Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rudram & Chamakam -Meaning

Courtesy: Sri.P.Krishnan



I would like to discuss several basic aspects of Rudram to all of you who attend

the 3rd Sunday Ekadasa Rudram chanting. I will talk about the following:

Types of Chanting


Definition of Rudram

What is covered in Rudram?

Reason for 11 anuvaka of Rudram

Mrithyunjaya Mahamantram

Representation of 11 th Anuvaka of Chamakam

Reason for reciting 3rd Anuvaka of Chamakam

Types of Chanting

Rudram is also known as Namakam as it represents the glorification of Siva.

Chamakam basically is asking Rudra for granting phalams for having recited the

Rudram. Chamay is the main phrase used in Chamakam.

Regular worship: Recite rudram followed by chamakam

Rudra Ekadasani

: Recitation of 11 Rudram and one chamakam. One anuvaka

of chamakam followed by one rudram represents a set. 11 such sets are recited


nd Anuvaka of Chamakam followed by another Rudram until all anuvakas of

chamakam are completed).

Laghu Rudram

: Recitation of 11 Rudra Ekadasani (121 Rudrams and 11


Maha Rudram

: Recitation of 11 Laghu Rudrams (1331 Rudrams and 121


Adhi Rudram

: Recitation of 11 Maharudrams (14641 Rudrams and 1331



It is the normal practice to recite Nyasa mantra for invocation of the deity in our

body. There are two forms of Nyasa. The short form is Laghu Nyasam and the

long form is Mahanyasam. In our Pradosha pooja, we recite Laghu Nyasam. In

our 3

rd Sunday Rudra Ekadasani, we recite Mahanyasam.

Definition Of Rudram

Several meanings are available for Rudram. The most important are Rudh

Dukham( One who drives off all sorrows and causes of sorrow) and

Dukha Nivavartvam (one gives ananda and mangalam upon removal of sorrow).

Rudra represents the fierce form and peaceful form is that of Siva.

All of us are familiar that Rudra represents anger and infact the Rudram starts

with salutations to his anger (

Namaste rudramanvaya…)

What is Covered in Rudram?

Three aspects are brought in Rudram.

Sarvesvaratvam: Siva is portrayed as iswara of all gods (intelligent cause

or Nimitta Karanatvam)

Sarvatmakatvam or Sarva Sariratvam: Lord alone is appearing in the form

of the world.

Sarva Antaryamitvam: Exhibiting the inner essence of Nirguna Brahman

All the three aspects are indicated in 2

nd to 9th anuvakas.

Reasons for 11 Anuvakas in Rudram

Our scripture mentions that there are 33 devatas. 8 vasus, 11 Rudras, 12 Suryas

(Adityas), one Indra and one prajapati. In Bhagavad Gita Vasus, Rudras,and

Suryas(Adhityas) are mentioned in the 10 th Chapter,Verses 21 and 23. In

Amavasya (New moon) tarpanam, our departed parents, grandparents and great

great grand parents are referred to as Vasus, Rudras and Adhityas.

Eleven anuvakas represent eleven Rudras .


are Agni, Prithvi, Vayu, Antariksha (atmosphere), Adhitya, Dyaus ( sky),

Chandramas and Nakshtrani..

The eleven attributes are mentioned at end of the 1

st anuvaka(from Visveswaraya

to Mahadevaya).

Suryas are Mitra, Ravi, Surya, Bhanava, Gagha, Bhushna, Hiranyagarbha,

Marichi, Adhitya, Savitru, Arghya, and Bhaskara. These twelve names occurs in

Surya Namaskaram.

Mrithyunjaya Mahamantram:

This occurs as the first of sixth mantra at the end of the 11

th anuvaka of Rudram.

This well known mantram asks for release from samsara (cycles of repeated births

and deaths) by giving an example of the cucumber vine (Urvarigamiva

bhandanath…) from which the ripe cucumber is made to separate. This example

indicates that getting rid of attachments to people and objects are essential for

samsara nivritti.

11th anuvaka of Chamakam

11 th anuvaka presents in an unique way various tatvams( principles) by merely

mentioning odd (1 to 33 –

Eka chamay to trayastri chaghum) and even

numbers( 4,8,12 to 48 –

Chathasraschamay to Astachatvarighum chamay).

Odd numbers represent the following: 1- Nature or Prakriti, 3- Three Gunas, %-

Panchabhutas, 7- 5 sensory organs, mind and intellect, 9- Nava dwara of the body,

11- Ten Pranas and sushumna, 13- devas, 15- Nadis of the body, 17- all limbs of

the body, 190- medicinal herbs, 21- important vulnerable parts of the body, 23-

Devas contolling serious diseases, 25- Number of Apsaras in heaven, 27-

Ghandarvas, 29- Vidhyut devas, 31- Worlds, 33-Devas.

Even numbers represent the following: 4- Purushartha (artha,kama,dharma and

moksha), 8- Vedas and upavedas, 12- six angas and six sastras, 16- Knowledhe to

be gotten from gods, 20- Mahabhutas, 24- Letters(24) of Gayathri, 28- Letters

(28) of Ushnik meter, 32- Letters (32) of Anustup meter, 36- Letters(36) of

Bruhathi meter, 40- Letters ( 40) of Pankthi meter, 44- Letters(44) of Rrustup

meter, and 48- Letters (48) of Jagathi meter.

Attributes represented by odd numbers are for receiving blessings from devas

known as deva santham. The even numbers denotes the well being of living

beings as manushya santham.

My subsequent talks will cover the reason for reciting the 3 rd anuvaka of

Chamakam twice in Rudram chanting and also will summarize the details of each

Rudra anuvakas.


My talk is based on summary of information obtained from

various sources. Any error or omission is entirely mine.


P. Krishnan

Reason for chanting 3

rd anuvaka of Chamakam Twice

It is a tradition in Upanishad reciting to start with a shanti pata. Rudram occurs in

Krishna Yajur veda Taittriya Samhita (four parts of veda are


Brahmana, Aryanaka and Upanishad

). I will digress a little bit from my main

point about the shanti pata of Rudram and say a few words about Vedas and

shanti patas of upanishads. More than 1000 upanishads used to exist but now only

ten are considered important for the simple reason that commentaries have been

written on these by Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. These ten Upanishads are

Aitareya(Rig Veda), Isa and Brihadaranyaka (SuklaYajurVeda), Katha and

Taittariya(KrishnaYajur Veda), Kena and Chandogya (Sama Veda) and Mundaka,

Mandukya and Prasana (Athatva Veda).

Each Upanishad belonging to a particular veda has its own shanthi pata. The

shanthi pata of Rigveda is

Vang May Manasi Prathisthita---. Yajur veda has

two subdivisions-Sukla and Krishna and each has its own shantipata. For sukla

yajur veda, it is

Poornamadham poornamidham--. For KrishnaYajur veda it is

Sahana Bhavathu

and for TaittriyaUpanishad has an additional shantipata


Sanno mitra Sam Varunah…). Both Sanno Mitra and Shana Bhavutu occur

within the Taittriya text and therefore cannot be used for Rudram which occurs in

the Samhita portion

The reason for using

Sanchamay Mayaschamay as the shanti pata before

reciting the first as well as reciting the fourth Rudram is simply one of arithmetic.

Remember that we recite one anuvaka of Chamakam before reciting the Rudram

and reciting 11 Rudrams are completed after the 10th anuvaka of Chamakam

(Note that we recite the 11

th anuvaka of Chamakam after completing 11


This method of reciting requires that we use one anuvaka of Chamakam as the

Shanti pata (similar to that used in Taittriya Upanishad where it occurs within the

text). The choice of that anuvaka is the 3

rd anuvaka of Chamakam (Sanchamay,


) because this anuvaka among all others represent that all our well

being are with Rudra. This anuvaka mentions that pleasures in this world and

other worlds, desire, security, great fame, courage etc are because of Rudra.

Now I will discuss some interesting aspects of each anuvaka of Rudram. I will

cover first to fifth anuvakas in this talk. I will highlight what is covered in each

anuvakas of Rudram to highlight the three aspects of Rudram that I mentioned in

my opening talk.

Generally, most slokams have a palasruthi at the end (for Rudram, it is

Chamakam) and it basically states the benefit that will come to the person reciting

the sloka. There are two types of devotees-

Sakama and Niskama Bhaktas. The

desire of the first type is to obtain personal benefits from Iswara for his family

and himself. The second type prays to Iswara not for obtaining any personal

benefits but asks for benefits for mankind (

Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavanthu).

Therefore, I am including the efficacy of Rudram chanting for curing diseases as

indicated by some commentrators for sakama bhaktas.

First Anuvaka

It is necessary to imagine that a devotee sees anger in Rudra and also sees bows

and arrows in his hand and start fearing what will happen to him. Thus he starts

with saluting his anger (

Manvaya) and the bows (thanvane). After this, the

devotee is requesting Rudra to relinquish his fierce exterior and not to use his

weapons. Some of the interesting thing mentioned in this anuvaka are: Untie the

strings connecting the ends of his bow and put away arms in his hand


Pramuncha dhanvanastra---- Isatvah parato bhagavo rapa), to break the

sharp ends of arrows and slacken the bow string (


Bow string be loosened, quiver become empty and arrows loose the power to hurt


Vijyanthanu-----Abhurasya nishangati).

Having asked to take care of the bow, quiver and arrows for his sake then the

devotee is asking Rudra that his quiver be kept ready for use against his enemies


Atho ya ishudhistavare asmin nidhehitam).

This anuvaka is chanted as a shield (kavacha) for virulent fever, to cure diseases

and fetal disorders.

Second Anuvaka

Sarvesvaratvam aspect of Rudram is mentioned in this anuvaka. Rudra is part of

nature in all its glories and Lord good things by pervading the earth as green

foliage (

Vrikshanam) and medicinal herbs (Aushadhinam) and requests Rudra

to loosen the bonds of samsara(

bhavasya hetayay jagatam pataye).

Second anuvaka chanting has also been mentioned for the cure of diseases.

Third Anuvaka

This anuvaka describes that Rudra is present as thieves (

thaskaranam). Varities

of thieves are mentioned in this anuvaka: those who cheat occasionally


), those who move guardedly with intention to steal (aranyanam),

those who protect themselves in armor (

mushnatham), and those who kill and

seize others possession (


The glorification of Rudra continues and identifies his presence in the form of

those who are asleep and those who are awake (

svabhadbyo Jagrad bhyascha)

and present in the form of horses and those who command them (



This anuvaka is chanted for the cure of tuberculosis, diabetes and leprosy.

Fourth Anuvaka

Sarvatmakatvam is mentioned in this anuvaka. Rudra is described as the creator

and worker of all kinds. He is the cause of both significant and minor. Rudra is

described as Ganas and their lords (

ganebhyo ganapati bhyascha), present as

great ones and small ones (

mahatbhyah kshulakebhya), in the form of

carpenters and fashioners of chariots (

kulalebhya karmarebhya) and as makers

of arrows and bows (

ishukrithabhyo thanvakrudhabyascha).

Fifth Anuvaka


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


Salutations to Siva as the source of all things and destroyer of all ills


bhavaya cha rudraya cha), saluations to Siva who has 1000 eyes and hundred

bows (

shasraksahayayacha satadhanvanecha) as present in fast moving

streams and in cascades

(shgriyayacha shibyayacha), and present in floods and

in the island (

srotasyayacha dvipyayacha).

I will continue with the remaining anuvakas of Rudram in my third and final talk.


My talk is based on summary of information obtained from

various sources. Any error or omission is entirely mine.


P. Krishnan

This will be the third and final talk on Rudram. I will highlight the significance of

Rudram from the sixth anuvaka.

Sixth Anuvaka

Many aspects of Rudra are presented in this anuvaka. Examples are:

Salutations to Him who is senior and who is junior (Jyestayacha,



Salutations to Him who was born before all and who will be born after


Poorvajayacha, Parajayacha)

Who is praised by vedic mantras and Upanishads (Slokyayacha, Vasanyayacha)

Who is in the form of trees in the forest and creepers in the shaded area


Vanyayacha, Kakshyayacha)

Seventh Anuvaka

Sarvaantaryami is brought out in this anuvaka and also in anuvakas eighth and ninth.

Examples are:

Present in drums (Dhundhubyayacha)

Present in narrow paths (Sruthyayacha) and broad highways (Pathyayacha)

Present in marshy and muddy places and in lakes (Sudhyayacha, Sarasyayacha)

Present in flowing waters and in still waters of mountain lakes (Nadhyayacha,



Present in the clouds and in the lightning (Meghyayacha, Vidhyutyayacha)

Eighth Anuvaka

This anuvaka is considered very important because Panchakshari mantra Namasivaya


Na Ma Si Va Ya) occurs in this anuvaka. Atleast this anuvaka should be chanted by

those who do not have time to chant the Rudram fully.

Rudra is described as present in:

Holy places and on banks of rivers (Thirthyayacha, Kulyayacha)

As tender grass and as foam on waters (Shaspyayacha, Penyayacha)

As in sands and flowing water (Sighatyayacha, Pravahyayacha)

Ninth Anuvaka

This anuvaka describes the unfancied and hard to live places where Rudra is present as:

In green leaves and dried leaves (Parnayacha, Parnasatyayacha)

In deep waters and in dew drops (Hradhyayacha, Niveshpyayacha)

In dry things and green things (Shuskyayacha, Harityayacha)

Tenth Anuvaka

It should be noted that this anuvaka

does not end in Nama after every description. Rudra

is prayed for:

Not afflicting the elders in our midst, tender babies, procreating youth, the child in

the womb, neither the father nor the mother etc

(Manao mahanto mutamano---

priya ma nastanuvo rudra ririsha


Rudra is asked not to show his furious fear form by getting angry at our

transgressions that hurts our children, our sons in particular, our servants


veeranmano) but also our cattle (ghoshu) and horses (asveshu) and our warriors


Manastoke tanaye- Mano ashveshu ririsha---)

Many weapons you have be turned away from their hurtful faces from us


Tasamishano bhagavah parachina mukha krudhi)

Let your many weapons not destroy us but destroy our enemies (Yaste

shasraghum hetayan yamas manniva pantutah


This anuvaka is chanted for cure of diseases and for other benefits.

Eleventh Anuvaka

In this anuvaka Rudra's army called Ganas are praised and wherever they exist are

beseeched to protect (

Shasrani Sahasrashoso ye Rudra ---yojhane Vadhanvani


After this the devotee offers his salutation to Ganas by bowing to them in the

east, the west, the north and upwards (

Dasaprachir Dasadakshina Dasapradheeshir

Daso Dhishir).

The last line of this anuvaka says that whom we hate and he who hates us, we consign

them into your yawning mouths (

Dvish moyascha nodh veshti thamvo


This line actually refers to internal enemies all of us have in various

proportions (

kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsaryam) and not to external


After the eleventh anuvaka, six mantras follow. The first is Mrityunjaya Mahamantaran

which I addressed in my first talk.

Second Mantra

: Yo Rudro Agnau----- Rudraya namo asthu. Salutations to Rudra

who is present in fire, who is in water, in plants and trees and in everything in this world.

Third Mantra

: Tamushtihi--- Namobhir deva masurandhuvasya. Rudra has the best

arrows, best bow, who is in medicines that cure all diseases and who destroys asuras.

Fourth Mantra

: Ayam Me Haste---- Sivabhi marshana. My head is god, higher than

god to me, this is the medicines for all sickness to me and for this I touch Siva and

worship him.

Fifth Mantra: Ye they Sahasra----- Mrithyuve svaha.

God who destroys the world

and I pray to Him to kee

p away from me the 1000's of nooses which is used by you to

kill all beings, we shall loosen them by our worship. I offer this sacred food offering in

sacrifice to Rudra the destroyer.

Sixth Mantra

: Om Namo Bhagavate------ Rudro Ma Vichantaka. I offer salutations

to the omnipresent Rudra for seeking protection from death. I pray to Rudra who destroys

everything to be within me and due to that be satisfied with the food that I take as your


The last line

Namo Rudraya Vishnave mrithyur may pahi is very interesting as it

mentions both Rudra and Vishnu to protect the devotee from death. Mention of Rudra

and Vishnu are to point out that only as a personal God there is difference in form and

name but there is no difference when viewed as

Visvarupa. A similar thought is brought

out in

Vishnu Sahasranam where it is mentioned as Sarva Sarva Shiva Sthanu--.

There is a statement in

Kaivalya Upanishad (Verse 24) that even sanyasi should recite

Rudram (

Athyasrami Sarvada Sakrutva Japeth). It is also stated in the same

Upanishad (Verse 25) that knowing Brahman one attains nondual status or moksha


Samsararnavam nashanam----Kaivalyam ) This is the same concept as mentioned in

Mrithyunjaya Mahamantaram .


My talk is based on summary of information obtained from various
sources. Any error or omission is entirely mine.


If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.

 Every moment, thank God