Śrī Rudrāṣṭakaṃ Tulasīdāsakṛtam (श्रीरुद्राष्टकं तुलसीदासकृतम् ) -
Prologue - Śrī Rudrāṣṭakaṃ is a revered eight verse hymn in praise of Lord Rudra, an aspect of Śiva. This hymn is taken from the Uttarakāṇḍa Division of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas, written by Śrī Gosvāmi Tulasīdāsa in the 16th century C.E. It has been mentioned that this hymn was composed by a guru in the famous Lord Viśvanāth temple of Vārānasi, to protect his errant disciple from the wrath of Lord Rudra. The legend goes further to state that Lord Rudra not only protected the disciple, but also showered His benevolence upon him to sing the praises of Lord Rāma, in his next birth.
It is believed that regular recitation of this hymn containing the eight verses, will bestow auspiciousness, health, peace and prosperity upon the devotees and ensure their liberation from the cycle of life and birth, by the grace of Lord Rudra!
The hymn begins below -
namām-īśam-īśāna-nirvāṇa-rūpaṃ vibhuṃ vyāpakaṃ brahma-veda-svarūpam ।
nijaṃ nirguṇaṃ nirvikalpaṃ nirīhaṃ cidākāśam-ākāśa-vāsaṃ bhaje'ham ॥ 1 ॥
नमामीशमीशाननिर्वाणरूपं विभुं व्यापकं ब्रह्मवेदस्वरूपम् ।
निजं निर्गुणं निर्विकल्पं निरीहं चिदाकाशमाकाशवासं भजेऽहम् ॥ १ ॥
Salutations to the Divine Lord Īśa (Rudra), the Lord of the entire Creation, the Supreme Sovereign! Praise be to the One who represents the highest spiritual state (rūpaṃ) that is devoid of any desires (nirvāṇa). He is all pervading (vibhuṃ vyāpakaṃ) and is in the form of all holy scriptures, such as the Vedas and is verily the Supreme Brahman (brahma-veda-svarūpam) – the eternal Reality! He is the embodiment of Truth (nijaṃ) and has no form (nirguṇaṃ). He is unwavering, stateless and has no alternatives (nirvikalpaṃ). May we offer our deep reverence (bhaje'ham) to the infinite (ākāśa-vāsaṃ) static (nirīhaṃ) super-consciousness (cidākāśam).
nirākāram-oṃkāra-mūlaṃ turīyaṃ girā jñāna gotītam-īśaṃ girīśam ।
karālaṃ mahākāla-kālaṃ kṛpālaṃ guṇāgāra-saṃsāra-pāraṃ nato'ham ॥ 2 ॥
निराकारमोंकारमूलं तुरीयं गिरा ज्ञान गोतीतमीशं गिरीशम् ।
करालं महाकालकालं कृपालं गुणागारसंसारपारं नतोऽहम् ॥ २ ॥
Salutations (nato'ham) to the Divine Lord, who is formless (nirākāram) and is also the source of the Śabda Brahman (oṃkāra-mūlaṃ). He represents the fourth and highest (turīyaṃ) state of pure consciousness. He is the Supreme One (īśaṃ) who is beyond description (girā jñāna) and sensory perception (gotītam). He is the towering (girīśam) Supreme Lord! He is the terrific ruler and controller of time (kālaṃ) and destiny – Lord Mahākāla and is also extremely compassionate (kṛpālaṃ) towards His sincere devotees. He permeates all the qualities (guṇāgāra) present in the entire Creation and guides all sentient beings to successfully navigate the cycle of life and death (saṃsāra-pāraṃ) to attain complete salvation through liberation.
tuṣārādri-saṅkāśa-gauraṃ gabhīraṃ manobhūta-koṭi-prabhā śrī-śarīram ।
sphuran-mauli-kallolinī cāru-gaṅgā lasad-bhāla-bālendu kaṇṭhe bhujaṅgā ॥ 3 ॥
तुषाराद्रिसङ्काशगौरं गभीरं मनोभूतकोटिप्रभा श्रीशरीरम् ।
स्फुरन्मौलिकल्लोलिनी चारुगङ्गा लसद्भालबालेन्दु कण्ठे भुजङ्गा ॥ ३ ॥
Salutations to the One, who is white (gauraṃ) in complexion, resembling (saṅkāśa) a snow top mountain (tuṣārādri) and is totally unfathomable (gabhīraṃ). He manifests by His own will (manobhūta), the infinitely radiant (koṭi-prabhā) and Divine Śakti (śrī-śarīram), the heralder of auspiciousness and the mother of the entire Creation! Salutations to the One from whose pulsation (sphuran) in the head (mauli), the magnificent (cāru ) holy river Gaṅgā gushes forth (kallolinī) – He is the source of all sustenance to all the sentient beings in the entire Creation! Praise be upon the One, whose forehead is adorned by a crescent moon and a serpent wrapped on His neck!
[The crescent moon represents the descent of the super-consciousness seen as a dimensionless dot or bindu and the crescent resembling a holding cup or bowl. The serpent is the Kuṇḍalini śakti (energy) latent in all sentient beings. The ascent of the Kuṇḍalini from the root cakra to the crown, denotes the spiritual journey within us.]
calat-kuṇḍalaṃ bhrū sunetraṃ viśālaṃ prasann-ānanaṃ nīla-kaṇṭhaṃ dayālam ।
mṛgādhīśa-carm-āmbaraṃ muṇḍa-mālaṃ priyaṃ śaṅkaraṃ sarvanāthaṃ bhajāmi ॥ 4 ॥
चलत्कुण्डलं भ्रू सुनेत्रं विशालं प्रसन्नाननं नीलकण्ठं दयालम् ।
मृगाधीशचर्माम्बरं मुण्डमालं प्रियं शङ्करं सर्वनाथं भजामि ॥ ४ ॥
Salutations to the eternal most compassionate (dayālam) Lord Rudra, who is adorned with magnificent loose earrings (calat-kuṇḍalaṃ), a wide forehead (bhrū) and beautiful large eyes (sunetraṃ viśālaṃ), a pleasing smiling face (prasann-ānanaṃ) and a dark blue throat. Salutations (bhajāmi) to the most auspicious One (priyaṃ śaṅkaraṃ) who is draped in animal skin (mṛgādhīśa-carm-āmbaraṃ) and adorning a garland of skulls (muṇḍa-mālaṃ) and is the eternal sovereign (sarvanāthaṃ) of the entire Creation!
[The garland of skulls represents the Sanskrit Alphabet Mātṛikā śaktis, who control and promulgate, all the forces and energies that govern the Creation, as well as fulfill all the wants and desires of the sentient beings. The animal skin represents the organic matter as well as His acts of Creation, Sustenance and Destruction. The blue throat signifies the negativity and poison, contained within the Creation.]
pracaṇḍaṃ prakṛṣṭaṃ pragalbhaṃ pareśam-akhaṇḍam-ajaṃ bhānu-koṭi-prakāśam ।
trayaḥ śūla-nirmūlanaṃ śūla-pāṇiṃ bhaje'haṃ bhavānī-patiṃ bhāva-gamyam ॥ 5 ॥
प्रचण्डं प्रकृष्टं प्रगल्भं परेशमखण्डमजं भानुकोटिप्रकाशम् ।
त्रयः शूलनिर्मूलनं शूलपाणिं भजेऽहं भवानीपतिं भावगम्यम् ॥ ५ ॥
Salutations to the Supreme Lord (pareśam), who is formidable (pracaṇḍaṃ), eminent (prakṛṣṭaṃ) and resolute (pragalbhaṃ) in all His actions! Salutations to the infinitely radiant (bhānu-koṭi-prakāśam) never-born, primordial and eternal (ajaṃ) One, who is complete and a Whole (akhaṇḍam) by Himself! Salutations to the One who manifests and removes (nirmūlanaṃ) all the triads manifested in the entire Creation! Salutations (bhaje'haṃ) to the consort of the Divine Mother Bhavānī (bhavānī-patiṃ) [who is Śakti Herself], who is attained by intense meditation by His sincere devotees.
kalātīta-kalyāṇa-kalpāntakārī sadā sajjan-ānanda-dātā purārī ।
cidānanda-sandoha-mohāpa-hārī prasīda prasīda prabho manmathārī ॥ 6 ॥
कलातीतकल्याणकल्पान्तकारी सदा सज्जनानन्ददाता पुरारी ।
चिदानन्दसन्दोहमोहापहारी प्रसीद प्रसीद प्रभो मन्मथारी ॥ ६ ॥
Salutations to the Auspicious (kalyāṇa) One, who manifests and pervades all the elements and properties in the entire Creation and is also beyond it (kalātīta). Salutations to the One, who heralds the beginning and end of cycles of time (kalpāntakārī) and ushers immense joy and happiness to the blessed devotees (sadā sajjan-ānanda-dātā purārī)! Salutations to the most graceful Lord (prasīda prasīda prabho), who destroys all obsessions and lust (manmathārī) and also dispels all illusions, negativities and distractions (mohāpa-hārī) and then, ushers abundant joy and eternal bliss of pure consciousness (cidānanda-sandoha) upon His sincere and ardent devotees.
na yāvad umānātha pādāravindaṃ bhajantīha loke pare vā narāṇām ।
na tāvat-sukhaṃ śānti santāpanāśaṃ prasīda prabho sarva-bhūtādhi-vāsam ॥ 7 ॥
न यावद् उमानाथ पादारविन्दं भजन्तीह लोके परे वा नराणाम् ।
न तावत्सुखं शान्ति सन्तापनाशं प्रसीद प्रभो सर्वभूताधिवासम् ॥ ७ ॥
As long as (yāvad pare) mankind (narāṇām loke) reverently prays to the feet (pādāravindaṃ) of the Divine Lord Umānātha (consort of the Divine Mother Umā, who is Śakti Herself), there will be no (na) dearth (tāvat) of peace (śānti) and prosperity (sukhaṃ). All sorrows and miseries (santāpanāśaṃ) will end, by the grace of the Divine Lord (prasīda prabho), the omniscient and omnipresent (sarva-bhūtādhi-vāsam) Rudra!
na jānāmi yogaṃ japaṃ naiva pūjāṃ nato'haṃ sadā sarvadā śambhu tubhyam ।
jarājanma-duḥkhaugha-tātapyamānaṃ prabho pāhi āpanna-mām-īśa śambho ॥ 8 ॥
न जानामि योगं जपं नैव पूजां नतोऽहं सदा सर्वदा शम्भु तुभ्यम् ।
जराजन्मदुःखौघतातप्यमानं प्रभो पाहि आपन्नमामीश शम्भो ॥ ८ ॥
I know not (na jānāmi), any yoga (yogaṃ) or mantra japa (japaṃ), nor any rituals (naiva pūjāṃ). I can only bow reverently (nato'haṃ) at all times (sadā sarvadā) to you (tubhyam), O Lord Śambhu (prabho īśa śambho) – the most benevolent! Please protect (pāhi) me (mām) at all times from all types of miseries (duḥkhaugha), old age (jarā) and rebirth (janma), from the bondage of life and death, bitter cold and burning heat (tātapyamānaṃ) and all types of extreme weather conditions and malefic afflictions (āpanna).
Phalasruti (फलश्रुति) –
[ Results obtained, by sustained recitation over a period of time]
rudrāṣṭakam-idaṃ proktaṃ vipreṇa haratoṣaye ।
ye paṭhanti narā bhaktyā teṣāṃ śambhuḥ prasīdati ॥
रुद्राष्टकमिदं प्रोक्तं विप्रेण हरतोषये ।
ये पठन्ति नरा भक्त्या तेषां शम्भुः प्रसीदति ॥
The wise ones declare (proktaṃ), that sincere (vipreṇa) devotees (narā bhaktyā) who (teṣāṃ) recite (paṭhanti) these (idaṃ) eight verses (rudrāṣṭakam) on a regular basis to please Lord Hara (haratoṣaye) [Rudra], will certainly gain the grace (prasīdati) of Lord Śambhu (śambhuḥ) and all the happiness and bliss promised by the hymn!
॥ iti śrīrāmacaritamānase uttarakāṇḍe śrī-gosvāmi-tulasīdāsa-kṛtaṃ śrī-rudrāṣṭakaṃ sampūrṇam ॥
॥ इति श्रीरामचरितमानसे उत्तरकाण्डे श्रीगोस्वामितुलसीदासकृतं श्रीरुद्राष्टकं सम्पूर्णम् ॥
[ Thus ends the Śrī Rudrāṣṭakaṃ, derived from the Uttarakāṇḍa Division of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas, written by Śrī Gosvāmi Tulasīdāsa. ]
This article is written by Krishna Vallapareddy and can be contacted at Krishna@manblunder.com