श्री रुद्रम् SRI RUDRAM

अष्टमोऽनुवाकः Anuvakam 8
Shiva Statue at Vedal

Mantra  1

नमस्सोमाय च रुद्राय च ।



सोमाय च-   To One with Uma,   रुद्राय च-   to Parameswara, who relieves one of the misery of samsara,   नमः-  prostration.



In this eighth Anuvakam, Sri Parameswara is adored through 17 internal mantras, establishing that he is to be adored by all, bringing out some of his qualities and stating that he is the indwelling soul of all creation.


The term Rudra shows that Parameswara alone is capable of removing the misery of samsara. रुतं संसारदुःखं द्रावयतीति रुद्रः-  Further, Svetasvatara Upanishad states that relief from the misery of samsara will result only from knowledge of Sri Parameswara.

“यदा चर्मवदाकाशं वेष्टयिष्यन्ति मानवाः ।

तदा शिवमविज्ञाय दुःखस्यान्तो भविष्यति ॥“

“When men roll the sky like a piece of skin, it is only then that reief from the misery of samsara will result without knowing Siva.” The import is that just as sky can never be rolled, it is impossible to get relief from the troubles of samsara without the knowledge of Siva.


In order to establish that Parameswara’s greatness in such removal of the misery of samsara is only due to his being together wioth Uma, the term ‘सोमाय’ has been used in conjunction. In the word ‘Uma’, the letters of Pranava (Om) are interchanged. The meaning of the word ‘Uma’ is same as that of Pranava, viz. Parsasakti. The resident Devata of Brahmavidya is the power of Sri Parameswara alone, called ‘Parasakti’ and ‘Chichchakti’. It is therefore clear that Parameswara, in association with that Sakti, bestows Atmagnanam and relieves the devotee from the misery of samsara. Passages of Svetasvatara Upanishad like ‘ते ध्यानयोगानुगता अपश्यन् देवात्मशक्तिं स्वगुणैर्निगूढाम्’ make it clear that Atmagnanam was attained by Maharishis only through the grace of Uma. This has also been referred in detail in Talavakara Upanishad, Sivapuranam, Kurmapuranam etc. That is why it is stated in the passage of Kaivalyopanishad,

‘उमासहायं परमेश्वरं प्रभुं त्रिलोचनं नीलकण्ठं प्रशान्तम् ।

ध्यात्वा मुनिर्गच्छति भूतयोनिं समस्तसाक्षिं तमसः परस्तात् ॥‘ and in passages from Puranas like

‘पार्वती परमा देवी ब्रह्मविद्याप्रदायिनी ।

तस्मात्सह तया शक्त्या हृदि पश्यन्ति ये शिवम् ।

तेषां शाश्वतिकी सिद्धिर्नेतरेषामिति श्रुतिः ।‘ that Parameswara is able to grant Moksha only because he is with Uma.



Mantra  2

नमस्ताम्राय चारुणाय च ।



ताम्राय च-   To One of the form of Surya of copper-red hue at dawn,    अरुणाय च- to One who is Surya of a little red hue after a while.



Devatas would appear before the worshipper after a long time spent in worship with discipline. But Surya appears every day before people and is ready to bestow the desired boons. It is enough if we worship that Surya, meditating on him as Sri Parameswara; we can obtain all merits. The Sruti passage उद्यन्तमस्तं यन्तमादित्यमभिध्यायन् says that if one meditates on Surya as Brahman at dawn and dusk, he will fulfill all desires. But this Rudropanishad states with great compassion that even if one misses to meditate during that time, one can still get all benefits by meditating on Surya as Brahman after a little while when he is a little red in hue.


The import of this mantra is that as Sri Parameswara appears in the form of Surya and bestows very easily all merits on all persons, he alone should be worshipped.



Mantra  3

नमश्शङ्गाय च पशुपतये च ।



शङ्गाय च-    To one who reaches comforts to people,   पशुपतये च- to the protector of all persons like Brahma et al.



As the welfare of the protected is under the patronage of the protector, for शङ्गः’, the reason is given by ‘पशुपतिः’. This means that Parameswara is alone to be worshipped, as he provides comfort to everyone.


Mantra  4

नम उग्राय च भीमाय च ।



उग्राय च-    To one who is greater than all,    भीमाय च- to the terrible one.



As ugra is not qualified by the persons than whom he is greater, it is clear that he is greater than all. From Sruti passages like भीषास्माद्वातः पवते’ etc., we find that great gods like Indra, Agni et al perform their duties properly in fear of Sri Parameswara and hence Parameswara is greater than all.


The import of this mantra is that as he is the greatest, Sri Parameswara is alone to be worshipped.



Mantra  5

नमो अग्रेवधाय च दूरेवधाय च ।



अग्रेवधाय च-   To one who stands ahead of his devotees in the battlefield and kills the enemies, दूरेवधाय च-   to one who destroys the strength, valour etc. of the enemies of devotees, who are at a great distance, even before commencement of battle.


That he fights the battle standing ahead of his devotees is described as under by Arjuna in Mahabharata in Drona Parva.

“संग्रामे शास्त्रवानीकं शरौघैर्विमृदन्नहम् ।

अग्रतो लक्षये यान्तं पुरुषं पावकप्रभम् ।।

ज्वलन्तं शूलमुद्यम्य यां दिशं प्रतिपद्यते ।

तस्यां दिशि विशीर्यन्ते शत्रवो मे महामते ॥

ततो दग्धानरीन् सर्वान् पृष्टतोनुदहाम्यहम् ।

तेन भग्नानरिगणान् मद्भग्नान्मन्यते जनः ॥“

While felling the enemies with arrows in the battlefield, I find a Person standing ahead of me. He is brilliant like Agni, with a Trisula in the hand. In whichever direction he goes, my enemies in that direction are burnt and killed by him. I follow him and attack the same persons, who have already been attacked by him. Onlookers are unaware of this truth and think that my enemies have indeed been attacked and felled by me.


That Sri Parameswara drains away the strength etc. of the distant enemies even before commencement of battle has also been stated by Sri Krishna to Arjuna in Santhi Parva in Mokshadharma Prakaranam.

“यस्तु तेह्यग्रतो याति युद्धे संप्रत्युपस्थिते ।

तं विद्धि रुद्रं कौन्तेय.................. and

निहतान् तेन वै पूर्वं हतवानसि वै रिपून् ।

अप्रमेयप्रभावं तं देवदेवमुमापतिम् ।

भजस्व प्रयतो नित्यं विश्वेशं हरमव्ययम् ॥“

Arjuna! Know that the person whom you saw going in front of you during the war is Rudra. You killed those enemies whom he initially attacked and killed. Hence adore with a controlled mind, that Umapati, Devadeva, of immeasurable greatness, Lord of the universe, the Changeless.


With the view that he and Parameswara are the same, Gitacharya states in the Gita मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वमेव’, i.e. these enemies were killed by me alone earlier. Hence there is no conflict between his statements in Mokshadharma and Gita.


The import of this mantra is that as Parameswara alone is the cause of victory, those desirous of victory should worship Sri Parameswara alone.



Mantra  6

नमो हन्त्रे च हनीयसे च ।



हन्त्रे च-    To one who torments (those who disregard him out of arrogance),    हनीयसे च- to one who torments very much (those who disregard and abuse him out of hatred).



As an example of Parameswara being Hanta, we can cite Ravana. Disregarding Parameswara out of arrogance born of physical strength and wealth, he inserted his fingers at the foot of the Kailasa mountain with a view to dislodging it. Parameswara pressed his big toe of the foot. Ravana felt miserable for long with crushed fingers. Parameswara released him later out of compassion.


For Haniyaan, one can cite the example of Daksha. Out of hatred for Parameswara, he abused him in many ways and performed yaga without offering him Havirbhaga. Virabhadra appeared at that time and cut off his head; the yagasala was burnt down; the altars were rendered impure and Agnis were put out; the sacrificial animal-pillars were removed and used for beating the Devas. The Ritviks were whipped; the moustache of Bhrigu, teeth of Pushan and eyes of Bhaga were gouged out. What a misery! There was none who could protect them at that time.


The import of this mantra is that as disregard and criticism of Parameswara is known to cause many troubles, all should worship Parameswara.



Mantra  7

नमो वृक्षेभ्यो हरिकेशेभ्यः ।



हरिकेशेभ्यः-  Having green-coloured leaves (like hair),  वृक्षेभ्यः- to One in the form of trees.



Just as hair are innumerable and protect the head, leaves are also numerous and protect the tree; hence leaves are called hair here.


The import of this mantra is that being in the form of trees like Palasa, Bilva, Peepul etc., Parameswara helps in performance of yagas in this world, and being in the form of Kalpaka tree in the upper world, he grants all enjoyments; hence Sri Parameswara should be worshipped by those desirous of these benefits.



Mantra  8

नमस्ताराय ।



ताराय- Of the form of Pranava.



It is stated in Veda and Sivapuranas that the meaning of Pranava (Omkara) is Sri Parameswara. In the sense that there is no difference between word and direct meaning, and word and intended import, Sri Rudra can be said to be of the form of Pranava.


‘तारः’ can also be interpreted to mean one who helps in rescuing Jivas from the ocean of samsara and bestows Mukti.


The import of this mantra is that Sri Parameswara should be worshipped for Moksha also.



Mantra  9

नमश्शंभवे च मयोभवे च ।



शम्भवे च-   To one who is the cause of happiness in this world,   मयोभवे च- to one who is the cause of comfort in the upper world.



The import is that as Sri Parameswara is alone the cause of all comfort in this as well as the upper worlds, he alone should be worshipped by those who are desirous of it.



Mantra  10

नमश्शङ्कराय च मयस्कराय च ।



शंकराय च-   To one who provides comfort in this world (being in the form of father, mother et al),  मयस्कराय च-  to one who bestows happiness in the upper world including Moksha (being in the form of Acharya, Sastra etc.)




The previous mantra means that he bestows happiness himself; this mantra should be interpreted to mean that he grants happiness through others. There is therefore no fault of repetition.



Mantra  11

नमश्शिवाय च शिवतराय च ।


शिवाय च-   To the bestower of all merits,   शिवतराय च-  to the greatest among the bestowers of merits.



In the Sruti passage ‘शिव एकोध्येयश्शिवंकरः’, ‘Sivasankara:’ hs been used as explanation of ‘Siva’. Hence the term ‘Siva’ here has been interpreted as the bestower of merits. The other meanings given in Puranas culminate finally in the Vedic explanation of ‘Sivasankara’. As Agni is called ‘Siva’ in the Vedic passage ‘पावको अस्मभ्यं शिवो भव’ and similarly as even the path of travel is called Siva’ in the passage ‘पन्थानस्सन्तु मे शिवाः’, the appellation ‘शिवतरः’ has been given to Parameswara. The meaning is that Sri Parameswara is greater than all objects called Siva in Veda or in worldly parlance and that he is indeed capable of bestowing merits even on those very objects.


Hence the import of this mantra is that those desirous of spiritual advancement should worship Sri Parameswara alone. This has been clearly stated in Upanishad as शिव एकोध्येयः शिवंकरः सर्वमन्यत्परित्यज्य’.


This mantra is the central gem in the pearl necklace of Rudropanishad worn by Veda, the mother. It has been stated:

“विद्यासु श्रुतिरुत्कृष्टा रुद्रैकादशिनी श्रुतौ ।

तत्र पञ्चाक्षरी तस्यां शिव इत्यक्षरद्वयम् ॥“

“Of Vidyas, Veda is the greatest; in Veda, ‘Sri Rudram’ containing 11 Anuvakams is the greatest; in that the Panchakshara ‘Nama: Sivaya’ is the greatest; there too, the two letters ‘Siva’ are the greatest.”


In Agamas, the term ‘Siva’ is called ‘Jivaratnam’. Siva Puranas have explained in detail the merits of this Name.



Mantra  12

नमस्तीर्थ्याय च कूल्याय च ।



तीर्थ्याय च-   To one who resides in holy waters like Ganga,  कूल्याय च- to one who resides in the banks.



After worshipping Sri Parameswara so far explaining the reasons for the necessity of everyone for adoring him, the Rishi prays till the end of this Anuvakam explaining his being the indweller of everything.



Mantra  13

नमः पार्याय चावार्याय च ।



पार्याय च-   To one who resides on the opposite bank of the river,   अवार्याय च- to one who resides on this bank.



Another interpretation has been that as one to be meditated upon by those who are keen on Moksha, he resides on the opposite bank of the ocean of samsara, and that as the bestower of desired objects, he resides in the middle of the ocean of samsara.



Mantra  14

नमः प्रतरणाय चोत्तरणाय च ।



प्रतरणाय च-    To one in the form of chant of mantra etc. enabling tiding over sins,     उत्तरणाय च- to one, whose form is the greatest Gnana, enabling crossing of the ocean of samsara.



Mantra  15

नम आतार्याय चालाद्याय च ।



आतार्याय च- To one who stays in the place of our return,   अलाद्याय च-  to one who inspires the jiva enjoying fully the fruits of karma.



‘आतार्याय च’ has also been interpreted as the bestower of grace on jivas, who, without obtaining true Knowledge, perform karmas with desire and keep returning to the ocean of samsara. The term ‘अलाद्यः’ has been explained as ‘अलं- पूर्णं यथा भवति तथा कर्मफलमत्तीति-अलादः-जीवः तत्र भवः-अलाद्यः’.


Mantra  16

नमः शष्प्याय च फेन्याय च ।



शष्प्याय च-   To one who resides in tender grass,   फेन्याय च- to one who resides in foam.


Mantra  17

नमस्सिकत्याय च प्रवाह्याय च ।



सिकत्याय च -  To one who resides in sands,  प्रवाह्याय -  to Rudra who is in torrential flows,  नमः-  prostration.


Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai from Commentary in Tamil by
Former Editor, Hitabhashini,
Srimatham, Kanchipuram