Thursday, April 11, 2013

The unborn Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad and Sata Rudriya hymn is Umapati Mahadeva beyond doubt!


| Om Namah Shivaya | Shivaya Gurave Namah |


Background (Reason behind writing this article)


I don’t know where my Hinduism is heading at! Poor lord Shiva is being deprived of all his properties by humans. The hymn Sri Rudram which has always been recognized by ancient seers and scriptures as a hymn in praise of lord Shiva, today that hymn is being forcibly snatched away from Shiva and is being gifted to lord Vishnu. What is happening to my Hinduism I am really not sure of! If these kinds of situations continue to prevail with same intensity, I can foresee that after three or four generations Hinduism would mean only Vaishnavism. Why don’t people allow Shiva to enjoy his share of glory, I really don’t have the answer!
Recently two Vaishnavas viz. “UNKNOWN” (aka Srinivasan Ramanujan) and “Humble Bhagawata Bandhu” ( alias Prahaladadasa! Original name removed on personal request from that person) argued with me. Poor chaps, probably they thought that by hiding their real names they would be able to protect their identities! Probably they didn't know about my detective kind of skills or probably they underestimated them. I had requested “Mr. Unknown” to talk to me under his real name, but neither he nor his friend followed my request. 

They argued with me saying that Sri Rudram is not a hymn of lord Shiva and said it actually belongs to Narayana.Despite being busy these days I had no other choice than to spend some additional efforts in late night and write this article to clear their misunderstandings and explain the viewpoint of scriptures clearly. I always assumed that people would by default take that Sata-rudriyam hymn (Sri Rudram) as a hymn to Rudra, I never expected anyone disagreeing to this fact. This is the reason perhaps it never struck my mind to make ‘Rudram’ one of the topics of my articles. I am actually feeling thankful to those two Vaishnavas because they have given me a good topic to write an article on. Sometimes some good things happen with the influence of others, and the credits of motivating me to come out of my cave (of busy mechanical work life) and do some service to Mahadeva in the form of this article goes to those two gentlemen. Many thanks to them! Let us analyze this problem and see what scriptures have to say on this matter.



Vaishnavite Claims:



The following claims have been made by them.


  • Svetaswatara  Upanishad’s Rudra who gave birth to Hiranyagarbha is not Shiva, there Rudra means Narayana
  • Sri Rudram hymn is a hymn of Vishnu and all the Shaivite names contained therein also belong to Vishnu
  • Rudra was born from Prajapati and Prajapati gave him names like Ishana, Mahadeva, etc., which were the names of Narayana. Rudra was sinful at birth, and the names of Narayana made him cleansed of his sins
  • Rudra was absent during pralaya and only Narayana existed
These are the problem statements in our hand for which we’ll find solutions.  We’ll have to analyze the following things – Need to find out who fathered Hiranyagarbha. Once that is found out we can easily understand the meaning of Rudra’s appearance as a child born from Brahma. And finally we’ll also prove whose hymn is Sri Rudram.

Let’s analyze these problems based on shruti and smriti both and see what they have to say in this regard.




1. Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad who engendered Hiranyagarbha is lord Shiva beyond doubt!



1.1 Analysis using Upanishads

Let me use the “Proof by contradiction” method to solve the question who is “Rudra” in Svetaswatara Upanishad. Let’s assume that the Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad is Vishnu (Narayana) and let’s find out whether our assumption stands correct of gets contradicted.

Svetaswatara Upanishad states that Rudra withdraws entire creation into himself at the end of the time as follows.

“eko hi rudro na dvitiiyaaya tasthurya imaa.nllokaaniishata iishaniibhiH |
pratyaN^ janaastishhThati saJNchukochaantakaale sa.nsR^ijya vishvaa bhuvanaani gopaaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:02)

“Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time”.

Here we can see that Rudra of Swetasvatara Upanisahd is the only one, he is the self of all (Atman), he is the creator and withdrawer of everything.  Let’s analyze and see who this Rudra is!

Mahanarayanopanishad (XVI-1) of Yajurveda calls lord Rudra the Umapati as the Atman dwelling in every being:

“aatmaaya namaH |” (Salutations to Him, He who is the Spirit - Atman - dwelling in all creatures. )
“aatmali~Ngaaya namaH |” (Salutations to Him, He who is concealed in the heart of all creatures being their inmost Self.)

Ekakshara Upanishad talks the following about the eternal Atman the indweller of all.
“ya eva.n nitya.n vedayate guhaashayaM
prabhuM puraaNa.n sarvabhuuta.n hiraNmayam.h |
hiraNmayaM buddhimataaM paraa.n gati.n
sa buddhimaanbuddhimatiitya tishhThatiityupanishhat.h |” (Ekakshara Upanishad 13)

“Whoso thus knows the eternal Dweller (soul) in the cave of the heart, the ancient Lord who has become the all, the golden, the supreme goal of the wise, is wise. He stays transcending all (forms of) wisdom. This is the secret doctrine”.

Now the same Upanishad reveals who is that lord who dwells as the Atman; in the very opening verse itself as follows. Additionally note that the below verse clearly sattes that the supreme lord is the source of all.
“ekaakshara.n tvakshare.atraasti some
sushhumnaayaa.n cheha dR^iDhii sa ekaH |
tva.n vishvabhuurbhuutapatiH puraaNaH
parjanya eko bhuvanasya goptaa |” (Ekakshara Upanishad 1)

“Thou art the one Imperishable in the Imperishable, conjoint with Uma., as known by means of Susumna, here (on the empirical plane), the one firm (Principle art Thou). Thou art the ancient source of the world, the Lord of beings; Thou the Parjanya (the Principle of life-giving water), the Protector of the world”.

Even Panchabrahma Upanishad states the same that Umapati-Rudra is the indweller of all as follows.
“aya.n hR^idi sthitaH saakshii sarveshhaamavisheshhataH |
tenaaya.n hR^idayaM proktaH shivaH sa.nsaaramochakaH |” (Panchabrahmopanishat 36)

“Lord Shiva, who grants salvation to one, from this day- to-day life of the world, exists as witness without differentiation in the heart of all beings and is called Hrudayam (That which exists within)”.

Now, let’s come to the attribute of withdrawing the entire creation at the end of time which has been stated in Swetasvatara Upanisahd. Even Dakshinamurty Upanishad states the same fact that at the end of time it is lord Dakshinamurty who withdraws entire creation into himself as follows.
“sa hovaacha . yena dakshiNaamukhaH shivo.aparokshiikR^ito
bhavati tatparamarahasyashivatattvaj~naanam.h . yaH sarvoparame kaale
sarvaanaatmanyupasa.nhR^itya svaatmaanandasukhe modate prakaashate
vaa sa devaH |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 1:01)

“He said: That constitutes knowledge of the Highest Secret,—of S’iva, the Reality—by which Siva, the Dakshinâmukha, becomes intuited. He is the Deity who, at the time of universal dissolution, absorbs all into Himself, and who shines and delights in the happiness of His own inherent bliss”.

Since by logic there cannot be two different gods who withdraw the creation into themselves at the end of time, Svetaswatara Upanishad’s god of withdrawal and Dakshinamurty Upanishad’s god of withdrawer must be identical.

Since recently I have learnt that assumptions are very costly affair. Therefore let me not assume that people would understand that Dakshinamurty is Lord Shiva. Who knows? Tomorrow someone may come up saying Dakshinamurty is the name of Vishnu and not Shiva? For all such questions, Dakshimamurty Upanishad itself gives clarity as follows.

It clearly depicts the appearance of Dakshinamurty as moon-crested, three eyed god, and serpent-girdled god as follows.
“sphaTikarajatavarNaM mauktikiimakshamaalaa\-
mamR^itakalashavidyaa.n j~naanamudraa.n karaagre |
dadhatamuragakakshya.n chandrachuuDa.n trinetraM
vidhR^itavividhabhuushha.n dakshiNaamuurtimiiDe |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 3)

“I adore the three-eyed, moon-crested Dakshinâmûrti who is of pebble and silver colour, holding in the hands a rosary of pearls, a vessel of nectar, a book and the symbol of wisdom; having a serpent for his girdle, and putting on various ornaments”.

Therefore this analysis reveals us the truth that Dakshinamurty who is moon-crested, three-eyed Mahadeva, he withdraws the creation into himself at the end of time, hence the Rudra of Swetasvatara also muist be lord Shiva the consort of Uma only.

With this extensive analysis our initial assumption of Rudra of Svetaswatara being Narayana is clearly contradicted and we came to a conclusion that Rudra of Svetaswatara is Mahadeva alone!

Now, with this understanding of Rudra of Svetaswatara Upansiahd as Lord Shiva, we learn another fact that it is Rudra (Shiva) who engendered Hiranyagarbha at the beginning of creation as stated in below verse from Svetaswatara Upanishad.

“yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH | hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient seer Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!"

Above verse additionally gives us the information that Rudra engendered all the Gods and he is called as a great seer (Guru) since he is the Dakshinamurty the storehouse of all knowledge, hence the above verse is requesting rudra to bestow intellect (wisdom). This is why Svetaswatara Upanishad states that at the beginning Rudra gave Vedas to Brahma as follows.

“yo brahmaaNa.n vidadhaati puurva.n | yo vai vedaa.nshcha prahiNoti tasmai .ta.n ha devaM aatmabuddhiprakaashaM | mumuxurvai sharaNamahaM prapadye |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 6:18)
“Seeking Liberation, I take refuge in the Lord, the revealer of Self-Knowledge, who in the beginning created Brahma and delivered the Vedas to Him”.

Since Rudra delivers Vedas (means supreme knowledge) in the form of Dakshinamurty this is why, the same is stated in Dakshinamurty Upansihad also as follows. Here the power to create is not any alient phrase. Creation proceeds from Vedas hence this verse states Brahma got the necessary knowledge (Vedas) for creation from Shiva.

“sargaadikaale bhagavaanviri~nchirupaasyaina.n sargasaamarthyamaapya | ” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 1:20)
“At the beginning of creation, Brahmâ the Lord, having worshipped S’iva, attained power to create and was delighted at heart”.

Due to the reason that Rudra is the greatest seer (Dakshinamurty), Svetaswatara Upanidhad also pleads the southward directed face (Dakshinamurty) for liberation, since liberation is achievable through knowledge.

“ajaata ityeva.n kashchidbhiiruH prapadyate | rudra yatte daxiNaM mukha.n tena maaM paahi nityam.h |”(Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:21)
“It is because Thou, O Lord, art birthless, that some rare souls, frightened by birth and death, take refuge in Thee. O Rudra, may Thy southward face (dakshinam mukha) protect me forever!”

With the above analysis it must be clear by now that the Dakshinamurty Upanishad and Svetaswatara Upanishad unanimously glorify one and the same Rudra who is the consort of Bhavani who bestowed Vedas to Brahma. This is enough but let me also quote evidence in another Upanisahd as follows. The below Upanishad verse summarizes the same facts in a simple one paragraph all that we analyzed above so far.
“prabhu.n vareNyaM pitaraM mahesha.n yo brahmaaNa.n vidadhaati tasmai |
vedaa.nshcha sarvaanprahiNoti chaagrya.n ta.n vai prabhuM pitara.n devataanaam.h |
mamaapi vishhNorjanaka.n devamiiDyaM yo.antakaale sarvalokaansa.njahaara |
sa ekaH shreshhThashcha sarvashaastaa sa eva varishhThashcha |” (Sarabha Upanishad 1:2-3)

“I am saluting that primeval God who is the Lord, who is the best, who is the father of the world, who is the greatest among gods, who has created Brahma, who gave all Vedas to Brahma in the beginning, who is the father of Vishnu and other devas, who merits praise, and who at the time of deluge destroys the world. He is the only one who is greater than every body, who is the best and who rules over others”.

Even Mahabharata supports this fact that; it is Rudra who is the creator of the universe (known as Hiranyagarbha) and creater of all gods and it is again Mahadeva who would dissolve every god and everything into himself. Mahabharata clearly states below that there is nothing superior than Mahadeva!


“tad dṛṣṭvā vrīḍito rājan sa muniḥ pādayor gataḥ | nānyaṃ devam ahaṃ manye rudrāt parataraṃ mahat |
surāsurasya jagato gatis tvam asi śūladhṛk | tvayā sṛṣṭam idaṃ viśvaṃ trailokyaṃ sa carācaram |
tvām eva bhagavan sarve praviśanti yugakṣaye | devair api na śakyas tvaṃ parijñātuṃ kuto mayā |
tvayi sarve ca dṛśyante surā brahmādayo 'nagha | sarvas tvam asi lokānāṃ kartā kārayitā ca ha |
tvatprasādāt surāḥ sarve modantīhākuto bhayāḥ | evaṃ stutvā mahādevaṃ sa ṛṣiḥ praṇato 'bhavat |” (MBH 3:81:107b-111)
”"And beholding this, O king, that Muni became ashamed and fell at the feet of the god. And believing that there was nothing better and greater than the god Rudra, he began to adore him in these words: "O holder of the trident, thou art the refuge of the celestials and the Asuras, of, indeed, the universe. By thee have been created the three worlds with their mobile and immobile beings. It is thou again that swallowest everything at the end of the Yuga. Thou art incapable of being known by the gods themselves, far less by me. O sinless one, the gods with Brahma at their heads are all displayed in thee. Thou art all, the Creator himself and the Ordainer of the worlds. It is by thy grace that all the gods sport without anxiety or fear".
Now let me load Kaivalya Upanishad in my analysis. Kaivalya Upanishad clearly hails Shiva as the ONLY one who is the origin of worlds and has become everything. It hails Shiva with the highest attributes of supremacy and then clearly calls out that lord as the three-eyed, blue-necked, highest lord of Uma as follows.
"hR^itpuNDariikaM virajaM vishuddhaM vichintya madhye vishadaM vishokam.h
achintyamavyaktamanantaruupaM shivaM prashaantamamR^itaM brahmayonim.h " "tamaadimadhyaantavihiinamekaM vibhuM chidaanandamaruupamadbhutam.h
umaasahaayaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM niilakaNThaM prashaantam.h
dhyaatvaa munirgachchhati bhuutayoniM samastasaakShiM tamasaH parastaat.h " (kaivalyopanishat 6-7)

"(Who is) unthinkable, unmanifest, of endless forms, the good, the peaceful, Immortal, the origin of the worlds, without beginning, middle, and end, the only one, all-pervading, Consciousness, and Bliss, the formless and the wonderful. Meditating on the highest Lord, allied to Uma, powerful, three-eyed, blue-necked, and tranquil, the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and is beyond darkness (i.e. Avidya)".

Kaivalya Upanishad also talks about the supreme lord as the one god who alone is all that was and all that will be as follows. The below verse states the same concept discussed in Purusha Suktam i.e., “purusha Eva idam sarvam yad bhUtam yad bhavyam” meaning, “Purusha is alone everything whatever was in the past and whatever will be in future.
"sa eva sarvaM yadbhuutaM yachcha bhavyaM sanaatanam.h |
j~naatvaa taM mR^ityumatyeti naanyaH panthaa vimuktaye |"(Kaivalya Upanishad 9)

"He alone is all that was, and all that will be, the Eternal; knowing Him, one transcends death; there is no other way to liberation".

It clearly says that by knowing Rudra one attains Mukti, and it clearly rules out existance of any other path towards liberation. This means knowing Shiva is the only path to liberation!

The above verse about Rudra is what is stated in Svetaswatara Upanishad about Veda purusha Rudra as follows. Svetaswatara Upanishad also states the same path for liberation.

“vedaahametaM purushhaM mahaantamaadityavarNa.n tamasaH parastaat.h |
tameva viditvaatimR^ityumeti naanyaH panthaa vidyate.ayanaaya |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:08)

“I know that great purusha (Rudra) of sunlike lustre beyond the darkness. A man who knows him truly, passes over death; there is no other path to liberation”.

Therefore it is again proved that Rudra (Purusha) of Svetaswatara Upanishad is Umapati-Rudra beyond doubt!
Conclusion: - With the above analysis our initial assumption of Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad being Vishnu is clearly refuted, hence it is also crystal clear that Rudra who gave birth to Hiranyagarbha at the beginning of creation, the Rudra sung in Svetaswatara Upanisahd is Mahadeva alone and NOT Vishnu.



1.2 Analysis using Vedas


Let’s analyze the problem statement using Vedas now. Atharva Veda has a hymn to ascetic form of lord Shiva (Vratya) which states how Vratya manifested within the Hiranyagarbha (Shining universe). Here are the excerpts.

“vrā́tya āsīd ī́yamāna evá sá prajā́patiṃ sám airayat | sá prajā́patiḥ suvárṇam ātmánn apaśyat tát prā́janayat | tád ékam abhavat tál lalā́mam abhavat tán mahád abhavat táj jyeṣṭhám abhavat tád bráhmābhavat tát tápo 'bhavat tát satyám abhavat téna prā́jāyata |” (Atharva Veda 15:1:1-3)
"There was Vratya . He roused Prajapati to action. Prajapati beheld gold in himself and engendered it. That became unique, that became distinguished, that became great, that became excellent, that became Brahman, that became Tapas, that became Truth: through that he (Vratya) was born."

That Vratya after entering the universe (Hiranyagarbha) he is again called as Eka Vratya. He was of  blue-red color (nilalOhita), and is called as Mahadeva, he being the controller of all he is called Ishana

“sò 'vardhata sá mahā́n abhavat sá mahādevò 'bhavat | sá devā́nām īśā́ṃ páry ait sá ī́śāno 'bhavat | sá ekavrātyò 'bhavat sá dhánur ā́datta tád evéndradhanúḥ | nī́lam asyodáraṃ lóhitaṃ pr̥ṣṭhám | nī́lenaivā́priyaṃ bhrā́tr̥vyaṃ prórṇoti lóhitena dviṣántaṃ vidhyatī́ti brahmavādíno vadanti |”  (Atharva Veda 15:1:4-8)
"He grew, he became great, he became Mahadeva.He gained the lordship of the Gods. He became Ishana. He became Eka Vratya. He held a bow, even that Bow of Indra. His belly is dark-blue, his back is red (Nila Lohitam). With dark-blue he envelops a detested rival, with red he pierces the man who hates him: so the theologians say."

As evident from above verses, the being called Vratya present inside the Hiranyagarbha is the same Vratya who was present outside the hiranyagarbha and who created the Hiranyagarbha. This inner Vratya is Eka Vratya because he was the first one who manifested within the universe so Eka (loner). This Vratya was Rudra having blue-red appearance (nilalOhitam) and was hailed as Mahadeva and Ishana owing to his supremacy.

So, Atharva Veda clarifies that the Vratya (Rudra) who manifested within Hiranyagarbha is the same Vratya who engendered Hiranyagarbha. Note this point carefully. Then he manifested himself into various other deities like Agni, Varuna, Indra etc., including Vishnu (I’m just quoting Vishnu’s birth related verse).

“sá yád dhruvā́ṃ díśam ánu vyácalad víṣṇur bhūtvā́nuvyàcalad virā́jam annādī́ṃ kr̥tvā́ |” (Atharva Veda XV:14:5)
“He (Vratya ), when he went away to the stedfast region, went away having become Vishnu and having made Virāj an eater of food”.

Thus this is the same fact what we see in Svetaswatara Upanishad as follows. The below verse clearly states that the lord who fathered Hirayagarbha was Rudra and again Rudra created other gods.

“yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH | hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient seer Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!"

So, this makes it crystal clear that Vishnu is NOT the origin of Rudra but instead Rudra is the one who manifested Vishnu from himself within this universe. So, Vishnu is Rudra’s form but vice versa is NOT true. And it is also clear that the Vratya (Rudra) was present before the creation of Hiranyagarbha and he only entered the Hiranyagarbha again.

So, from above analysis it is clear that Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanisahd is the three eyed deity the consort of Uma. Well, this itself is conclusive beyond question; but would want to explain Satapatha Brahmana’s story of Rudra’s manifestation because the Vaishnava gentlemen were misinterpreting it.

Well, we have the same story of Rudra’s manifestation within the universe as depicted in Satapatha Brahmana as quoted below. The Prajapati described in Satapatha Brahmana is the Hiranyagarbha (the shining physical universe). Satapatha Brahmana states Prajapati as “Year” and his mistress Usha as “Dawn” as shown below.
“tadyāni tāni bhūtāni | ṛtavaste 'tha yaḥ sa bhūtānām patiḥ saṃvatsaraḥ so 'tha yā soṣāḥ
patnyauṣasī |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:8)

“Now, those beings are the seasons; and that lord of beings (prajapati) is the year; and that Ushas, the mistress, is the Dawn.”

What does this mean? Prajapati being year he is symbolic usage for “time” and his mistress is called Dawn which is symbolic of “Space”. This means the shining physical universe which is a framework of “Space and time”, within this space-time universe, the supreme lord Rudra who is beyond this universe, who is beyond the time, who is beyond all and is the highest; that rudra entered this universe and appeared here as shown below.
“sā tānīmāni bhūtāni ca bhūtānāṃ ca patiḥ saṃvatsara uṣasi reto 'siñcantsa
saṃvatsare kumāro 'jāyata so 'rodīt|” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:8)

“And these same creatures, as well as the lord of beings, the year, laid seed into Ushas. There a boy (kumâra) was born in a year, he cried.”

And then Satapatha Brahmana says that prajapati gives him eight names Rudra, Sarva, Pashupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva and Isana; and with each of these names respectively lord Rudra manifests himself as his eight forms cleebrated as Astamurty viz. Agni, Varuna (waters), Vegetation (Earth), Vayu, Indra, Cloud (Sky), Moon and Sun.

However, as seen above Prajapati is nothing but the physical universe (Hiranyagarbha) which comprises of space-time coordinates; and hence the Prajapati giving names to Rudra is also symbolic to say that Rudra assumed eight forms from his OWN eight names.

Now, comparing this story of Satapatha Brahmana with the Atharva Veda’s Vratya-Rudra Suktam; we can understand that the Rudra within this space-time framework MUST be same as the Rudra who is beyond this space-time framework (Prajapati), who created this Prajapati (space-time framework called Hiranyagarbha). And yes, our conclusion is true; the same conclusion is given in Svetaswatara Upanishad as follows.

“yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH | hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient seer Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!"

We’ll see how Vaishnavas wishfully interpret Rudra’s appearance as “birth” and related stuff in a separate section titled “Refutation of Rudra’s birth related misconceptions” ant the end of this article.

This is again the end of our analysis which proves beyond any doubt that Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad is Bhavani’s consort the three-eyed Mahadeva only! Let me show some direct references from Taittiriya Aranyaka which supports this analysis done so far.

Taittiriya Aranyaka states Sadashiva as the overlord of Hiranyagarbha and the preserver of Vedas (as Dakshinamurty), who is the Ishwara the lord of all created beings and Ishana the supreme seer.
"iishaanaH sarvavidyaanaamiishvaraH sarvabhuutaanaaM
brahmaadhipatirbrahmaNo.adhipatirbrahmaa shivo me astu sadaashivom.h " (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.21.1)

"May the Supreme who is Ishana the ruler of all knowledge, who is Ishwara, the controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM)."

And again there is no room for Vaishnavas for any assumptions of above Ishana being Vishnu because the immediate next para of Taitiriya Aranyaka clearly proves that the source of all vedas is the same lord of all creatures (pashupati) who is the consort of Uma.

"namo hiraNyabaahave hiraNyavarNaaya hiraNyaruupaaya hiraNyapataye.ambikaapataya
umaapataye pashupataye namo namaH " (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.22.1)

"Salutations again and again to Hiranyabahu [One who has ornaments of gold on the arms or possessing a form having the golden hue], Hiranyavarna [He who is the source of the syllables of the Vedas which are as precious as gold], Hiranyarupa [He who is shining in splendour], Hiranyapati [the Lord of riches wholesome and charming], Ambikapati [the consort of Ambika, the Mother of the universe], Umapati [The master of Uma, Brahma-vidya personified as such], Pasupati [the Lord of all created beings]".

Conclusion: - Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad is doubtlessly Mahadeva the consort of Uma! All the speculations of Vaishnavas mapping him to Vishnu are only baseless and useless speculations.
Controversy of Mahopanishad and Narayanopanishad Clarified

Those Vaishnava gentlemen also argued with me saying Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad cannot be Shiva because Mahopanishad states that Eshana was absent during Pralaya. What an irrational logic it is! Rudra is the one who dissolves the creation within himself, so he being absent during Pralaya is out of question; and these surface thinkers have read the Mahopanisahd purely in the literal sense.  Scriptures are esoteric and indepth understanding is required instead of surface grazing.

If Narayana of Mahopanishad and Narayanopanishad are treated as Vishnu, then it would contradict many Shruti passages, hence it would become unauthentic. However, all contradictions would get erased ONLY by knowing that “Narayana” spoken of in Vedas and Upanishads is NOT Vishnu; it is the name of unmanifest Shakti, the Kundalini which is Tripurasundari, which is identical with Supreme Brahman. All these controversial attacks from mahopanishad and Narayanopanishad have been successfully refuted, and their real meanings have been explained in my article “NARAYANA SUKTAM - A hymn to Tripurasundari Devi” (refer to section titled ‘Analyzing nArAyaNa from other Upanishads’ within that article).



2. Who is the central deity of Sata Rudriya hymn?


2.1 Shruti recognizes Sri Rudram as a hymn of Rudra alone


Sri Rudram which is a collection of Mantras from Yajurveda Samhita has the most famous mantra of liberation called mahamrityunjaya Mantra as follows
“tryambakam yajAmahe sugandhim pusti vardhanam |
urvArukamiva bandhanAn mrtyormukshIya mAmrtAt |”  (Yajurveda 1:8:6:i)

"We worship the fragrant Three-Eyed One, the Promoter of prosperity. May we be freed from the bondage of death as a cucumber from its stalk; But not from immortality".

The same mantra exists in Rigveda (7:59:12) also.

This is a clear indication that the Rudra mentioned in Yajurveda and Rigveda is a three-eyed one. There is no scripture in Hinduism which has ever called Vishnu as three eyed deity. Take any Purana, be it Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta or BrAhma, or take even Mahabharata, Ramayana, and even Tantras; there is no scripture one can show me where Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra has been ascribed to Vishnu. It is always a Shiva’s mantra. Puranas have many stories to support this –

1) Daksha Prajapati cursed Chandra to suffer from leprosy, chandra worshiped lord Rudra with his Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra and got cured by his grace and that’s how Somanatha-Jyotirlinga of lord Shiva was established by Chandra (One may refer to any Purana where Somanatha Jyotirlinga story is discussed).
2) Shukracharya obtained Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra with which he gained “Mrita-Sanjeevani-Vidya” again because it was Mahadeva’s grace and his Mantra’s potency..
3) Markandeya wrote a hymn on Lord Shiva which runs under the name of “Maha-Mrityunjaya-Stotram”.
4) Sage Kashyapa prays to Bhagawan Rudra calling him Tryambaka and puShtidam in Harivamsa Parva which is an appendix to Mahabharata as follows. puShtidam (Health giver) is a synonym of puShtivardhanam (health increaser). Therefore clearly this mantra cited below is a derived from Maha-Mrityunjaya Mantra alone...

“tryaMbakaM puShTidaM vo bruvANaM | dharmaM viprANAM varadaM yajvanAM cha |
varAdvaraM raNajetAramIshaM | devaM devAnAM sharaNaM yAmi rudram ||” (Harivamsa Parva 2:72:45)

”I seek refuge in Lord rudra (mahAdeva) who has three eyes, who flourishes all, who advises brahmins and vice men on dharma, who provides the wishes of the masters of the sacrifice, who is the best of the best, the lord who is the winner of battles, who is the lord of gods”.
Hope these evidences are enough to understand that Tryambaka Mantra is the property of only Mahadeva! Three eyes is the copyright and trademark attribute of Mahadeva and his consort Durga only. Therefore this maha-mrityunjaya mantra which exists in Taittiriya Samhita of Yajurveda and Rigveda proves that the Rudra of Veda is Umapati. And because this mantra is also included in Sri Rudram it is evident that Rudra of Sri Rudram is Umapati-Mahadeva and not Narayana at any cost.

Then we have Sri Rudram addressing Rudra as “Kapardin”, meaning, “one who ahs matted locks of hair”. This name ‘Kapardin’ is again proprietary to Rudra alone because it is he who has braided hair which he curls and ties. He doesn’t wear any crown as such. Whereas Vishnu always wears a crown and he is nowhere called as Kapardin (even in Vishnu Sahasranama).

“Imama rudraaya thavase kapardhinee |” (Yajurveda iv:5:10:c)
“This prayer we offer up to the impetuous Rudra, with plaited hair”.

Moreover, Taittiriya Aranyaka clearly recognizes Pashupati as the lord of Uma as stated below.

"umaapataye pashupataye namo namaH |" (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.22.1)
"Salutations to the overlord of all created beings and who is the lord of Uma".

And Taittiriya Samhita clearly tells us that the Pashupati (Shiva) rules both quadrupeds and bipeds as stated below.

"Pashupatih Pashunaam Chatushpadam uta ca dvipadam |" (Yajurveda III-1-4)
"What cattle the lord of cattle (pashupati) ruleth? He rules both the four-footed and the two-footed."

So, now it is clear that the lord Pashupati who rules on both two-footed and four-footed animals is the lord of Uma viz. Umapati-Rudra. Now, let me show that Sri Rudram prays to the same lord of all pashus to protect the bipeds and quadrupeds. It’s logical to understand that the oen who rules over someone would only be able to protect and take interest in them. Note that the below verse is a part of the same verse where Rudra is called as “Kapardin” as shown above. Therefore this request is being placed to the Pashupati who is Kapardin (of matted hair).
“Imama rudraaya  thavase kapardhinee  kshyadweeraaya prabharaamahe mathim |
Yadhaa na sama sad dwipadhe chatushpadhe viswam pushtam graame asmin aathuram |” (Yajurveda iv:5:10:c)

“This prayer is addressed to Rudra (Kapardin), the destroyer of men, that health be for our bipeds and quadrupeds, And that all in this village be prosperous and free from ill”.

Also it hails Rudra as Pashupati as follows.

“pasunaam pathaye namo namah |” (Yajurveda iv:5:2:b)
“Homage to the lord of cattle! homage”.

Also, Rudram clearly calls out Rudra as Soma (sa+Uma), the consort of Uma as follows.

“nama somaaya cha rudhraaya cha |” (Yajurveda iv:5:8:a)
“Salutations to the lord who is with (his consort) Uma and to the one who relieves one from the misery of samsaara”.

Soma means Rudra with Uma, this form of Rudra who sits in Kailasha with his consort Uma sitting on his left thigh is very auspicious form. This form is said to grant all (righteous) wishes of a devotee quickly. This Soma is the name of Rudra in Rig Veda also as shown below.

"somārudrā dhārayethāmasuryaṃ pra vāmiṣṭayo.aramaśnuvantu |
dame-dame sapta ratnā dadhānā śaṃ no bhūtaṃ dvipadeśaṃ catuṣpade |" (Rig Veda 6:74:1)
"Hold fast your Godlike sway, O Soma-Rudra: let these our sacrifices quickly reach you.
Placing in every house your seven great treasures, bring blessing to our quadrupeds and bipeds".

In above Mantra again we see a common prayer to Rudra to bless the bipeds and quadrupeds. Also, this Soma (Rudra) is the god who fathered Narayana (Vishnu) and all gods as stated below. This implies Narayana(Vishnu) cannot be the deity of Rudram hymn the way Vaishnavas think. Even Narayana (Vishnu) cannot be the indweller of Rudra because he is the son of Soma (Rudra). Hence, all claims of Vaishnavas are baseless.

“somaḥ pavate janitā matīnāṃ janitā divo janitā pṛthivyāḥ
janitāghnerjanitā sūryasya janitendrasya janitota viṣṇoḥ ” (Rig Veda.IX.96.5)
"Father of sacred chants, Soma (Shiva) flows onwards, the Father of the Earth, Father of the Celestial region: Father of Agni, the creator of Surya, the Father who gave birth to Indra and Vishnu".
Further, we find similarity in depictions of strength and valor of Rudra between Rig Veda and Sri Rudram as follows.

Rig Veda says clearly that lord Shiva cannot be conquered but he conquers on everyone in battle.
“imā rudrāya sthiradhanvane ghiraḥ kṣipreṣave devāya svadhāvne |
aṣāḷhāya sahamānāya vedhase tighmāyudhāya bharatā śṛṇotu naḥ |” (Rig Veda 7:46:1)

“To Rudra bring these songs, whose bow is firm and strong, the self-dependent God with swiftly-flying shafts, The Wise, the unconquered Conqueror whom none may overcome, armed with sharp-pointed weapons: may he hear our call”.

The same property or attribute of Rudra has been sung in Sri Rudram as follows.

"namah hantyaaya |" (Yajurveda Sri iv:5:2:h)
"Salutations to Lord Rudra who cannot be overcome (defeated) and slain".

"Namah sahamanaya nivyadhina avyadhininam pataye namo |" (Yajurveda iv:5:3:a)
"Salutations to Him who can not only withstand the shock of the onset of His enemies, but overpower them. He who can effortlessly pierce His enemies; the Lord of those who can fight on all sides, salutations to Him".

The following verses from Rig Veda pray to Rudra requesting him not to injure their progeny.
“yā te didyudavasṛṣṭā divas pari kṣmayā carati pari sāvṛṇaktu naḥ |
sahasraṃ te svapivāta bheṣajā mā nastokeṣutanayeṣu rīriṣah |” (Rig Veda 7:46:3)

“May thy bright arrow which, shot down by thee from heaven, flieth upon the earth, pass us uninjured by. Thou, very gracious God, hast thousand medicines: inflict no evil on our sons or progeny”.
“mā no vadhī rudra mā parā dā mā te bhūma prasitau hīḷitasya |
ā no bhaja barhiṣi jīvaśaṃse yūyaṃ pāta ... |” (Rig veda 7:46:4)

“Slay us not, nor abandon us, O Rudra let not thy noose, when thou art angry, seize us.
Give us trimmed grass and fame among the living. Preserve us evermore, ye Gods, with blessings”.

The same threat is felt in Rudram also and there also Vedas request Rudra not to injure their progeny and property as follows.

“Eeshaam purushaanam esham pasunaam maa |
bhermaro  mo eshaam kincha namamath |” (Yajurveda iv:5:10:a)

“Frighten not nor injure (Any) of these people, of these cattle; Be not one of these injured”.

This is again a testimony that the Rig Veda’s Tryambaka (three eyed god) Rudra is the same who is glorified in Yajurveda’s Sri Rudram.

There is no scripture in Hinduism which associates the bow “Pinaka” to any other deity other than Rudra (umapati). Narayana’s bow is called as “Saranga”. This is again a great evidence that Sri Rudram is a hymn of Bhagawan Rudra (the umapati) alone since in the below shown verse clearly Rudram calls out the bow of Rudra as “Pinaka”.
“Parame vruksha aayudham nidhaaya  kruthim vasaan
Aachara pinaaka bibradhaagahi |” (Yajurveda iv:5:10:j)

“And come to us wearing the hide of tiger.  Please bring along thine bow pinaaka,  as an ornament”.

Rig Veda says that Rudra dwells in the hearts of all and destroys the enemies of his devotees as shown below.

”stuhi śrutaṃ ghartasadaṃ yuvānaṃ mṛghaṃ na bhīmamupahatnumughram |
mṛlā jaritre rudra stavāno.anyaṃ te asman ni vapantu senāḥ |” (RV 2:33:11)
”I praise you the famous one, seated in the heart, the ever-youthful, terrible like the beast, fierce for the purpose of destruction. Lord Rudra, having been praised by us, let your armies strike at others than us”.

The above mantra IDENTICALLY exists in Yajurveda (IV:5:10:h) (i.e., verse 8 of Sri Rudram’s ANuvaka-10) except for a slight difference. This text of this Rik is slightly different in the Krishna Yajur Vedic Rudram in that "mR^iLA" is replaced with "mR^iDA"and is a part of Sri Rudram also. “mRiDA” is again the copyright name of Mahadeva only, and his consort Uma is hence called as “mRiDANI”. This is again a great evidence to understand that Rudra of Rig Veda, Rudra of Rudram both are identical and is Mahadeva only.

Now since it has already been proved in previous section above that the Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad is the triple-eyed Maheshwara alone, we can easily prove the hymn Sri Rudram as belonging to Maheshwara only.

It is Rudra (Shiva) who creates all the gods. This means he manifests himself as Hiranyagarbha (brahma) and Vishnu and other gods i.e., it is Rudra (Shiva) who creates by becoming Brahma. This is clearly indicated in the below verse from Sri Rudram.

“namo midhushhtamaya ” (Yajurveda iv:5:5:g)
“Salutations to Lord Rudra in the form of hiranyagarbHA; the creator of the universe”.

Svetaswatara Upanishad states that Rudra is the ONLY lord who does all the functions in this universe, he alone rules over everyone. He alone creates all the worlds (Srushti) and he protects them as their protector (Sthiti) and then finally he withdraws them within himself (Laya) as follows.
“eko hi rudro na dvitiiyaaya tasthurya imaa.nllokaaniishata iishaniibhiH |
pratyaN^ janaastishhThati saJNchukochaantakaale sa.nsR^ijya vishvaa bhuvanaani gopaaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:02)

“Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time”.

The same is depicted in Sri Rudram in the below verses.
"Namo bhavaya cha rudraya cha |
namah sharvaya cha pashupataye cha ||" (Yajurveda iv:5:a-b)

"Salutations to Bhava, who is the source of all things (Srusthi), and to Rudra, who is the destroyer of all ills. Salutations to Sharva, the destroyer of everything (Laya), and to Pashupati, the protector of all beings in bondage (Sthiti)".

Svetaswatara Upanishad states that Rudra pervads in fire, water and all elements as described below.
“yo devo agnau yo.apsu yo vishvaM bhuvanamaavivesha |
ya oshhadhiishhu yo vanaspatishhu tasmai devaaya namo namaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 2:17 )

“The Self—luminous Lord, who is fire, who is in water, who has entered into the whole world, who is in plants, who is in trees— to that Lord let there be adoration! Yea, let there be adoration!”

This verse has been exactly adopted from Taittiriya Samhita of Yajurveda (5:5:9:i) which is also a part of Sri Rudram (as Rudram is a collection of hymns from Vedic samhitas).
“Yo rudro agnau yo apsu ya oshhadhishhu
Yo rudro vishva bhuvanaaavivesha tasmai rudraya namo astu (Yajurveda 5:5:9:i )

“The Rudra in the fire, in the waters, in the plants, the Rudra that hath entered all beings, to that Rudra be homage”
In case there is any doubt if this Rudra who entered into Agni, Waters, Plants and all beings is someone else; the below evidences dispels such doubts and darkness. Satapatha Brahmana clearly states that Agni, Waters, etc eight forms i.e., Ashta Murty are the manifestations of Rudra as detailed below..
Agni became such like because of Lord Rudra:
“tamabravīdrudro 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodagnistadrūpamabhavadagniva rudro
yadarodīttasmādrudraḥ so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:10)

“He said to him, 'Thou art Rudra.' And because he gave him that name, Agni became suchlike (or, that form), for Rudra is Agni: because he cried (rud) therefore he is Rudra. He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Waters became such like because of Lord Rudra:
“tamabravītsarvo 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodāpastadrūpamabhavannāpo vai sarvo
'dbhyo hīdaṃ sarvaṃ jāyate so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:11)

“He said to him, 'Thou art Sarva.' And because he gave him that name, the waters became suchlike, for Sarva is the waters, inasmuch as from the water everything (sarva) here is produced. He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Plants became such like because of Lord Rudra:
“tamabravītpaśupatirasīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodoṣadhayastadrūpamabhavannoṣadhayo vai paśupatistasmādyadā paśava oṣadhīrlabhante 'tha patīyanti so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me
nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:12)

“He said to him, 'Thou art Pasupati.' And because he gave him that name, the plants became suchlike, for Pasupati is the plants: hence when cattle (pasu) get plants, then they play the master (patîy). He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Then it states that the boy (Rudra) entered into each of these eight forms one by one and that’s how these eight deities viz. Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Indra, Parjanya, Plants/Earth, Sun, and Moon.
“kumāro rūpāṇyanuprāviśanna vā agniṃ kumāramiva paśyantyetānyevāsya rūpāṇi
paśyantyetāni hi rūpāṇyanuprāviśat |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:19)

“That boy entered into the forms one after another; for one never sees him as a mere boy (kumâra), but one sees those forms of his 1, for he assumed those forms one after another”.


For the point Rudra entered all beings here is a reference from Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda.

"iishaanaH sarvavidyaanaamiishvaraH sarvabhuutaanaaM |" (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.21.1)
"May the Supreme who is Ishana the ruler of all knowledge, who is Ishwara, the controller/indweller of all created beings."

Even for a demented person the above evidences should be enough to understand Rudra of Rudram hymn is Mahadeva alone. But still let’s proceed further. Svetaswatara Upanishad clearly prays in the below verse to Girisha the lord of Kailash mountain.
“yaa te rudra shivaa tanuuraghoraa.apaapakaashinii |
tayaa nastanuvaa shantamayaa girishantaabhichaakashiihi |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:05)

“O Rudra, thou dweller in the mountains, look upon us with that most blessed form of thine which is auspicious, not terrible, and reveals no evil!”

And the above verse exactly has been copied from Sri Rudram as shown below.
“ya te rudra siva tanur aghora’papa-kasini |
taya nas tanuva santamaya girisantabhicakasih |” (Yajurveda iv:5:1:c)

“O Rudra, thou dweller in the mountains, look upon us with that most blessed form of thine which is auspicious, not terrible, and reveals no evil!”

Kaivalya Upanishad extols Shiva with supreme attributes as stated below. Note that kaivalya Upanishad clearly calls that deity as the consort of Uma.
"hR^itpuNDariikaM virajaM vishuddhaM vichintya madhye vishadaM vishokam.h
achintyamavyaktamanantaruupaM shivaM prashaantamamR^itaM brahmayonim.h " "tamaadimadhyaantavihiinamekaM vibhuM chidaanandamaruupamadbhutam.h
umaasahaayaM parameshvaraM prabhuM trilochanaM niilakaNThaM prashaantam.h
dhyaatvaa munirgachchhati bhuutayoniM samastasaakShiM tamasaH parastaat.h " (kaivalyopanishat 6-7)

"(Who is) unthinkable, unmanifest, of endless forms, the good, the peaceful, Immortal, the origin of the worlds, without beginning, middle, and end, the only one, all-pervading, Consciousness, and Bliss, the formless and the wonderful. Meditating on the highest Lord, allied to Uma, powerful, three-eyed, blue-necked, and tranquil, the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and is beyond darkness (i.e. Avidya)".

And the same Upansiahd in its entirity sings the glories of Shiva alone and finally states the following fact. It says that by reciting Sata-Rudriya hymn one attains liberation.

"yaH shataruudriyamadhiite so.agnipuuto bhavati suraapaanaatpuuto bhavati
sa brahmahatyaayaaH puuto bhavati sa suvarNasteyaatpuuto bhavati
sa kR^ityaakR^ityaatpuuto bhavati tasmaadavimuktamaashrito
bhavatyatyaashramii sarvadaa sakR^idvaa japet.h |" (Kaivalyopanishad 25)

"He who studies the Shatarudriya, is purified as by the Fires, is purified from the sin of drinking, purified from the sin of killing a Brahmana, from deeds done knowingly or unawares. Through this he has his refuge in Shiva, the Supreme Self. One who belongs to the highest order of life should repeat this always or once (a day)".

This proves that Sata-rudriyam is verily a hymn of Mahadeva only.

This above analysis itself is enough to understand that the triad viz. Rudra of Vedas, Rudra of Sri Rudram and Rudra of Upansiahds is umapati Maheshwara alone!



2.2 Smriti recognizes Rudra of Sri Rudram as Umapati-Shiva alone



There is a commentary on Sri Rudram by lord Kartikeya, the son of lord Shiva. His commentary goes by the name of “Skandadeva Bhashyam” and is available in the chapters 26-33 of book 12 of Shivarahasya-Itihasa, which is a scripture of one hundred thousand verses (as massive as Mahabharata). These one lakh verses have been divided into 12 books called “amsAs”.

This Bhashyam (Commenatry) on Sri Rudram is authored by Skanda who taught that to Jaigishavya and other sages. It is also stated there that Skanda composed this Bhasyam just as he heard the meanings of Sri Rudram explained by Shiva to Parvati. In this work, for every verse of Rudram, Skanda has given a corresponding “dhyAna-shlOka” describing Rudra’s appearance and his qualities etc. From those verses we can clearly see Rudra being described as Umapati alone. I cannot quote that massive work completely here. However, let’s see some selective verses.

Every verse of each anuvaka is given with a dhyAna-shlOka, and also accompanied with a commentary. Here is one such verse taken from the first anuvAka. Here skanda clearly calls Rudra as the consort of Uma.

“bhaktAnAm sugamam mahAdhyaharaNam lOkAdhipatyapradam |
rAjnA chAnamatAm prasAdasumukham shrIkashyapArAdhitam |
yOdhAkAram umAsahAyam chirAdAkarNakRShtE sharam |
chApE bhAsvati sanddhAnamanisham rudram yuvAnam bhajE |” (Shivarahasyaitihasa 12:26:14)

“I constantly contemplate (Worship) the youthful Rudra associated with Uma and presenting himself as a soldier with an arrow fixed on his shining bow drawn to the ear. The lord worshipped in this form by sage Kashyapa, appears with a pleasing face suggesting favourable dispusition towards those who propitiate him, becomes easily accessible to the devotees, removes great sins and bestows the lordship pf the whole world to the (devoted) kings”.

The below dhyAna-shlOka has been taken from anotehr verse. Here Skanda clearly calls Rudra as crescent wearing, and decorated with serpents.

"yuddhE vairibhayApaham praNamatAm shrIrudramArAdhitam |
dEvam nAradanAmakEna muninA nAnAyudhAlankRtam |
udhyadbhAskarakOtidIdHititanu dIptOttamAnkOjwalam |
kAntam bhIShaNabhOgibhUShaNamaham dhyAyAmi bhaktEShtadam |" (Shivarahasyaitihasa 12:26:48)

"I meditate on Rudra possessing the brilliance of crores of suns rising together, having the crescent moon shining bright on his blazing head, adorned with various weapons and having the fierce serpents for his ornaments. The lord worshipped in this form by sage Narada is the remover of fear from the enemies in battle and is the bestower of the wishes of his devotees".

Now coming to standard Puranas – Sata Rudriyam is also available in Shiva Mahapurana where it is given as a eulogy to Mahadeva alone. There is no Purana which has ever stated that Sri Rudram is a hymn to Narayana. All Puranas (whichever Purana contains Sata Rudiram or related discussion, if any) equivocally point Sata Rudriyam as a hymn to Bhavanipati alone.

This concept of Rudram being a hymn of Narayana has no place in any Puranas. Even there is no Vaishnava Purana as well, which has ever mapped this hymn to Vishnu. This baseless concept is an invention of over-imaginative brains of Vaishnava Acharyas of Kaliyuga. Otherwise why didn’t Vedavyasa anywhere in any Purana ever mention it as a hymn of Vishnu? There is no answer because this hymn is always a hymn of Umapati alone.


2.3 Itihasa (Mahabharata) recognizes Rudram as a hymn of Shiva alone


2.3.1 Vedavyasa clearly understands Rudram as a hymn of Mahadeva alone

In Mahabharata Drona parva has a discussion between Vyasa and Arjuna. Vyasa narrates to Arjuna the greatness of Maheswara. In this chapter Vedavyasa has composed another Sata-Rudriyam hymn and it exists in Mahabharata. The Rudram hymn of Yajurveda is something which everyone is not eligible tor ecite. It requires a special intonation (swaram) to sing and it requires one to get initiated under a Veda Pandit Guru before reciting. Since this Vedic hymn is very potent in its mantras, it is not advisable to recite without initiation and is usually restricted to Brahmanas. However, the illustrious sage Vyasa is so benevolent to the humanity that he has given a similar Sata-Rudriyam hymn composed by himself and made it available in Mahabharata. This Rudram of Mahabharata can be read by all the four varNas and it doesn’t require any intonations (swaram), one need not get initiated by any guru to recite this. This is the greatest benefit that Vyasa has done to us.

Now, while reciting his composition, viz. Rudram to Arjuna, Vyasa states that the Yajurvedic Rudram belongs to Maheswara alone as follows. Note it carefully that he says the names contained in Rudram of Yajurveda are all Maheswara’s names derived based on his supremacy and his acts. Note that the same point even lord Krishna said which I’ll show in next section. Nowhere has he mentioned that those names are Narayana’s names applied on Maheshwara (These kind of theories can only be formulated by the Vaishnava Acharyas of Kaliyuga who consider themselves superior that Vedavyasa!).

“nāmadheyāni lokeṣu bahūny atra yathārthavat |
nirucyante mahattvāc ca vibhutvāt karmabhis tathā |
vede cāsya samāmnātaṃ śatarudrīyam uttamam |
nāmnā cānanta rudreti upasthānaṃ mahātmanaḥ |” (MBH 7:173:78-79)

“Many also are the names, of truthful import, of this Deity in all the worlds. Those names are founded upon his supremacy, his omnipotence, and his acts. In the Vedas the excellent hymn called Sata Rudriya, hath been sung in honour of that great God called Rudra the infinite. That God is the lord of all wishes that are human and heavenly”.

Here Vyasa again afirms that the hymn contained in Veda viz. Sata-Rudriyam is a hymn of Mahadeva the Umapati alone.

“caritaṃ mahātmano divyaṃ sāṃgrāmikam idaṃ śubham |
paṭhan vai śatarudrīyaṃ śṛṇvaṃś ca satatotthitaḥ |” (MBH 7:173:104)

“The hymn approved of the Vedas, and called Sata-Rudriya, in honour of that God of gods, that excellent, famous, life-enhancing, and sacred hymn, has now, O Partha, been explained to thee”

In Vyasa’s composition here are the praises by Vyasa. Vyasa clearly calls rudra as everything, he sees him present in the form of all gods. And especially note that he calls Rudra as sinless (Only vaishnavas call rudra as sinful based on their incorrect interpretation of Satapatha Brahmana).

“sa vai rudraḥ sa ca śivaḥ so 'gniḥ śarvaḥ sa sarvavit |
sa cendraś caiva vāyuś ca so 'śvinau sa ca vidyutaḥ |
sa bhavaḥ sa ca parjanyo mahādevaḥ sa cānaghaḥ |
sa candramāḥ sa ceśānaḥ sa sūryo varuṇaś ca saḥ |
sa kālaḥ so 'ntako mṛtyuḥ sa yamo rātryahāni ca |
māsārdha māsā ṛtavaḥ saṃdhye saṃvatsaraś ca saḥ |
sa ca dhātā vidhātā ca viśvātmā viśvakarmakṛt |” (MBH 7:173:65-68)

“He is Rudra he is Siva, he is Agni, he is everything, and he hath knowledge of everything. He is Indra, he is the Wind, he is the twin Aswins, and he is the lighting. He is Bhava, he is Parjanya, he is Mahadeva, he is sinless. He is the Moon, he is Isana, he is Surya, he is Varuna. He is Kala, he is Antaka, he is Mrityu, he is Yama. He is the day, and he is the night. He is the fortnight, he is the month, he is the seasons. He is the morning and evening-twilights, he is the year. He is Dhatri, he is Vidhatri, he is the Soul of the universe, and he is the doer of all acts in the universe”.

Note that further Vedavyasa clearly says that whatever are the hidden secrets of Vedas and Upanishads and all scriptures is Mahadeva alone! I’m not sure how Vaishnavas fail to realize this truth.  Note here carefully that Vyasa says that Rudra is without birth and Vyasa admits that he cannot recite the virtues and glories of Rudra even in thousand years.

“īdṛśaḥ sa mahādevo bhūyaś ca bhagavān ajaḥ |
na hi sarve mayā śakyā vaktuṃ bhagavato guṇāḥ |” (MBH 7:173:70)

“Whatever is highly mysterious in the several branches of the Vedas, in the Upanishads, in the Puranas, and in those sciences that deal with the soul, is that God, viz., Maheswara, Mahadeva is even such. That God is, again, without birth. All the attributes of that God are not capable of being enumerated by me even if, O son of Pandu, I were to recite them continually for a thousand years”.

Vyasa further states that it is Umapati-Rudra whose riches reflect in the wealth of other gods. And he is the lord of even the supreme ones. This clearly shows he is independent and the one boss of all whose boss exists not.

“sendrādiṣu ca deveṣu tasya caiśvaryam ucyate |
sa caiva vyāhṛte loke manuṣyāṇāṃ śubhāśubhe |
aiśvaryāc caiva kāmānām īśvaraḥ punar ucyate |
maheśvaraś ca bhūtānāṃ mahatām īśvaraś ca saḥ |” (MBH 7:173:73-74)

“The prosperity is his that is seen in Indra and other gods. He is ever engaged in the good and evil of men in this world. In consequence of his supremacy, he can always obtain whatever objects he desires. He is called Maheswara and is the lord of even the supreme ones”.


2.3.2 Lord Sri Krishna clearly understands Rudram as a hymn of Mahadeva alone

In Mahabharata there is a conversation between Sri Krishna and the righteous king Yudhishthira about the nature and glories of lord Shiva. Vasudeva narrates all the avrious attributes, forms and glories of Mahadeva to Yudhishthira as spoken of in Sri Rudram of Yajurveda. Let’s see what he says in this context.

In the below verse Krishna clearly states that it is Rudra whom Vedas call by various names like Agni, Maheshwara, Surya, Chandra etc. it is very true since Vedas have also stated the same thing.

“yudhiṣṭhira mahābāho mahābhāgyaṃ mahātmanaḥ |
rudrāya bahurūpāya bahu nāmne nibodha me |
vadanty agniṃ mahādevaṃ tathā sthāṇuṃ maheśvaram |
ekākṣaṃ tryambakaṃ caiva viśvarūpaṃ śivaṃ tathā |
dve tanū tasya devasya veda jñā brāhmaṇā viduḥ |
ghorām anyāṃ śivām anyāṃ te tanū bahudhā punaḥ |
ugrā ghorā tanūr yāsya so 'gnir vidyut sa bhāskaraḥ |
śivā saumyā ca yā tasya dharmas tv āpo 'tha candramāḥ |” (MBH 13:146:1-4)

“Vasudeva said, 'O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, listen to me as I recite to thee the many names of Rudra as also the high blessedness of that high-souled one. The Rishis describe Mahadeva as Agni, and Sthanu, and Maheswara; as one-eyed, and three-eyed, of universal form, and Siva or highly auspicious. Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas say that that god has two forms. One of these is terrible, and the other mild and auspicious. Those two forms, again, are subdivided into many forms. That form which is fierce and terrible is regarded as identical with Agni and Lightning and Surya. The other form which is mild and auspicious is identical with Righteousness and water and Chandramas. Then, again, it is said that half his body is fire and half is Soma (or the moon)”.

In below extract Krishna narrates the meanings of all the various names of Mahadeva. Here Krishna describes Rudra as thousand eyed, myriad eyed etc. which are the same attributes sung in Purusha Suktam about Rudra.

“īśvaratvān mahattvāc ca maheśvara iti smṛtaḥ |
yan nirdahati yat tīkṣṇo yad ugro yat pratāpavān |
māṃsaśoṇitamajjādo yat tato rudra ucyate |
devānāṃ sumahān yac ca yac cāsya viṣayo mahān |
yac ca viśvaṃ mahat pāti mahādevas tataḥ smṛtaḥ |
samedhayati yan nityaṃ sarvārthān sarvakarmabhiḥ |
śivam icchan manuṣyāṇāṃ tasmād eṣa śivaḥ smṛtaḥ |
dahaty ūrdhvaṃ sthito yac ca prāṇotpattiḥ sthitiś ca yat |
sthiraliṅgaś ca yan nityaṃ tasmāt sthāṇur iti smṛtaḥ |
yad asya bahudhā rūpaṃ bhūtaṃ bhavyaṃ bhavat tathā |
sthāvaraṃ jaṅgamaṃ caiva bahurūpas tataḥ smṛtaḥ |
dhūmraṃ rūpaṃ ca yat tasya dhūrjaṭīty ata ucyate |
viśve devāś ca yat tasmin viśvarūpas tataḥ smṛtaḥ |
sahasrākṣo 'yutākṣo vā sarvato 'kṣimayo 'pi vā |
cakṣuṣaḥ prabhavas tejo nāsty anto 'thāsya cakṣuṣām |
sarvathā yat paśūn pāti taiś ca yad ramate punaḥ |
teṣām adhipatir yac ca tasmāt paśupatiḥ smṛtaḥ |” (MBH 13:146:6-14)

“Because he is great and the Supreme Lord of all (Iswara), therefore he is called Maheswara. And since he burns and oppresses, is keen and fierce, and endued with great energy, and is engaged in eating flesh and blood and marrow, he is said to be Rudra. Since he is the foremost of all the deities, and since his dominion and acquisitions are very extensive, and since he protects the extensive universe, therefore he is called Mahadeva. Since he is of the form or colour of smoke, therefore he is called Dhurjati. Since by all his acts he performs sacrifices for all and seeks the good of every creature, therefore he is called Siva or the auspicious one. Staying above (in the sky) he burns the lives of all creatures and is, besides,fixed in a particular route from which he does not deviate. His emblem, again, is fixed and immovable for all time. He is, for these reasons, called Sthanu. He is also of multiform aspect. He is present, past, and future. He is mobile and immobile. For this he is called Vahurupa (of multiform aspect). The deities called Viswedevas reside in his body. He is, for this, called Viswarupa (of universal form). He is thousand-eyed; or, he is myriad-eyed; or, he has eyes on all sides and on every part of his body, His energy issues through his eyes. There is no end of his eyes. Since he always nourishes all creatures and sports also with them, and since he is their lord or master, therefore he is called Pasupati (the lord of all creatures)”.

Note here carefully that even Krishna is saying the same fact which Vyasa told to Arjuna about Rudra. Krishna also says that all the names of Rudra are derived based on his acts and his supremacy. Neither Vyasa nor Krishna has stated that the names of Rudra are derived from Narayana. Only Vaishnavas can claim such anti-Vedic unauthentic claims

Also note here that Krishna says that Sata-Rudriya of Yajurveda and the Sata-Rudriya composed by Vyasa both are recited in Rudra’s honour. It should again be a jolt on the Vaishnava phylosophy which states that Sata-Rudriyam is a hymn in honour and praise fo Narayana.

“nāmadheyāni vedeṣu bahūny asya yathārthataḥ |
nirucyante mahattvāc ca vibhutvāt karmabhis tathā |
vede cāsya vidur viprāḥ śatarudrīyam uttamam |
vyāsād anantaraṃ yac cāpy upasthānaṃ mahātmanaḥ |” (MBH 13:146:22-23)

“Amongst the gods he has many names all of which are fraught with grave import. Verily, the meanings of those names are derived from either his greatness or vastness, or his feats, or his conduct. The Brahmanas always recite the excellent Sata-rudriya in his honour that occurs in the Vedas as also that which has been composed by Vyasa”

Here again we see the same fact which Vyasa revealed to Arjuna, being revealed to Yudhishthira by Vasudeva. The wealth that Indra and other gods enjoy is actually the property of Umapati only.

“sa dadāti manuṣyebhyaḥ sa evākṣipate punaḥ |
śakrādiṣu ca deveṣu tasya caiśvaryam ucyate |” (MBH 13:146:27)

“Long life, health and freedom from disease, affluence, wealth, diverse kinds of pleasures and enjoyments, are conferred by him, and it is he also who snatches them away. The lordship and affluence that one sees in Sakra and the other deities are, verily his”.


2.3.3 Bheeshma clearly understands Rudram as a hymn of Mahadeva alone



In Mahabharata Yudhishthira asks Bhishma a question about the sacred Mantras which when recited bestows success. Bhishma narrates various Mantras but I’m quoting here the one which he stated about Sata-Rudriyam.

Bhishma clearly states that Sata-Rudriya hymn of Vedas contain the mention about the glories of the eleven Rudras depicted as a hundred (means uncountable). Rudras are the sons of Rudra (Umapati), they are never the children of Narayana or any other God. And it is a well known fact that the Sri Rudram hymn at many places prays to Rudra along with his troop of Rudras. This is again a good evidence to understand that Bhishma didn’t know of any Narayana as the deity of Rudram. This means Bhishma’s opinion about Sri Rudram is that it is a hymn of Rudra (Umapati) and his troop of Ekadasa Rudras.

Aja. Ekapada, Ahivradhna, the unvanquished Pinakin, Rita Pitrirupa, the three-eyed Maheswara, Vrishakapi, Sambhu, Havana, and Iswara--these are the celebrated Rudras, eleven in number, who are the lords of all the worlds. Even these eleven high-souled ones have been mentioned as a hundred in the Satarudra (of the Vedas)”. (MBH 13:CL)


2.3.4 Krishna and Arjuna clearly understands Rudram as a hymn of Mahadeva alone


Arjuna received Pashupatastra from Maheswara in Kairata Parva of Mahabharata, but during the Mahabharata war he forgets the mantra to invoke Pashupata. On the night before the Jayadrata killing day, Arjuna becomes distressed and worried because he knew that Drona would surely protect him with  some complex strategy and since Arjuna was bound by an oath which he himself took in haste that if he failed to kill Jayadratha by next day’s sunset, he would set himself on fire. Seeing his anxiety, Vasudeva comes in his dream and takes him through Sukshma-Deha-Yatra (aerial travel through subtle body) to Kailasa, the abode of Mahadeva.

There they pray to shiva to grant pasupata again. And when Shiva orders them to bring that weapon present in a nearby lake, they see that weapon and a mighty bow transformed in the form of a snake. To get them they pray to Mahadeva by uttering his praise from yajurveda caleld as Sri Rudram. That’s how they succeed in getting Pasupata weapon again.

Here also there is clear cut evidence that this hymn is a praise of Bhavani-pati Mahadeva only.

“tataḥ kṛṣṇaś ca pārthaś ca saṃspṛśyāpaḥ kṛtāñjalī |
tau nāgāv upatasthāte namasyantau vṛṣadhvajam |
gṛṇantau vedaviduṣau tad brahma śatarudriyam |
aprameyaṃ praṇamantau gatvā sarvātmanā bhavam |
tatas tau rudra māhātmyād dhitvā rūpaṃ mahoragau |
dhanur bāṇaś ca śatrughnaṃ tad dvaṃdvaṃ samapadyata |” (MBH 7:57:70-72)

“Then Krishna and Partha having touched water, joined their hands, and approached those snakes, having bowed unto the god having the bull for his mark. And as they approached the snakes, conversant as they were with the Vedas, they uttered the hundred stanzas of the Veda called Sata-Rudriyam, to the praise of Rudra, bowing the while with their sincere souls unto Bhava of immeasurable power. Then those two terrible snakes, in consequence of the power of those adorations to Rudra, abandoned their snake-forms and assumed the forms of a foe-killing bow and arrow”.

2.3.5 Non-Vaishnavite Commentators of Kaliyuga recognize Rudram as a hymn of Shiva alone


There have been many commentaries on Sri Rudram by various scholars of Kaliyuga - Sayanacharya, Abhinava Shankara, and Bhatta Bhaskara have written commentaries on Sri rudram. They were NOT secetarian, especially Sayana whom everyone recognizes as a great scholar who wrote commentaries on all the Vedas, he also stated the deity of Sri Rudram hymn as Umapati Rudra only.

I am not being partial here favoring these commentators compared to the Vaishnava commentators who caleld deity of Rudram as Narayana. The logic is very simple. The aforementioned commentators followed what Vyasa, Krishna, Arjuna and Bhishma had opined in Mahabharata above and they didn’t contradict Vedas and Mahabharata. On the other hand the Vaishnava commentators went against the understanding of Vyasa, Krishna, Arjuna and Bhishma and also Sayana and stated Rudram belongs to Vishnu.

Therefore it is clearly evident whose ideas should be accepted and whose imaginary propositions should be trashed. I leave the decision to the readers discretion!


3. Refutation of Rudra’s birth related Misconceptions



Vaishnavas purposely misinterpret Satapatha Brahmana’s chapter of Rudra’s manifestation as Rudra’s “birth” in literal sense. They say Rudra was not guarded against evil hence Prajapati gave him auspicious names of Narayana and then those names became Rudra’s names. How cunning these words are!

There is no scripture which says that the eightnames that Rudra has are originally those of Narayana. In fact one may show five of the eight names present in Vishnu Sahasranama viz. Rudra, Bhava, Sarva, Isana, and Ugra. But in the Vishnu Sahasranama also the following names do NOT exist – pashupati, and Asani! Therefore this itself is a clear evidence to know that those eight names were actually Rudra’s names only, out of which the five names were copied or borrowed into Vishnu Sahasranama.

Let’s see the Satapatha Brahmana episode now.
“tam prajāpatirabravīt | kumāra kiṃ rodiṣi yacramāttapaso 'dhi jāto 'sīti so
'bravīdanapahatapāpmā vā asmyahitanāmā nāma ma dhehīti tasmātputrasya jātasya
nāma kuryātpāpmānamevāsya tadapahantyapi dvitīyamapi tṛtīyamabhipūrvamevāsya
tatpāpmānamapahanti |” (Satapatah Brahmana 6:1:3:9)

“Pragâpati said to him, 'My boy, why criest thou, when thou art born out of labour and trouble?' He said, 'Nay, but I am not freed from (guarded against) evil; I have no name given me: give me a name!' Hence one should give a name to the boy that is born, for thereby one frees him from evil;--even a second, even a third (name), for thereby one frees him from evil time after time”.

Vaishnavas say Rudra is not freed from evil hence he was sinful. This is clearly a ill-minded thinking and is not true since Yajurveda clearly calls Rudra as the one who is bereft (devoid) of sins as follows.

“aghoraa papakasini |” (Yajurveda iv:5:1:c)
“O Rudra your aspect which is peaceful, and is bereft of sins.

The Satapatha Brahmana words are NOT literal in nature. The central message is important which is the manifestation of Ashtamurty from Rudra. The reference of Evil is because of prajapati’s action with his daughter Usha, but it is nothing to do with Rudra. Satapatha Brahmana treats Prajapati’s copulation with usha as sinful as stated below.
“prajāpatirha vai svāṃ duhitaramabhidadhyau | divaṃ oṣasaṃ vā mithunyenayā
syāmiti tāṃ sambabhūva |” (Satapatha Brahmana 1:7:4:1-2)

“Pragâpati conceived a passion for his own daughter,--either the Sky or the Dawn. 'May I pair with her!' thus (thinking) he united with her. This, assuredly, was a sin”.

In this scenario the actors are same viz. Prajapati and Usha, and when they mated, Rudra was invoked by gods and he pierces prajapati because of his sinful act. In earlier scenario also actors are same viz. Prajapati and Usha and they mated, again act was sinful and here also here Rudra appeared, but Rudra didn’t pierce prajapati but he tactfully made him to pronounce the holy eight names of Rudra viz. Bhava, Sarva, Ugra, Pasupati, Asani, Mahadeva and Isana; and Rudra playfully stated as if he himself was not freed from sin. And on Rudra’s request, Prajapati uttered Rudra’s eight holy names and Prajapati became freed of his sin and also escaped Rudra’s wrath.

This is the only interpretation that we can make. Otherwise why did Rudra pierce Prajapati when for second time he mated with his daughter Usha and why not at the first mistake itself (when Rudra appeared)?

Therefore the evil is neither in Prajapati, nor in Rudra; but the evil is deeply rooted in the brains of Vaishnavas. It is advisable for them to recite Rudra’s eight names daily to free themselves from sin.

Practically speaking, the manifestation of Rudra from Prajapati is just a human birth kind of tale but Prajapati was the year (symbolic of Time) and Usha symbolizes space. Therefore, Rudra’s manifestation through Prajapati and Usha is just another way to say that Rudra who is beyond time and beyond space, he entered and appeared within this universe of space-time coordinates and from his own eight names he transformed himself into eight gods viz. Agni, Vayu, Varuna, Plants (representing earth), Indra, Parjanya (representing cloud and sky), Chandrama, Surya.

Still, if someone really wants to take this “not freed from evil” words literally to be true then what can one say about the same story narrated differently in Kaushitaki Brahmana of Rig Veda as cited below? In Kaushitaki Brahmana there is no mention of evil, rather Rudra wants to eat food there.
“sa.prajāpatir.hiraṇmayam.camasam.akarod.iṣu.mātram.ūrdhvam.evam.tiryañcam |
tasminn.enat.samasiñcat | tata.udatiṣṭhat.sahasra.akṣaḥ.sahasra.pāt | sahasreṇa.pratihitābhiḥ |
sa.prajāpatim.pitaram.abhyāyacchat | tam.abravīt.kathā.mā.abhyāyacchasi.iti | nāma.me.kurv.ity.abravīt | na.vā.idam.avihitena.nāmnā.annam.atsyāmi.iti | (Kaushitaki Brahmana 6:02)

“As Purusha the cosmic man with a thousand heads and thousand legs the god (Rudra) is born at a sacrificial session and out of a golden bowl held by prajapati. Arisen the overpowering figure (Rudra) who grasped the father. Prajapati asked, ‘Why dost you grasp me?’ He replied, ‘Given a name’, saying, ‘For without a name assigned, I shall not eat food here in this world’.”

Then Prajapati gives him a name “bhava”, and then again he grasps Prajapati for the second time and the when asked Rudra says, “Give me a second name because with only one name I’m not going to eat food in this world”. Likewise Rudra grasps prajapati eight times and gets eight names for himself each time saying he would not eat food with those no. of names. Only with eighth name he gets satisfied.

The Kaushitaki Brahmana’s tale has a condition of getting names for eating food. What does it mean? Rudra’s food is not what we eat. His food is the hymn of his praise which when sung, it appeases him. His hymn which is Sri Rudram is a collection of his various names. And when someone sings all his names, Rudra gets satisfied. That’s the esoteric meaning of Rudra eating food. For him his food is Sata Rudriya hymn comprising of all his names.

In this context we have clear evidence in Satapatha Brahmana as follows. Rudra stood in wrath demanding food, all gods were afraid of him. Then they collected for for him which is Satarudriya hymn in his praise and sang. That appeased the hunger of Rudra.
“śataśīrṣā rudraḥ sahasrākṣaḥ śateṣudhiradhijyadhanvā pratihitāyī bhīṣayamāṇo
'tiṣṭhadannamicamānastasmāddevā abibhayuḥ | te prjāpatimabruvan | asmādvai bibhīmo yadvai no 'yaṃ na hiṃsyāditi so 'bravīdannamasmai sambharata tenainaṃ śamayateti tasmā etadannaṃ samabharañcatarudriyaṃ |” (Satapatha Brahmana 9:1:1:6-7)

"This Rudra with a thousand heads, thousand eyes, and thousand quivers, stood with his bow strung, and his arrows fitted on the string, causing terror, and demanding food. The gods were afraid of him. They said to Prajapati,:'We are afraid of this being, lest he destroy us.' Prajapati said to them: 'Collect for him food, and with it appease him.' They collected for him this food, the satarudriya." 

This makes it clear that the food that Rudra wanted to eat in this world is to hear his hymn Sata-Rudriya. For that reason he was asking prajapati to give him names with which he would eat food (listen to his hymn). Here also, we cans ee that Rudra made Prajapati pronounce his holy eight names and manifested eight forms from his eight names.

Hence, I conclude that there is no sin or evil that can touch Rudra since Rudra is the Brahman of Vedas and he is beyond sins, merits, virtues and vices! He was before the universe was created (we have seen this in above sectiosn), and he alone entered within this universe as the first God, and he again manifested himself into various other Gods including Vishnu (we have seen this in above sections). So, calling Rudra as sinful or attached with evil is a highly sinful act for which there is no atonement. Vaishnavas are advised to abandon such evil thoughts for Rudra.

Rudra is in reality unborn (hence he has a name “Aja Ekapada which means, the Unborn one footed lord”). Rudra is verily the Brahman and we have ample proofs in Vedas to support this. Let me give one example. Kena Upanishad supports Rudra as the Supreme Brahman as nararted below.

“sa tasminnevAkAshe striyamAjagAma bahushobhamAnAmumA.N haimavatIM tA.NhovAcha kimetadyakShamiti |” (Kena Upanishad 3:12)
“Then in the same space (ether) he came towards a woman, highly adorned: it was Umâ, the daughter of Himavat. He said to her: 'Who is that sprite?'”

“sA brahmeti hovAcha brahmaNo vA etadvijaye mahIyadhvamiti tato haiva vidA~nchakAra brahmeti |” (Kena Upanishad 4:01)
“She replied: 'It is Brahman. It is through the victory of Brahman that you have thus become great.' After that he knew that it was Brahman”

Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana narrate the same story and clearly there they call this Yaksha (Brahman) as Shiva. When Puranas support Shruti, they cannot be rejected as Tamasik. Therefore this Brahman of Vedas is Umapati Bhagawan Rudra alone.

Vaishnavas wishfully narrate above mentioned Rudra’s manifestation from Satapatha Brahmana as “birth of Rudra” and say that he was given names of Narayana. This is wickedness at its peak. Rudra is the Brahman who engendered Hiranyagarbha and entered into it and appeared inside again as Rudra. And after entering Hiranyagarbha and apeparing there as the “first god” he manifested himself as Vishnu also. Therefore Vishnu can never be the origin of Rudra, because Rudra is the father of Vishnu! And all the names of Rudra present in Vishnu Sahasranama are inherited bu Vishnu from his father viz. Rudra and they are originally Rudra’s names.

Vaishnavas’ wishful thinking and wickedness towards Mahadeva cannot falsify the truths.  From this above analysis any rational thinker, any normal Hindu (non-Vaishnava) would be easily able to see the truths and also will be able to see how Vaishnavas twist the same.



VERDICT



We have the following to conclude

1. Rudra of Svetaswatara Upanishad is Umapati-Mahadeva only
2. The deity who the hymn Sata Rudriyam is addressed is again Umapati-Rudra only
3. Rudra is unborn supreme reality, the supreme Brahman who engendered Hiranyagarbha and entered inside
4. Narayana (Vishnu) is never the origin of Rudra, in fact Rudra is the fatehr fo Narayana!

If these evidences are still not enough to convince someone that Rudra of Svetaswatara and Satarudriyam hymn is Umapati Mahadeva alone, then rest assured even Brahma cannot convince such a person. Let me close this article with a verse from Atharvashika Upanishad which should clarify many things in a nutshell.

“sarvakaraNAni manasi saMpratiShThApya dhyAna.n viShNuH prANaM manasi saha karaNaiH saMpratiShThApya dhyAtA rudraH prANaM manasi sahakaraNairnAdAnte paramAtmani saMpratiShThApya dhyAyIteshAnaM pradhyAyitavya.n sarvamidaM |” (Atharvashika Upanishad 2:1)
“The pranava (the sound of Om) makes all the souls to bow before it. It is the one and only one which has to be meditated upon as the four Vedas and the birth place of all devas. One who meditates like that goes away from all sorrows and fears and gets the power to protect all others who approach him. It is because of this meditation only that Lord Vishnu who is spread every where, wins over all others. It is because Lord Brahma controlled all his organs and meditated upon it, he attained the position of the creator. Even Lord Vishnu , parks his mind in the sound (Om) of the place of Paramathma (ultimate soul) and meditates upon Eeshana, who is most proper to be worshipped. All this is only proper in case of Eeshana”.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sri Dakshinamurty Jnana Prabodhini


Prayer:

O my dear brothers vighneshwara and skanda, please accept my humble prostrations on your lotus feet and kindly remove all the obstacles coming in the way of this article.
O Lord Dakshinamurty! Please grant me enough wisdom to understand your symbolism and kindly use me as your equipment to explain yourself through this article.


Sri Dakshinamurty Jnana Prabodhini


|| shivAya guravE namaH ||


1. Who is Dakshinamurty ?



There are many etymological derivations of the name ‘Dakshinamurty’ which derive many great meanings of his name. Let’s begin this article with the meaning stated in Shruti. Upanishad says, Dakshina means buddhi (knowledge) through which Siva (who is Brahman)can be known.

“shemushhii dakshiNaa proktaa saa yasyaabhiikshaNe mukham.h | dakshiNaabhimukhaH proktaH shivo.asau brahmavaadibhiH |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 19)
“The word 'Dakshinâ' means Buddhi. Because Buddhi is the eye by which Siva can be directly seen, He is called Dakshinabhimtikha by the Brahma-vâdins”.

Therefore Dakshinamurty is verily the Shivagyanam / brahmagyanam which assumes a form as our preceptor, to gift himself to us. Therefore there is no difference between the lord and the divine knowledge! Lord Shiva is the parabrahman of Vedas and is essentially nirguNa. However he is the only one who assumes many names or forms and sports in this world.

Each name of that Maheshwara is accompanied with some purpose. Dakshinamurty form is the Guru (preceptor) form of lord Shiva. It is an indisputable truth propounded in every scripture that lord Shiva is the foremost and supreme Guru from whom all the Vidya-s issue forth.

It is that Dakshinamurty whose grace of wisdom works silently in the background of every action that takes place in this world. For instance, when you were born, who taught you to cry for milk when you felt hungry? Who taught you to stop crying as soon as your hunger is satiated with the mother’s milk? At least for humans a careful mother feeds her baby at regular intervals on her own, but in the case of a new born calf, who teaches the calf that there is his food stored between the hind legs of the cow and that could be obtained by suckling? Those are the teachings which are unheard by ears, untaught by speech, but only and only experienced through some silent teaching emanating from within. That’s my lord Dakshinamurty in action!

What is that power which teaches your eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to taste, skin to feel the touch, and nose to smell? Don't tell me that these organs are accompanied with their corresponding actions and they receive the commands from Brain! If that is the case, then why can't a dead body see, hear, feel, smell and taste despite having all its organs intact, and having its brain undamaged within its skull? The reason is, there is another power which transcends this physical body and this brain, and that power operates this body (machine) by pervading within it. That external power is called as Chaitanya (Consciousness) which is nothing but the Atman (Self). This Atman is verily the Dakshinamurty alone who doesn't verbally tell your organs to act. It is he as Atman-Chaitanya remains silent within yourself and mere his silent presence makes your organs act. So, tell me now, who on this planet can live or remain functional without the grace or presence of this great preceptor? That's the glorious nature of Mahadeva! Whether Shiva appears as a Guru visible externally or guides us through our conscience operating from within, the fact remains a fact that there is no life without Guru (Shiva.) Whether someone likes or dislikes, there is no escape from that illustrious Kapardin, the lord of Uma!

When in his subtlest mode he is our teacher right from our birth till death, then it is not a matter of astonishment if he is seen as the foremost preceptor of all the Vidyas. Let’s analyze the secrets of the iconography, and other matters in detail.


2. Dakshinamurty as the Guru of Lord Brahma



As discussed above when a newborn infant himself requires an internal preceptor to cry for milk when hunger is felt, then we can understand it fairly well that to create this gigantic macrocosm even lord Brahma would have required some knowledge, and hence someone to pass on that knowledge (whom we call guru).

The very first appearance of Dakshinamurty is visible in Upanishads itself. At the beginning of this creation, the first entity that sprang into existence was Hiranyagrabha (where Brahma appeared). Svetaswatara Upanishad states that Rudra created Brahma and passed on Vedas to him as follows.

“yo devaanaaM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvaadhipo rudro maharshhiH | hiraNyagarbha.n janayaamaasa puurva.n sa no buddhyaa shubhayaa sa.nyunaktu ||” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!"

Brahma didn’t know what for he emerged. He didn’t have the knowledge of what to create and how to create. Then he took the refuge of his own creator viz. Mahadeva, and worshiped him. Being pleased by his devotion, Rudra, bestowed Brahma, with the knowledge of creation as stated below.

“sargaadikaale bhagavaanviri~nchirupaasyaina.n sargasaamarthyamaapya | ” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 1:20)
“At the beginning of creation, Brahmâ the Lord, having worshipped S’iva, attained power to create and was delighted at heart”.

How did he bestow that knowledge of creation? The answer is Rudra gave him Vedas as stated below.

“yo brahmaaNa.n vidadhaati puurva.n | yo vai vedaa.nshcha prahiNoti tasmai .ta.n ha devaM aatmabuddhiprakaashaM | mumuxurvai sharaNamahaM prapadye |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 6:18)
“Seeking Liberation, I take refuge in the Lord, the revealer of Self-Knowledge, who in the beginning created Brahma and delivered the Vedas to Him”.

Shiva bestowed Brahma with Vedas and made him capable of creating the world. We may have a question, - how can Vedas make someone capable of creating the world? The answer is, Vedas contain the blue-print of entire creation coded in secret format. In Mahabharata Shanti Parva chapter CCXXXII the illustrious sage Vyasa states the following. This entire creation takes its form and shape from the blue print /seed which are hidden in Vedas. All the great Rishis also have their origin from Vedas.

“At the outset the Self-born caused those excellent Vedic sounds, that are embodiments of knowledge and that have neither beginning nor end to (spring up and) flow on (from preceptor to disciple). From those sounds have sprung all kinds of actions. The names of the Rishis, all things that have been created, the varieties of form seen in existent things, and the course of actions, have their origin in the Vedas. Indeed, the Supreme Master of all beings, in the beginning, created all things from the words of the Vedas. Truly, the names of the Rishis, and all else that has been created, occur in the Vedas. Upon the expiration of his night (i.e., at the dawn of his day), the uncreate Brahman creates, from prototypes that existed before, all things which are, of course, well-made by Him. In the Vedas hath been indicated the topic of the Soul's Emancipation, along with the ten means constituted by study of the Vedas, adoption of the domestic mode of life, penances, observance of duties common to all the modes of life, sacrifices, performance of all such acts as lead to pure fame, meditation which is of three kinds, and that kind of emancipation which is called success (Siddhi) attainable in this life". (MBH Shanti Parva chapter CCXXXII)

Does it mean Brahma got some published books printed and bounded nicely? Do we have any scriptural reference where Brahma is shown to be creating universes referring to some page no. of Vedas? No! Vedas mean “knowledge”. The word ‘Veda’ is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘vid’ which means knowledge. So, Vedas are nothing but knowledge itself. So, when Upanishad says Shiva gave Vedas to Brahma, it implies that Shiva bestowed him with the knowledge required for his creation. And how does shiva bestow knowledge? The answer is - as Dakshinamurty! Therefore it is Brahma who was the first person to witness and realize the grace of Dakshinamurty.

This is the reason why the Svetaswatara Upanishad further prays to Dakkshina form of lord Rudra as follows. With divine knowledge the cycle of transmigration ceases to exist, and that knowledge can be gained only by the grace of Sri Dakshinamurty.

“ajaata ityeva.n kashchidbhiiruH prapadyate | rudra yatte daxiNaM mukha.n tena maaM paahi nityam.h |”(Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:21)
“It is because Thou, O Lord, art birthless, that some rare souls, frightened by birth and death, take refuge in Thee. O Rudra, may Thy benign face (dakshinam mukha) protect me forever!”

In the above verse, Dakshinam Mukha is translated as benign face. What does it mean? Benign face is termed as ‘Aghora’ (not terrible) among the five faces of lord Shiva, and it is this Aghora face which remains turned southwards. Therefore Dakshinamurty is nothing but Aghora face of Lord Shiva. Therefore the above verse is again a prayer to Dakshinamurty the birthless lord whose refuge the righteous people take in order to get transported from this frightful cycle of births and deaths to the every pleasant state of kaivalya.

On a side note, Aghora face of lord Shiva which remains peaceful and south facing designates Dakshinamurty and confers knowledge and liberates the jIvas, however the same face when turned Ghora (terrible) becomes the world destroying form. This is why due to dual aspect of this face, YajurvEda Taittiriya Aranyaka sings its glory in both the aspects as follows.

“aghorebhyo.atha ghorebhyo ghoraghoratarebhyaH | sarvataH sharva sarvebhyo namaste astu rudraruupebhyaH |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.19.1)
“Now, O Sarva, my salutations be at all times and all places to Thy Rudra forms, benign, terrific, more terrific and destructive”.



3. Meaning of Dakshinamurty’s ‘Silence’


There is a legend which states that when the four brahma-rishis Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, Sanatkumara who are collectively called as ‘kumaras’, emerged from Brahma as his mind born sons; they didn’t show interest in becoming prajapati and helping Brahma in further creating by procreating offsprings. They were constantly in search of brahma-gyanam. They were looking for a preceptor capable of dispelling their all doubts. While being on lookout for such a preceptor they were wandering from pillar to post when suddenly in one secluded place they saw a huge banyan tree (vata vruksham) and under that tree they found a sixteen years old young lad ‘Dakshinamurty’ sitting surrounded by octogenarian sages. The names and number of these sages vary in various agamas. These four kumaras gravitated to the serene looking face of that Dakshinamurty and sat surrounding him. Soon they got absorbed into the supreme silence of Dakshinamurty and all their queries related to Brahman got resolved. It should be noted that Shiva didn’t appear there as Dakshinamurty, rather Shiva is always there as Dakshinamurty bestowing knowledge for all the seekers, but a man realizes his presence only when he starts consciously seeking knowledge. Otherwise Dakshinamurty remains within us guiding us in a subconscious manner.

This is a story in a nutshell, the primary intention of discussing this is not for the sake of storytelling; but to discuss and analyze an important point what this legend teaches i.e., ‘teaching through silence’.

We may get a doubt - how can silence answer all the spiritual enquiries? It’s a valid one. What does silence indicate? Silence is that state where speech culminates, where disturbances of mind cease to exist. It is that state which can only be experienced and cannot be stated through speech or through thoughts. That supreme state of thoughtlessness, where speech exists in her parA state of silence is the state of Brahman. The state of Brahman is inexpressible through words, or thoughts; it can only be experienced!

How silence is a state of Brahman? It is answered in shruti as follows.

"kaa.nsyaghaNTaaninaadastu yathaa liiyati shaantaye | o~Nkaarastu tathaa yojyaH shaantaye sarvamichchhataa | yasminviliiyate shabdastatparaM brahma giiyate | dhiya.n hi liiyate brahma so.amR^itatvaaya kalpate |" (Brahmavidya Upanishad 12-13)
"And just as the sound of a metal utensil – or of a gong dies in silence – so he, who seeks the All lets the OM sound fade away in silence. For that wherein the sound fades away is the Brahman, the higher. Yea, the whole sound is Brahman and conduces to immortality”.

That supreme state of silence i.e., Brahman is nothing but same as Dakshinamurty himself, since it is he the Maheshwara who is the Brahman described in Vedas and Vedanta. It is only Lord Shiva who transcends everything and is the highest Brahman, it is he again as Dakashinamurty the highest Guru who teaches brahmavidya to us which reveals about himself alone. There is nothing superior to Shiva. In this connection Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda states as follows.

"yo vedaadau svaraH prokto vedaante cha pratishhThitaH | tasya prakR^itiliinasya yaH paraH sa maheshvaraH " (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.12.3.17)
"It is Lord Maheshwara who transcends the syllable Om which is uttered at the commencement of the recital of the Vedas, which is well established in the vEdAnta (Upanishads) and which is dissolved in the primal cause during contemplation".

The above verse states that Lord Shiva is beyond the Omkara that is recited before studying Vedas and also is established in the knowledge of Upanishads. But the above verse from Yajurveda is not as easy in meaning as it looks like, so I would like to elaborate its real meaning here. Yajurveda (IV:5:8:h) states about Lord Shiva as, “nama stArAya cha”, which means, “Salutations to Lord Rudra who is the Pranava Mantra – OM”. And same Yajurveda’s Taittiriya Aranyaka quoted above states that Rudra transcends Omkara. Do these two verses contradict? Definitely not! Omkara has two aspects, it is ‘nAda-brahma’ when it is seen in its ‘Ahata’ aspect; and when it is realized in its ‘anAhata’ aspect it is one with the supreme Brahman. Sound has two forms, ‘Ahata (which is audible)’ and ‘anAhata (which transcends the attribute of sound)’. Omkara in Ahata form when culminates in silence it becomes Omkara in Anahata. Silence is Brahman. Chanting (Japa) in silence mode (Anahata) is termed, “Ajapa”. This concept of Ajapa and Anahata is explained in Yoga Chudamani Upanishad also.

When Sri Rudram says Rudra is Taraka mantram OM and when same Yajurveda mentions Rudra as transcending OM then there is no contradiction since both of these statements are referring Rudra as beings ame as the anAhata omkara (omkara in silence) which means they mean to imply that Rudra is verily the Brahman.

But that doesn’t mean Ahata nAda (Omkara) is not the form of Rudra. Ahata-omkAra takes its birth from anAhata-Omkara alone. Both are lord Rudra’s forms one is parA form (silent one) and another is apara form (loud one). In fact, when Rudra imparts the Taraka Mantram (OM) in the ears of dying people in Varanasi, he spells the Ahata-Omkara in the ears of the people, and merges the Jiva within himself (the Atman which is Moksham). This means, the Ahata-nAdam of Omkara takes one towards the anAhata-nAdam which is Omkara in silence which is identical to Brahman and has nothing superior than that stage. In other words, sabda-brahman leads you towards shuddha-brahman, and both these forms are the forms of Maheshwara alone. Therefore he is the one without a second; he is the supreme Brahman in nirguna aspect as well as the saguna Brahman also.

Therefore we can understand from above analysis that Silence is the state of Brahman and that Brahman is Shiva alone, and it is again Shiva who is the Guru Dakshinamurty who teaches about himself, through the mode of supreme Silence which is again the state of Brahman. Isn’t it so beautiful that words find themselves insufficient to describe? That’s the essence of Dakshinamurty!

In normal circumstances here I am expected to end this analysis of Silence. However, I fully understand that there would be some people who would be inquisitive to know how silence (speechlessness) can produce sound (speech or vAk)? How vAk terminated in silence becomes Brahman? How speech is produced? On what foundation does speech (vAk) stand? Is vAk an independent entity or it is supported by some other entity?

To clarify all such questions I would like to extend this analysis on “vAk (speech) and silence” to some more pages. Silence being same as Brahman is a very vast concept and hence let me analyze it in detail. This analysis is a bit complex hence one need to pay utmost attention while reading the logical correlations.

3.1 chatvArI vAk and lord Shiva


Rig Veda while talking about ‘chatvAri vAk’, states that vAk (Speech) has four parts of which only a quarter is all what we hear and speak. Three fourths are still non-entity to the human ear. Only learned seers and Yogis who have internalized their vision can see and grasp the unmanifest portion of sound.

“catvāri vāk parimitā padāni tāni vidurbrāhmaṇā ye manīṣiṇaḥ |
ghuhā trīṇi nihitā neṅghayanti turīyaṃ vāco manuṣyā vadanti |” (Rig Veda 1:164:45)
“Speech hath been measured out in four divisions; the Brahmans who have understanding know them. Three kept in close concealment cause no motion; of speech, men speak only the fourth division”.

The Ahata-shabdam (struck note or heard sound) is inferior, while the anAhata-shabdam (un-struck note or unheard sound) is limitless. The heard sound manifests in the visible universe which is limited, whereas the unheard or unmanifest sound indicates the infinite, limitless state of Brahman. This concept has been nicely presented in Shukla Yajurveda as quoted below.

“pratiśrútkāyā artanáṃ gʰóṣāya bʰaṣám ántāya bahuvādínam anantā́ya mū́kam̐ |” (Shukla Yajurveda-Vajasaneyi-Samhita: 30:19)
“For Echo a reviler; for Noise a snarler; for End a very talkative man; for Endless a mute;”

What are the four categories of vAk termed as? Answer is given in Shruti itself saying that the gross form of speech (viz. vaikharI) blossoms after passing through three stages as follows.

“paraayaama~Nkuriibhuuya pashyantaa.n dvidaliikR^itaa | madhyamaayaaM mukulitaa vaikharyaa.n vikasiikR^itaa | puurva.n yathoditaa yaa vaagvilomenaastagaa bhavet.h |” (Yoga Kundalini Upanishad 18(b)-19)
“That Vak (power of speech) which sprouts in Para, gives forth two leaves in Pashyanti; buds forth in Madhyama and blossoms in Vaikhari - that Vak which has before been described, reaches the stage of the absorption of sound, reversing the above order (viz., beginning with Vaikhari, etc.,)”.

In Lalita Sahasranama Stotram which is a hymn to goddess Tripurasundari and is present in Brahmanda Purana the verse no. 81 describes her presence in the fourfold form of speech as “parApratyak chitIrUpA pashyantI paradEvatA | madHyamA vaikHarIrUpA bHakta mAnasa hamsikA”.

The great seer Acharya bhAskararAyA in his commentary on Lalita Sahasranama Stotram elaborates these attributes of vAk. The below extract has been taken from his commentary ‘Soubhagyabhaskara’ [translated by A. K. Sastri, page 202] where Bhaskararaya explains the 306th name of Lalita which is “parA" as follows.

parA:

“In the mUlAdhAra in the body the air (prANa) first appears; that prANa accompanied by the effort of a person desirous to speak, produces the all pervading shabdabrahman which is the kArANAbindu, when it is manifested, remaining motionless (nispanda) in its own place, is called parA speech".

pasHyantI:

Sri bhAskararAyA explains, “The same sabdabrahman, produced by the same prANa proceeding as far as the navel (near svAdhishthAna chakra), joined with the reasoning, intellect (manas) possessing the nature of the manifested kAryabindu with simple motion (sAmAnyaspanda) is named pasHyantI speech”.

madHyamA:

Sri bhAskararAyA explains, “Next the same shabdabrahman, produced by the same air proceeding as far as the heart (anAhata chakra), joined with the determining understanding (buddhi) in the manifested nAdA, endowed with special (visHesHaspanda) is called madHyamA speech”.

vaikHarI:

Sri bhAskararAyA explains, “Next the same shabdabrahman produced by the same air proceeding as far as the mouth, developed in the throat (vishuddhi chakra), possessing the nature of the manifested bIja with the universal motion (spasHtatara) is called vaikHarI speech”.

Sri Sayanacharya in his commentary on chatvArI vAk from Rig Veda (1:164:45), states the following which is given in Sri T V Kapali Sastri’s book “Light on the Ancients”.

“tEsHu madnyE trINi parAdinI guha nihitAni hrdayatarvartittvat | turIyaM tu padam vaikHarIsanjanakaM manusHyah sarvE vadantI”
“Of these, the three steps viz. Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama are placed in the secrecy because of their being inside the heart, but the fourth step, viz. Vaikhari, is the one all men speak”.

Sri Swami Sivananda in the article titled “The Power of Thought” states about the chatvAri vAk as follows:
“Language is different, but thought is one. Mental image is the same in all. Sound has got four forms, viz., Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari. Vaikhari is the ordinary speech. It differs in different countries. But Para, Pasyanti and Madhyama are one and the same. Para is undifferentiated sound that lies dormant in Brahman”.

So, from all these details we can draw the following understanding of the fourfold speech. Speech originates from mUlAdhAra chakra but remains unheard till it issues out of the throat (Vishuddha chakra). The speech which is heard viz. Vaikhari may differ from language to language and country to country; however the thoughts which take birth within us before they are put into speech, those thoughts remain always same for every human being. For instance, when I see water, I would call it in Telugu as “neeLLu / neeru”; a Hindi speaking friend of mine would call it as “paani / jal”, a Sanskrit scholar would call it as “jalam / aapah”, an English man would call it as “water”, and an Arabic man would call it as “aab”. The Vaikhari aspect differs from one language to another, but the mental images what we all people would have about water in our mind and conscience would remain same without any differentiation.  Therefore the three internal states of speech viz. parA, pashyantI, and madhyamA are one and the same and are differentiated only based on their location within our body and their association with the attributes of mind; where the purest form viz. parA is unassociated with any attributes of mind and hence it is identical with Brahman.

Therefore, finally we can consider only two pure states of speech. parA which is identical with Brahman or Kundalini Shakti in mUlAdharA, and the vaikharI which is the final transformed gross audible form.  Of course we have analyzed the forms of vAk (speech), and again we have reached a point where we can put an end to this discussion. However, I am not ready to end it here since it would lead us to end this analysis in duality. I would end this analysis at that juncture where one would be able to clearly see the non-duality (Advaitam) between vAk and its forms and Rudra. So, let’s continue it further.

Let us focus only on parA (silence implying Brahman) and vaikHarI (audible sound). Let’s ignore the intermediary transformations / states for now. Let’s analyze how speech gets produced. Let me ask you to do a practical exercise to understand this concept what I’m going to explain. Exhale all your breath out to that extent where you feel there is no scope of further emptying your lungs with air. At that juncture, try to call your name aloud. Can you hear your voice? Can you utter your name out? Answer is No, not at all! Now, take very minimum amount of breath in, and try to call out your name. What do you observe? Even with the slightest amount of air you are able to pronounce your name out. This means, it is the breaths (prANa-s) that are the foundation for speech (vAk) to survive. Whatever conclusion we have drawn with this exercise, same has been theoretically explained in the following Upanishad verses.

Upanishad states the superiority of Prana (life breaths) over vAk (Speech) and other senses in a story kind of narration. It says there was a competition among the senses on the matter of superiority. Prajapati put them to Test and as per the rules first vAk (speech) left the body and went out and returned back to ask whether the other senses were able to survive, they all survived. But when at last Prana (life-breath) was about to depart, all other senses started getting uprooted and then all senses including vAk accepted Prana as their lord.

“te ha prANAH prajApatiM pitarametyochurbhagavanko naH | shreShTha iti tAnhovAcha yasminva utkrAnte sharIraM | pApiShThataramiva dR^ishyeta sa vaH shreShTha iti |” (Chandogya Upanishad V-i-7)
“Those senses approached the father Prajapati and said to him, 'Revered sir, who is the best amongst us?' He replied, 'He amongst you is the best on whose departure the body would appear its worst, as it were’.”

“sA ha vAguchchakrAma sA saMvatsaraM proShya paryetyovAcha | kathamashakatarte majjIvitumiti yathA kalA avadantaH | prANantaH prANena pashyantashchakShuShA shR^iNvantaH shrotreNa | dhyAyanto manasaivamiti pravivesha ha vAk.h |” (Chandogya Upanishad V-i-8)
“Speech departed. Staying a year out, it came back and asked, 'How have you been able to live without me?' (The others replied,) 'Just like the dumb, though not speaking, yet living with the breath, seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ear and thinking with the mind.' (At this) speech entered (the body)”.

“atha ha prANa ucchikramiShansa yathA suhayaH | aDvIshasha~NkUnsaMkhidedevamitarAnprANAnsamakhidattamhAbhisametyochurbhagavannedhi tvaM naH shreShTho.asi motkramIriti |” (Chandogya Upanishad V-i-12)
“Then, as the Prana was about to depart, it uprooted the other senses just as a horse of mettle would uproot the pegs to which it is tethered. They all then came to it and said, 'O revered sir, be our lord, you are the best amongst us; do not depart from the body’”.

Therefore it is clear from above analogy and the practical what we have done, that vAk (Speech) is NOT an independent power, it depends solely on Prana to function. In fact it is the life force (breath or prANa) which emerges as speech (vAk) from the throat. So, the states parA, pasHyantI, madhyamA and vaikharI are in reality the four states of prANa alone! Now, let us see who this prANa is!

Here praNa is just a name to Atman (Bhagawan Rudra). In reality there is only one prANa (Atman) which divides itself into various prANas. Hence Atman is the prANa of all prANas. prANas are born out of Atman and hence they are called rudrAs (maruts) because Atman is verily Rudra. This is why the maruts (Rudras) are termed as the children of Rudra (Atman). The number of prANas varies based on the categorization adopted in scriptures. This is why Mundaka Upanishad says seven pranas, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says eight pranas, again in another verse same brihadaranyaka Upanishad calls them as eleven and twelve also and likewise there are variations in numbers based on the method of grouping adopted.  However the fact is, it is only one prANa which assumes so many names within our body based on the function. Therefore when Upanishad mentions prANa in singular term it actually refers to Atman by that name since Atman is the prANa of prANas.

Now, this prANa (Atman) is verily Brahman as stated below.

“sa yadavochaM prANaM prapadya iti prANo vA idam sarvaM | bhUtaM yadidaM kiMcha tameva tatprApatsi |” (Chandogya Upanishad III-xv-4)
“When I said, ‘I take refuge in Prana’, (it was because) all these beings, whatsoever exist, are indeed Prana. So it was in this alone that I took refuge”.

"katama eko deva iti | prANa iti sa brahma tyadityAchakshate |" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III:9:9)
“‘Which is the one god?’ ‘The Prana (here it implies Atman which is Prana of all Pranas) is the one god; it is Brahman, which is called Tyat (that).’

Here the duality of Gods ceased to exist. All gods are the manifestations of one true god viz. prANa (Atman). The same has been expounded in Svetaswatara Upanishad as follows:

“eko hi rudro na dvitiiyaaya tasthurya imaa.nllokaaniishata iishaniibhiH | pratyaN^ janaastishhThati saJNchukochaantakaale sa.nsR^ijya vishvaa bhuvanaani gopaaH |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:02)
"Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self (Atman) of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time."

So, in the light of the above verse the below verse when read, it is clearly about lord Shiva alone.

“sarvANi ha vA imAni bhUtAni prANamevAbhisaMvishanti prANamabhyujjihate saiShA devatA prastAvamanvAyattA |” (Chandogya Upanishad I-xi-4)
“For all the beings merge in Prana (Rudra) alone and from Prana (Rudra) they arise. This is the deity belonging to the Prastava”

Now, from the above analysis we have understood that vAk (Speech) is also one of the pranas (senses) which cannot survive without prANa and it is a manifestation of the prANa (Rudra) and at the end of time like every other sense this vAk also would merge back in prANa (Rudra). Also we have understood that vAk (Speech) which has four parts is in reality the prANa which is Rudra. This Rudra who is called as prANa (Atman) is the ONLY god (Brahman) which manifests himself into the four forms of vAk (speech).
Out of the four states of vAk (speech), the parA form is verily Brahman and is represented as total silence. Therefore this is the form of Rudra who is the parA i.e., Brahman which is represented in terms of “Silence” when translated in terms of speech.

Here is a direct reference from Upanishad where Bhagawan Rudra himself states about himself being Brahman. The following verses are from Atharvashira Upanishad.

“AUM devA ha vai svarga.n lokamAya.nste rudramapR^ichChanko bhavAniti |” (Atharvasiras Upa 1)
“Om! Once upon a time the Devas resorted to the world of Bliss (Kailasa); and the Devas addressed Rudra thus, ‘who are you?’”.

“so.abravIdahamekaH prathamamAsa.n vartAmi cha | bhavishyAmi cha nAnyaH kashchinmatto vyatirikta iti |” (Atharvasiras Upa 2)
“He replied: ‘I alone was in the beginning; I am now; and will be in the future. There is none but me’.”

“so.antarAdantaraM prAvishat.h dishashchAntaraM prAvishat.h |” (Atharvasiras Upa 3)
“He spread out himself and pervaded all the quarters”.

“so.aha.n nityAnityo.aha.n vyaktAvyakto brahmAbrahmAhaM |” (Atharvasiras Upa 4)
“(He said): “I am eternal and non-eternal, I am Brahma”.

“mA.n veda sa sarvAndevAnveda sarvA.nshcha |” (Atharvasiras Upa 5)
“He who knows me knows all the Devas”.

This proves that Dakshinamurty himself is the Guru who teaches the disciples about himself alone (since he is the Brahman) through silence because Silence is the state of Brahman when measured in terms of vAk (Speech).


4. Iconography of Dakshinamurty and corresponding symbolism


Sri Dakshinamurty is depicted as a young sixteen years old god sitting at the root of a huge banyan tree on a rock or an elevated place, having four hands. He is depicted as sitting surrounded by grey haired sages. Dakshinamurty’s appearance remains very serene with a beautiful smile on his face. He is depicted wearing a crown or a hair-band on his nicely braided locks of hair. His right leg is shown crushing (not killing) an infant with a demon face who is called ‘apasmara-purusha’, and his left leg rests on his right thigh. His lower right hand is shown usually postured in ‘chinmudra’ (index and thumb finger joined and other fingers standing erect); and otherwise it is also shown in ‘abhava-mudra’ sometimes. In his upper right hand he is shown holding a handheld drum (‘damarukam’) which remains coiled with a serpent; and also in the same hand he is shown holding an ‘akshamala’ (rosary). In his upper left hand he is shown holding a torch of flames, and with his lower left hand he holds ‘kusa grass’ or ‘vEdas’. He is also shown wearing a waist bank around his waist. His braided hair holds Ganga and on his lefta dn right sides of his head sun and moon are shown. In some iconographies behind or nearby his vehicle Nandi the bull is also seen.

Let’s see few dhyAna shlOkas from shruti which describe the appearance of lord Sri Dakshinamurty.

“sphaTikarajatavarNaM mauktikiimakshamaalaa\-
mamR^itakalashavidyaa.n j~naanamudraa.n karaagre |
dadhatamuragakakshya.n chandrachuuDa.n trinetraM
vidhR^itavividhabhuushha.n dakshiNaamuurtimiiDe |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 3)
“I adore the three-eyed, moon-crested Dakshinâmûrti who is of pebble and silver colour, holding in the hands a rosary of pearls, a vessel of nectar, a book and the symbol of wisdom; having a serpent for his girdle, and putting on various ornaments”.

“aadau vedaadimuchchaarya svaraadya.n savisargakam.h |
pa~nchaarNa.n tata uddhR^itya antara.n savisargakam.h |
ante samuddharettaaraM manureshha navaaksharaH |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 4)
“May the milk-white three-eyed Primal Being (Bhava) grant us purity of thought, He who, seated at the foot of a fig tree, surrounded by Suka and other sages, holding in the hands the symbol of the blessed wisdom, with axe and deer,—one of the hands resting on the knees, the loins girdled round by a mighty serpent, a digit of the moon enclosed in His clotted hair!”

The crystal color of Dakshinamurty has a great significance. Having a color means it is an Upadhi with which the object is associated with, hence it has a Guna. However, crystal symbolizes no color. Hence it represents the nirguNa-Brahman. White color also signifies Shuddha-Satvika tatwam, which also depicts the purity of the lord.

Depiction of the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty in various temple statues or idols slightly differs based on the Agama being followed. Now, let us understand what all these icons symbolize.
 

4.1 Dakshinamurty is Everything in this Universe


Ashtamurty form of lord Shiva are nothing but the Pancha-bhuta-s (five divine elements) and Manas, Buddhi, and Ahamkara. These eight elements are the framework required for any cosmic creation.

The pancha-bhutas are viz. Agni (fire), Jalam (water), Bhumi (Earth), Vayu (Air) and Akasa (sky); and the remaining three elements are mind (manas), intellect (buddhi) and Ego (ahamkara). The entire universe is composed of these elements of prakriti (nature) alone. Each element among the pancha bhutas are aoompanied by its corresponding sense of perception which are collectively called as ‘tanmAtrAs’, they are Shabda (Sound), Sparsha (touch), Roopa (sight), Rasa (taste), gandha (smell). These tanmAtrAs are tightly coupled with their corresponding five elements. Without these tanmAtrAs this world cannot be experienced by any living being. SO, they are very essential for us.

Let’s study all of them one by one.


4.1.1 The Upper Right Hand :: Represents Creation (srushti) :: Manifestation of Ether


The handheld drum which is called Damarukam, symbolizes the primordial sound Omkara and it represents Creation (srushthi). It implies that it is lord Rudra alone who creates everything as also evident from the below shruti vAkya.

“Namo bhavaya cha |” (Yajurveda iv:5:5:a)
“Salutations to Him who is the source of all things (Bhava)”.

It is again the Bhagawan Rudra alone who assumed the form of Brahma to continue the task of creation as confirmed in the below shruti-vAkya.

“namo midhushhtamaya ” (Yajurveda iv:5:5:g)
“Salutations to Lord Rudra in the form of hiranyagarbHA; the creator of the universe”.

Among the pancha-bhutas it represents Akasa. Among the tanmAtrAs it is the sound (shabda). It is lord Rudra alone who manifested himself as the Sky as evident from the below verse of Satapatha Brahmana of Yajurveda. This also implies that it is Rudra alone who is in the form of shabda (sound) property of Akasa (sky) as well.

Parjanya (the cloud which represents Sky) became such like because of Lord Bhava:

“tamabravīdbhavo 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarotparjanyastadrūpamabhavatparjanyo
vai bhavaḥ parjanyāddhīdaṃ sarvam bhavati so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me
nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:15)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Bhava.' And because he gave him that name, ‘Parganya’ became suchlike; for Bhava is Parganya, since everything here comes (bhavati) from the cloud (read ‘Sky’). He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

The akshamAlA (rosary) is ‘akshara-mAlA’ or ‘varNamAlA’ - a rosary composed of alphabets. This circular rosary represents the cyclic process of creation which remains in seed form in Vedas. In this connection Mahabharata says that entire creation remains in seed form in Vedas and from the blue-print coded in Vedas in next cycle the creator god creates this universe again, as stated below.

"The names of the Rishis, all things that have been created, the varieties of form seen in existent things, and the course of actions, have their origin in the Vedas. Indeed, the Supreme Master of all beings, in the beginning, created all things from the words of the Vedas. Truly, the names of the Rishis, and all else that has been created, occur in the Vedas". (MBH book 12:CCXXXII)

Rig Veda also supports this cyclic nature of creation as follows.

“sūryācandramasau dhātā yathāpūrvamakalpayat | divaṃ capṛthivīṃ cāntarikṣamatho svaḥ |” (Rig Veda 10:190:03)
“Dhātar, the great Creator, then formed in due order of previous cycle of creation (yathāpūrvamakalpayat) Sun and Moon. He formed in order of previous cycle of creation, Heaven and Earth, the regions of the air, and light”.

Therefore the akshamAlA symbolizes the cyclic nature of creation and the beads in that mAlA symbolize the seeds of creation contained in the code-words of Vedas. This is why this rosary is not any ordinary form of rosary, rather it is made of aksharas (alphabets), hence also called as ‘varNamAlA’.

Thirdly, in the same hand he holds a snake which actually coils around the damarukaM. This snake is symbolic to ‘kunDalinI shakti’ and ‘kunDalinI yOga’ which is the supreme path which makes a jIvA transcend this material creation and become one with the Brahman! It is Rudra alone who is the ‘kunDalinI yOga’ as well as the serpent power ‘kunDalinI shaktI’ also, as evident from the below verse from Mahabharata.

“Thou art he that unites Jiva with Supreme Brahman through Yoga. Thou art identifiable with that Yoga which causes such a union between Jiva and Supreme Brahman”.(MBH Book14: XVII)


4.1.2 The Head :: Represents Preservation (sthiti) :: Manifestation of Water


The head of lord Dakshinamurty is beautifully adorned with crown or a golden hair-band, his hair is also matted and locked properly. The nicely organized hair and a beautiful crown made of gold studded with gems represents the preservation aspect (sthiti). Apart from that the Ganga decked inside his hair also symbolizes the sustenance aspect because Ganga represents fertility of land, and sustenance of life on the planet as water is the primary element which sustains life. Life originates in water, and sustains in water. There is no life without water! Therefore it means it is lord Rudra alone who protects everything in this universe as evident from the below shruti-vAkya.

"sa.nsR^ijya vishvA bhuvanAni goptA | (Atharvasiras Upanishad 5.2)
"He(Rudra) is the one who creates all beings and upkeeps them".

It is again the Bhagawan Rudra alone who assumed the form of Vishnu to continue the task of protection as confirmed in the below shruti-vAkya.

“namo girishaya cha shipivishhtaya cha” (Yajurveda iv:5:5:f)
“Salutations to Lord Rudra, who dwells on Kailasha Mountain and who is present in the form of Vishnu”.

Water corresponds to ‘rasA’ (taste) property among the tanmAtrAs. Hence it is again lord Rudra who exists in the rasA (taste) property also.Now, it is again lord Rudra who exists in the form of water. jalaM (water) is one of the eight forms of Rudra as evident from the below verse.
Waters became such like because of Lord Sarva:

“tamabravītsarvo 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodāpastadrūpamabhavannāpo vai sarvo 'dbhyo hīdaṃ sarvaṃ jāyate so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:11)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Sarva.' And because he gave him that name, the waters became suchlike, for Sarva is the waters, inasmuch as from the water everything (sarva) here is produced. He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”


4.1.3 The Left Upper Hand :: Represents Destruction (samhAra) :: Manifestation of Agni


In his upper left hand, Sri Dakshinamurty holds a torch of fire. It symbolizes the destruction (SamhArA) aspect among panchakrutyaM-s. This means it is again lord Shiva who dissolves entire creation into himself at the end of the time as evident from below shruti vAkya.

"namah sharvaya cha |” (Yajurveda iv:5:5:b)
“Salutations to the destroyer of everything (sharva) at the end of the time”.

This torch of flame also represents the divine internal fire of consciousness known as jAtAvEda-agni which pervades as the consciousness within us which is again lord Rudra alone.
Among the pancha-bhUta-s Agni is one of the prime element. It is again lord Rudra who manifested himself as the Agni element for the benefit of this world. This is evident from the below shruti vAkya.
Agni became such like because of Lord Rudra:

“tamabravīdrudro 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodagnistadrūpamabhavadagniva rudro yadarodīttasmādrudraḥ so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:10)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Rudra.' And because he gave him that name, Agni became suchlike (or, that form), for Rudra is Agni: because he cried (rud) therefore he is Rudra. He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Among the tanmAtras which correspond to the Agni element, roopa (sight) is a property of Agni hence it is again lord Rudra who exists in that property also.


4.1.4 The Lower Left Hand :: Represents Tool for Sailing across the SamsArA (gyAnam) :: Manifestation of Vedas


If we notice carefully, the lower left hand of the lord is placed on that knee of that leg, which remains folded and kept on the right thigh. The inner meaning is – the left leg what he keeps folded is untouched by Samsaara. Hence the lower left hand which carries vEdas, symbolizes that divine knowledge which when obtained by the grace of Dakshinamurty, makes the receiver, attain the supreme wisdom whereby he becomes untouched by Samsaara even if he lives amidst this world.

Vedas manifested from Rudra alone:

It is Bhagawan Rudra who created Vedas from himself as evident from the below verse which is from a hymn to Mahakala form of lord Shiva.

“kāló ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ca putró ajanayat purā́ | kālā́d ŕ̥caḥ sám abhavan yájuḥ kālā́d ajāyata |” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:3)
"In Kala erst the text produced what is and what is yet to be. The Riks arose from Kala, the Yagus was born from Kala;"

Same is testified in Svetavatara Upanishad (4:09) also about Rudra projecting Vedas. Here one shouldn’t consider Vedas as just some created items, which are different from Mahadeva. Nothing is different from the Supreme Being Rudra. Even these Vedas which symbolize the divine knowledge are identical with the giver of knowledge viz. Dakshinamurty. Taittirya Aranyaka (10:24:1) of Yajurveda says “purusho vai rudrah”, which means “Lord Rudra is Veda Purusha”. And Rig Veda (10:90:2) says “puruṣa evedaṃ sarvaṃ yad bhūtaṃ yacca bhavyam” which means, “all that was (existed once upon a time) and all that is (manifested in present) and will be (in future), everything is verily the Veda Purusha Rudra alone”.

It is again Mahadeva alone who is the supreme ruler of all knowledge, and protector of Vedas as evident from Taittariya Aranyaka of Yajurveda  as follows:

“ishanah sarvavidyanamishvarah sarvabhutanam | brahmadhipatirbrahmano'dhipatirbrahma shivo me astu sadashivom |” (Yajurveda Taittariya Aranyaka 10:21:1 )
“May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, IshANa, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM).”

That is the benevolence of lord Shiva! Who on this earth can attain knowledge by moving away from Lord Shiva? It’s all the foolishness of those who attempt to deny themselves from worshiping this greatest benevolent Lord. He himself is the destination (Moksha), he himself is the lord, he himself is the means to attain him (knowledge), it is he who is the preceptor (as Dakshinamurty) who confers the knowledge, it is he who protects the knowledge and it is again he himself who is in the form of the source of knowledge (as Vedas). Such is my divine father, my lord, my self – the illustrious Mahadeva!


4.1.5 The Left Leg :: Represents the Supreme state beyond Samsaara (Aja-EkapAda)


The goal of attaining knowledge is to raise ourselves from the level of ignorance to the realization of ‘tat twam asi’ principle as expounded in the Upanishads. This leg of Sri Dakshinamurty symbolizes the supreme state of Kaivalya which is untouched by Samsaara. This foot is the object which one needs to long for.
This is a superficial understanding. There is a deeper meaning surrounding this raised up leg of Bhagawan Shiva. Not only in the iconography of Dakshinamurty, but in every form of Shiva, the lord mostly sits or stands with one leg raised upwards. Take for instance Nataraja form. This form of Shiva where he stands or sits supporting one leg on ground and one leg on thigh or raised upwards teaches us about the “Aja-EkapAda” principle. Lord Shiva is Aja-EkapAda, where “Aja” means “unborn”, and “EkapAda” means “one footed”.
Lord Shiva is the unborn supreme god as evident from below shruti verse.

"ajaata ityeva.n kashchidbhiiruH prapadyate |
rudra yatte daxiNaM mukha.n tena maaM paahi nityam.h |" (Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:21)
"'Thou art unborn (Aja),' with these words some one comes near to thee, trembling. O Rudra, let thy southward facing face protect me for ever!"
Lord Shiva who created this universe from one portion of his infinite form called Skambha (linga) and his rest of the form is still beyond all this universe. Therefore he stands on one foot as Skambha and pervades with one portion (pAda) into the universe while keeping his rest of the portion as un-manifest to the universe. This is evident from the below shruti verse.

"ékacakraṃ vartata ékanemi sahásrākṣaraṃ prá puró ní paścā
ardhéna víśvaṃ bhúvanaṃ jajā́na yád asyārdháṃ kvà tád babhūva |" (Atharva Veda X:8:7)
"Up, eastward downward in the west, 'it rolleth, with countless elements, one-wheeled, single-fellied. With half it hath begotten all creation. Where hath the other half become unnoticed?"

This is the reason, why lord Shiva always rests one foot on the ground or on ApasmAra demon which all represent the mundane world, and keeps one of his foot above all the mundane existence. This teaches us the infinite nature of Lord Rudra who with a portion of his pillar of fire of consciousness (skhambha / linga) engendered this world and he although pervades within this world, still extends beyond this world and is higher than the highest supreme brahman.
Therefore the left and right leg posture of Dakshinamurty teaches us about his “Aja-EkapAda” principle.


4.1.6 The Right Leg :: Tirodhana Krutyam

In the iconography of Sri Dakashinamurty, lord is shown to be pressing an infant under his right foot. That infant looks an infant by his body, but his face resembles a grown up male demon and has full moustache. This demon is called ‘apasmAra purusha’ (demon of ignorance or Avidya), and also called as ‘apasmriti purusha’ (demon of forgetfulness).

What does the ‘apasmriti purusha’ make us forget? He makes us forget about our true identify – the identity of a Jiva being same as the very Brahman. He symbolizes the ignorance that makes us lose our control on indriyas (senses) and consciousness and run after sensuous things.

It should be noted that the lord simply crushes that demon but doesn’t kill. This is because that demon is not a demon but rather an instrument of Mahadeva alone. That demon is a symbolic representation of Maya (Illusion) under which all creatures remain blanketed. It is this blanket of Avidya which makes us see this entire jGat but hides the Brahman (Shiva) from our eyes. This is called ‘TirodhAna’ which means, ‘Curtaining or veiling’. It is again Lord Shiva who curtains us under his Maya. Therefore, till the moment we remain happy with our sense gratification, enjoying the worldly pastimes, and take no interest in liberation; within us the ‘apasmAra-puruha / apasmriti-purusha’ remains fully alive or un-subjugated.

However, those few righteous souls who take the refuge of Mahadeva (Dakshinamurty) with the intent of sailing across the ocean of transmigration (Samsaara), and resort to his uplifted foot, and accept the gift of knowledge (Vedas) bestowed by his lower left hand; for such people it is again the great Dakshinamurty who suppresses the ‘apasmAra-puruha / apasmriti-purusha’ by his right foot and subjugates him under our control. This is called ‘un-veiling’ or ‘un-curtaining’ and is technically termed as ‘Anugraha’ (grace). Once the lord’s grace is conferred, the Jiva finds only the presence of Brahman (Shiva) in every iota of this universe, and most importantly within his own self. He becomes capable of seeing himself within all others, and seeing everything within his self. This is ‘brAhmI-sthiti’ (state of oneness with Brahman).

Now, let’s see some more internal secrets related to this. We have ‘dashEndriyAs’ (ten sense organs), viz. five sense organs, and five motor organs. Each of these sense organs are associated with their corresponding power. We experience and enjoy this universe with the help of these senses alone whose interpreter is ‘manas’ (mind). Eye sees, but it is the mind which makes the sight interesting or repulsive to see. It is not fault of eyes to look at a beautiful woman; the sight becomes faulty only due to the interpretation made by the mind which attaches lust with the picture under the vision. Therefore subjugation of senses is highly important for one’s upliftment in spiritual journey. 

Indra is the lord of ‘indriyas’ (senses), all indriyas belong to his dominion. It is he who makes the Indriyas unrestrained for a person who desires enjoyments; and also it is he again who keeps them subjugated for the sake of a seeker of liberation. Rig Veda gives a beautiful verse related to this context.

“ud yat sahaḥ sahasa ājaniṣṭa dediṣṭa indra indriyāṇi viśvā | prācodayat sudughā vavre antar vi jyotiṣā saṃvavṛtvat tamo 'vaḥ |” (Rig Veda 5:31:3)
“When out of strength arose the strength that conquers, Indra exposed all the cosmic senses (indriyāṇi viśvā) that he possesses. Forth from the cave he drove the milky mothers, and with the light (jyotiṣ) laid bare empowering darkness (tamas)”.

The above verse when interpreted in terms of Yoga or Vedanta it reveals us a great truth. When a sadhaka is determined to attain liberation, out of that strength of determination arises the strength which conquers the lowly sensual pleasures associated with the lower senses which are barriers in the path of realization. For such a sadhaka, Indra the lord of senses, helps in subjugation of lower senses and exposes (reveals) the supreme senses (e.g., dispassion as opposed to passion etc.), and then releases the nectar of immortality from the cave of the crown, and with the divine effulgence of brahma-jnAnam destroys the empowering darkness of avidya.

This phenomenon of removal of darkness (avidya) is achieved when one resorts to Mahadeva in the form of Dakshinamurty. For a devotee who aspires for realization and resorts to Bhava, he as the lord of Indriyas subjugates them like the ‘apasmAra-purusha’ who remains subjugated under his feet; and reveals knowledge and confers liberation.

This auspicious Indra who does such a great benefit to the spiritual aspirant is again none other than Mahadeva as evident from the below shruti.

Rudra manifested as Indra:

“sa.vai.tvam.ity.abravīd.aśanir.eva.iti yad.aśanir.indras.tena |” (Kaushitaki Brahmana 6:3:41)
“Prajapathi said to Rudra 'Thou art Asani' ; for Asani is Indra”.


4.1.7 The Lower Right Hand :: Anugraha Krutyam :: jIva-brahma-Aikyam


The lower right hand of Sri Dakshinamurty remains positioned in a blessing posture with its fingers showing ‘chinmudra’ (Index and thumb fingers remain joined and other fingers stand erect). This ‘chinmudra’ is symbolic of oneness of jIva with the eshwara.  This hand also symbolizes the ‘anugraham’ task which means grace. Anugraham is the final task which succeeds the task of ‘tirodhAna’. This task of grace is nothing but the conferring of liberation to the Jiva.

This final stage of liberation depends on the preceding stages viz. acquiring the brahma-jnana by following Vedas (as bestowed by his lower left hand), desire to transcend the material world as symbolized by the raised left leg which remains untouched with the world, then one needs to seek Dakshinamurty’s help to overcome his power of illusion (tirodhana) and for self-restraint. Finally one gets uplifted to a stage where he identifies himself as one with the supreme Brahman (anugraha).


4.1.8 The Sun on the head :: Symbolizes Intelligence


In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty there is always a picture of sun (sUrya) shown attached to his crown. Sun is symbolic to intelligence. Among the eightfold forms of Bhagawan Rudra, Aditya is one of them as evident from the below shruti.

Sun (Intellect) became such like because of Lord Rudra:

“tamabravīdīśāno 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodādityastadrūpamabhavadādityo vā
īśāna ādityo hyasya sarvasyeṣṭe so 'bravīdetāvānvā asmi mā metaḥ paro nāma dhā iti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:17)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Îsâna (the Ruler).' And because he gave him that name, the Sun (Aditya) became suchlike, for Îsâna is the Sun, since the Sun rules over this All. He said, 'So great indeed I am: give me no other name after that!'”



4.1.9 The Moon on the head :: Symbolizes manas (mind)


In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty there is always a picture of Crescent Moon (chandrama) shown attached to his crown. Moon is symbolic to ‘manas’ (mind). Among the eightfold forms of Bhagawan Rudra, Chandrama is one of them as evident from the below shruti.

Moon (manas or Mind) became such like because of Lord Rudra:

“tamabravīnmahāndevo 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākaroccandramāstadrūpamabhavatprajāpatirvai candramāḥ prajāpatirvai mahāndevaḥ so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:16)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Mahân Devah (the Great God).' And because he gave him that name, the moon became suchlike, for the moon is Pragâpati, and Pragâpati is the Great God. He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”


4.1.10 The vAyu (Air) present around :: Is again Rudra alone

In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty explicitly we cannot find out any symbol for Vayu (air) because Air is an invisible element. However, as per the Advaita Vedanta followers of the school of Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam (Not of Arya Samaj), the ‘bandhanam’ (waistband) which girdles around the waist of lord Dakshinamurty symbolizes the wind element. Whatever it may be, the fact is, air is always present around but not visible to the eyes. And this Air which is one among the pancha-bhUtas (five divine elements) is again a manifestation of Rudra alone as evident from below shruti.

Vayu (Air) became such like because of Lord Rudra:

“tamabravīdugro 'sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodvāyustadrūpambhavadvāyurvā ugrastasmādyadā balavadvāyugro vātotyāhuḥ so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:13)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Ugra.' And because he gave him that name, Vâyu (the wind) became suchlike, for Ugra is Vâyu: hence when it blows strongly, they say 'Ugra is blowing.' He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Vayu corresponds to ‘smell’ among the pancha-tanmAtrAs; therefore it is again lord Dakshinamurty who is present within our power (knowledge) of smelling.


4.1.11 The Rock Seat (Earth) and plants :: Manifestations of the lord


In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty, the lord is shown seated on a high seat made of rock under the banyan tree. Below the rock on the ground the disciple sages remain seated. Surrounding the seat on the ground are shown various plants with fully blossomed flowers. Earth along with her entire vegetation is again a manifestation of Rudra and one fo the aspect among the eightfold forms of Mahadeva as evident from below verse.

Plants (represents Earth and entire creation sustained on earth) became such like because of Lord Rudra:

“tamabravītpaśupatirasīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodoṣadhayastadrūpamabhavannoṣadhayo vai paśupatistasmādyadā paśava oṣadhīrlabhante 'tha patīyanti so 'bravījjyāyānvā ato 'smi dhehyeva me nāmeti |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:12)
“He said to him, 'Thou art Pasupati.' And because he gave him that name, the plants became suchlike, for Pasupati is the plants: hence when cattle (pasu) get plants, then they play the master (patîy). He said, 'Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!'”

Among the tanmAtras associated with the Earth element, the lord Dakshinamurty is present in the form of knowledge of sensation of touch ‘sparsha (touch)’.


4.1.12 The Banyan Tree :: SamsAra Vruksham :: Root Symbolizes Brahman (Shiva)


In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty, the lord is shown seated underneath a huge ‘Vatavruksha’ (banyan tree) and the same ahs been stated in Dakshinamurty Upanishad as follows.

“viiNaa.n karaiH pustakamakshamaalaaM bibhraaNamabhraabhagala.n varaaDhyam.h | phaNiindrakakshyaM munibhiH shukaadyaiH sevya.n vaTaadhaH kR^itaniiDamiiDe |”  (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 1:10)
“I adore Him who in His hands holds a veena, a book and a rosary, with a cloudlike throat, who is rich in gifts, girdled by a mighty serpent, resorted to by Suka and other sages; who has made the foot of a fig tree His abode”.

A doubt may arise in the minds of the readers – Why does Dakshinamurty sit under a banyan tree, why not a mango tree or a coconut tree? Well, it is neither related to the vast space this tree covers nor is related to the amount of shade what it gives. Let’s me explain the internal meaning of this tree.

This banyan tree is not any ordinary tree. Banyan tree has a great Vedantic and Yogic significance. Banyan tree has a special quality of having secondary roots hanging from the branches. These secondary roots grow downwards and on touching the ground they give birth to another of their kind. This represents an eternal cycle of creation. This tree is called ‘samsAra vruksham’ (the world tree) as depicted in Bhagawad Gita and is stated to be present vertically inverted. It is further stated that the roots of this tree remains hidden and originates from Brahman. Dakshinamurty who sits at the feet of the banyan tree is the Brahman from whom the tree of samsaara originates.

This tree in reality doesn’t exist anywhere outward in this universe. It is an internal phenomenon, a tree which exists within the microcosm (our body). The various nerves (nAdIs) of our body are the branches, and the one central nerve which passes through the spine and is called ‘sushumna’ is the stem of that tree. Its roots are in Sahasrara and originate from Brahman. This is clarified in below verses from Uttara Gita.

“nAnAnADIprasavakaM sarvabhUtAntarAtmani | UrdhvamUlamadhaH shAkhaM vAyumArgeNa sarvagam.h |” (Uttara Gita 18)
“As various Nãdis have sprung up from the Susumnã, the receptacle of the Inner soul of all Jîvas - and are stretched out in all directions of the physical body, therefore it is considered like a huge tree reversed. The Tattva-Jnãnins alone are able to walk on every branch of this tree by the help of Prãna-Vãyu”.

“dvisaptatisahasrANi nADyaH syurvAyugocharAH | karmamArgeNa suShirAstirya~nchaH suShirAtmakAH |” (Uttara Gita 19)
“In this human body there exist seventy-two thousand Nãdis which admit of sufficient space for entrance into them through Vãyu; the Yogins alone become acquainted with the true nature of these Nãdis by the virtue of their Yoga-Karma”.

So, the Dakshinamurty sitting at the bottom of the vatavruksha (banyan tree) teaches us that it is he (Shiva) who is the parabrahman, knowing or reaching whom one never comes back to this world again.



4.1.13 The Sages seated below :: Also symbolize Rudra alone


In the iconography of Sri Dakshinamurty, divine sages like Kumaras, Suka, and Saptarishis are shown seated as disciples on the ground and Shiva as the leader of that spiritual conference. This entire arrangement is a ‘sabhA’ (conference or group) for spiritual discourses where the speaker (sabhA-pati) speaks through silence and the audience grasps the supreme knowledge of divine through that silence which is the mode employed by the speaker to discourse his teachings.

But in any case the listeners are not different from the speaker, because everything is Rudra alone. It is he alone who remains as the host (sabhApati) of all conferences and again he himself remains in the form of the audience (sabhA). This is clearly evident from Yajurveda as stated below.

“namah sabhabhyah sabhapatibhyashcha vo namo |” (Yajurveda IV:5:3:p)
“To you Rudra, who remain in the form of those who sit as members (audience) of assemblies and those who preside over them (host), salutations!”

Therefore the giver of knowledge and the receiver of knowledge both are Dakshinamurty alone. Duality exists only at the relative level, not at the absolute level.


4.1.14 makarakunDalaM and tATankaM :: Ear rings – which reveal great secrets


Sri Dakshinamurty is always shown wearing non-matching ear-rings on both ears. On his right ear he wears an ornament called as ‘makara-kundala’ (crocodile shaped ear ring), whereas on his left ear he wears ‘tATanka’ (circular ear ring). Strange is it? Well, in this world no god or no human ever decorates himself or herself with uneven or un-matching ornaments. It is only Mahadeva who does all strange things. Wait! There is nothing strange here. He is Bhagawan Ishana, the supreme preceptor who has his own unique copyrighted style of teaching. So, in this apparently strange way of decorading himself he has a great secret to preach us which we’ll discuss now.

‘makarakunDala’ is an ear ring which is always worn by males, whereas ‘tATanka’ is the ear ring worn by females. DakshinaMurty wears both because he and his consort Bhavani are never different. He teaches us the Ardhanarishwara principle of his form. It is he who is the father and it is again he who is the mother (as Uma). His left side being female he wears ‘tATanka’ on the left ear ring.

However this is not the end of the secret teaching what he passes on to us. This form of him preaches us that he himself is the parabrahman of Vedas and Vedanta. Ardhanarishwara is the Brahman of Vedas as described clearly in Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda as follows.

"R^itam satyaM paraM brahma purushha.n kR^ishhNapi~Ngalam.h | uurdhvareta.n viruupaaksha.n vishvaruupaaya vai namo namaH |" (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)
"Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness (rita) and Truth (satyam), is the androgynous purusha the Ardhanareeshwara, dark blue and reddish brown in hue, absolutely chaste (having semen raised up) and possessing uneven eyes (three eyed) . Salutations to Him alone whose has this universe for his form".

The same fact has been stated in Sri Vidya tradition in Lalita-Sahasranama Stotram which is present in Brahmanda Purana, where Lalita (Uma) who is stated to be the Brahman is stated to be of the androgynous form (half-male-half-female) because Shiva and Shakti are always one and the same.

“shrishiva shivashaktyaikya rupini lalitambika |” (LS verse 183)
“Who is the blessed shivA (who is identical with shiva). Who is the unity of Shiva and Shakti; Is Lalitambika”.

So, whether you are a Shakta and call Lalita as Brahman or you are a Shaiva and call Shiva as Brahman, both mean one and the same; difference is only in the direction of your vision; where, leftists are Shaktas and rightists are Shaivas.

We have seen the oneness of Dakshinamurty and Lalitambika. Let’s see the oneness of their doctrines as well. Dakshinamurty is the foremost preceptor of Atma-Vidya (Advaita Vedanta) which is the doctrine for realization fo the ‘self’. Interestingly, it is the same Dakshinamurty who happens to be the foremost preceptor and origin of Shri-Vidya tradition also. How can one god preach two different traditions? Answer is – those two traditions are not two, they are one and the same. Shri-Vidya is verily the Atma-Vidya alone as also detailed in teh below verse from Lalita Sahasranama Stotram.

“Atmavidya mahavidya shrividya kamasevita | Shrishoda shakshari vidya |” (LS verse 118)

Atmavidya: Who is Atma – vidya, the doctrine of the Self.
Mahavidya: Who is Maha – vidya, the great doctrine (also a deity).
Shrividya: Who is Srhi – vidya (the fifteen lettered Mantra of the Devi).
Kamasevita: Who is meditated upon by Kamadeva, the god of love.
Shrishoda shakshari vidya: Who is the Shodashakshari – vidya, the sixteen lettered Mantra of the Devi.


This is why the great Adi Shankaracharya who re-established Advaita Vedanta in this country, he has also established the Samayachara / Dakshinachara path of Shri-Vidya as well. Both these paths lead to the realization of the self and are identical. On one path one goes uttering “nEti nEti nEti”, in another path one goes uttering “mAtA mAtA mAtA”, and outwardly even if these paths appear different, in reality they are identical and lead to the same destination. This is because Lalitambika is Dakshinamurty alone as confirmed in the below verses from Lalita Sahasranama Stotram.

”Svatantra sarvatantreshi dakshinamurti rupini | Sanakadi samaradhya shivagyana pradayini |” (LS verse 140)

Svatantra: Who is the only Independent Being OR whose Tantra (Sri Vidya) is the independenta dn supreme doctrine
Sarvatantreshi: Who is the presiding deity of all the Tantras.
Dakshinamurti rupini: Who is one with the form of Dakshinamurti.
Sanakadi samaradhya: Who is worshipped by Sanaka and other great ascetics.
Shivagyana pradayini: Who imparts the knowledge of the Supreme Being (Shiva).

In above verse we see that Lalita is called as Dakshinamurty whom Sanaka and otehr sages worshipped and she (as Dakshinamurty) conferred Atma-Gyanam to them. Isn’t this enough to understand that Lalita and Dakshinamurty are one and the same and their doctrines viz. Sri-Vidya and Atma-Vidya are one and the same.

5. Lord Dakshinamurty the lord of Kashi (Varanasi)


Lord Shiva in Kashi is known as ‘Vishwanatha’ or ‘Vishweswara’ and that linga is a ‘jyotirlinga’. It is not popularly known by any other name. However if we study the Linga carefully we would understand a divine secret.

A linga has its faces turned in all directions because Lord Shiva is ‘sarvatomukha’ (one whose face is turned in all directions). However, every Shiva temple has its linga installed in some particular direction. It is difficult to identify which direction a Linga looks at by looking at the linga itself. There is a simplest way to know that which is – look at the direction the bull Nandi is turned towards. Then the very opposite direction Lord Shiva is supposed to be looking at because nandi always remains facing the lord.

With this logic if we study the Vishwanatha Linga, the bull Nandi remains turned towards the Northern direction. What does it imply? It reveals us the greatest ecret that Lord Vishwanatha’s Linga in Kashi is turned towards South. This means, Kashi-Vishwanatha Linga is Dakshinamurty linga alone because, Dakshinamurty is the lord whose face is turned southwards.

This is probably the reason why Kashi is called ‘Moksha-Bhoomi’ and it is said that one who dies at Kashi never returns to this world again. When Dakshinamurty himself, who is the lord who confers Brahmagyanam on the devotees and puts an end to his cycle of births and rebirths; pronounces the Pranava (OM) as the taraka in the ears of the dying people in kasha, where does the question of his birth arise?

That’s the grandeur of my lord Dakshinamurty who is the Vishwanatha in Kashi. Therefore, Kashi can be considered as the biggest shrine / temple of Sri Dakshinamurty.


6. Dakshinamurty or Sharada – Whom should you worship?


Well, some scriptures say resort to Dakshinamurty for gaining knowledge; and many other scriptures portray goddess Saraswati as the goddess of learning. Why two deities for same purpose? Whom should we approach? These kinds of questions are not uncommon in the minds of the amateur spiritual seekers. Let’s see what they are.

The dhyAna shlOka from shruti which describe the appearance of lord Sri Dakshinamurty states the following about him. He holds a book, a vessel of nectar, a rosary of letters (akshamala), and chinmudra. His appearance is pure white / crystal color, and adorns a crescent moon on his head.

“sphaTikarajatavarNaM mauktikiimakshamaalaa\- mamR^itakalashavidyaa.n j~naanamudraa.n karaagre |
dadhatamuragakakshya.n chandrachuuDa.n trinetraM vidhR^itavividhabhuushha.n dakshiNaamuurtimiiDe |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 3)
“I adore the three-eyed, moon-crested Dakshinâmûrti who is of pebble and silver colour, holding in the hands a rosary of pearls, a vessel of nectar, a book and the symbol of wisdom; having a serpent for his girdle, and putting on various ornaments”.

Now, this is what is exactly depicted in the form of Sharadamba of Sringeri Sharada Peetham, where the Sharadambika holds a rosary, a book, a vessel of nectar, and displays chinmudra. She has crystal / white complexion and wears a crescent moon on her crown.

In another depiction of Saraswati also, she is shown holding a Veena in place of chinmudra and vessel of nectar; rest other things remain same. So, what, even Dakshinamurty has a form ‘Medha Dakshinamurty’ who holds exactly the same Veena and has an identical form.

This should erase all dualities from the minds of the readers. The same lord Dakshinamurty when visualized as a goddess, he is portrayed as Sharadamba. It is up to the devotion and inclination of the devotee to choose either of the forms for seeking knowledge. Means are two, but destination is same.

The best evidence is Vedas itself to understand that all forms are the forms of Bhagawan Rudra alone.

“tvamaghne aditirdeva dāśuṣe tvaṃ hotrā bhāratī vardhaseghirā | tvamiḷā ṣatahimāsi dakṣase tvaṃ vṛtrahā vasupate sarasvatī |” (Rig Veda 2:1:11)
“Thou, God [Agni], art Aditi to him who offers gifts: thou, Hotrā, Bhāratī, art strengthened by the song. Thou art the hundred-wintered Iḷā to give strength, Lord of Wealth! Vṛtra-slayer and Sarasvatī”.

The above verse proves that Saraswati is a form of Agni. Never mind! There is no need to get confused, because Agni is verily the name of Rudra in Vedas as attested by Yajurveda (V:5:7) which says, “rudro vA esHa yad agnis |”, meaning, “He who is called as Agni is verily Rudra". This makes all duality to cease; hence Saraswati is Lord Rudra alone in the form of a mother.



7. The three in one God


The form of Dakshinamurty of bhagawan Rudra is a three in one form. He is the father being a male god. He is the mother also because his left side is reserved for goddess Uma who is our mother, due to which he wears a tATankaM (ear ring worn by femals) on his left ear. He is a Guru being the the god who bestows us knowledge.

Therefore he is one god who singly receives the prostrations offered while uttering the following mantras.

“mAtrudEvO bhava” (Mother is verily the god
“pitru dEvO bhava” (Father is verily the god)
“AchArya dEvO bhava” (Guru is verily the god)



8. Sri Dakshinamurty Varnamala Stotram


The great Adi Shankaracharya who was a master in poetry, composed numerous hymns on Lord Shiva; out of which there is a great hymn on Dakshinamurty called as “Sri Dakshinamurty Varnamala Stotram”. The specialty if this hymn is that, when we join the initials of each paragraph, it forms the Dakshinamurty mantra which is described in the below verse from Upanishad.

“AUM aadau nama uchchaarya tato bhagavate padam.h | dakshiNeti padaM pashchaanmuurtaye padamuddharet.h | asmachchhabda.n chaturthyantaM medhaaM praj~naaM pada.n vadet.h | samuchchaarya tato vaayubiija.n chchha.n cha tataH paThet.h | agnijaayaa.n tatastveshha chaturvi.nshaaksharo manuH |” (Dakshinamurty Upanishad 2)
“First Mantra of 24 letters: After telling “om”, tell “Namo” and then “Bhagavathe Dakshinamurthaye”, then the fourth form of “asmad” viz “Mahyam”, then “medham Pragnam”, then the root of wind “ya”, added with “chcha”, followed by the name of wife of fire God “swaha”. This is the mantra with 24 letters. That is “Om Namo Bhagwathe Dakshinamurthaye Mahyam, Medham Pragnam Prayacha Swaha!”

One who receives the above mantra from his Guru and chants the same, and who reads the below hymn composed by Adi Shankara; both these men become the receiver of equal merit.

:: Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram ::

[Composed by: Sri Adi SHankaracharya]
[Translated into English by: Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula]


ommityetadyasya budhairnāma gṛhītaṁ
yadbhāsedaṁ bhāti samastaṁ viyadādi |
yasyājñātaḥ svasvapadasthā vidhimukhyā-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 1||
"It is OM" - this is how [the wise seers] have strived and understood [him]
By whose effulgence everything else shines
By whose command Brahma and other main gods stand in their respective posts
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to.

namrāṅgāṇāṁ bhaktimatāṁ yaḥ puruṣārthā-
ndatvā kṣipraṁ hanti ca tatsarvavipattīḥ |
pādāmbhojādhastanitāpasmṛtimīśaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 2||
Whosoever prostrates [before him] and attaches himself with devotion for the human pursuits
Having fulfilled [the desired fruitition, He] immediately destroys every misfortune or calamity [of the devotee's life]
He the Lord, who [presses] the demon Apasmriti (forgetfulness) under his lotus like foot
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

mohadhvastyai vaiṇikavaiyāsikimukhyāḥ
saṁvinmudrāpustakavīṇākṣaguṇānyam |
hastāmbhojairbibhratamārādhitavanta-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 3||
For the destruction of delusion the Veena player (Narada), the son of Vyasa (Suka) and other primary ones worship [him]
Who displays the gesture of knowledge [with his fingers], and supports the Book (Vedas), the Veena, and the Akshamala, By his lotus like hands
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

bhadrārūḍhaṁ bhadradamārādhayitṛṇāṁ
bhaktiśraddhāpūrvakamīśaṁ praṇamanti |
ādityā yaṁ vāñchitasiddhyai karuṇābdhiṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 4||
The lord who is graciously seated who grants auspiciousness
To whom they pay obeisances  with devotion and belief
He who is an ocean of compassion and who readily fulfills the cherished desires of progeny of Aditi (Aditya)
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

garbhāntaḥsthāḥ prāṇina ete bhavapāśa-
cchede dakṣaṁ niścitavantaḥ śaraṇaṁ yam |
ārādhyāṅghriprasphuradambhoruhayugmaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 5||
Staying within the womb [cycle of births and deaths], those creatures who,
After having fully ascertained, take refuge of that lord who is the expert in shattering the noose of the worldly existence
And worship the glittering lotus like pair of feet
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

vaktraṁ dhanyāḥ saṁsṛtivārdheratimātrā-
dbhītāḥ santaḥ pūrṇaśaśāṅkadyuti yasya |
sevente'dhyāsīnamanantaṁ vaṭamūlaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 6||
The ascetics, afraid of excessive increase in passage through successive states of re-births, worship whose blessed face
Which shines with the radiance of a full moon
The infinite lord who is seated at the foot of the banyan tree
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

tejaḥstomairaṅgadasaṁghaṭṭitabhāsva-
nmāṇikyotthairbhāsitaviśvo rucirairyaḥ |
tejomūrtiṁ khānilatejaḥpramukhābdhiṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 7||
He from whose body emanates the mass of brilliance which assembles and shines
As like as the radiance arising from rubies and whose pleasant light shines the universe
That same embodiment of light which remains under the great ocean as the house breaking fire (world destroying badavAgni)
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

dadhyājyādidravyakakarmāṇyakhilāni
tyaktvā kāṅkṣā karmaphaleṣvatra karoti |
yajjijñāsāṁ rūpaphalārthī kṣitideva-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 8||
Abandoning all the karmas with curd and other ingredients
And also discarding all the karma-phalas (fruits of karma) here
The wisdom seekers (sages) resort to that god who is the lord of all abodes (or that lord who dissolves all the abodes)
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

kṣipraṁ loke yaṁ bhajamānaḥ pṛthupuṇyaḥ
pradhvastādhiḥ projjhitasaṁsṛtyakhilārtiḥ |
pratyagbhūtaṁ brahma paraṁ sanramate ya-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 9||
By worshipping whom in the world one with abundant virtues, speedily
Finds all his [worldly] pains or the pain of transmigration getting disappeared
That lord of mountains, the Supreme Brahman who pervades every creature as the indwelling Atman and enjoys being present as their self
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

ṇānetyevaṁ yanmanumadhyasthitavarṇā-
nbhaktāḥ kāle varṇagṛhītyai prajapantaḥ |
modante saṁprāptasamastaśrutitantrā-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 10||
Reciting na-na etc., syllables which are established in the middle [of the Dakshinamurty mantra?] whichever type of
Devotees [chant] in time grasping the same
Attain happiness obtaining [the knowledge hidden in] all Vedas and Tantra scriptures
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

mūrtiśchāyānirjitamandākinikunda-
prāleyāmbhorāśisudhābhūtisurebhā |
yasyābhrābhā hāsavidhau dakṣaśirodhi-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 11||
That lord whose complexion vanquishes the [beauty of ] river Ganga, jasmine flower,
snow, ocean, nectar, ashes and celestial elephant (Airavata)
Whose aura is skillful in overcoming [anything else] in a laughing manner
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

taptasvarṇacchāyajaṭājūṭakaṭāha-
prodyadvīcīvallivirājatsurasindhum |
nityaṁ sūkṣmaṁ nityanirastākhiladoṣaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 12||
[That lord] whose mound of matted locks shines with the resplendence of gold
[Resembling] the shining tides of waves of the celestial river Ganga
Who is eternal, subtle and is devoid of all faults
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yena jñātenaiva samastaṁ viditaṁ syā-
dyasmādanyadvastu jagatyāṁ śaśaśṛṅgam |
yaṁ prāptānāṁ nāsti paraṁ prāpyamanādiṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 13||
By knowing whom indeed everything becomes known
Other than whom anything [if assumed to exist in this universe] is like [believing the existence] of rabbit's horns
For them who obtained him, who has no origin for himself, there exist nothing superior to be obtained
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

matto māro yasya lalāṭākṣibhavāgni-
sphūrjatkīlaproṣitabhasmīkṛtadehaḥ |
tadbhasmāsīdyasya sujātaḥ paṭavāsa-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 14||
The fire of the third eye which exists on the forehead,
burst forth into a lambent flame and destroyed him [god of love] who was excited [with passion and pride] by incinerating his body into ashes
And thus those ashes became a garment of excellent kind for the Lord
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

hyambhorāśau saṁsṛtirūpe luṭhatāṁ ta-
tpāraṁ gantuṁ yatpadabhaktirdṛḍhanaukā |
sarvārādhyaṁ sarvagamānandapayonidhiṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 15||
People [drowning] in the ocean of transmigration (samsaara) lowing with pain
In order to reach the other side of the shore (which denotes liberation) [mount] with devotion, on that rigid boat
Who is the all pervading lord, who is an ocean of bliss, who is worthy of being worshipped by all
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

medhāvī syādinduvataṁsaṁ dhṛtavīṇaṁ
karpūrābhaṁ pustakahastaṁ kamalākṣam |
citte dhyāyanyasya vapurdrāṅnimiṣārdhaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 16||
One would become erudite man who, on that lord who wears a ring shaped moon as ornament, who holds a Veena
Who is resplendant like camphor, who holds a book, and is lotus eyed God
Meditates in the mind even for half the time which is taken in twinkling one's eye
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

dhāmnāṁ dhāma prauḍharucīnāṁ paramaṁ ya-
tsūryādīnāṁ yasya sa heturjagadādeḥ |
etāvānyo yasya na sarveśvaramīḍyaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 17||
The abode of abodes (or radiance of all radiances or glory of all glories), who has a full grown splendor, who is Supreme
Who is the cause of Sun and others (gods), who is the cause of the universe and others (creatures) in the beginning,
There doesn't exist another one who is so great (as great as) as this  lord of all
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

pratyāhāraprāṇanirodhādisamarthai-
rbhaktairdāntaiḥ saṁyatacittairyatamānaiḥ |
svātmatvena jñāyata eva tvarayā ya-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 18||
For yogis who are capable of withdrawal of their senses, control of the breath
For devotees who are of restrained senses, and controlled mind with the purpose of [knowing the lord]
Who reveals himself to them swiftly, as being their very own self
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

jñāṁśībhūtānprāṇina etānphaladātā
cittāntaḥsthaḥ prerayati sve sakale'pi |
kṛtye devaḥ prāktanakarmānusaraḥ saṁ-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 19||
For living beings having knowledge, he is the giver of frutition of their deeds
Again it is he, the Lord, who residing in the heart of all beings, stimulates them [from within] to all actions
Following the past deeds (karmas)
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

prajñāmātraṁ prāpitasaṁbinnijabhaktaṁ
prāṇākṣādeḥ prerayitāraṁ praṇavārtham |
prāhuḥ prājñā viditānuśravatattvā-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 20||
He who is the supreme knowledge alone, who causes his own devotees to attain the supreme realization,
Who approaches them (or draws them near) and stimulates them by [teaching] the meaning of prANava (OM)
Those seers of divine knowledge, having known him [to be so], have declared him as the essence (or truth) of the Vedas
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yasyāṁjñānādeva nṛṇāṁ saṁsṛtibodho
yasya jñānādeva vimokṣo bhavatīti |
spaṣṭaṁ brūte vedaśiro deśikamādyaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 21||
By not knowing whom, indeed, there exists the experience of repeated births and deaths
By the knowledge of whom, indeed, one becomes liberated
This clearly proclaimed by the crest of the Vedas, about this foremost spiritual preceptor
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

channe'vidyārūpapaṭenaiva ca viśvaṁ
yatrādhyastaṁ jīvapareśatvamapīdam |
bhānorbhānuṣvambuvadastākhilabhedaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 22||
And, indeed, as if the universe is blanketed secretly by a cloth of ignorance (avidya)
Where an individual looks [apparantly] placed different from the state of the supreme lord
Like the Sun and its own reflections in waters, differences cease to exist [after knowing him]
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

svāpasvapnau jāgradavasthāpi na yatra
prāṇaśvetaḥ sarvagato yaḥ sakalātmā |
kūṭastho yaḥ kevalasaccitsukharūpa-
staṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 23||
Where the states of, sleep (sushupti), dream (swapna) and wakeful (jagrut) also do not exist
Who pervades all the prAna and mind, who is the self (Atman) of all
That Supreme Soul, who alone is of the nature of being, conciousness and bliss
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

hetyevaṁ vismayamīyurmunimukhyā
jñāte yasminsvātmatayānātmavimohaḥ |
pratyagbhūte brahmaṇi yātaḥ kathamitthaṁ
taṁ pratyañcaṁ dakṣiṇavaktraṁ kalayāmi || 24||
Oh! Oh! Thus, indeed, the best of the sages spoke in wonder
On knowing whom as their own self, they got disillusioned about the non-self
How is that Brahman entered into every being? [They thought about that lord who is such]
That lord whose face is turned southwards I resort to

yaiṣā ramyairmattamayūrābhidhavṛttai-
rādau klṛptā yanmanuvarṇairmunibhaṅgī |
tāmevaitāṁ dakṣiṇavaktraḥ kṛpayāsā-
vūrīkuryāddeśikasamrāṭ paramātmā || 25||
Who by his enchanting meter 'matta-mayura (intoxicated peacock)',
Produced all these in the beginning, with the alphabets (varNa), in the form of a sage
Let indeed all these, be bestowed, by his grace, by the southward facing God
Who is the crown or sovereign God, the supreme preceptor, the supreme self!

[Here ends the hymn composed by Adi Shankara on Dakshinamurty]


|| Om Etat sarvam srI umA mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu ||


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