नमस्ते रुद्र मन्यव उतोत इषवे नम:।
नमस्ते अस्तु धन्वने बाहुभ्यामुत ते नम:॥ १
Meaning: रुद्र- Parameswara! ते- your, मन्यवे- to anger, नमः- prostration. उतो -Further, ते-your, इषवे- to the arrow, नमः -prostration. ते- your, धन्वने- to the bow, नमः अस्तु- may my prostration be. उत- Further, ते- your, बाहुभ्यां- to the two arms, नमः- prostration.
Explanation: Three commentators- Sayana, Bhattabhaskara and Abhinavasankara- have written commentaries for Sri Rudram. This present explanation has been written in accordance with these three commentaries.
There are a total of 11 Anuvakams (sections) in Sri Rudram. In the first Anuvakam, the angry Sri Rudra is pacified. From the second to the ninth Anuvakams, Sri Rudra is eulogised in many ways and obeisance paid to him. In the last two Anuvakams, prayers are offered to Sri Rudra and Rudraganas.
There are many terrible and calm forms of Sri Rudra. In order to pacify the terrible form of his, obeisance is paid to his anger, weapons etc. How can there be anger in Sri Parameswara, the blemishless one with all good attributes? The answer is that his anger in order to punish those, who transgress his commands contained in Srutis, Smritis etc. and bring them over to the right path, is only a good quality and not a fault.
Following the etymology रुदं+ द्रावयतीति = रुद्रः, as Sri Parameswara drives away grief, or sin which causes grief, he is called 'Rudra'. As he is prayed here for ridding his anger and being calm, it is but proper that he is addressed as 'Rudra'. As anger is the basic cause of all types of grief, anger is propitiated at the beginning itself. When Parameswara gets angry, his arrow will come in front; he will then look at his bow. Then his two arms will go on to hold them. Hence anger, arrow, bow and arms are prayed to in that order.
Parameswara's arrow etc. are to be worshipped like Devatas. Hence praying and paying obeisance to them is but appropriate. Once Arjuna forgot the method of using Paasupatastra. In order to learn it, Sri Krishna and Arjuna went to Kailasa. Parameswara asked them to bring a certain weapon from the adjacent divine lake. When they both went to the lake, they noticed that the weapon looked very terrible, surrounded by poisonous flames. Sri Krishna then chanted Sri Rudram in order to pacify it and make it come to his hands. The weapon then reached his hands in a calm and peaceful form. This has been mentioned in the Mahabharata. This shows that Sri Parameswara's weapons like arrow etc. are full of dynamism and need to be worshipped.
It is said that it is necessary to know the Rishi, chandas and Devata of every mantra, Abhinasankara's commentary describes these details. For this first mantra, Rishi is Aatreya, chandas is Anushtup and Devata is Sri Rudra.
आकर्णकृष्टे धनुषि ज्वलन्तीं देवीमिषुं भास्वति सन्दधानम् ।
ध्यायेन्महेशं महनीयवेषं देव्या युतं योधतनुं युवानम् ॥
"One should meditate upon Maheswara, who yokes a brilliant arrow to his shining bow, pulled to the ear; of handsome form, appearing like a warrior, youthful and accompanied by Devi."
This mantra will be fully efficacious to one who practises Praajaapatya krichchram and chants the mantra 11000 times. By doing circumambulation and prostration, while chanting this mantra, Parameswara's grace, destruction of sins and leadership in society will result. The other practices using this mantra are described in works like 'Rudra Kalpaarnavam'.
यात इषुः शिवतमा शिवं बभूव ते धनुः ।
शिवा शरव्या या तव तया नो रुद्र मृडय ॥
Meaning: रुद्र-Parameswara! ते- your, या इषुः- which arrow, शिवतमा- most auspiciously, बभूव- exists, ते- your, धनुः- which bow, शिवं बभूव- is auspicious, तव- your, या शरव्या- which quiver, शिवा- is auspicious, तया- with that arrow, bow and quiver, नः- us, मृडय- make us happy.
As usage of ‘lit’ is done in present tense also in Veda, Bhattabhaskara’s commentary states that for the word ‘babhuva’, the present tense meaning of ‘exists’ should be understood. The other two commentaries state the meaning: ‘Please grant me happiness from the arrows etc., which were worshipped by me in the previous mantra and became calm-formed.’ On this basis, the term ‘babhuva’ is interpreted in past tense.
The Rishi for this second mantra is Aathreya; chandas is Anushtup; Devata- Sambhu.
ध्यायेद्देवं सस्मितं स्यन्दनस्थं देव्या सार्धं तेजसा दीप्यमानम् ।
इष्विष्वासालन्कृताभ्यां भुजाभ्यां शूराकारं स्तूयमानं सुरौघैः ॥
“One should meditate on Deva, who is seated in a chariot along with Devi, shining brilliantly, with the form of a valiant warrior, with both arms decorated with bow and arrow, extolled by Devaganas and with a smiling face.”
If this mantra is chanted constantly for twelve days excluding nights and without obstructing Nitya karmas (daily obligatory duties), one will get the full efficacy of the mantra. This is a Mahamantra meant for driving away famine and national calamities.
या ते रुद्र शिवा तनूरघोरापापकाशिनी ।
तया नस्तनुवा शन्तमया गिरिशन्ताभिचाकशीहि ॥
रुद्र- Parameswara! ते- your, अघोरा- that which does not terrify (with weapons), शिवा- granting worldly pleasures, अपापकाशिनी- granting Atmagnana, the cause of the happiness of Liberation, या- which, तनूः- body, तया- that, शन्तमया- granting the highest happiness of Liberation, तनुवा- with the body, गिरिशन्त- Parameswara, who, being the object indicated by Vedas, grant all pleasures right upto Liberation, नः- us, अभिचाकशीहि- grant the knowledge of Atmatatva (Self-Principle).
Abhinavasankara comments that having prayed for worldly pleasures in the previous mantra, happiness of Liberation is prayed for in this mantra. Bhattabhaskara comments that some of the calm forms of Sri Parameswara have weapons; some do not have; in the previoua mantra, the form with weapons was prayed to and in this mantra, the form without weapons is worshipped.
Aghora- Form with weapons which terrifies persons without any reason is ‘ghora’; form which is not terrifying is ‘aghora’.
Sivaa- auspicious, i.e. that which grants worldly pleasures also.
Apapakaasini- Here the term ‘Apapa’ indicates Brahmatmatatvagnana, which is opposed to sin. As Upanishad states that on rising of Atmagnana, all sins are destroyed, it follows that Atmagnana is the enemy of sins. The form which grants or lights up that Atmatatvagnana is referred as ‘Apapakaasini’ here.
Girisantha- This term denoting Parameswara has been interpreted in many ways.
गिरौ = कैलासे नित्याविर्भूतो यः प्राणिभ्यः शं तनोति स गिरिशन्तः
One who resides in Kailasa always and grants joys to all creatures.
गिरौ- वेदे तिष्ठन्नर्थरूपेण शं तनोति
One who resides in Vedas as their meaning and grants joys to all.
गिरौ- प्रणवे तिष्ठन् ध्येयरूपेण निरतिशयब्रह्मानन्दलक्षणं शं तनोति
One who is in Pranava (Omkara) as the one to be meditated upon and grants the matchless bliss of Brahmananda.
The Rishi for this mantra is Kaasyapa; chandas is svaraatanushtup; Devata is Sambhu.
स्मेराननं चन्द्रकलावतंसं गंगाधरं शैलसुतासहायम् ।
त्रिलोचनं भस्मभुजंगभूषणं ध्यायेत्पशूनां पतिमीशितारम् ॥
“One should meditate upon Iswara, who has a smiling face, wears crescent moon on his head, bears Ganga, has the daughter of Himavan (Parvatharaja) on his side, has three eyes, wearing Vibhuti and serpents as ornaments and is the lord of Jivas (Pasus).”
Chanting and homam of this mantra are prescribed for the peace of Pasus (Jivas).
यामिषुं गिरिशन्त हस्ते बिभर्ष्यस्तवे ।
शिवां गिरित्र तां कुरु मा हिंसीः पुरुषं जगत् ॥
गिरिशन्त- Parameswara! यां इषुं- which arrow, अस्तवे- for discharging on sinners, हस्ते- in the hand, बिभर्षि- hold, गिरित्र- Resident and protector of Kailasa, तां- that arrow, शिवां कुरु- make auspicious, पुरुषं- men belonging to me, जगत्- other moving and non-moving properties, मा हिंसीः- do not harm.
Having prayed for attaining fulfillment of desires in second and third mantras, the Rishi prays now in this fourth mantra for freedom from adversities. When Iswara has been addressed as ‘Girisantha’, the purport of using the additional term of address of ‘Giritra’ has been described in Abhinavasankara’s commentary as follows: “Sri Parameswara has assured that if one worships him now, though he might have erred in the past, Iswara will grant him a virtuous mind and protect him. ‘Giri’ is the word of assurance; ‘trayate’ means he protects, being firm in his assurance.”
शिवेन वचसा त्वा गिरिशाच्छा वदामसि ।
यथा नस्सर्वमिज्जगदयक्ष्मं सुमना असत् ॥
गिरिश- Parameswara, residing in Kailasa! त्वा- you, अच्छा- to attain, शिवेन वचसा- with auspicious words (of praise), यथा- in which manner, नः- our, सर्वं जगत् इत्- these moving objects like men and animals, अयक्ष्मं- free from disease, सुमनाः- with good minds, i.e. being comfortable, असत्- will become, in that manner, वदामसि- we pray.
In this fifth mantra, fulfillment of desire and prevention of misery are both prayed for.
Girisa- Variously interpreted as resident of Kailasa, propounded in Vedas, Iswara of Kailasa, clouds and Pranava (omkara).
Achcha- This word is ‘Avyaya’ (an indeclinable particle in Samskrit grammar); is used ‘long’ (dirgha) (achchaa) in Vedic time. Sayana has interpreted this term to mean ‘Praptum’ (to attain); Bhattabhaskara as ‘abhimukhikaranam (to make one see him). But Abhinavasankara interprets this term as one of addressing Parameswara, meaning ‘Pure One!’ A special meaning results from this interpretation: By contact with the praises of sinners, Parameswara does not acquire any blemish; he remains ever pure. By contact with impure water from the streets, the water in the ever pure Ganga does not become sullied. On the other hand, the other waters, by contact with the Ganga, become pure, like the Yamuna. Similarly, the words in praise of the ever pure Parameswara uttered by sinners become very sacred by contact with Parameswara. Hence such words are described in this mantra as ‘Sivena vachasa’.
The fourth and fifth mantras together form one mantra; the Rishi is Gautama; chandas, Gayatri; Devata, Rudra.
सांग्रामिकेन वपुषा प्रविराजमानं देवं पुरत्रयविनाशनमन्दहासम् ।
दैत्यान् दिधक्षुमचलेश्वरचापपाणिं ध्यायेत्पुरारिमथ भूमिरथाधिरूढम् ॥
“One should meditate on Sri Parameswara as shining with the apparels of war worn on the body, with a gentle smile which destroys the Three Cities, intending to destroy the demons, having Meru mountain as bow in his hand, seated in the chariot of Earth and the enemy of Three Cities.”
This sloka brings out the appearance and attitude of Sri Parameswara during the destruction of the Tripura. If these two mantras are recited constantly for 21 days, the full power of the mantras will be attained. Evils like untimely death etc. will go away by chanting this mantra.
अध्यवोचदधिवक्ता प्रथमो दैव्यो भिषक् ।
अहींश्च सर्वान् जम्भयन् सर्वाश्च यातुधान्यः ॥
अधिवक्ता- One who speaks in favour of devotees, प्रथमः- the best, दैव्यः- the in-dweller among even Devas, भिषक्- Parameswara, who is the doctor, who treats all troubles including sin, disease, samsara, poverty etc., सर्वान् अहींश्च- serpent, scorpion etc. which trouble directly, सर्वाश्च यातुधान्यः- demons, ghosts etc. who trouble indirectly, जम्भयन्- destroying, अध्यवोचत्-
may speak in my favour.
Even if we worship and pray to Sri Parameswara, how can he protect us, when there are Yama, Chitragupta et al, who prescribe punishments in accord with sins, and Devas, who are witnesses to the sins? This mantra states in response to this doubt that nobody else can cause any trouble to those who have received the grace of Parameswara.
Adhivakata- one who speaks in favour of his devotees. As a fruit of the excellent act of worship of Parameswara, he speaks in favour of his devotees. Hence it is not a deficiency.
Prathama:- This term settles the doubt as to whether Yama would cease to punish even if Parameswara recommends.
"यो देवानां प्रथमं पुरस्ताद्विश्वाधिको रुद्रो महर्षिः"
"तमीश्वराणां प्रथमं महेश्वरं तं दैवतानां प्रथमं च दैवतम्"
"यो देवः सर्वदेवेषु महादेव इति स्मृतः-
तस्मै नमस्तु कुर्वाणा दिवि तिष्ठन्ति देवताः ॥"
“The first among Devas, the best in the world”.
“Maheswara, the first among Iswaras, the first among Devatas”.
“One who is called Mahadeva among Devas- Devas prostrate to him and live in Devaloka”.
From the above passages of Sruti, Smriti and Itihasa, it is clear that Parameswara is the greatest. How can a devotee of his, who worships him, be punished by others, who also adore him?
It is not only that the devotee of Parameswara will not be troubled by others, but praised indeed. This is signified by the term ‘Daivya:’, which means the in-dweller of Devas. Being the in-dweller, Parameswara induces Devas to praise the devotee of his.
Bhishak- This term means doctor. Like bodily disease, there are many other afflictions like sin, grief of samsara, poverty etc. Sri Parameswara treats all these afflictions. Hence another Sruti says ‘Bhishktamam tva bhishajaam srunomi’ (the best among doctors). ‘Bhishak’ also indicates that Parameswara is full of compassion. One, who diagnoses the cause of a disease, may sometimes resort to surgery. Though surgery is troublesome to the sick person, as it is performed for the ultimate well being of the patient, the surgeon is praised as compassionate and not castigated as cruel. Similarly though Parameswara, the doctor who treats the disease of Samsara, punishes the evil Rakshasas, serpents etc., their sins get washed away this way and they might attain good state in course of time; hence it becomes certain that Parameswara is kind-hearted even in that act.
निदानज्ञस्य भिषजो रुग्णे हिंसां प्रयुञ्जतः ।
न किञ्चिदत्र नैर्घृण्यं घृणैवात्र प्रयोजिका ॥
In this sloka from Sivapurana, it is said that the term ‘Bhishak’ refers to the compassion of Parameswara.
Jambhayan Adhyavochat- The prayer is that after destroying the devotee’s enemies, Parameswara should speak in his favour. If Parameswara is not capable of destroying the devotee’s enemies, whoever they might be, the prayer would be that he should first speak in the devotee’s favour and then destroy the enemies. As Parameswara is capable of easily destroying anybody at any time, the prayer is that first he should destroy the enemies and then speak in the devotee’s favour. If he punishes others for the sake of protecting the devotee, who has taken refuge with him, the other Devas might ask ‘Is it proper to protect this person, who has committed many sins?’ At that time, Parameswara would say ‘This person surrendered to me and praised me in many ways. Where is his sin still left? Is he not an excellent person of merit?’ etc. That is why the mantra does not say ‘adhibruvan jambhayatu’, but says ‘jambhayan-adhyavochat’.
Hunters, who indulged in many sinful deeds in the forest, once climbed a bilva tree and kept plucking bilva leaves and throwing them down. There was a Sivalingam at that place; the hunters were unaware of it. However, as the bilva leaves dropped by them fell on the Sivalingam, Parameswara considered the hunters as his devotees and ordered after their death that they be brought to Kailasam. When the emissaries of Parameswara came to take them to Kailasam accordingly, Yama’s emissaries opposed them. Parameswara’s emissaries defeated the emissaries of Yama and took the hunters to Kailasam. Later when Yama, Chitragupta et al approached Parameswara and asked him, ‘These hunters, who have committed many cruel sins, deserve to be punished by us. How can they be brought to Kailasam?’ Parameswara replied, ‘As these hunters have dropped bilva leaves on me knowingly or unknowingly, their sins have been washed away. Hence you have no power to punish them.’ Many such stories are found in the Puranas of Siva. In these stories it is seen that after the emissaries of Yama were driven away, Parameswara spoke to Yama, Chitragupta et al in favour of the hunters.
In this same Rudram, it has been stated ‘Raksha cha no adhicha Devabruhi’, which means protection first and then making favourable recommendation.
Chanting this mantra is capable of completely destroying miseries from Rakshasas, spirits, poison, fever etc. Hence this mantra has been hailed as ‘kavacham’ (armour) by Maharishi Bodhayana.
Rishi of this mantra is Kanva; Chandas is Anushtup; Devata is Sambhu.
चन्द्रार्धमौलिं कालारिं व्यालयज्ञोपवीतिनम् ।
ज्वलत्पावकसंकाशं ध्यायेद्देवं त्रिलोचनम् ॥
“One should meditate on Deva, who wears half-moon on the head, conqueror of Yama, having snake as yagnopavita, brilliant as blazing fire and three-eyed.”
Reciting this mantra 50,000 times will confer its full power on the person who recites.
असौ यस्ताम्रो अरुण उत बभ्रुस्सुमङ्गलः ।
ये चे माँ रुद्रा अभितो दिक्षु श्रिताः सहस्रशो वैषाँ हेड ईमहे ॥
यः- Parameswara, who has been described in the previous mantras, ताम्रः- red-coloured (at dawn), अरुणः- of a bit less deep red-colour after dawn, उत- further, बभ्रुः- golden-coloured (after some time), सुमङ्गलः- very auspicious, असौ- shines as Surya, directly perceptible. इमां- to this earth, अभितः- on all four sides, दिक्षु- in the directions, श्रिताः- staying, सहस्रशः- in thousands, ये च रुद्राः- whosoever Rudras are, एषां- of all these, हेडः- anger, अव ईमहे- get rid of by praise, prostration etc.
Parameswara has eight forms- Earth, Water, Agni, Vayu, Akasa, Chandra, Surya and Yajamana (individual sacrificer). Of them, Parameswara of the form of Surya is praised in the 7th and 8th mantras. The zone around Surya appears red-coloured at dawn time, a less deep red in colour after some time and golden later. Surya mandalam is praised as ‘Sumangala:’ –very auspicious, because it drives away darkness, dew etc. and brings comfort to all. Were there no Surya, the entire world will become inauspicious, enveloped in darkness. Just as Sun’s rays pervade the entire world, thousands of Parameswara’s ganas (armies), whose appearance is same as Parameswara’s, are spread in the earth region all around in many places and bless or curse people according to the merits and sins they commit. We douse the anger of Sri Parameswara of the form of the Sun’s zone and Rudraganas, who are spread everywhere in thousands, by songs of praise, prostration etc. May all of them bless us.
Heda:- This word has two meanings- dishonour and anger. Dishonour arises by not performing acts as laid down in Vedas and anger because of performing acts prohibited in Vedas. It is said that we nullify these two aspects.
असौ योsवसर्पति नीलग्रीवो विलोहितः ।
उतैनं गोपा अदृशन्नदृशन्नुदहार्यः ॥
उतैनं विश्वा भूतानि स दृष्टो मृडयाति नः ॥
य:- Parameswara (who), नीलग्रीवः- he, whose neck is black-coloured due to retaining Kalakuta poison, विलोहितः- deep red in colour, असौ- present in the directly visible Suryamandala, अवसर्पति- travels in the sky. गोपा उत- Even cowherds, एनम्- this Rudra of the form of Surya, अदृशन्- see. उदहार्यः- Even innocent women, who fetch water अदृशन्- see. एनम्- This Rudra, विश्वा भूतानि- all creatures (like bull, sheep etc. see). सः- Parameswara of the form of Aditya, दृष्टः- being seen by us, नः- us, मृडयाति- may give us comfort.
Having pacified through the 7th mantra, the Rishi prays in this 8th mantra for fulfillment of desires. Sri Parameswara himself travels in the sky in the form of Suryamandala every day owing to compassion that everyone might see him. Hence even unlettered, innocent people get an opportunity to look at Sri Rudra directly. Generally, while referring to uneducated people, it is usual to cite cowherds as examples. It is a practice to say ‘Aabaalagopalam’. In accord with that, ‘गोपा अदृशन्’ has been mentioned. Women, who fetch water, and who lack even the knowledge possessed by cowherds, look at this Rudra of the form of Suryamandala. Not only that; even animals like bull and sheep see and enjoy the Sun. The true form of Advaita, Sachchidananda, is beyond the reach of anyone’s intellect. The form with attributes, residing in Kailasam, is capable of being known only by worshippers. However the form of Sri Parameswara as the Suryamandala can be seen and enjoyed by all creatures. May Sri Parameswara, who, out of great compassion, travels in the sky so that all may have darshan and attain to higher state, bestow comfort on us; this is the prayer.
Chandas for 7th mantra: Aasthaara pankti; for 8th mantra: Jagati chandas, having six parts. Rishi for both the mantras is Marutvaang; Devata is Sri Parameswara of the form of Aditya.
मण्डलान्तरगतं हिरण्मयं भ्राजमानवपुषं शुचिस्मितम् ।
चण्डदीधिति मखण्डितद्युतिं चिन्तयेत्मुनिसहस्रसेवितम् ॥
“One should meditate on Sri Parasmeswara, who is in the Suryamandala, of golden hue, with a brilliant form, with pleasant smile, served by thousands of ascetics, possessing power not subdued anywhere and having harsh rays.”
By performing Prayaschitta called ‘kruchchram’ first, followed by chant of the two mantras- 7th and 8th- continuously for 16 days without break, one will attain the full power of the mantras. If one, who has performed Purascharanam (repetition of mantra along with homam) as mentioned above, chants this mantra during drought, there will be rain.
नमो अस्तु नीलग्रीवाय सहस्राक्षाय मीढुषे ।
अथो ये अस्य सत्वानोsहं तेभ्योsकरं नमः ॥
सहस्राक्षाय- possessing thousands of eyes, मीढुषे- bestowing everything desired by worshippers, नीलग्रीवाय- to Sri Parameswara, with blue throat, नमः अस्तु- may my obeisance be. अथो- Further, अस्य- to this Parameswara, सत्वानः- Pramathaganas nearby, ये- who are present, तेभ्यः- to them, अहम्- I, नमः- prostration, अकरम्- perform.
The Rishi prays to Sri Parameswara, who sports a blue throat, for obtaining his grace. As Parameswara holds Kalakuta poison in his throat, he is called Nilagriva. As he is worshipped here with this name, we are reminded of a special greatness of his. When the Milky Ocean was churned for obtaining Amrita (nectar), poison, Chandra et al came out. Of them, Parameswara took the poison and Chandra; he kept the terrible poison in his throat, thus hiding it from sight and placed Chandra, who gives happiness to all, on his head. In the same way, as he ignores the defects in us and hails our good qualities, it is clear that he can be very easily pleased.
Sahasraakshaya- The term ‘Sahasra’ here does not mean a thousand, but innumerable. As his vision extends everywhere, it is clear that he will directly see us worshipping him, wherever we are. As Sahasraaksha also refers to Devendra, the interpretation can be that Parameswara is also in the form of Devendra.
Midhushe- This term can also be interpreted as one who showers rain and protects the world, or being male, he produces baby by bestowing his virya.
Chandas of this mantra is Anushtup; Rishi is Sambhu; Devata is also Sambhu.
शरच्चन्द्रप्रकाशेन वपुषा शीतलद्युतिम् ।
ध्यायेत्सिह्मासिनासीनमुमया सहितं शिवम् ॥
“One should meditate on Sri Parameswara, whose form is splendorous like Chandra of the autumn season, with brightness causing happiness; who is seated on a throne and accompanied by Parvati.”
By reciting this mantra repeatedly, one can get the blessing for a good son.
प्रमुञ्च धन्वनस्त्वमुभयोरार्त्नियोर्ज्याम् ।
याश्च ते हस्त इषवः पराता भगवो वप ॥
भगवः- Bhagavan Parameswara! धन्वनः- of your bow, उभयोः आर्त्नियोः- (tied) in the two ends, ज्यां- the bowstring, त्वं- you yourself, प्रमुञ्च- untie. ते- your, हस्ते- in the hand, याः- which, इषवः- arrows (are present), ताः च- them also, परावप- take away (from direct presence).
Bhagavan Parameswara! Please untie yourself the string tied at both ends of your bow. Please also hide from our vision the arrows that you have.
The Rishi prays for withdrawal of weapons through six mantras starting from this tenth mantra.
Bhagavan is so called as he has six qualities, viz. lordship, vigour (or dharma as per certain texts), fame, wealth, knowledge and dispassion. As it is not possible for anyone else to nullify the bow-string, arrows etc. held in the hands of Sri Parameswara, who has the six qualities in full, the prayer is that the Lord himself should nullify them. Only if the string is strung in the bow, it is possible to string arrows and discharge them. In order to prevent that, the Rishi prays to the Lord to untie the string itself. Even after the bow-string is untied, as the arrows in the Lord’s hands look awful as if waiting to devour the entire world, the Rishi prays that those arrows be also hidden from his vision.
अवतत्य धनुस्त्वं सहस्राक्ष शतेषुधे ।
निशीर्य शल्यानां मुखा शिवो नः सुमना भव ॥
सहस्राक्ष- One with many eyes! शतेषुधे- One with many quivers! त्वं- you, धनुः- your bow, अवतत्य- with untied bow-string, शल्यानां- of arrows, मुखा- edges, निशीर्य- blunting, नः- to us, शिवः- with auspicious form, सुमनाः- with favourable thoughts, भव- be.
After praying for removal of the arrows from sight, the Rishi, still feeling afraid, prays now for blunting the edges of the arrows. If one is capable of seeing only limited places and has only limited arrows, he can be made to be favourable to us, once he has thrown away the arrows. As Sri Parameswara has limitless number of eyes, is capable of seeing everywhere and possesses limitless quivers and arrows, the Rishi uses the two terms of address, ‘Sahasraaksha’ and ‘Satheshudhe’ to indicate this fact. Even if the arrows have been blunted, if the discharging warrior is cruel, he might trouble us somehow. Hence the Lord is prayed to be ‘Sivo bhava’. As there is no use of showing a kind face if there is no compassion in the mind, the prayer also says ‘Sumana bhava’.
विज्यं धनुः कपर्दिनो विशल्यो बाणवाँ उत ।
अनेशन्नस्येषव आभुरस्य निषङ्गधिः ॥
कपर्दिने- Of Parameswara, धनुः- bow, विज्यं- may be bereft of string. बाणवान् उत- also quiver, विशल्यः- be bereft of arrows. अस्य- Of this Parameswara, इषवः- arrows, अनेशन्- be destroyed with no powers to harm, निषङ्गधिः- sheath of sword, आभुः- be bereft of sword. (Alternative meaning: निषङ्गधिः- sword, आभुः- be powerless.)
Rishi of the three mantras-10, 11 and 12 is Narada; Chandas is Anushtup; Devata is Rudra.
उद्यद्भास्करकोटिप्रकाशं आदीप्तदहनमूर्धानम् ।
भीषणभुजङ्गभूषं ध्यायेद्विविधायुधं रुद्रम् ॥
“One should meditate on Sri Rudra, who is brilliant like a crore of Suryas, with flaming Agni on the head, with awful serpents as ornaments and having many types of weapons.”
या ते हेतिर्मीढुष्टम हस्ते बभूव ते धनुः ।
तयाsस्मान् विश्वतस्त्वमयक्ष्मया परिब्भुज ॥
मीढुष्टम- One who grants desires of devotees! या- which, हेतिः- the weapons like sword which exist, ते- your, हस्ते- in the hand, धनुः- the bow, बभूव- is present, अयक्ष्मया- causing disease-free state of devotees, तया- with those weapons and bow, त्वम्- you, अस्मान्- us, विश्वतः- from all types of dangers, परिब्भुज- may protect always in all respects.
After praying in the previous three mantras for withdrawing all weapons, the Rishi prays now for protection using those weapons.
नमस्ते अस्त्वायुधायानातताय धृष्णवे ।
उभाभ्यामुत ते नमो बाहुभ्यां तव धन्वने ॥
ते- Parameswara! Your, अनातताय- not ready to harm, धृष्णवे- but capable of harming, आयुधाय- to weapons, नमः अस्तु- may my prostration be. उत- Further, ते- your, उभाभ्यां- both, बाहुभ्यां- to the hands, तव- your, धन्वने - to the bow, नमः- prostration.
Having prayed in the previous mantra, the Rishi prays again to the weapons etc. The term ‘bahubhyam’ denotes two hands; hence saying ‘ubhabhyam’ again is due to the fear causing shiver on seeing the weapons in the hands.
परिते धन्वनो हेतिरस्मान् वृणक्तु विश्वतः ।
अथो य इषुधिस्तवारे अस्मन्निधेहि तम् ॥
ते- Parameswara! Your, धन्वनः- of the bow, हेतिः- weapon of arrow, अस्मान्- us, परिवृणक्तु- ignore, i.e. protect by not coming near us. अथो- Further, तव- your, य: इषुधिः- the quiver, which is there, तम्- that, अस्मत्- our, आरे- in the group of enemies, i.e. in the inimical heap of sins, or at a long distance, निधेहि- place.
In these mantras, prostration and prayer are occurring alternately. Having prostrated through the previous mantra, the Rishi prays now: “Please do not use your arrows against us and protect us. In case there are many sins with us, hindering your protection, kindly place your weapons in that heap of sins and destroy them.” ‘Aare’ means the group of enemies. As sin is our worst enemy, ‘Aare’ was interpreted to mean heap of sins. The meaning of group of other enemies would also be appropriate. If we take ‘Aare’ as an indeclinable particle of Samskrit grammar, we can also interpret as ‘please keep your weapons not near us, but at a very long distance from us.’
For the three mantras- 13th, 14th and 15th- Rishi as well as Devata is Sri Parameswara himself; Chandas is Anushtup.
अनवरतमनुस्मरेत्भवान्या सह जगतां पितरं पिनाकपाणिम् ॥
“One should meditate constantly on Parameswara, whose twin feet are reddened by the pollen of the flowers from the garlands worn by groups of Devas on their heads, who is the father of all the worlds, holding the bow called ‘Pinaka’ in his hand and accompanied by Parvati.”
The fruit for these three mantras is said to be destruction of enemies.
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai from Commentary in Tamil by
Sri R. MUTHUKRISHNA SASTRI,
Former Editor, Hitabhashini,