नमो भवाय च रुद्राय च ।
भवाय च- To Parameswara, cause of birth of the universe, नमः- prostration. रुद्राय च- Prostration to Parameswara, the remover of misery of samsara and bestower of moksha.
Now the Rishi starts contemplating on the various great qualities of Sri Parameswara and praying to him. From here upto the mantra ‘Draape’, all the mantras have ‘Nama:’ at the beginning only. These are hence called ‘Anyato Namaskara mantras’. In these Anuvakams, from one ’Nama:’ upto the occurrence of the next ‘Nama:’, it should be treated as one mantra; i.e. ‘नमो भवाय च रुद्राय च ।‘ is one mantra; the next mantra is ‘नमः शर्वाय च पशुपतये च‘. Similarly the following mantras must be considered. In order to make it clear that ‘Nama:’ is treated as adjunct of every descriptive term, ‘cha’ is added to every word.
नमश्शर्वाय च पशुपतये च ।
शर्वाय च- To Parameswara, who troubles and destroys everything, नमः- prostration. पशुपतये च- Prostration to Parameswara, the lord of all beings, called ‘Pasu’.
In these two mantras, Parameswara, who performs the five functions of creation (Srushti), protection (Sthiti), destruction (Samharam), concealment (Tirodhanam) and grace (Anugraham) is worshipped. By ‘Bhavaya’ is meant that he is the cause of creation; ‘Rudraya’ refers to his being the cause of moksha; ‘Sarvaya’ the cause of destruction; ‘Pasupataye’ the cause of bondage as well as protection. ‘Tirodhana’ means bondage and ‘Anugraha’ is moksha (Liberation).
नमो नीलग्रीवाय च शितिकण्ठाय च ।
नीलग्रीवाय च - To the black-throated Parameswara (after swallowing Kalakuta poison), नमः- prostration. शितिकण्ठाय च- Prostration to him, with white throat (before consuming the poison).
This mantra brings out the compassion of Sri Parameswara in protecting the worlds by consuming the poison, without bothering about disfiguring his throat.
नमः कपर्दिने च व्युप्तकेशाय च ।
कपर्दिने च- To Parameswara with matted locks, नमः- prostration. व्युप्तकेशाय च- Prostration to Parameswara of Sanyasi form with clean shaven head.
‘Kapardi’ means one who has adorable matted locks. This serves to remind of the greatness that a part of these matted locks became ‘Virabhadra’, who destroyed Dakska’s yagna. Sruti states the characteristics of Sanyasis, who are Paramahamsas: ‘They sport shaven heads; they wear saffron coloured clothes; their hair and yagnopavita is Atma gnana’. Dattatreya, Durvasa et al were such Gnanis in previous yugas. In this Kaliyuga, as per the statement, ‘चतुर्भिस्सहितः शिष्यैश्शङ्करोवतरिष्यति’ (Sri Parameswara is going to incarnate with four disciples), Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada Acharya Swamigal, incarnation of Sri Parameswara, also had these characteristics. The term ‘Vyptakesaaya cha’ signifies that it is Sri Parameswara alone who shines in these forms.
In the Sruti passage, ‘ब्रह्माधिपतिर्ब्रह्मणोधिपतिः’, Sri Parameswara is described as the pioneer of the tradition of Brahmavidya (Knowledge of Brahman). It is clear that he took the forms of Sankaracharya et al and became pioneers of the tradition of Brahmavidya.
नमस्सहस्राक्षाय च शतधन्वने च ।
सहस्राक्षाय- To Parameswara with many eyes, i.e. the Omnicient, capable of perceiving everything directly, नमः- prostration. शतधन्वने च- Prostration to Parameswara, with many bows.
Sri Parameswara has many bows like Pranava (Omkara), Veda, Meru Mountain, Pinakam (bow in his hand) etc. It is stated in Mahabharata that during Tripurasamhara, Sri Parameswara used Meru Mountain as bow and Vishnu as arrow and again, Omkara as bow and Savitri as bow-string.
नमो गिरिशाय च शिपिविष्टाय च ।
गिरिशाय- To Parameswara, living in Kailasa mountain, नमः- prostration. शिपिविष्टाय- (as per the Vedic passage ‘विष्णुः शिपिविष्टः’) Prostration to Parameswara in the form of Vishnu.
नमो मीढुष्टमाय चेषुमते च ।
मीढुष्टमाय च- To Parameswara in the form of Hiranyagarbha, the creator of universe, or, in the form of clouds showering heavy rains, नमः- prostration. इषुमते च- Prostration to him who has excellent arrows.
The terms ‘Girisa’, ‘Sipivishta’ and ‘Meedhushtama’ denote that Parameswara is in the form of the Trinity- Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma respectively.
नमो ह्रस्वाय च वामनाय च ।
ह्रस्वाय च- To Parameswara in small form, नमः- prostration. वामनाय च- Prostration to one with small limbs.
‘Hrasva’ signifies ‘Daharopasyamurthi’ (Form to be worshipped in the heart-space); ‘Vamana’ refers to the form of Mahaganapathi.
नमो बृहते च वर्षीयसे च ।
बृहते च- To Parameswara of large form, नमः- prostration. वर्षीयसे च- Prostration to one with noble qualities.
‘बृहत्’ has also been interpreted as one in the form of Parabrahman, who is present at all times and in all places.
नमो वृद्धाय च संवृध्वने च ।
वृद्धाय च- To the aged one, संवृध्वने च- to Parameswara, adored by unique songs of praise and prostrations, नमः- prostration.
‘वृद्धः’ means that he is very old, as he is worshipped by all others and he does not worship anyone else. It does not mean that many years have passed since his birth. ‘संवृध्वा’ means that he grows, being worshipped with unique songs of praise, not applicable to other Devatas. It is also interpreted as one who bestows the desired objects on his devotees and grows them.
नमो अग्रियाय च प्रथमाय च ।
अग्रियाय च- To one who has been in existence prior to the birth of the world, प्रथमाय च- to Easwara, who is the first in comparison with all others, नमः- prostration.
‘प्रथमाय’ has been stated to convey that though Sruti states through passages like ‘हिरण्यगर्भस्समवर्तताग्रे-‘ etc. that Hiranyagarbha existed prior to the birth of the universe, Parameswara existed as even his cause. This means that Parameswara is the cause of all universe. Though his being the cause of the universe is taught through ‘नमो भवाय च’, it is conveyed here that Parameswara is indeed the cause of even Hiranyagarbha, who is considered as the cause of the universe.
नम आशवे चाजिराय च ।
आशवे च- To the one who is all-pervasive, अजिराय च- to Parameswara, who is master in going everywhere, नमः- prostration.
नमश्शीघ्रियाय च शीभ्याय च ।
शीघ्रियाय च- To one present in waters travelling fast, शीभ्याय च- to Easwara present in large masses of flowing waters, नमः- prostration.
नम ऊर्म्याय चावस्वन्याय च ।
ऊर्म्याय च- To one present in waves, अवस्वन्याय च- to Parameswara present in waters making no sound, नमः- prostration.
नमस्स्रोतस्याय च द्वीप्याय च ।
स्रोतस्याय च- To one present in small flows of water, द्वीप्याय च- to Parameswara, present in lands where water flows around in two parts, or, present in places like ‘Jambudvipa’, नमः- prostration. The essential import of the 14th and 15th mantras is that Sri Parameswara pervades everywhere and it is only his power which fills all places.
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai from Commentary in Tamil by
Sri R. MUTHUKRISHNA SASTRI,
Former Editor, Hitabhashini,