The Roaring God
|Affiliation||Shiva, Vayu, Deva, Vishnu|
|Mantra||Sthirebhira?ghai? purur?pa ughro babhru? ?ukrebhi? pipi?ehira?yai? n?dasya bhuvanasya bh?rerna v? u yo?ad rudr?dasuryam|
|Weapons||Bow and Arrow, Trishula|
|Texts||Shri Rudram, Rig Veda|
Rudra (; Sanskrit: ) is a Rigvedic deity associated with wind or storm, Vayu and the hunt. One translation of the name is 'the roarer'. In the Rigveda, Rudra is praised as the 'mightiest of the mighty'. Rudra means "who eradicates problems from their roots". Depending upon the periodic situation, Rudra can mean 'the most severe roarer/howler' (could be a hurricane or tempest) or 'the most frightening one'. This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. ?arm? notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages.The Shri Rudram hymn from the Yajurveda is dedicated to Rudra and is important in the Saivism sect. In Prathama anuvaka of Namakam (Taittiriya Samhita 4.5), Sri Rudram the 'mightiest of the mighty' Rudra, is revered as Sadasiva (means 'mighty shiva') and Mahadeva. Sadashiva, is the Supreme Being Lord Paramashiva in the Mantra marga Siddhanta sect of Shaivism. Also, the name siva is used plenty of times in the same Anuvaka for invoking Rudra.
The etymology of the theonym Rudra is somewhat uncertain. It is usually derived from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root rud- (related to English rude), which means 'to cry, howl'. The name Rudra may thus be translated as 'the roarer'. In the Rigvedic verse 'rukh draavayathi, iti rudraha', rukh means 'sorrow/misery', draavayathi means 'to drive out/eliminate' and iti means 'that which' (or 'the one who'), implying that Rudra is the eliminator of evil and the usherer of peace. An alternative etymology suggested by Prof. Pischel interprets Rudra as the 'red one', the 'brilliant one', possibly derived from a lost root rud-, 'red' or 'ruddy', or alternatively, according to Grassman, 'shining'.
Stella Kramrisch notes a different etymology connected with the adjectival form raudra, which means 'wild', i.e., of rude (untamed) nature, and translates the name Rudra as 'the wild one' or 'the fierce god'. R. K. ?arm? follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as 'the terrible' in his glossary for the Shiva Sahasranama. Mallory and Adams also mention a comparison with the Old Russian deity R?gl? to reconstruct a Proto-Indo-European wild-god named *Rudlos, though they remind that the issue of the etymology remains problematic: from PIE *reud- ('rend, tear apart'; cf. Latin rullus, 'rustic'), or *reu- ('howl').
The commentator S?ya?a suggests six possible derivations for rudra. However, another reference states that Sayana suggested ten derivations. The adjective shivam in the sense of 'propitious' or 'kind' is applied to the name Rudra in RV 10.92.9.
Rudra is called 'the archer' (Sanskrit: ?arva) and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. ?arm? notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root ?arv- which means 'to injure' or 'to kill', and ?arm? uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name ?arva as 'One who can kill the forces of darkness'. The names Dhanvin ('bowman') and Bahasta ('archer', literally 'Armed with a hand-full of arrows') also refer to archery.
In other contexts the word rudra can simply mean 'the number eleven'. The word rudraksha (Sanskrit: rudr?k?a = rudra and ak?a 'eye'), or 'eye of Rudra', is used as a name for both the berry of the Rudraksha tree and a name for a string of the prayer beads made from those seeds.
Rudra is one of the names of Vishnu in Vishnu Sahasranama. Adi Shankara in his commentary to Vishnu Sahasranama defined the name Rudra as 'One who makes all beings cry at the time of cosmic dissolution'. Author D. A. Desai in his glossary for the Vishnu Sahasranama says, Lord Vishnu in the form of Rudra is the one who does the total destruction at the time of great dissolution.This is only the context known where Vishnu is revered as Rudra.
In the Rigveda we find verses which speak about the form of Rudra. Some of them are:
? tryambaka? yaj?mahe (RV 7.59.12) -> We worship the three eyed one.
kapardine (RV 1.114.1) -> Who has matted hairs
hira?yam iva rocate (RV 1.43.5) -> Who shines like Gold
?ukra iva s?ryo (RV 1.43.5) -> Who shines like Sun
sth?rebhira?gai (RV 2.33.9) -> Who is with firm limbs
? pururupa (RV 2.33.9) -> Who has multiforms
? ? yajata? vi?varupam (RV 2.33.10) -> Who is Vishwarupa (universe as form)
? yebhi? ?iva? (RV 10.92.9) -> Who is Shiva (auspicious)
In the Rigveda, Rudra's role as a frightening god is apparent in references to him as ghora ('extremely terrifying'), or simply as asau devam ('that god'). He is 'fierce like a formidable wild beast' (RV 2.33.11). Chakravarti sums up the perception of Rudra by saying: 'Rudra is thus regarded with a kind of cringing fear, as a deity whose wrath is to be deprecated and whose favor curried'.
RV 1.114 is an appeal to Rudra for mercy, where he is referred to as 'mighty Rudra, the god with braided hair'.
In RV 7.46, Rudra is described as armed with a bow and fast-flying arrows. As quoted by R. G. Bhandarkar, the hymn says Rudra discharges 'brilliant shafts which run about the heaven and the earth' (RV 7.46.3), which may be a reference to lightning.
Rudra was believed to cure diseases, and when people recovered from them or were free of them, that too was attributed to the agency of Rudra. He is asked not to afflict children with disease (RV 7.46.2) and to keep villages free of illness (RV 1.114.1). He is said to have healing remedies (RV 1.43.4), as the best physician of physicians (RV 2.33.4), and as possessed of a thousand medicines (RV 7.46.3). So he is described with an alternative name, Vaidyanatha (Lord of Remedies).
A verse from the Rig Veda (RV 2.33.9) calls Rudra 'The Lord or Sovereign of the Universe' (n?dasya bhuvanasya):
sthirebhira?ghai? purur?pa ughro babhru? ?ukrebhi? pipi?ehira?yai?
n?dasya bhuvanasya bh?rerna v? u yo?ad rudr?dasuryam (RV 2.33.9)
With firm limbs, multiform, the strong, the tawny adorns himself with bright gold decorations:
The strength of Godhead never departs from Rudra, him who is Sovereign of this world, the mighty.
A verse of ?r? Rudram (= Yajurveda 16.18) speaks of Rudra as Lord of the Universe:
jagat?m pataye namaha ?
Homage to the Lord of the Universe.
Another verse (Yajurveda 16.46) locates Rudra in the heart of the gods, showing that he is the inner Self of all, even the gods:
dev?n?m hridayebhyo namo
Salutations to him who is in heart of the gods.
In a verse popularly known as the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, both Rig Veda (7.59.12) and Yajur Veda (3.60) recommend worshipping Rudra to attain moksha (liberation):
? ? ? ?
tryambaka? yaj?mahe sugandhi? puivardhanam
urv?rukamiva bandhan?n m?tyormukya m?'m?t?t
We worship Tryambaka, sweet augmenter of prosperity. As from its stem a cucumber, may I be freed from the bonds of death, not reft of immortality.
sarvo vai rudrastasmai rudr?ya namo astu
puru?o vai rudra? sanmaho namo nama?
vi?va? bh?ta? bhuvana? citra? bahudh? j?ta? j?yam?na? ca yat
sarvo hye?a rudrastasmai rudr?ya namo astu ? 1?
All this verily is Rudra. To Rudra who is such we offer our salutation. We salute again and again that Being, Rudra, who alone is the Purusha and the Soul of creatures. The material universe, the created beings, and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created, in the past and in the present, in the form of the world--all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such.
[The translations below need to be cleaned up; the transliteration standardized; the so-called "modern translation" should be removed, because it is not necessary or helpful. Do these lines constitute a single verse, or are they separate verses drawn from different places in the text? That needs to be made clear.]
|Sanskrit||Modern translation||English translation|
|sahasrav?diya? bh?mi?||yam bhUmi: sahasravrt||This world is desired as a place of abode by thousands of Jeevaraasis|
|para? vyoma sahasrav?t||param vyOma: sahasravrt||The upper world is similarly desired by the thousands of devAs.|
|a?vinã bhujy? nãsatyã||bhujyU na asatyA viSvasya jagata: patI aSvinA||The earth and the heaven (Svarga lOkam) are like the twin gods, Asvini devAs, who banish diseases and bless us with bhOgams; Asvini devAs are the protectors of the universe and their sankalpam (volition) never fails.|
|jãyã bh?mi? patirvyoma||bhUmi: jAyA vyOma pati: taa mithunam aturyathu:||BhU lOkam is the wife and the Heaven is the husband; they are united like a couple.|
|putro b?haspat? rudra?||putra: brhaspatI rudra:||We have to consider Brhaspati and Rudran (aging here) as their sons|
|saramã iti str?pumam||saramA iti||The raised platform for the Yaagam, Yaaga meDai (Yajn~a Vedi) should be considered as a lady.|
|iti strI pumam||Thus we are instructed about the male-female aspects of the Earth and the Heaven.|
|[Now comes the prayer to the abhimAna devatais for BhUmi and the upper world.]|
|?ukra? vãmanyadyajata? vãmanyat||vAm anyat Sukram vAm anyat yajatam||Among your forms, one is the day with white hue, the other is the night with dark hue.|
|vi?ur?pe ahan? dyauriva stha?||vishurUpe ahanI dyau iva stha:||Both of You stay steady as the Sooryan in the sky with equal, unique and alternating forms.|
Rudra is used both as a name of Shiva and collectively ('the Rudras') as the name for the Maruts. Maruts are 'storm gods' associated with the atmosphere. They are a group of gods whose number varies from two to sixty, sometimes also rendered as eleven, thirty-three or a hundred and eighty in number (i. e., three times sixty. See RV 8.96.8.).
Rudra is mentioned along with a litany of other deities in RV 7.40.5. Here is the reference to Rudra, whose name appears as one of many gods who are called upon:
This Varu?a, the leader of the rite, and the royal Mitra and Aryaman, uphold my acts, and the divine unopposed Aditi, earnestly invoked: may they convey us safe beyond evil. I propitiate with oblations the ramifications (vay) of that divine attainable Viu, the showerer of benefits. Rudra, bestow upon us the magnificence of his nature. The A?vins have come down to our dwelling abounding with (sacrificial) food.
One scholiast's[clarification needed] interpretation of the Sanskrit word vay, meaning 'ramifications' or 'branches', is that all other deities are, as it were, branches of Vishnu, but, Ralph T. H. Griffith cites Ludwig as saying, 'This [...] gives no satisfactory interpretation' and cites other views which suggest that the text is corrupt at that point.
In the various recensions of the Yajurveda is included a litany of stanzas praising Rudra: Maitr?ya-Sa?hit? 2.9.2, Khaka-Sa?hit? 17.11, Taittir?ya-Sa?hit? 4.5.1 and V?jasaneyi-Sa?hit? 16.1-14. This litany is subsequently referred to variously as the ?atarudriyam and the Namakam (because many of the verses commence with the word nama?, meaning 'homage'), or simply the Rudram. This litany was recited during the Agnicayana ritual ('the piling of Agni'), and it later became a standard element in Rudra liturgy.
A selection of these stanzas, augmented with others, is included in the Paippal?da-Sa?hit? of the Atharvaveda (PS 14.3-4). This selection, with further PS additions at the end, circulated more widely as the N?larudram (or N?larudra Upani?ad).
The Hindu god Shiva shares several features with Rudra. The theonym Shiva originated as an epithet of Rudra and the adjective shiva ('kind') is used euphemistically of Rudra, who also carries the epithet Aghora, Abhayankar ('extremely calm [sic] non terrifying'). Usage of the epithet shiva came to exceed the original theonym by the post-Vedic period (in the Sanskrit Epics), and the name Rudra has been taken as a synonym for the god Shiva to where the two names are used interchangeably.
The President of the Ramakrishna Mission, at Chennai, in commentating on the foreword to Swami Amritananda's translation of Sri Rudram and Purushasuktam, states, 'Rudra to whom these prayers are addressed is not a sectarian deity, but the Supreme Being who is omnipresent and manifests Himself in myriad forms for the sake of the diverse spiritual aspirants'. Shri Rudram occurs in the fourth Kanda of the Taittiriya Samhita in the Yajurveda. It is a preeminent Vedic hymn to Shiva as the God of dissolution and it is chanted daily in Shiva temples throughout India.
The prayer depicts the diverse aspects of the Almighty. The Shri Rudram hymn is unique in that it shows the presence of divinity throughout the entire universe. We cannot confine the qualities of the divine to those that are favourable to us. The Lord is both garden and graveyard, the slayer and the most benevolent one. The Almighty is impartial and ubiquitous.
In the hymn, Rudra is described as the most dreaded terroriser (frightening). Shri Rudram describes Rudra the Vedic deity as the personification of 'terror'. The name Rudra comes from ru, meaning 'Roar or howl' (the words dreaded or fearsome could only be used as adjectives to Rudra and not as Rudra because Rudra is the personification of terror) and dra, which is a superlative meaning 'the most'. So Rudra, depending on the poetic situation, can mean 'the most severe roarer/howler' or a hurricane or tempest or 'the most frightening one'.
Shiva as known today shares many features with Rudra, and Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.
The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, which is dated to between 1700 and 1100 BC based on linguistic and philological evidence. A god named Rudra is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The name Rudra is still used as a name for Shiva. In RV 2.33, he is described as the 'Father of the Rudras', a group of storm gods.
Hymn 10.92 of the Rigveda states that the deity Rudra has two natures, one wild and cruel (rudra), and another that is kind and tranquil (shiva). The Vedic texts do not mention a bull or any other animal as the vehicle (vahana) of Rudra or of any other deities. On the other hand, post-Vedic texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas mention Nandi the bull and the zebu as the vehicles of Rudra and of Shiva, thereby unmistakably linking them as the same.
The third meaning of Rudra is Vayu or air that causes pain to the wicked on the account of their evil actions...... Vayu or air is called Rudra as it makes a person weep causing pain as a result of bad deeds .
One who does this total destruction ( Pratardanah ) is the Lord in the form of Rudra at the time of great dissolution (Pralaya).
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