for robbery and who have swords with them.
Subtly they mean attendants of Shiva (Rudra gaṇa-s). They always wander and do not hesitate to kill the sinners. They have swords in their hands.
नम उष्णीषिणे गिरिचराय कुलुञ्चानां पतये नमः॥
nama uṣṇīṣiṇe giricarāya kuluñcānāṁ pataye namaḥ || (3:8)
Salutations to the one who is wearing turban, who wanders on the mountains, the chief of those who steal lands, fields and houses from people.
He is the chief of land grabbers. He is wandering in the mountains with a turban (in order to hide His original form with plaited hair). In mountains, many yogis do tapas. In order to encourage them and protect them, He wanders personally in the mountains and ensure their safety. Stealing lands, fields and houses are meant to protect His devotees who do tapas thinking about Him. During tapas, one’s consciousness is lost and he or she needs protection as he or she is not aware of the surroundings. They have to be sheltered in proper places. This is personally ensured by Rudra. He is too fond of His devotees.