Sri Rudram - What is Rudram?

Published: 26th May 2011
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Sri Rudram, also known as Rudraprasna, is a hymn devoted to Lord Shiva. It is part of the Yajur Veda and one of the greatest of the Vedic hymns. Sri Rudram is in two parts. The first part, chapter 16 of the Yajurveda, is known as Namakam because of the repeated use of the word "Namo" in it. The second part, chapter 18 of the Yajurveda, is known as Chamakam because of the repeated use of the words "Chame".

Rudram is divided into 11 sections called ‘Anuvakas’. In the first Anuvaka, Lord Shiva as Rudra is prayed to turn away his Ghora rupa (fierce appearance) and requested to keep his and his followers' fierce weapons at bay. Having been pacified, Rudra is requested to destroy the sins of those for whom it is being chanted.

Apart from being a hymn devoted Lord Shiva, Sri Rudram is also said to contain many hidden secrets (Rahasya’s) in coded format. For example the verses contain coded instructions for preparing various ayurvedic medications to ward off various maladies afflicting man-kind.

This first Anuvaka is chanted to destroy all sins, obtain leadership and divine benevolence, protection from famine, freedom from fear, obtain sumptuous food, and protect cows, for absence from untimely fear of death, of animals like tigers, thieves, from monsters, devils, demons etc. It is also chanted as a protective shield (kavacha) for virulent fever, to cure diseases, fetal disorders, absolution from evils stars and bad karma or Sins, for the fulfillment of ones desires, sumptuous rainfall, family protection, blessings with good children, fulfillment of all material desires and the destruction of one’s enemies.

In the second Anuvaka, Rudra is prayed to as one who pervades the earth and as the green foliage and heritage of medicinal herbs. He is asked to loosen the bonds of samsara (illusion). This Anuvaka is chanted for the destruction of enemies, possession of great wealth, getting kingdom (getting Job) and possession of intelligence.

In the third Anuvaka Rudra is described as the Lord of thieves who exists in everything. He is Sarvatma; the self of all. In this context, we who are un-enlightened have stolen the immortal status of the Self and replaced it with our own limited conception of ego. And in turn it is Lord Shiva as Rudra who will come and steal our ignorance from us, restoring us to our natural status of enlightenment. This Anuvaka is also chanted for the cure of many incurable diseases.

In the fourth Anuvaka, Rudra is described as the creator and worker of all kinds. He is the cause of both the significant and minor. This Anuvaka is chanted for the cure of karmic diseases like chronic tuberculosis, diabetics, leprosy etc.

In the fifth Anuvaka Rudra's existence in running waters is praised and his five activities are described (creation of the universe, preservation of it, destruction at the time of Pralaya, bondage in ignorance and the release of one unto moksha).

In the sixth Anuvaka Rudra is identified with time (Kalarupa). He is described as the source of the different worlds, Shrutis (Vedas) and its essence in Vedanta. The fifth and sixth Anuvakas are chanted for the expansion of one's own assets, victory against enemies, blessings for a son with the stature of Rudra, avoidance of a miscarriage and easy childbirth, averting difficulties caused by astrological planetary positions and protection of one's own son or progeny.

In the seventh Anuvaka his all-pervading presence in waters, rains, clouds, storms and its various forms are described. This Anuvaka is chanted for the increase of intelligence, improvement of health, wealth, progeny, clothes, cows, sons, education, lands, longevity and obtaining liberation.

In the eighth Anuvaka Rudra is described as He who illumines other Gods and confers powers on them. He is seen as ever present in holy rivers and He who can absolve all sins. This Anuvaka is chanted for the destruction of enemies and possession and prosperity of ones own kingdom (lands).

In the ninth Anuvaka the strength and power his attendants is celebrated because they illumine the gods and the world and control the forces of the universe. This Anuvaka is chanted for obtaining gold, a good wife, a job, and the blessings of a son who will be devoted to Lord Shiva.

In the tenth Anuvaka Rudra is again asked to shed his fury and shower benevolence by his displaying his Pinaka bow without arrows and to gracefully appear with his tiger skin on his body with pleasing countenance ready to shower boons upon his devotees. This Anuvaka is chanted for possession of wealth, cure of diseases, removal of fear, getting rid of the enmity of powerful people, absence of fear from all living beings, having the vision of Bhairava (Shiva in his most fearful aspect), absence from dangers and fears, blessings and the absolution of all sins.

In the eleventh Anuvaka Rudra's accomplishments are profusely praised and his benevolence is invoked with unconditional salutations. This Anuvaka is chanted for blessings of one's progeny, the enhancement of longevity, visiting of sacred places, and acquiring knowledge of past, present and future.

After praying and identifying Rudra with everything in the Namakam, the Chamakam is recited, in which the devotee identifies himself with Lord Shiva and asks him to give him everything!!

Methods of Rudra japam:

Rupam: Chanting Namakkam once followed by chanting Chamakkam is called Rupam.

Rudra Ekadasini: First the eleven Anuvakas of Namakkam, followed by the first Anuvakam of Chamakkam are chanted. Next again the eleven Anuvakams of Namakkam with second Anuvakam of Chamakkam will be chanted. Like this for 11 full chantings of Namakkam one full chanting of Chamakkam is completed. This is called Rudra ekadasini.

Laghu Rudram & Maharudram: If in the above method eleven Rudra ekadasinis are repeated it is called Laghu rudram. Eleven Laghu rudrams is one Maharudram.

Athirudram: Athirudram the biggest of all Rudra japam is eleven times of Maharudram. i.e. in the Athirudrabhiskekam going to be conducted now, ultimately 14641 times Namakkam and 1331 chamakkams will be chanted totally along with abhishekam. Moreover on the last day in the final Rudra homam again 10% of this i.e. 1465 Namakkam and 134 times Chamakkam will be chanted and in this way the whole yagna is going to be a real great performance.

Haindhava Peetam, situate at Thiruvalam, conducts Sri Rudra Homam every month on the day of Amavasya at Thiruvalam and Shadaranya Kshetrams, with the active participation of Local residents of the vicinity, apart from Maha Sarabheshwara Homam, and Maha Pratyangira Homam every month, as per the Agma vidhis, with the assistance of Veda Pundits, who are well versed in the vedic sriptures, in the interest of "LOKA KALYANA" (Loka Kalyanaartham).

Athi Rudra Maha Homam and Maha Chandi Homam are also conducted once a year, after completion of 11 Maha Rudrams which are performed once a month.

All those participants, who believe and have faith in Hindu traditions, are free to attend the above Homams in traditional attire. Those who wish to participate in these Homam’s need to register thro’ mail (selvapillai at gmail dot com) at-least 3 days in advance, with their name, nakshatra and gothra, so as to enable us to include their names in the Sankalpa Kriya.

Further information regarding these may be obtained thro’ E-mail: selvapillai at gmail dot com.

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