Rudra-Shiva concept (Study)

by Maumita Bhattacharjee | 2018 | 54,352 words

This page relates ‘Rigveda (a): Physical appearance of Rudra’ of the study on the Rudra-Shiva concept in the Vedic and Puranic literature, starting with the concept of God as contemplated by the Rishis (Vedic sages). These pages further deal with the aspects, legends, iconography and eulology of Rudra-Shiva as found in the Samhitas, Brahamanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads Sutras and Puranas. The final chapters deal with descriptions of his greatness, various incarnations and epithets.

1. Ṛgveda (a): Physical appearance of Rudra

The anthropomorphic depiction of Rudra’s physical appearance is met with in the Ṛgveda in numerous contexts.

Rudra is said to have braided hair or Kapardin and his shape is dazzling.[1]

Sāyaṇācārya in his commentary explains the term kapardin as:

kapardinaṃ jaṭābhiryuktam.[2]

The same epithet Kapardin is also applied to Pūṣan in the Ṛgveda.[3] Rudra possesses firm-limbs and he is brown-coloured, formidable and arrayed with golden ornaments.[4] He is also said to be white-complexioned.[5] He is the possessor of beautiful lips and soft belly.[6] He shines like the gleaming sun, like gold—yaḥ śukra iva sūryo hiraṇyamiva rocate.[7] Rudra wears a glorious necklace in his neck—arhanbibharṣi sāyakāni dhanvārhanniṣkaṃ yajataṃ viśvarūpam[8] and he takes his seat on a chariot.[9] He is also called Tryambaka or one who has three eyes.[10]

Footnotes and references:


divo varāhamaruṣaṃ kapardinaṃ tveṣaṃ rūpaṃ namasā ni hvayāmahe | Ṛgveda, 1.114.5


Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


rathītamaṃ kapardinamīśānaṃ rādhaso mahaḥ | Ṛgveda, 6.55.2


sthirebhiraṅgaiḥ pururūpa ugro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ pipiśe hiraṇyaiḥ | Ibid., 2.33.9


pra babhrave vṛṣabhāya śvitīce maho mahīṃ suṣṭutimīrayāmi | Ibid., 2.33.8


ṛdūdaraḥ suhavo mā no asyai babhruḥ suśipro rīradhanmanāyai || Ibid., 2.33.5


Ibid., 1.43.5


Ibid., 2.33.10


stuhi śrutaṃ gartasadaṃ yuvānaṃ mṛgaṃ na bhīmamupahatnumugram | Ibid., 2.33.11


Ibid., 7.59.12

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