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श्री रुद्रम् SRI RUDRAM

एकादशोऽनुवाक: Anuvakam 11
Shiva Statue at Vedal

Mantra  1

सहस्राणि सहस्रशो ये रुद्रा अधिभूम्याम् ।

तेषाँ सहस्रयोजनेऽवधन्वानि तन्मसि ॥



सहस्राणि-  Thousands of,  ये रुद्राः-  which Rudras,  सहस्रशः-  in thousands,  भूम्यां अधि-  (are) lords of earth,    तेषां-   their,  धन्वानि-  bows,   सहस्रयोजने-  at a long distance of a thousand yojanas, अवतन्मसि- we leave the bow-strings loosened.



Sri Parameswara was beseeched in the tenth Anuvakam. In this eleventh Anuvakam, Rudraganas, who are his parts, are worshipped. Thousands of Rudraganas, in groups of thousands, have been detailed by Parameswara in many parts of the world to either punish or reward creatures there in accordance with their karmas. It has been stated in detail in Veda, Mahabharata, Sivapurana and other texts that they are very great. This Anuvakam has as its sole purpose praying to those Rudras.


There are totally 13 mantras here. In this first mantra Rudraganas, who are the lords of the earth are mentioned. Their bows should be left at a distance of a thousand yojanas from where we are. As there could still be fear for us if those bows are strung, it is prayed here that the strings in the bows should be left loose.



Mantra  2

अस्मिन्महत्यर्णवेन्तरिक्षे भवा अधि ।



अस्मिन्-  In this,  महति-  large,  अर्णवे-  ocean,  अन्तरिक्षे- in the sky,  अधि-  as lords on top,  भवाः-  which Rudras are there,   तेषाँ सहस्रयोजनेऽवधन्वानि तन्मसि- we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.



From this mantra upto the ninth mantra, the passage तेषाँ सहस्रयोजनेऽवधन्वानि तन्मसि’ should be added to each of them. In order to indicate that this should be so added, this passage has been repeated in the tenth mantra. Ocean and sky are beyond measure. Similarly the greatness of the lords of these expanses is also immeasurable.



Mantra  3

नीलग्रीवाः शितिकण्ठाः शर्वा अधः क्षमाचराः ।



नीलग्रीवाः-  With black necks (after consuming Kalakuta poison),   शितिकण्ठाः-  with white necks (before taking the poison),   शर्वाः-  which Rudras,   अधः क्षमाचराः-  move about  below the earth as lords, (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)



Mantra  4

नीलग्रीवाः शितिकण्ठा दिवँ रुद्रा उपश्रिताः ।



दिवं उपश्रिताः-    Being in Swarga as lords,   नीलग्रीवाः शितिकण्ठाः रुद्राः-  Rudras with black and white necks (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)




Rudraganas with abodes in many places have Sarupyam (same form) as Rudra; hence their forms are described same as Rudra.


The four mantras from सहस्राणि सहस्रशः upto this are together one mantra. Rishi is Durvasa; Chandas is Anushtup; Devata is Rudra.




“दंष्ट्राकरालवदनं ज्वलज्ज्वलनमूर्धजम् ।

बिभ्राणं त्रिशिखं दीपं ध्यायेत्भुजगभूषणम् ॥“

“One should meditate on Parameswara, with face marked by terrible teeth, tresses like burning fire, holding lamp with three flames and wearing serpents as ornaments.”


Benefit of chanting this mantra is destruction of enemies.



Mantra  5

ये वृक्षेषु सस्पिञ्जरा नीलग्रीवा विलोहिताः ।



वृक्षेषु-   In trees,  सस्पिञ्जराः-  coloured like tender grass,   नीलग्रीवाः- having black necks,  विलोहिताः- of deep red colour,  ये-  which Rudras (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)



Like on earth, there are Rudras of different colours, living in trees as their lords. This mantra refers to them.


Mantra  6

ये भूतानामधिपतयो विशिखासः कपर्दिनः ।



भूतानां-   Of Bhutaganas like Balagraham,  अधिपतयः- lords,   विशिखासः-  with no hair on head,  कपर्दिनः-   with matted tresses,   ये- which Rudras (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)



Some of the Rudras, who are lords of Bhutaganas, ae bald headed and some have matted tresses.



Mantra  7

ये अन्नेषु विविद्ध्यन्ति पात्रेषु पिबतो जनान् ।



अन्नेषु-   In foods being consumed,  ये-  which Rudras (abide secretly),  जनान्-  people,  विविद्ध्यन्ति-  trouble,   पात्रेषु-  (and) in milk etc. being drunk, or in vessels for drinking (where Rudras abide secretly),  पिबतः-  drinking,  जनान्- people (trouble). (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)




The three Riks from ये वृक्षेषु upto this are together one mantra. Rishi, Chandas etc. are same as for the previous mantra.



Mantra  8

ये पथां पथिरक्षय ऐलबृदा यव्युधः ।



पथां-  For all paths- mundane as well as Vedic,  पथिरक्षयः-  protectors,   ऐलबृदः-  nurturers by giving food,  यव्युधः-  destroyers of sinners and protectors of noble path,   ये-  which Rudras (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)



Protecting mundane and Vedic paths consists in enabling good people to engage in them and providing food etc. as their rewards and preventing sinners from going to those paths. Here the term पथिरक्षयः indicates protectors of paths. In order to convey the special import that they are the protectors of all the paths in the world, the term पथां has been added. In the passages "वसूयवो वसुपते वसूनाम्"  "गवामसि गोपतिरेक इन्द्र"  "निधीनां त्वा निधिपतिँ हवामहे" etc., double usage like the above can be noted for conveying broad import.


ऐलबृदः- इराशब्दः- अन्नवाची.  इराणां समूहः- ऐरं, ऐरमेव ऐलं,  तत् बिभ्रतीति ऐलभृतः, त एव ऐलबृदाः- भकारस्य बकारः,  तकारस्य दत्वं,  अकारस्य दीर्घश्च छान्दसः,  - अन्नदातारः इत्यर्थः.

ऐरभृतः  has undergone many changes and is seen as  ऐलबृदाः. The term यव्युधः also indicates forms of peace.



Mantra  9

ये तीर्थानि प्रचरन्ति सृकावन्तो निषङ्गिणः ।



सृकावन्तः-   Holders of sharp weapons called ‘Sruka’,  निषङ्गिणः- holders of swords,  ये-  which Rudras,   तीर्थानि-   in waters like Ganga,  प्रचरन्ति-  move about (we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.)



Armed Rudraganas move about on banks of rivers in order to bestow the benefits of Tirtha on some and deny the benefits to others. This mantra refers to them.


Riks 8 and 9 together constitute one mantra. Rishi is Devala; Chandas is Anushtup; Devata is Rudra.

Dhyanam is same as in Mantra 4 above. Chanting this mantra will bestow the benefit of good son.

Mantra  10

य एतावन्तश्च भूयाँसश्च दिशो रुद्रा वितस्थिरे ।

तेषाँ सहस्रयोजनेऽवधन्वानि तन्मसि ॥



एतावन्तः-   All Rudras mentioned from ‘Sahasrani Sahasrasa: uptil now,   भूयाँसश्च-  more numerous and countless than them,  ये रुद्राः-  which Rudras,  दिशो वितस्थिरे-  pervade in all directions, तेषाँ सहस्रयोजनेऽवधन्वानि तन्मसि - we leave their bows at a distance of a thousand yojanas.



Rishi, Chandas etc. for this mantra are same as for the previos mantra.



Mantra  11

नमो रुद्रेभ्यो ये पृथिव्यां येऽन्तरिक्षे ये दिवि येषामन्नं वातो वर्षमिषवस्तेभ्यो दश प्राचीर्दश दक्षिणा दश प्रतीचीर्दशोदीचीर्दशोर्ध्वास्तेभ्यो नमस्तेनो मृडयन्तु ते यं द्विष्मो यश्च नो द्वेष्टि तं वो जम्भे दधामि ॥



This must be split into three mantras:

  1. नमो रुद्रेभ्यो ये पृथिव्यां येषामन्नमिषवस्तेभ्यो दशप्राचीर्दश .....दधामि ।
  2. नमो रुद्रेभ्यो येऽन्तरिक्षे येषां वात इषवस्तेभ्यो दश प्राचीः..... दधामि ।
  3. नमो रुद्रेभ्यो ये दिवि येषां वर्षमिषवस्तेभ्यो दश प्राचीः...... दधामि ।


Meaning of first mantra: ये-  Which Rudras,  पृथिव्यां-  (are) in earth,  येषां-   for whom,  अन्नं-  the food we eat, इषवः-  is means of torture like arrows,  तेभ्यः रुद्रेभ्यः-   to those Rudras,  दश-  all ten fingers,  प्राचीः-   east faced,   दश दक्षिणाः-  all ten fingers south faced,  दश प्रतीचीः-  all ten fingers west faced,  दशोदीचीः-   all ten fingers north faced,   दश ऊर्ध्वाः-  all ten fingers upwards (render).  While folding hands and facing a direction, all ten fingers will face that particular direction. Hence this means that I show my respects facing those directions. This conveys prostration with body. तेभ्यः नमः- (prostration to those Rudras). This conveys prostration with mind. Verbal prostration was conveyed by नमो रुद्रेभ्यः at the beginning.  ते-  Those Rudras,  नः-  us,  मृडयन्तु- may make comfortable.  ते- We who have prostrated with all three instruments (mind, speech and body), यं- whomsoever,   द्विष्मः-  hate,  यश्च- whoever,  नः-  us,  द्वेष्टि-  hate,   तं-  both those people,  वः-  your, जम्भे-  in open mouth,  दधामि-  place. (Please destroy them and protect us).


अन्नमिषवः- Sri Rudraganas use the food eaten by sinners as tools for torturing them.That is, they make them eat unsuitable food or too much food and cause diseases and torture them. They torture some by denying food completely and letting them suffer from intense hunger. They torture some others by making them steal food and then subject them to punishment. Thus food becomes the instrument of torture of sinners and hence called arrow.


Similarly वात इषवः in the scond mantra and वर्षमिषवः in the third mantra must be interpreted.

वात इषवः- Rudras who use wind as arrow. As they torture sinners by creating heavy winds or diseases of wind, wind itself has been called as arrow.

वर्षमिषवः- Rudras who use rain as arrow. As they torture sinners by creating very heavy rains or no rain at all, rain itself has been called as arrow.


Meaning of second mantra: अन्तरिक्षे-  In the sky,  ये-  which Rudras (are),  येषां-  for whom,  वातः-  winds,  इषवः- (are) arrows (weapons of torture), prostration to them. Rest is as in the first mantra.


Meaning of third mantra: दिवि-  In Swarga,  ये-  which Rudras (are),  येषां-  for whom,  वर्षं-  rain,  इषवः- (are) arrows (weapons of torture), prostration to them. Rest is as in the first mantra.



From नमो रुद्रेभ्यः upto दधामि, the three yajur mantras are together one mantra. Devata and Rishi is Rudra himself. The Dhyanam mentioned in ‘Sahasrani Sahasrasa:’ should be taken as Dhyanam here also.



Mantra  12

त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।

उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥



सुगन्धिं-   Of good scent,  पुष्टिवर्धनं-   augmentor of nourishment of everything,  त्र्यम्बकं-   Sri Rudra with three eyes,   यजामहे-  we worship.   बन्धनात्-  From the connecting stem,  उर्वारुकमिव-  like cucumber (separating and falling down),   मृत्योः-  from the bondage of samsara,  मुक्षीय-  we must be relieved.   अमृतात्- From Moksha,  मा (मुक्षीय)- we should not be relieved.



It is in practice to chant this mantra and the succeeding Riks along with Rudradhyaya. It appears that as these are also Mahamantras extolling Sri Rudra alone, they are chanted with Sri Rudram.

As the scent, colour etc. of the form of Sri Parameswara are all superior as mentioned by Upanishad in Divyagandha:, Divyarasa: etc., सुगन्धिं has been used here. Further, Sri Parameswara grows the nourishment of his devotees in all respects. We, who extol that Parameswara, should be relieved from the bondage of samsara effortlessly, just as the ripe cucumber falls off on its own from the connecting stem. We should never fall off the aim of Moksha, i.e. Nivritti Marga (path of renunciation), which is the path for Moksha.

Mantra  13

यो रुद्रो अग्नौ यो अप्सु य ओषधीषु यो रुद्रो विश्वा भुवना विवेश तस्मै रुद्राय नमो अस्तु ॥



यः रुद्रः-   Which Rudra,  अग्नौ-  in Agni,  विवेश-  has entered (as burning power), यः-  which Rudra, अप्सु-  (has entered) in waters,   यः-  which Rudra,  ओषधीषु- (has entered) in herbs,  यो रुद्रः- which Rudra,   विश्वा भुवना-   in all worlds,   विवेश-  has entered,  तस्मै रुद्राय- to that Rudra,  नमः अस्तु-  may my prostration be.



It is clear that as Sri Rudra pervades everywhere, we can attain good state in all places by worshipping him.



Mantra  14

तमुष्टुहि यः स्विषुस्सुधन्वा यो विश्वस्य क्षयति भेषजस्य ।

यक्ष्वामहे सौमनसाय रुद्रं नमोभिर्देवमसुरं दुवस्य ॥



यः-    Which Rudra,  स्विषुः- has excellent arrow,  सुधन्वा-  excellent bow,  यः- who,   विश्वस्य-  of all kinds,  भेषजस्य-   of medicine,   क्षयति- is abode of,   तमु-  that Rudra alone,   स्तुहि-  extol.  महे- Abundant,   सौमनसाय-  for mental peace,  असुरं-  very strong, or augmentor of lifespan,  देवं- brilliant, रुद्रं-  Sri Rudra,  यक्ष्व-  worship.   नमोभिः-  With prostrations,   दुवस्य-  honour (him alone).



With the three words स्तुहि-यक्ष्व-दुवस्य, it is conveyed that we should extol Sri Rudra alone with our speech, mind and body. This is because he is the abode of all medicines giving relief from poverty, disease, short life etc. Further he protects us always, keeping excellent arrows and bow in hand.



Mantra  15

 अयं मे हस्तो भगवानयं मे भगवत्तरः ।

अयं मे विश्वभेषजोयँ शिवाभिमर्शनः ॥



मे-  My,  अयं हस्तः-  this hand,   शिवाभिमर्शनः-  touches the auspicious idol of Sri Parameswara. (performs Abhishekam, decoration etc.)   अयं-  This hand,  भगवान्- is fortunate. मे- My,  अयं- this hand,  भगवत्तरः-  is very fortunate.  मे-  My,  अयं-  this hand,   विश्वभेषजः- becomes also medicine relieving from all diseases.



The idea is that as the hand which worships Sri Parameswara is very fortunate and capable of relieving from all diseases, everyone should worship Parameswara without fail.



Mantra  16

ये ते सहस्रमयुतं पाशा मृत्यो मर्त्याय हन्तवे ।

तान् यज्ञस्य मायया सर्वानवयजामहे ॥



मृत्यो-   O Parameswara, the form of Death, मर्त्याय-  all dying creatures,  हन्तवे-  for catching,  ते- your,  सहस्रं- in thousands,  अयुतं-  in tens of thousands,  ये- which,  पाशाः- ropes (and similar instruments of torture are there),  तान् सर्वान्-  all of them,  यज्ञस्य मायया-   with the strength of our good actions,  अवयजामहे-  put aside.



There are many instruments with Sri Parameswara to cause untimely death. This shows that we should put all of them aside by doing good actions.



Mantra  17

मृत्यवे स्वाहा-  मृत्यवे स्वाहा ॥



मृत्यवे-  To Sri Parameswara, the form of Death,  स्वाहा-  this homam is being performed.



Mantra  18

ओं नमो भगवते रुद्राय विष्णवे मृत्युर्मे पाहि ॥



विष्णवे-   All-pervasive,  भगवते-  full of the six glories like wealth etc.,   रुद्राय-  to Sri Parameswara, remover of the misery of samsara,  नमः-  prostration.  मृत्युः-  From the bondage of samsara,  मे-  me,  पाहि-  please protect.

As this is Veda, certain grammatical cases are changed.




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