The Pinnacle of Rudra: Śrī Rudram ~ Rudra Prashna ~ Śatarudriya

Vedam is one, meaning it is one knowledge of one truth. It originates from the root word ‘Vid’ which means ‘to know’. This Veda is called Apauruṣeyā, meaning that which is not composed or authored. Vedas are a collection of homages given by many Ṛṣis in their transcendental states of meditation (Dhyana/Samadhi). These homages are called the Saṃhitā. Following the Saṃhitā are the Brahmanas, which contain the details of ritual processes and the events/stories behind them. Following them are the Arayankas, wherein ‘Aranya’ means wilderness of forests, mountains, oceans, and more. Ṛṣis did not necessarily live among urban communities; they sought wilderness for their yoga and tapas and other austerities. The knowledge that was shared during this time became the Aranyakas. Finally, we have the cumulative essence of each Vedic branch, called the Upanishad – which is a dialogue between the master and the student. These Upanishads collectively became the knowledge base that we today call the Vedanta.

Veda has four primary flavors called the principal Śākhā/Zākhā; they are Rig/Rk, Yajur, Sāma, and Atharva. Since Yajur has two shades, Kṛṣṇa Yajur, and Sukla Yajur, some scholars consider a total of five principal Zākhās/Śākhā/branches. Please note that within these four primary Śākhās, many sub Śākhās emerged and each became an independent school; hence these are also called Śākhās. For example, Kṛṣṇa Yajur has Taittirīya, Kapishthala, Caraka-Katha, and Maitrayani. Similarly, Rig/Rk has Śākala and Bāṣkala Śākhā. And each Śākhā has its own Saṃhitā, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. For example, Katha Aranyaka and Katha Upanishad belong to Caraka-Katha Śākhā of Black Yajur. Similarly, Taittirīya Aranyaka and Taittirīya Upanishad belong to the Taittirīya Śākhā of Black Yajur. At one time there were close to 1180 Vedic Śākhās. After various invasions, calamities, and other philosophical expansions, today we are left with 14 Śākhās, out of which only 6 are in practice. For example, Caraka-Katha Śākhā is not in practice today as the families that were the custodians of this Veda are now lost. These families belonged to the Kashmir region. Partial Aranyaka manuscripts have been recently discovered in Kashmir regions. But the Katha Upanishad is intact because the child prodigy Adi Shankaracharya collected various Upanishads belonging to various Śākhās and gave his commentary by linking their cumulative essence during the Buddhist expansion. He created a massive knowledge base of Vedanta under the umbrella called Advaita thesis. He also included various Sutras, composed several Bhakti hymns, and Tantric thesis. Many sectarian scholars took subsections of his collection and gave their own commentaries 600 to 1000 years after his time.

At the center of these 5 principal Sākhā stands the KṛṣṇaYajur (Black Yajur) Veda. But what places Kṛṣṇa Yajur after Sukla Yajur? That we will see soon. In Kṛṣṇa Yajur there are 7 kandas (cantos), making the 4th kanda it’s center. This 4th kanda has 9 Prapathaka/Prayāya (chapters/Prashnas), making the 5th chapter it’s center (as shown in the image). This 5th chapter has 11 homages called the Rudra Prashna or Śrī Rudram. This makes Rudra Prashna the kernel/core of Vedam and is the home of the famous Panchakshari (five syllables) Mahamantra – which is ‘Om Nama Śivāya’. Many renowned scholars, like Śrī Chaganti, call Rudra Prashna the heart and well-guarded nucleus of Vedam.

Śatarudrīya/Çatarudriya, on the other hand, comes from the Rudrādhyāyas of Sukla Yajur Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā (White Yajur) belonging to 16th Kanda (also present in Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhitā of Kṛṣṇa Yajur). It contains 6×11 = 66 homages with 425 oblations given to one hundred aspects of Rudra – hence the word Śata/Çata, meaning hundred. This 425 is divided into three sets – 360 formulas represent 30 phases of the moon multiplied by 12 months/masa in a year, 30 formulas correspond to the nights of each month, and 35 formulas represent the 13th month called Adhika Masa which is dedicated to the SELF (the divine spark Agni and Prajāpati). Why 35? The Self, on the physical level, is represented by 30 limbs + 2 feet + 2 vital prāṇa + 1 head/mind totaling 35. Coming back to the question, what proves Kṛṣṇa Yajur is the successor to Sukla Yajur? Because Śatarudrīya is mentioned in Kṛṣṇa Yajur 5.4, making it the successor Zākhā. Apart from the Vedas, Śatarudrīya is extensively described in the Mahābhārata Itihāsa across many parvas (chapters). Śatarudrīya is the summit to all that is Rudra, it provides in full detail the concepts of omnipotence, sovereignty (īśvaratva), omniscience (Mahakaal), and omnipresence (the indweller in all), is the pinnacle of microcosm-macrocosm analogy.

Please note that among various Śākhā explained by Caraṇavyūha, Rudra Prashna or Śrī Rudram is placed in the Saṃhitās of both the Taittirīya Śākhā and the Kapisthala Śākhā of Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda.

Fundamental Vocabulary: Śata/Çata = hundred; Sahasra = thousand/countless; Homa/Agnihotram/Śaṇḍila = fire altar; Cātvāla = hole in the center of the fire; Svāhākāra = presenting of oblations into the fire altar; Anuvākam = verse used in offering oblation; Māsa = month; Samvatsaram = year; Ṛtu = seasons; Kalasha = vessel; Yajamāna = the host of the ceremony; Adhvaryu = the one offering oblations; Namaha = to prostrate oneself as the sacrifice; Yājuṣmatī/Pariśrit = ceremonial stones around the fire altar; Lokampṛṇa = bricks used in building the fire-altar; Mantra Anuvākam chanted based on its metre to invoke certain resonance/vibration/Deva; Sāmans = soothing and appeasing hymns; Yajñá = the entire ceremonial process of mantras, as Svāhākāra, given into the fire-altar; Vedi = the location of the Yajñá; āgnidhra = the brahmin/priests supporting the process of the YajñáNirṛti = Southwest direction of the Yajñáāhavaniya = eastern fire; gārhapatya = western fire; dakṣiṇāgni = southern fire.

From Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā, let us move on to its Brahmāṇa portion located in the 11th Kanda, 3rd Prayāya, Brahman 1-2 called the  Śatapatha Brahmāṇa (9.1.1) of the Sukla Yajur Veda, which explains the instructions of Śatarudrīya Yajñá in utmost detail. All the hymns in the Saṃhitās section of Śatarudrīya are utilized here with a detailed explanation, hence these chapters of Veda-Saṃhitās addressing Rudra are called Rudrādhyāya, and hymns addressing Rudra are called Rudrīya. The instructions and details of presenting these 425 oblations to hundreds of forms of Rudra are given in its Brahmāṇa portion, wherein the completed fire-altar becomes Rudra. The Devas confer that he is the “ṛtāvṛdha: the supreme form of truth and immortality”. Here, immortality is not of the body but the realization of ṛta (the supreme truth).

1. Why is Śatarudrīya needed? Prajāpati is the subtle body of consciousness and upon austerity/Yajñá all Devas arise from his exhaustion. Devas are the phenomenon of ṛta. The final aspect that remains in Prajāpati is the furious essence, this anger is called Manyu. It is also explained in the Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda that the final stage of the fire-altar becomes Rudra, also the remnant of the Yajñá becomes whole and so restarts the Yajñá itself. Prajāpati’s tears of anguish and exhaustion, which are called Tapodhuma, cover the wrath of Manyu. This Manyu is the hundred-headed Rudra with a thousand eyes and thousands of weapons. The remaining three Vedas speak of this multifaceted form of Rudra as Viṣvarūpam, meaning the cosmic form or the all-encompassing omni-form RV 2.33.10/TS 4.5.4/TA 10.23.1. These tears of anguish cover all bhuvanas (lokas) in countless numbers, and they are all called Rudras. Since this form originated from anguish/cry (ruditāt), He is called Rudra. So, the word Rudra has many meanings based on the process involved. This is why Rudra is the Divinity of many contradictions and so becomes a natural epithet to all Vedic Divinities. This incomprehensible fierce form frightened all the Devas, so they asked Prajāpati to pacify him. They gathered calming oblations/offerings called Śāntadevatyam; this calming oblation to Rudra is called Śāntarudriya. These offerings include sesamum seeds, Gavedhuka and Arka offered over ceremonial stones around the fire-altar called Pariśrit. Since it is to appease the hundred-headed Rudra, it is called Śataśirsarudra-śamaniyam (Śata = hundred, śirsa = heads)

2. How can one offer oblations to the Lord who encompasses all? What can one offer to Him that is not His? These Svāhākāra (oblations) in the form of Gaveduka were offered in the Northern region of the Agnihotram (fire-altar) because this is the region of Rudra (hence the title dakṣiṇin marutāṃRV5.60, and so a Gaveduka plant grew at that place, and Prajāpati said: “we satisficed him with his own share with his own essence”. Similarly, leaves of Arka were offered and an Arka plant grew at that place and again Prajāpati said: “we satisfice him with his own share with his own essence”. 

 3. Svāhākāras offered from the height of the knees are received by Rudras encompassing Earth and below realms; similarly, oblations given from the navel region are received by all Rudras of the aerial region called antariksha; then oblations given from the mouth region are received by those from the upper celestial regions. Finally, the oblation is offered to the hundred-headed manifestation of Rudra; this form is titled Kṣatra, meaning the chief/head/owner. From the tears of Kṣatra came Viś, and Viś became Creation itself and its beings, they became people or commoners. These Viś gave the first oblations/anuvākam of Śataśirsarudra to Ekadevataya (the One Divinity), who is Kṣatra. This very concept gave way to Eka-Vrātya or Eko-He-Rudra, meaning “there is none that is not Rudra”. And Viś became the root word for Viśvam, and if we go to Kṛṣṇa Yajur VedTaittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5.5 says “नमो गिरिशाय च  शिपिविष्टाय  च”, meaning salutations to the one who resides on the mountains and who becomes Viśvam (ŚipiViṣṭa). Please note that ŚipiViṣṭa is a title given to Viśnu as well, as Viśnu is the personification of Viśvam. Hence Prajāpati says “we satisficed him with his own share with his own essence” and this conclusion corresponds with Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṃhitā1.8.6 – which, in turn, landed in both Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad and Chandogya Upaniṣhad (two among the 18 primary Upaniṣhads).

There is (हि) The One (एको ) Rudrā (रुद्रो) and none (न) other than He, none can make Him second (द्विती) in being (याय), that is in existence (तस्थु:र्य) among worlds( इमां:ल्लोका), He is the authority (ईशते) by His own authority (ईशनीभिः)| In all worlds/celestial dimensions (भुवनानि), is His projection and under His guardianship (संसृज् + ज्य + गोपाः) in entirety (विश्वा), He is established (तिष्ठति) in all beings (हे जनाः) as the indweller (प्रत्यङ्); and all beings (भूत्वा), at the time of final dissolution (अन्त:काले), become/withdraw into Him (सञ्चुकोच)

 Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad 3.2

सदेव सोम्येदमग्र आसीदेकमेवाद्वितीयम् । तद्धैक आहुरसदेवेदमग्र आसीदेकमेवाद्वितीयं तस्मादसतः सज्जायत ॥6.2.1
कुतस्तु खलु सोम्यैवंस्यादिति होवाच कथमसतः सज्जायेतेति। सत्त्वेव सोम्येदमग्र आसीदेकमेवाद्वितीयम् ॥ 6.2.2
यथा सोम्य मधु मधुकृतो निस्तिष्ठन्ति नानात्ययानां वृक्षाणांरसान्समवहारमेकतांरसं गमयन्ति ॥ 6.9.1
ते यथा तत्र न विवेकं लभन्तेऽमुष्याहं वृक्षस्य रसोऽस्म्यमुष्याहं वृक्षस्य रसोऽस्मीत्येवमेव खलु सोम्येमाः सर्वाः प्रजाः सति सम्पद्य न विदुः सति सम्पद्यामह इति ॥
“From a single ball of clay, we can know every form made of clay, the difference in form is but the name (nama-rūpa). In the beginning was one being, without a second, or non-being, without a second; and from that various beings came to be. Just like bees make one honey from nectars of various flowers, yet the honey does not know from which tree or flower, in the same way, all beings begotten from One Being do not know their source”
Please note: the word “Being” does not mean a person or an alien or animal, beings means “to be” or “to exist”. Existence cannot be described or iconified with an image/form within the frontiers of vocabulary.

 Chandogya Upaniṣhad 6.2.1/6.2.2/6.9.1/6.9.2

4. So who is this Prajāpati, from whom came forth the all-encompassing Rudra? There are 13 māsa/months in a year/samvatsaram and the dawn is Prajāpati. In other words, there are 14 Yajus (mantras), one for each month and the 14th mantra is Prajāpati. The very Agnihotram or fire-altar is also Prajāpati. Great is Agni, the transmitter of oblations that were given to him by saying “Namo Namaha”, wherein Namaha is the sacrifice of self. This Brahmāṇa is a perfect match with Kanda 8, Prayāya 1, Brahmāṇa 3, which also describes the birth of Rudrā and Gāyatrī.

5. Being the lord of all quarters, Rudra has the title “dishām ca pataye” and “Pathīnāṃ-Pataye” TS4.5.2,VS16.17, and the famous title digambara. He is the one with golden arms “HiraṇyabahaveyVS16.17, the commander (Kṣatra), the principal (Mahā), and the authority (īśha). The lord of all creators (BhutapatiAV11.2.1/Paśūpati/Satpati) receives this sacrifice as Kṣatra, since Kṣatra is the foremost head. So, He (Kṣatra) takes all oblation on behalf of countless Rudras. When the multitude-form of Rudra receives this sacrifice, countless Rudras enter all dimensions of reality, and various beings with a multitude of aspects are pleased as they are born.

Please note: Digambara means Digeva:ambaram:asya, meaning the one who is clad/clothed with space and all directions. Even Durga, after the dissolution of Creation, is called Digambar – meaning, wearing only space.

6. In this way each Anuvākam is given to one of many aspects of Rudras; for example, the eightieth Anuvākam is given to Avatāna, meaning the unstringing of the bow, and to the arrows. The Rudras of celestial regions hold arrows of rain, those of the aerial region hold arrows of wind, and those of Earthly realms hold arrows of food and medicine. Another celebrated Anuvākam is “Namo vah Kirikebhyah”, meaning the brilliant and sparkling abode like the Sun. Another is in recognition of Agni, Vāyu, and all Ādityas, who are the heart of all Devatas/Divinities. Another to Drāpa is “the remover/dispeller”, so he is titled “Andhasah”, which is Soma; and Rudra becomes Andhasaspati, meaning the Lord of Soma. In this way, various Anuvākam with their respective metres/syllables make up the mantra, using which, various manifestations of Rudras are appeased in Yajñá. For example, Virād metre is of 10 syllables used to give oblation in 10 directions to 10 prāṇas which provide full life called āyus; this is why Brhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣhad 3.9.4 says that 10 Rudra enter a Purusha/being as their 10 prāṇas and 11th is the Atman. Similarly, different metres are used in coordination with months, seasons, worlds, prāṇa, yojanas (distance in leagues), wind, rain, food, medicines, various parts of the human body, trees, herbs, and more.

Bird/eagle shaped Yajñá Vedi Kunda

7. As we head into Brahmāṇa 2, the fire-altar is built in the shape of a flying bird, and Prajāpati releases water and ceremonial stones in the Nirṛti quarter as a sign of releasing all his offenses, fear, pain, and suffering. There are many other detailed events like breaking the pot, naming one’s enemies, naming the objects of desire, and more. Various offerings are performed in their respective directions using items like milk, ghee, honey, lotus flowers, and bamboo grass. The bricks that build this altar are given oblations and called upon as they are the building blocks of Creation, they are the seasons, they are night and day, they are the names and titles of the Devatas being invited to the ceremony. Certain bricks are turned away and are not named, these bricks are called Lokampṛṇa, hence they are titled Virāj; this became the source/egg for a secondary Creation mentioned in other Vedas. Lokampṛṇa literally means that which fills all worlds. Similar to Hiranyagarbha and SkambhaVirāj is another concept discussed in the Vedas in respect to Puruṣa.

8. Near the end of the Yajñá, Prajāpati sings Sāmans like Gāyatra using the Gāyatri metre. He does so while circling around the altar three times (pradakṣiṇa) with the altar being on his right, indicating its highest stature. Various Sāmans are sung from each quarter of the fire-altar on behalf of Creation, like Rathantara for Earth, Bṛhad for the sky, Vāmadevya for prāṇaYajñāyajñīya for the moon, and so on. Finally, Prajāpati sings the Sāmans representing one’s own heart – which is nothing but the Sun – and asks for prajās (meaning progeny). So, prajā are people or beings and Prajā+pati is their creator. The entire fire-altar becomes the source of Creation and all beings emerge from it. Many entities arise from the oblations given to Rudra, like animals, amphibious creatures like frogs, plants like Vetasa (bamboo grass), and flowers like Avākkās (lotus). By doing so, all prāṇas get revitalized and so regain āyus, meaning full life, and heal from exhaustion. Upon meditation, the highest form of immortality is bestowed. This immortality is beyond prāṇas and beyond physicality. Thus concludes the Śatarudrīya Yajñá where Prajāpati says “this immortality the highest in this whole Creation”. This highest immortality is ṛtāvṛdha: the supreme form of truth.

If this entire process is witnessed through Prajāpati, then Prajāpati is both the Yajamāna (the one performing the Yajñá) and the fire-altar itself. The entire fire-altar is Creation and all the worlds, and the water sprinkled into it as oblations is the oceans. He is the 14th Yajus mantra and so He is the dawn of a Sāṃvatsaram; finally, He is the subtle body of beings, making him the Self.

If witnessed through Agni, then Agni is the Great Source, Agni is Vāk and the one to recite the Vedic Mantra (anuvakamRV1.1.1, Agni is Rudra, Agni is the fire on the Earth and also the fire in the Sun. KA-III-222 Agni is Yajñá and the āgnidhra/hotr (the brahmin priest) and the transmitter of oblations, He transmutes Creation and is also the destroyer. He is both the beginning and the end. He is the Self, He is prāṇa and the energy of the physical body.

If witnessed as Yajñá, it is not just a physical act or a ritual. All of Creation is Yajñá; the process that propels Creation is Yajñá. This process is both on the micro-level and the macro level. The Yajñá-Vedi is the Earth and the planets, all Devatas emerge from Yajñá, a human body is Yajñá, the very life process is Yajñá. Yajñá is the source and the destination. The words of Sri Aurobindo, concerning the Yajñá of Rudra Prashna, match the essence of this Yajñá and the statements of Prajāpati:

“This is a special type of Yoga called here as the Vedic Yoga, whose essence is the inner Yajñá. Taittirīya Saṃhitā mentions in many places that this Yajñá is a journey. A common synonym of Yajñá is adhvara, which means journey (adhva=path, ra=movement). The aim of Vedic Yoga is to establish an all-sided perfection in both the individual and society. The focus here is on the development of the inner potential, i.e., that connected with the inner physical body, with the prāṇa energy, those connected with our mental and supramental energies. This upward journey involves seven steps or stages, each Prapathaka is one step of this journey. Who journeys? It is the jiva/soul of the seeker, with all the associated prāṇa energies and the subtle bodies, which travels to the world of light (svar). In the Veda the standard symbol of jiva/soul is a bird (shyena, hawk) that goes to heaven/svar-ga (celestial realms of light or enlightened state of consciousness), perfects all its energies and organs, and returns to Earth in its divinized condition. The anuvakam 4.1.1 quotes Rig Veda 10.13.1 to stress that each one of us is a child of immortality. Attaining that divine perfection is our birthright”

Yajur Veda: Sir Aurobindo Kapali Shastra Institute of Vedic Culture.(n.d)

When witnessed as Rudra, then Rudra is not a name or a person anymore. Rudra is the raw concept that manifests in all, the energy that propels Creation forward to the highest stride of Viś:nu. Rudras encompass all planes of reality. There is nothing that is not Rudra, He is the cause and the consequence. Rudra becomes Manyu, Vrātya, Kṣatra, Drāpa, Andhasaspati, Kāla and Viś. Viś becomes the root word for Viśvam (entirety) and Viśvam is Viśnu. Rudra expands into all quarters/directions and so becomes the owner of all quarters, hence the title “dishām ca patayeTS4.5.2,VS16.17 . Rudra enters everything – into Soma, into Agni, into Vayu, into plants, water, metal. Rudra is prāṇa, He is the body and self, He is the owner and servant, He is the chief and the subject, He is the ruler and the commoner, the giver and the taker, He heals and destroys, He protects and terrorizes, He creates and destroys. His name is the highest of all names. Everything is Rudra, there are no two entities. Hence, as Prajāpati says, “we satisficed him with his own share with his own essence”.

As Kṣatra He is the head of all beings, as Paśūpati He is the abode of all creators, as medha-pati He is the lord/abode of all sacrifice, as brahmānaspatim He is the lord/abode of all knowledge, as gātha-patim He is the abode of all hymns and songs. This matches the first homage given to Rudra-Soma in the Rig Veda:

He is tavyase (mighty/strong), yet He has Shamtamam Hruday (pleasant or beneficent heart)
gātha-patim = resort of all hymns/songs
medha-patim = the resort of Yajñá/sacrifice/oblations
śam-yoḥ sumnam = bliss/ānandam
pra-jāḥ amṛtasya = immortals family possessing the elixir (amṛta)
parasmin dhāman ṛtasya = home to the highest truth (ṛtasya)
Please Note: Both terms “ṛtasya” and “amṛtasya” are used synonymously; at times, Soma is also used as its replacement.

Rig Veda 1.43

 Thou, O Agni, art Rudra, the asura of the mighty sky
Rudra, lord of the sacrifice

Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṃhitā 1.3.14, 1.4.11

If is a Vedic Yajñā, then how can one on the Vedantic realm utilize this mantra? Kaivalya Upaniṣhad stands as the 12th Primary Upaniṣhad, answers this question for us:

यः शतरुद्रियमधीते सोऽग्निपूतो भवति सुरापानात्पूतो भवति| स ब्रह्महत्यायाः पूतो भवति स सुवर्णस्तेयात्पूतो भवति | स कृत्याकृत्यात्पूतो भवति तस्मादविमुक्तमाश्रितो | भवत्यत्याश्रमी सर्वदा सकृद्वा जपेत् ॥
He who puts into constant practice the Vedic Hymn Śatarudrīya, they become purified (भवति- पूतो) by the Agni (अग्नि), they become purified (भवति- पूतो) from addictions from inebriating substances that intoxicate (सुरापाना), they become purified (भवति- पूतो) from sins of killing a pious one (ब्रह्महत्याया), they become purified (भवति- पूतो) from the additions to wealth and riches (सुवर्णस्तेयात्), they become purified (भवति- पूतो) from intentional acts or corruption and deception (कृत्य-अकृत्या). Those who are bond to truth (अविमुक्त) and consistent (आश्रित) and who always abide (सर्वदा) with their respective ashram (आश्रम) should chant this ever (जपेत्)

Kaivalya Upaniṣhad 25

Finally, compare the above to Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Itihāsa or Mahābhāratam. Drona Parva, Nārāyaṇastra-Mokshana Parva, Section 203 summarizes every aspect we have seen in the Vedas. It says:

VedVyāsa says: The foremost one of all Devas/Gods, that destroyer of Daksha’s Yajñá, that divine lord having a bull as His sign, became gratified with the Devas. He is Rudra, He is Śiva, He is Agni, He is everything, and He hath knowledge of everything. He is Indra, He is the wind/Vayu, He is the twin Ashvins, He is the lightning. He is Bhava, He is Parjanya, He is Mahādeva, He is sinless (untouched by karma-cause-and-effect). He is the moon/Soma, He is īśhana, He is Surya, He is Varuna. He is Kāla, He is Antaka, He is Mrityu, He is Yama. He is the day, He is the night. He is the fortnight, He is the month, He is the season. He is morning and night and twilight, He is the year/Sāṃvatsara. He is Dhātri, He is Vidhātri, He is the soul of the Viśvam. Though Himself without body, He it is who is the embodied celestials. He is one, He is many, He is a hundred thousand. Brahmins versed in the Vedas say that He hath two forms. These are the terrible and auspicious. These two forms are again multifarious. His terrible forms are Agni, Viśnu and Surya. His auspicious forms are the water, light and the moon. Whatever is highly mysterious in the several branches of the Vedas, in the Upaniṣhads, in the Puráńas, and in those sciences/Śāstra that deal with the soul/jiva-ātmān, is that God, viz., Maheswara. That God is again without birth. All the attributes of that God could not be enumerated by me, Oh son of Pandu, even if I were to recite them continuously for a thousand years. He is Maheswara and is the lord of even the supreme ones. In many forms of many kinds He prevadeth the Viśvam. He always dwells in the crematoriums. Men worship that Supreme Lord in that place where none but the courageous can go. Many are the names, of truthful import, of this deity in all worlds; those names are founded upon His supremacy, His omnipotence and His acts. In the Vedas, the excellent hymn called Śatarudrīya hath been sung in honor of that great God called the infinite Rudra.

Krishna showed thee this God, in thy dream, sitting on the top of the foremost of mountains. That illustrious God proceedeth in advance of thee in battle. It is He who gave thee those weapons with which thou didst slay the Danavas. The hymn approved of by the Vedas and called Śatarudrīya in honor of that God of Gods, that excellent, famous, life-enhancing and sacred hymn, has now, O Partha, been explained to thee. This hymn of 4 divisions capable of accomplishing every object, is sacred, destructive of all sins, and competent to drive away all stains and kill all sorrows and all fears. The man that always listens to it succeeds in vanquishing all his foes and is highly respected in the region of Rudra. The person who always attentively reads or listens to the recitation of this excellent and this auspicious account appertaining to battle, of the illustrious deity, and who worships with devotion that illustrious lord of the universe, obtains all the high objects of desire in consequence of the three-eyed God being gratified with him.

 Mahābhāratam, Drona Parva – Narayanastra-mokshana Parva Section 203

Vāsudeva says to Yudhishthira: I shall recite to you the good that I have acquired and the fame that I have won through the grace of the high-souled one. Verily, I shall discourse to you on this topic, after I have bowed unto Kaparddin. O King, listen to me as I recite to you that Śatarudrīya which I repeat, with restrained senses, every morning after rising from bed. The great lord of all creatures, viz., the Grandsire Brahman himself, endued with wealth of penances, composed those mantras, after having observed special penances for some time. O sire, it is Śankcara who created all the creatures in the universe, mobile and immobile. There is no being that is higher, O monarch, than Mahādeva.

 Mahābhāratam Anuśāsanica Parva Section 160 (non-jaya section)

Thou art the beginning and thou art the end of the Vedas, thou art the Gāyatri and thou art OM. Thou art green, red, blue ….. and all the colors of the Sun. Thou art without color, thou art best color, thou art the maker of colors, and thou art without comparison….. Thou art the fire upon which the sacrificial butter/ghee is poured. Thou art he who pours the ghee. Thou art he in honor of whom the ghee is poured, thou art the butter itself that is poured. Thou art those section of Brahmanas that are called Trisuparna, thou art all the Vedas, thou art the section called Śatarudrīya in the Yajushes/Yajur. Thou art the holiest of holies, the most auspicious of auspicious things. Thou animatest the inanimate body. Thou art the Chit that dwells in the human form. Invested with attributes, thou becomes subject to destruction. Thou art Jiva – that is, He who is never subjected to destruction when uninvested with attributes. Thou art full yet thou become liable to decay and death in the form of the body which is Jiva’s accompaniment. Thou art satwa, rajas, tamas and thou art not subject to error. Thou art the breath of life called Prāna, Apāna, Samāna, Udāna and Vyāna. Thou art the opening of the eye and shutting of the eye…..
त्रिसुपर्ण (Trisuparna) = Secret text or that which is to be known

Mahābhāratam Shanti Parva – Moksha Dharma Parva Section 285

Rudraṣṭakam, a magnificent composition by Ṛṣi Lomash, enclosed within Rama Charita Maānas by devout poet Tulsidas addresses Him as “Veda Swarūpa”:

Namaam-Iisham-Iishaana Nirvaanna-Ruupam
Vibhum Vyaapakam Brahma-Veda-Svaruupam |
Nijam Nirgunnam Nirvikalpam Niriiham
Cidaakaasham-Aakaasha-Vaasam Bhaje-[A]ham ||1||


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