namo bhagavate rudrAya - Verses from the Shri rudram

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 27 11:45:28 CDT 1998

 || AUM namo bhagavate rudrAya ||

 Once again, it is the holy month of shrAvaNa, sacred for the worship
 of Shiva. The most important part of Shiva worship is undoubtedly
 the chanting of the shrI rudram with devotion. Regarding the
 shrI rudram, it is said:

  vR^ixasya mUlakena shakhAH puShyanti vai yathA |
  shive rudrajapAtprIte prItA evAsya devatAH  |
  ato rudrajapAdeva bhuktimuktiprasiddhyataH ||

  Even as by (watering) the roots of a tree, all its branches are
  nourished, so by pleasing Shiva with the chant of the Rudram , all
  the gods are pleased. Therefore, the attainment of bhukti -
  enjoyment (not against dharma)-  and mukti - liberation- is only
  through chanting the Rudram with devotion.

  The shrI rudram is also called the Rudropanishad or the
  shatarudrIyam.h. The name Rudropanishad indicates that even though
  the Rudram is technically part of the karma kANDa or the ritual
  portion of the Vedas, it is held to be on par with the upanishads
  of the jnAna kANDa. The name shatarudrIyam is applied to indicate
  that this shrI rudram appears in the texts of the one hundred and
  one shAkhA's of the Yajur Veda. The chanting of the Rudram is
  followed by that of the Chamakam, so called because of the frequent
  occurrence of the expression "cha me."

  This wonderful Rudram-Chamakam is to be learned from a Guru who
  himself has been trained in the Vedic tradition.

  There are two versions of the Yajurvedic Rudram, one from the
  Shukla Yajurveda and the other from the Krishna Yajur veda. The Rg
  Veda has its own and shorter version of the Rudram.

  The importance of this hymn has been attested to by several
  commentaries, such as the ones by sAyaNa, bhaTTa bhAskara,
  abhinava shankara, and Vishnu sUrI.

  No commentary by Adi Shankara on the Rudram is known. But there are
  verses from the shrI rudram in the shvetAshvatara upanishad and
  Shankara has been attributed the authorship of a commentary on the

  So I would like to present the explanation of such verses from the
  Rudram that are also present in the shvetAshvatara upanishad along
  with the commentary attributed to Shankara.

  We begin with the shvetAshvatara 3.5:

 yA te rudra shivA tanUraghorApApakAshinI |
 tayA nastanuvA shantamayA girishantAbhichAkashIhi ||
 ( shrI rudram: anuvAka 1 , rik 3; shvetAshvatara Up.: 3.5 )

 yA - that
 te - Your
 rudra - O Rudra
 shivA - auspicious
 tanUH - form
 aghorA - not terrifying
 apApakAshinI - that which destroys sins by mere remembrance
 tayA - by that
 naH - us
 tanuvA - by the form
 shantamayA - by the most joyous
 girishanta -  O Dweller of the (KailAsa) mountain who confer joy
 abhichAkashIhi - look (at us so that we may be united with the
                  highest good)

 O Rudra! O Girishanta (who dwell on the Kailaasa mountain and
 confer happiness)! By that form of Yours which is not terrifying,
 which destroys sin by its mere remembrance, and which is all
 blissful, please behold us and unite us with the highest good!

 shA.nkarabhAShyam.h (Commentary of Shankara)

 yA te rudreti | he rudra tava yA shivA tanUraghorA | uktaM cha
 tasyaite tanuvau ghorA .anyA shivA .anyeti | athavA shivA .avidyA-
 tatkAryavinirmuktA sachchidAnandAdvayabrahmarUpA na tu ghorA
 shashibiMbamivA .ahlAdinI | apApakAshinI smR^itimAtrAghanAshinI
 puNyAbhivyaktakarI | tayA .atmanA no .asmAn.h shantamayA sukhatamayA
 purNAnandarUpayA he girishanta girau sthitvA shaM sukhaM tanotIti |
 abhichAkashIhi nirIkshasva shreyasA niyojasvetyarthaH ||

 Translation of Shankara's commentary:

  O Rudra! (By that) form of Yours which is aghorA, ie. not that
 which is terrifying. It is said (in the BrAhmaNa) "(Rudra is verily
 this sacrificial fire, agni.) That Rudra has two forms; one is
 terrifying and the other is shivA, auspicious (or gentle)." Or,
 the word shivA means that which is free from ignorance (avidyA) and
 ist effects, which is of the nature of the nondual Brahman that is
 Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss, which is not terrifying but
 which causes joy like the form of the moon. apApakAshinI means that
 which destroys sins by  merely being remembered and which reveals
 merit (puNya). Through that form which is most delightful and of the
 nature of infinite bliss, O Girishanta, who reside on the (KailAsa)
 mountain and confer happiness, behold us (look at us) so that (by
 this glance) we may be united with the highest good (Brahman).


    The brAhmaNa portion identifies Rudra with the sacrificial fire,
    agni and speaks of two forms of Rudra - one terrifying, the other
    benign. It is this benign aspect that is associated with the
    eradication of ignorance and the bestowal of knowledge. It may be
    noted that the Shri Dakshinamurti form, that grants the Supreme
    knowledge of Brahman, is the gentle form.

 || AUM namo bhagavate rudrAya ||


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