Sthirebhiraṅghaiḥ pururūpa ughro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ
īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣad rudrādasuryam
Bow and Arrow, Trishula
Part of a series on
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Nusantara Agama Siwa
Rudra (/ˈrʊdrə/; Sanskrit: रुद्र) is a Rigvedic deity,
associated with wind or storm and the hunt. One translation of the
name is "the roarer". In the Rigveda,
Rudra has been praised
as the "mightiest of the mighty".
Rudra is the personification of
'terror'. Depending up on the poetic situation,
Rudra can be meant as
the most severe roarer/howler (could be a hurricane or tempest) or the
most frightening one. The
Shri Rudram hymn from the
dedicated to Rudra, and is important in the
The Hindu god
Shiva shares several features with the Rudra: the
Shiva originated as an epithet of Rudra, the adjective shiva
("kind") being used euphemistically of Rudra, who also carries the
epithet Aghora, Abhayankar ("extremely calm [sic] non terrifying").
Usage of the epithet 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 and the two names are used
2 Rigvedic hymns
2.1 Epithets of fierceness and fright
2.2 Epithets of supreme rule
2.3 Relation to other deities
3 Post-Rigvedic hymns
3.1 Sri Rudram
4 In Sikhism
5 See also
8 External links
The etymology of the theonym
Rudra is somewhat uncertain. It is
usually derived from the root rud- which means "to cry, howl."
According to this etymology, the name
Rudra has been translated as
"the roarer". A Rigvedic verse rukh draavayathi, iti rudraha where
rukh means “sorrow/misery”, draavayathi means “drive
out/eliminate” and iti means “that which” (or “the one who”)
Rudra is the eliminator of evil and usherer of peace. An
alternative etymology suggested by Prof. Pischel derives
Rudra as the
“red one”, the “brilliant one” from a lost root rud-,
“red” or “ruddy”, or alternatively (according to Grassman)
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. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and
translates the name as “the terrible” in his glossary for the
Shiva Sahasranama. The commentator Sāyaṇa 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. According to Gavin Flood,
Shiva used as a name or title (
Sanskrit śiva, “the
kindly/auspicious one”) occurs only in the late Vedic Katha
Aranyaka, whereas Axel Michaels asserts that
Rudra was called
Shiva for the first time in the Śvetāśvatara Upanishad.
Rudra is called “the archer” (Sanskrit: Śarva) and the arrow
is an essential attribute of Rudra. This name appears in the Shiva
Sahasranama, and R. K. Sharma notes that it is used as a name of Shiva
often in later languages. The word is derived from the Sanskrit
root śarv- which means "to injure" or "to kill" and Sharma uses
that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Śarva
as "One who can kill the forces of darkness". The names Dhanvin
("bowman") and Bāṇahasta (“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: rudrākşa = rudra and
akşa “eye”), or “eye of Rudra”, is used as a name both for
the berry of the
Rudraksha tree, and a name for a string of the prayer
beads made from those seeds.
The earliest mentions of
Rudra occur in the Rigveda, where three
entire hymns are devoted to him. There are about seventy-five
Rudra in the
Epithets of fierceness and fright
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 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
"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). This is described in Shiva's alternative name Vaidyanatha
(Lord of Remedies).
Epithets of supreme rule
[These citations need to be checked]
A verse from the Rig Veda (RV 2.33.9) calls
Rudra "The Lord or
Sovereign of the Universe" (īśānādasya bhuvanasya):
sthirebhiraṅghaiḥ pururūpa ughro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ
īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣad rudrādasuryam (RV
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 Śrī
Yajurveda 16.18) speaks of
Rudra as Lord of
जगताम् पतये नमः ।
jagatăm 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.
देवानां हृदयभ्यो नमो ।
devănăm 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
attain moksha (liberation):
tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam urvārukamiva
bandhanān mṛtyormukṣīya mā'mṛtāt
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
In the Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajur Veda(10.24.1)
identified as the universal existent ("all this") and thus as the
Purusha (Supreme Person or inner Self) of the Vedas:
sarvo vai rudrastasmai rudrāya namo astu puruṣo vai rudraḥ
sanmaho namo namaḥ viśvaṃ bhūtaṃ bhuvanaṃ citraṃ bahudhā
jātaṃ jāyamānaṃ ca yat sarvo hyeṣa rudrastasmai rudrāya 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
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
The Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajur Veda 1.10.1 identifies Rudra
Brihaspati as Sons of Bhumi (Earth) and Heaven:
[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.]
yam bhUmi: sahasravrt
This world is desired as a place of abode by thousands of JeevarAsis
paraṃ vyoma sahasravṛt
param vyOma: sahasravrt
The upper world is similarly desired by the thousands of devAs.
aśvinã bhujyữ 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
jãyã bhữmiḥ 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 bṛhaspatỉ rudraḥ
putra: brhaspatI rudra:
We have to consider Brhaspati and Rudran (aging here) as their sons
saramã iti strỉpumam
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
[Now comes the prayer to the abhimAna devatais for BhUmi and the upper
śukraṃ vãmanyadyajataṃ 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.
viṣurữpe ahanỉ dyauriva sthaḥ
vishurUpe ahanI dyau iva stha:
Both of You stay steady as the Sooryan in the sky with equal, unique
and alternating forms.
Relation to other deities
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
Rudras are sometimes referred to as "the sons of Rudra",
Rudra is referred to as "Father of the Maruts" (RV
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 Varuṇa, 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 (vayāḥ) of that divine attainable
Viṣṇu, the showerer of benefits. Rudra, bestow upon us the
magnificence of his nature. The Aśvins have come down to our dwelling
abounding with (sacrificial) food.
One scholiast[clarification needed] interpretation of the Sanskrit
word vayāḥ, 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: (Maitrāyaṇī-Saṃhitā 2.9.2,
Kāṭhaka-Saṃhitā 17.11, Taittirīya-Saṃhitā 4.5.1, and
Vājasaneyi-Saṃhitā 16.1–14). This litany is subsequently
referred to variously as the Śatarudriyam, the Namakam (because many
of the verses commence with the word namaḥ [`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
A selection of these stanzas, augmented with others, is included in
the Paippalāda-Saṃhitā of the
Atharvaveda (PS 14.3—4). This
selection, with further PS additions at the end, circulated more
widely as the Nīlarudram (or Nīlarudra Upaniṣad).
The President of the Ramakrishna Mission, at Chennai, in commentating
on the foreword to Swami Amritananda's translation of Sri
Purushasuktam, stated that "
Rudra to whom these prayers are addressed
is not a sectarian deity, but the
Supreme Being who is omnipresent and
manifests Himself in a myriad forms for the sake of the diverse
spiritual aspirants." Sri
Rudram occurs in the fourth Kanda of the
Taittirya Samhita in the Yajur Veda. It is a preeminent Vedic hymn to
Shiva as the God of dissolution, chanted daily in
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 favorable to us. The Lord is both garden and
graveyard, the slayer and the most benevolent one. The Almighty is
impartial and ubiquitous.
Rudra is described as the most dreaded terroriser
Rudra the vedic deity as the
personification of 'terror'.
Rudra comes from 'Ru' meaning '"Roar or
Howl" (the words 'dreaded' or 'fearsome' could only be used as
Rudra and not as Rudra, because
Rudra is the
personification of terror); 'dra' is a superlative meaning 'the most'.
So Rudra, depending on the poetic situation, can be meant as 'the most
severe roarer/howler' - could be a hurricane or tempest - or 'the most
The 10th Sikh Guru,
Guru Gobind Singh describes the incarnation of
Rudra in his book the Dasam Granth, the canto is titled
^ Basham (1989), p. 15.
^ Majumdar (1951), p. 162.
^ a b Zimmer (1972), p. 181
^ Griffith (1973), p. 75, Note 1.
^ AB Keith. "Yajur Veda". All Four Vedas. Islamic Books. p. 45.
^ http://www.shreerudram.com Archived 19 June 2013 at the Wayback
^ a b For an overview of the Śatarudriya see: Kramrisch,
^ For a full translation of the complete hymn see Sivaramamurti
^ a b c Chakravarti, p. 4.
^ Kramrisch, p. 5.
^ Majumdar, p. 162.
^ Griffith (1973), p. 75, note 1.
^ Kramrisch, p. 5. cites M. Mayrhofer, Concise Etymological Sanskrit
Dictionary, s.v. “rudra”.
^ Sharma, p. 301.
^ Chakravarti, p. 5.
Rudram and Purushasukram, by Swami Amiritananda, pp. 9-10, Sri
^ Kramrisch, p. 7. For the text of RV 10.92.9, see: Arya and Joshi,
vol. 4, p. 432.
^ a b Flood (2003), p. 73.
^ Michaels, p. 217.
^ a b Apte, p. 910.
^ For archer and arrow associations, see: Kramrisch, chapter 2; for
the arrow as an "essential attribute" of Rudra's, see: Kramrisch, p.
^ a b Sharma, p. 306.
^ a b Chidbhavananda, p. 33.
^ For translation of Bāṇahasta as “Armed with arrows in his
hands”, see: Sharma, p. 294.
^ a b Apte, p. 804.
^ For the three Rigvedic hymns devoted to Rudra, see: Chakravarti, p.
^ For citation of the four Rigvedic hymns (1.43, 1.114, 2.33, and
7.46) see: Michaels, p. 216 and p. 364, note 50.
Rudra is included in a litany given in RV 7.40.5.
^ Arya and Joshi, vol. 2, p. 81.
^ Chakravarti, p. 8.
^ Doniger, pp. 224-225.
^ a b Bhandarkar, Ramkrishna Gopal (1995). Vaisnavism,
Minor Religious Systems. India: Asian Educational Services.
p. 146. ISBN 9788120601222.
^ The Hymns of the Rig Veda, trans.
Ralph T. H. Griffith (1896)
^ "The Texts of the White Yajurveda, tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith, "
^ a b Taittiriya Aranyaka, Subramania Sarma:
^ a b http://www.sanskritweb.net/yajurveda/ta-01.pdf
^ SriHayagrivan – AruNa praSnam, vol. 2[permanent dead link]
^ For the terms "Maruts" and "Rudras" as equivalent, see: Flood
(1996), p. 46.
^ Flood (1996), pp. 45-46.
^ Macdonell, p. 256.
^ Flood (1996), p. 46.
^ Arya and Joshi, vol. 2, p. 78. For
Shiva as the head or father of
the group see: Apte, p. 804. For
Rudra as the head of a host of "storm
spirits, the Maruts" see: Basham (1989), p. 14.
^ RV 7.40.4–5 as translated in Arya and Joshi, pp. 243-244.
^ For the scholiast interpretation of vayāḥ as "ramifications" or
"branches" see: Arya and Joshi, p. 244.
^ The citation continues as follows: "This, Ludwig remarks, gives no
satisfactory interpretation; but I am unable to offer anything better
at present. Grassman alters vayāḥ into vayāma: 'we with our
offering approach the banquet of this swift-moving God, the bounteous
Viṣṇu; i. e. come to offer him sacrificial food.'" in: Griffith,
p. 356, note 5.
^ See Lubin 2007
^ Karthik Satchitanandam (9 July 2011). "SHRI RUDRAM FROM YAJURVEDA
(Full)" – via YouTube.
^ Vasudev R (1 January 2012). "Sri Rudram" – via YouTube.
^ "Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publication Trust".
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Rudra-sampradaya; Vaniquotes (His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupāda's compiled teachings)
Hindu deities and texts
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
History of Shaivism
Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta
Om Namah Shivaya
Shiva Tandava Stotram
Shri Rudram Chamakam
Shiva mahimna stotram
Pancha Bhoota Stalam
Chidambaram Temple (Ether)
Sri Kalahasti Temple (Air)
Annamalaiyar Temple (Fire)
Thiruvanaikaval Temple (Water)
Ekambareswarar Temple (Earth)
Shiva temples in India
Sampradayas of Vaishnavism
Kumara-sampradaya of Nimbarka
Sampradaya of Madhvacharya
Sampradaya of Ramanuja
Rudra sampradaya of Vishnuswami