नमो वन्याय च कक्ष्याय च

namo vanyāya ca kakṣyāya ca (6:9)


Salutations to the One, who is in the form of woods in forests and shrubs or bushes.


vanya means produced in forest, possibly referring to secret herbs grown only in forests. It also means produce from fruits and roots of wild plants. Kakṣa means secret or secretive. It can be subtly explained, that secretive knowledge of the Self is hidden within our own selves and this knowledge is to be searched like searching for sacred herbs in deep forests. Some of these herbs are used in amulets discussed earlier.

नमः श्रवाय च प्रतिश्रवाय च

namaḥ śravāya ca pratiśravāya ca (6:10)


He is in the form of sound and echo.


Śrava means hearsay and probably referring to the origin and teaching of Vedas. In ancient times, Vedas were taught only orally as Vedas have specific pronunciation.. Now scripts are there.  Pratiśrava not only means echo, but also answering and promising or assuring. It is also said that pratiśrava means illuminating the external sound or the sound delivered through mouth or the audible sound which is known as vaikhari, which is explained thus. “Vaikhari is the fourth and final form of sound in its evolution.  This is the state wherein the sound is heard.  This is called vaikhari because the sound is produced by a modified form of prāṇa called vaikhari.  This is the stage which is called aparā or non-supreme stage in the evolution of sound where there exists fully developed materialization, combined with time and space, the components of māyā.  In fact the theory of evolution of speech purely depends upon the materialistic treatment of prāṇa or life energy.  The whispering sound in the stage of madhyama fully transforms into speech and delivered in the form of vaikhari.  It is said that will (icchā) forms the basis of speech to finally merge with consciousness.   Importance of consciousness is repeatedly emphasised.”

नमो आशुषेणाय चाऽऽशुरथाय च

namo āśuṣeṇāya cā''śurathāya ca (6:11)


He has swiftly moving army and He has the fastest moving chariot. Salutations to Him.


His army refers to pañcabhūta and other gods. He moves much faster than His army. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gīta (VII.4 and 5) “My manifested nature has eight fold differentiations: earth, water, fire, air and ākāś (ether) in combination with mind, intellect and ego (three of the four components of antaḥkaraṇa).  This is my lower nature (aparā-prakṛti).  But understand that my different and higher nature (parā-prakṛti) is the jīva, the self-consciousness and life-principle that sustains the cosmos”.  A soul interacting with Prakṛti causes manifestation of a gross body.  Sense organs get embedded in the gross body that get connected to antaḥkaraṇa, the inner psychic apparatus (comprising of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) to unfold the impressions of the mind, caused during his previous births in conjunction with one’s own karma. The soul is imperishable, whereas every other thing is perishable. The soul continues to remain imperishable as long as it is associated with impressions of mind and karma.  The cessation of the soul becomes possible only if one could understand its creator Rudra by acquiring enough knowledge to realize Him.  He can only be realized and cannot be seen, as He is devoid of forms, but remains as the only source of energy for all that happens in the universe.  If He is understood and realised, one is able to merge into Him, with no more births. Therefore, chariot means our body and His army refers to our sensory organs.

नमः शूराय चावभिन्दते च (नमः शूराय च अवभिन्दते च)

namaḥ śūrāya cāvabhindate ca (namaḥ śūrāya ca avabhindate ca ) (6:12)


Śūra means strong, powerful, valiant, heroic, and brave. Avabhinna means broken or destroyed, which refers to causing havoc on enemy’s army. Salutations to Him.


This means that He is the Absolute and Supreme. Enemies are ego, desire and attachment, the source of which is sensory organs. This is beautifully explained in Katha Upaniṣad (II.i.1) which says “The Self-created Lord has created the sense organs with the inherent defect that they are by nature outgoing.  This is why beings see things outside and cannot see the Self within.  Rarely is there found a wise person seeking immortality, who can withdraw his sense organs from external objects to the Self within.”

{Further reading on puryaṣṭaka: (as told by sage Vāsiṣṭha to Lord Rama in Yoga-vāsiṣṭha - VI.5).  Brahman who is without beginning or end and which is the seed of the universe, becoming differentiated is jīva (soul); subjecting itself to the idea of separateness, it becomes ahaṃkāra (ego) with manana (contemplation), it becomes manas (mind); with the certainty of intelligence, it becomes buddhi (intellect); then the five elements (sound, etc) through indriyā-s (sensory organs).  With the thought of the body, it becomes the body itself; with the thought of a vessel, it becomes the vessel.  A form (subtle body), having such a nature is called puryaṣṭaka body or eight constituents of the body.  The eight constituents are mind, ego, intellect, sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, the last five together known as tanmātra-s.}

This mantra is in continuation of the previous mantra and endorses the same. If He is contemplated, through a cleansed mind, all the enemies such as mind, ego and sensory organs described above are annihilated and He makes His devotee to realize Him.

नमो वर्मिणे च वरूथिने च

namo varmiṇe ca varūthine ca (6:13)


Salutations to the One who is wearing body armour (cuirass). Varūthin means a secret place for the driver of chariot, used only in the battle field.


He not only fights for His devotees, but also protects them secretively. In Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa (VI.xviii.33) Śrī Rāma says “I vouchsafe security against all living beings to him who comes to me only once and seeks protection (from me), saying ‘I am yours’: such is my vow.”

नमो बिल्मिने च कवचिने च

namo bilmine ca kavacine ca (6:14)


Salutations to the One who is wearing headgear and to the one who is covered with armour.


Shiva is also known as Kavachin. Taking into account the next and concluding mantra of this anuvāka, it can be explained that He is covered with hosts of mantras. Headgear means the snakes and Ganges. But subtly it could mean the crown chakra, sahasrāra is just below the brahmarandhra, an orifice in the skull that connects to cosmos (The existence of this orifice has not been medically proved.  Perhaps this is like the pores that exist in our skin through which sweat comes out.  But one can distinctly feel the cosmic connection through this orifice).  The union of Rudra and His Śaktī takes place at sahasrāra. There are fifty alphabets in Sanskrit. Based on these alphabets and multiplying this fifty by numeric twenty (made up of five basic elements, five karmendriya-s, five jñānendriya-s and five tanmātra-s) one thousand is arrived.  This one thousand is said to be the number of psychic petals of an imaginary lotus flower in sahasrāra.

Thus all the alphabets originate from Him and His entire form is made up of saptakoṭi mantras and thus, He is the Lord of all mantras.

नमः श्रुताय च श्रुतसेनाय च॥

namaḥ śrutāya ca śrutasenāya ca || (6:15)


Salutations to the One who is revealed by Vedas and to the one who commands respectable and famous army.


Rudra is referred often in Vedas and hence it is said that He is revealed by Vedas. For example Śrī Rudram. Śruta means orally transmitted or communicated from age to age, which is nothing but Vedas. His army is japa mantras, which protect His devotee.

{Further reading on Veda-s:  The Veda-s (वेद) are the most important treatise to the humanity.  They are in classical Sanskrit language that was widely used in ancient Aryan times.  The Vedic verses can be interpreted from various angles like literature, spiritual, religious, grammar, philosophy etc.  Though there are interpretations on Veda-s available today, it is doubtful whether they truly convey the intended meaning.  This is not because of defective interpretations or lack of efficiency of the interpreters, but mainly due to the abilitie-s of Veda-s to communicate both gross and subtle renditions.  A careful reading of Vedic verses reveals that they deal with symbolic separation of bodily organs of the performer and offered to higher energy fields for purification.  Veda-s never advocated physical slaying of animals. But it is wrongly interpreted that various organs of an animal are offered as oblations.  Veda-s originated from divine commune.  For a long time, they were not penned down as the verses were channeled from a master to his disciples.  The sages have chosen the oral path for communication,  as these verses relied more on orthoepy to prevent any distortions.   Most of the texts of Veda-s are in the form of verses.  These are called mantra verses and their oral delivery largely depends on phonics and rhythm.   There are portions of prose as well and they are known as Brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण) passages.  These passages explain the procedures for rituals and dwell more on the practical side.

There are four Veda-s, Rig, Yajur, Sāma and Atharva (ऋग्, यजुर्, साम, अथर्व).  The first three are known as trividyā (त्रिविद्या) (literal translation – three types of knowledge).  Atharva Veda is not included here because of its late origin.  The origin of the other three Vedas is not known.  But the fact remains that they defied Nature’s fury and continued to guide even in this contemporary world.  Vedas are also known as Śruti-s (श्रुति).  Veda-s in their original form is too difficult to comprehend as they are considered to have been delivered by God Himself to the ancient sages and saints.  The sages conglomerated the speech of God, by colligating their highest level of cosmic intelligence with the Supreme Consciousness.  They memorized these verses and imparted them to their disciples orally.  If the sages had chosen to contrive the Vedas into manuscripts, they could have been destroyed or modified, unable to stand the vagaries of  Mother Nature.  It is beyond the human power to decrypt the speech of God.  To make it possible to some extent, the study of Vedas were divided into various categories and each category was analyzed by experts in the respective fields.  This study is known as vedāṅga (वेदाङ्ग) that integrates study of phonetics, ritual injunctions, linguistics, grammar, etymology, lexicography, prosody, astronomy and astrology.

The elaborate study of Veda-s would not have been initiated, had it been easier to understand them.  Vedāṅga attempted to corroborate various expert interpretations, thereby making it possible to first understand the gross interpretation and later its subtle conveyance.    It was concluded that Vedas discuss about every act of a human being, from birth to death.  This conclusion was divided into three broad categories known as jñāna, karma and upāsana.  Jñāna means wisdom.  It is not the knowledge of literacy.  This knowledge is known as wisdom.  Knowledge is of mundane type, the psychological result of perception of learning and reasoning.   Wisdom has the ability to apply knowledge gained for the purpose of practical judgement, discrimination and insight.  This is the reason why wisdom is considered superior to knowledge.  The Veda-s both directly and indirectly advocate acquiring of wisdom.  As wisdom can be acquired only through experience, they prescribe karma-s.  Karma-s mean actions.  By repeated actions, experience is gained and by such experience, one is able to discriminate between good and bad.  Next is upāsana which means performance, performance of rituals.  Upāsana differs from karma.  Karma means actions for sustenance.  Upāsana means actions performed to realize God.  The Veda-s give innumerable interpretations to the concept of God.  The basic idea of the Veda-s is to make one realize God, which they call as the Brahman.  To realize the Brahman, the Veda-s insist that one should be proficient in all the three categories.  Therefore, it is made imperative to understand the Veda-s, in their archetypical form, as the verses of Veda-s have deeper implications.}

The following well known verse says that Śiva is the source of knowledge of Veda-s, Upaniṣads and epics.

śruti smriti purāṇām ālayam karunālayam

namāmi bhagavadpādam śaṅkaraṁ lokaśankaraṃ

श्रुति स्म्रिति पुराणाम् आलयम् करुनालयम्

नमामि भगवद्पादम् शङ्करं लोकशन्करं

Meaning of the above verse:

I prostrate to Lord Śiva, who causes welfare to the universe, who is the repository of the divine Knowledge of Veda-s, Upaniṣads and texts of mythology and who is the embodiment of mercy.