Rudra-Shiva concept (Study)

by Maumita Bhattacharjee | 2018 | 54,352 words

This page relates ‘Epithets and Attributes of Rudra-Shiva (Introduction)’ 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. Epithets and Attributes of Rudra-Śiva (Introduction)

In the Purāṇic literature, numerous epithets are attributed to Śiva on the basis of his different functions or activities. All these Purāṇic epithets point out that primarily, Śiva is a destroyer god and at the same time he is portrayed as a creator and protector.

Śiva is frequently called as Rudra in the Purāṇic literature. Here, in the Śiva Purāṇa it is stated that Rudra is another manifestation of Śiva.[1] There are no differences between Śiva and Rudra.[2] Śiva’s destructive form is said to be Rudra. His supreme position is recognized and he as the Supreme Brahman, incarnated himself as Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.

Śiva represents himself as a creator of the entire world, protector and destroyer all at the same time.[3] He creates everything in the form of Brahmā, protects everyone in the form of Viṣnu and at the time of end he destroys everything in the form of Rudra. No-one is superior to him.[4] As creator, the entire universe, all the moveable and unmoveable things are created by lord Śiva. In the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, he is called as the creator of beings.[5] As the lord of the world, different epithets are attributed to him, e.g. Jagadīśa,[6] Īśvara,[7] Parātman,[8] Jagatpati,[9] Lokakartṛ or the creator of the world,[10] Lokanātha,[11] Paramātman and Parameśvara,[12] Parātpara or one who is greater than the greatest.[13] The supremacy of Śiva has been revealed by these epithets.

Likewise, a number of attributes describe Rudra’s supremacy in the Vedic literature. He is known by these attributes, viz. Devānāṃ Śreṣṭha[14] Bhuvanasya Bhūri or the lord of the world,[15] Vedhas,[16] Pracetas or intelligent,[17] Īśāna,[18] Kṣayadvīra,[19] Pururūpa,[20] Jagatāṃ Pati,[21] Bhagavān.[22] Sāyaṇācārya remarks that pururūpaḥ aṣṭamūrtyāsmakairbahubhī rūpairupetaḥ.[23] It means he is the possessor of many forms. In an Atharvavedic mantra, Sāyaṇācārya mentions the eight forms of Rudra, viz. Śarva, Paśupati, Ugra, Rudra, Bhava, Artheśvara, Mahādeva and Bhīma. Here, Rudra is called Parameśvara.[24] In this context, a similarity has been found between Vedic Rudra and Purāṇic Śiva. In the Purāṇic literature, lord Śiva is depicted as having these eight forms.[25] Among these forms Artheśvara is differently used in the Purāṇas. In the Purāṇic literature, Īśāna is used instead of Artheśvara. The universe consists of eight forms of lord Śiva.[26] Śiva is known as Prathama,[27] Jyeṣṭha[28] in the Purāṇic literature. These designations remind the epithets Jyeṣṭha[29] and Prathama[30] which are used for Rudra in the Yajurvedic period.

Śiva is called as Devadeva,[31] Ādideva,[32] Devādhideva,[33] Trimaṇḍalasya Pitṛ or the father of the three worlds,[34] Bhagavān.[35] There are numerous Vedic appellations which are used for Śiva in the Purāṇic literature. Some of them are referred to as Pinākin, Kapardin, Babhru, Bhīma, Ugra, Hara, Muṇḍin, Nīlalohita, Giriśa, Śaṅkara etc. Some common epithets of Rudra and Śiva have been found in the Vedic and the Purāṇic literature also. At the end of this chapter, a list of the common epithets of Rudra and Śiva has been given.

At the time of explaining the term giriśa in the Vājasaneyisaṃhitā, Mahīdhara states that Rudra is said to be the resident of Kailāsa mountain.[36] In the Purāṇas, Śiva’s abode is mentioned as Kailāsa.[37] And Śiva is regarded as Kailāsaśikharāvāsin or he who resides on the top of Kailāsa.[38] This is another similarity between Rudra and Śiva.

Lord Śiva is said to be the bearer of a thunderbolt.[39] In the Vājasaneyisaṃhitā, it is stated that Rudra carries a thunderbolt (Sṛka) in his hands.[40] Mahīdhara clears the term sṛkāyin with his explanation. He says that the term sṛka denotes thunderbolt and one who holds the thunderbolt in his hands is called Sṛkāyin.[41]

In the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, Rudra is said to be the husband of Ambikā or Umā for the first time.[42] A similarity has been seen between Rudra and Śiva from this reference. Because in later literature, Śiva is also addressed as the husband of Ambikā or Umā.[43]

Kavi,[44] Puṣṭivardhana,[45] Bhūredātṛ,[46] Mīḍhvas,[47] Miḷhuṣṭama [Miḍhuṣṭama?],[48] Vṛṣabha[49] —these epithets are attributed to Rudra which refer to his auspicious characteristic features in the Vedic texts. These features of Rudra have been seen in lord Śiva in the later period. Among these appellations, Mīḍhvas and Milhuṣṭama remind us of the Purāṇic epithets Mṛḍa,[50] Sadāśiva,[51] Dayākara,[52] Śubhāṅga,[53] Śubhaga,[54] Śubhakartṛ,[55] Śubha,[56] Śambhu,[57] Maṅgalya and Maṅgalāvṛta[58] as used for Śiva. All these Purāṇic epithets reveal lord Śiva’s auspicious character.

In the Vedic literature, Rudra’s malevolent character is revealed by some designations, i.e. Ugra, Bhīma, Upahatnu,[59] Tavastama,[60] Varāha.[61] These designations remind us of the epithets of Ugra,[62] Kālakāla,[63] Kāmaśāsana or punisher of Kāma,[64] Mṛgavyādha,[65] Bhīma,[66] Mahākāla[67] etc., in the later literature.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

tasya pūrṇāvatāro hi rudrassākṣācchivaḥ smṛtaḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 2.1.16.50

[2]:

śive triguṇasambhinne rudre tu guṇadhāmani | vastuto na hi bhedo’sti svarṇe tadbhūṣaṇe yathā || Ibid., 4.42.10

[3]:

sarvalokaikasaṃhartā sarvalokaikarakṣitā | sarvalokaikanirmātā pañcabrahmātmakaḥ śivaḥ || Liṅga-purāṇa, 2.14.3

[5]:

Ibid., 3.14.23

[6]:

śubhāṅgo lokasāraṅgo jagadīśo janārdanaḥ | Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.24

[7]:

īśānāya namastubhyamīśvarāya namo namaḥ | Ibid., 2.2.41.35

[8]:

śarvāya sarvarūpāya puruṣāya parātmane | Ibid., 2.2.41.24

[9]:

Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.54.82; 2.35.162; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa,2.25.1

[10]:

lokakartā mṛgapatirmahākartā mahauṣadhiḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.13

[11]:

Matsya-purāṇa, 2.154.130

[13]:

divyāyudhaḥ skandaguruḥ parameṣṭhī parātpara || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.9

[14]:

yaḥ śukraiva sūryo hiraṇyamiva rocate | śreṣṭho devānāṃ vasuḥ || Ṛgveda, 1.43.5

[15]:

īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣadrudrādasuryam || Ibid., 2.33.9

[16]:

aṣāḷhāya sahamānāya vedhase tigmāyudhāya bharatā śṛṇotu || Ibid., 7.46.1

[17]:

kadrudrāya pracetase mīḷhuṣṭamāya tavyase | Ibid., 1.43.1

[18]:

Ibid., 2.33.9

[19]:

(a) imā rudrāya kapardine kṣayadvīrāya pra bharāmahe matīḥ | Ibid.,1.114.1 (b) Ibid., 1.114.2;3;10

[20]:

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

[21]:

namo bhavasya hetyai jagatāṃ pataye namo namo rudrāyātatāyine...|| Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā, 16.18

[22]:

tāsāmīśāno bhagavaḥ parācīnā mukhā kṛdhi || Ibid., 16.53

[23]:

Sāyaṇa on Ṛgveda, 2.33.9

[24]:

tāśca parameśvaryo mūrtayaḥ...| Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda-saṃhitā, 11.2.1

[25]:

Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.27.8-16

[26]:

tasya śambhoḥ pareśasya mūrtyaṣṭakamayaṃ jagat | Śiva-purāṇa, 3.2.2

[27]:

namo jyeṣṭhāya śreṣṭhāya pūrvāya prathamāya ca | Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.21.4

[28]:

jyeṣṭhāya rudrarūpāya somāya varadāya ca | Ibid., 1.72.127

[29]:

namo jyeṣṭhāya ca kaniṣṭhāya ca namaḥ...|| Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā, 16.32

[30]:

adhyavocadadhivaktā prathamo daivyo bhiṣak | Ibid., 16.5

[31]:

(a) dṛṣṭo namaścakārāśu devadevaṃ janārdanaḥ || Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.98.166 (b) devadevo’nayo’cintyo devatātmātsambhavaḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.92

[32]:

namo hiraṇyagarbhāya ādidevāya te namaḥ | Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.18.25

[33]:

devādhidevo devarṣirdevāsuravarapradaḥ | Ibid., 1.65.161

[34]:

trimaṇḍalasya pitaraṃ triguṇya maheśvaram | Ibid., 1.35.18

[35]:

pinākapāṇirbhagavān vṛṣabhāsanaśūladhṛk | Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.55.54

[36]:

giriśa girau parvate kailāsākhye śete iti giriśa | Uvaṭa on Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā, 16.4

[38]:

(a) kailāsaśikharavāsī sarvāvāsī sadāgatiḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.110 (b)...kailāsaśikharavāsī sarvāvāsī satāṃ gatiḥ || Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.98.136

[39]:

(a) vajrahastassiddhakhaṅgo narasiṃhanipātanaḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.94 (b) kuliśodyotitakarambhābhirjvalitamūrdhaja | Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.30.127

[40]:

...namaḥ sṛkāyibhyo jighāṅsadbhyo muṣṇatāṃ pataye namo...|| Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā, 16.21

[41]:

sṛka iti vajranāma | sṛkena vajreṇa saha yanti gacchantītyevaṃśīlāḥ sṛkāyiṇaḥ...| Mahīdhara, Ibid.

[42]:

namo hiraṇyabāhave hiraṇyavarṇāya hiraṇyarūpāya hiraṇyapataye’mbikāpataya umāpataye paśupataye namo namaḥ || Taittirīya-āraṇyaka, 10.22.1

[43]:

(a) nīlatā yena kaṇṭhasya kāraṇenāmbikāpateḥ || Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.54.11 (b) nama ambikādhipataye umāyāḥ pataye namaḥ | Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.18.32

[44]:

tveṣaṃ vayaṃ rudraṃ yajñasādhaṃ vaṅkuṃ kavimabase ni hvayāmahe | Ṛgveda,1.114.4

[45]:

Ibid., 7.52.12

[46]:

bhūrerdātāraṃ satpatiṃ gṛṇīṣe stutastvaṃ bheṣajā rāsyasme || Ibid., 2.33.12

[47]:

(a) Ibid.,1.114.3; 2.33.14 (b) ava sthirā maghavadbhyastanuṣva mīḍhvastokāya tanayāya mṛḍa || Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā,16.50

[48]:

(a) Ṛgveda,1.43.1 (b)...namo giriśayāya ca śipiviṣṭāya ca namo mīḍhuṣṭamāya ceṣumate ca || Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā, 16.29

[49]:

(a) mā tvā rudra cukrudhāmā namobhirmā duṣṭutī vṛṣabha mā sahūtī | Ṛgveda, 2.33.4 (b) Ibid., 2.336;8;15

[50]:

śivo haro mṛḍo rudraḥ puṣkaraḥ puṣpalocanaḥ | Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.2

[51]:

(a) Liṅga-purāṇa, 1.3.38; 98.49 (b) samāvarto’nivṛttātmā dharmapuñjaḥ sadāśivaḥ | Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.22

[52]:

dātā dayākaro dakṣaḥ kapardīḥ kāmaśāsanaḥ || Ibid., 4.35.12

[53]:

śubhāṅgo lokasāraṅgo jagadīśo janārdanaḥ | Ibid., 4.35.24

[54]:

kālakālaḥ kṛttivāsāḥ subhagaḥ praṇavātmakaḥ | Ibid., 4.35.8

[55]:

śubhadaḥ śubhakartā ca śubhanāmā śubhaḥ svayam || Ibid., 4.35.122

[56]:

Ibid., 4.35.122

[57]:

(a) arthigamyaḥ sadācāraḥ śarvaḥ śambhurmaheśvaraḥ || Ibid.,4.35.2 (b) Agni-purāṇa, 18.44

[58]:

sarvakarmālayastuṣṭo maṅgalyo maṅgalāvṛtaḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.36

[59]:

stuhi śrutaṃ gartasadaṃ yuvānaṃ mṛgaṃ na bhīmamupahatnumugram | Ṛgveda, 2.33.11

[60]:

śreṣṭho jātasya rudra śriyāsi tavastamastavasāṃ vajrabāho | Ibid., 2.33.3

[61]:

divo varāhamaruṣaṃ kapardinaṃ tveṣaṃ rūpaṃ namasā ni hvayāmahe | Ibid.,1.114.5

[62]:

ugraḥ paśupatistārkṣyaḥ priyabhaktaḥ paraṃtapaḥ | Śiva-purāṇa, 4.35.12

[63]:

kālakālaḥ kṛttivāsāḥ subhagaḥ praṇavātmakaḥ | Ibid., 4.35.8

[64]:

Ibid., 4.35.12

[65]:

viśālākṣo mṛgavyādhaḥ sureśaḥ sūryatāpanaḥ | Ibid., 4.35.11

[66]:

Mār.P., 52.8; Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.27.14; Viṣṇu-purāṇa, 1.8.6

[67]:

mahāeghavaraprekṣa mahākāla namo’stu te || Vāyu-purāṇa, 1.30.222

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