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Rudra-Siva in The Vedas

Rudra-Siva in The Vedas
Item Code: NAF042
Author: Dr. (Mrs.) Prativa Manjari Rath
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788121702263
Pages: 364
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
weight of the book: 600 gms
About the Book

The work “Rudra-Siva in the Vedas”, comprising of five chapters, aims at unraveling the mystery surrounding the Vedic deity, Rudra and his worship right from the Samita period down to that of Sutra literature. The concept of Siva, the famous deity of Hindu Trinity, finds it‘s origin in the Vedic Rudra and no other deity of the Vedic pantheon has undergone so much transformation as noticed in case of Rudra. Ideas associated with this deity sometimes characterize him as falling under outside the Aryan culture. Scholars have viewed him as having a non Aryan origin ascribing aboriginal character to him. But this work attempts to prove the Vedic character of the evolution of Rudra-Siva.

The Introduction consist of two main sections, namely, an estimate of the previous works done on the subject and secondly the discussions on the necessity of the present study. The first chapter is an exposition of the concept of Rudra’s various Vedic texts starting from the Samhita period to Sutra literature. Rudra’s association with allied cults as revealed from Atharvavedic mantras from an interesting phase of the evolution of Rudra’s personality. The second and third chapters are specially interesting in as far as they recount the names and epithets of Rudra as found in Vedic literature along with Rudra’s association in Vedic sacrifices respectively. An analysis of the relation of Rudra with a number of Vedic deities like Agni, Soma, Indra, Maruts, Asvins etc., brings out the interesting features of Rudra’s worship. This forms the main content of the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter is an epilogue on the whole work.

The Vedic evidences furnish sufficient data about Rudra’s traverse from Rudra to Rudra-Siva. The originality of the Work lies in it’s attempt to establish Rudra as a Vedic and Aryan divinity. The approach is sound, the analysis exhaustive, comprehensive and convincing being based upon well-chosen literary evidences.

The field of studies on Rudra-Siva appears to be apparently saturated. But rare attempts have been made by the scholars on the position of Rudra in Vedic sacrifices and rituals. Rudra’s representation in Siva Upanisads, the details of Satarudriya litany with elongated list of epithets and Rudra’s place in the Vedic.


About the Author

Dr. (Mrs.) Prativa Manjari Rath, born in 1957, at Cuttack, Orissa.

Father: Late Muralidhar Rath

Husband: Shri Taraprasad Rath

Education: Graduate (1975-1977) from Shailabala Women’s College, Cuttack, Post-Graduation (1977-79) from P.G. Dept. of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Vanivihar, Bhubaneswar, with special paper in Classical Sanskrit Literature, M.phil (1983), and Ph.D (1992) from Utkal University after qualifying UGC (NET). Certificate course in German Language (1986).

Specialisation: Vedic Literature Research and publications: Research in the field of Vedic Language and Literature published about 35 research papers in National Journals and five papers in National and five papers in International Journals, Edited two Research Journals and on collection of Sanskrit poems named rtayani. Guided twenty five M.Phil students and two Ph.D students, currently supervising seven research scholars for Ph.D Degree. She is working on Vedic Mythology and Vedana Literature. She is a Reader in Post Graduate Department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar and is currently engaged as visiting Professor in Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand deputed by ICCR, New Delhi.



With apt interest for the vedic studies in my early career I became interested to work on the concept of Rudra in Rgvedic texts for my M.Phil Dissertation. The ground work in this context opened the probability of studying the mine house of interesting features of Rudra in the whole of vedic texts. Gradually I went through the samhitas and allied texts of the vast vedec literature along with the modern research analysis which generated an interest in me to study the depiction of various facets of Rudra’s personality in vedic panorama.

The present work “Rudra-Siva in the Vedas” is an attempt to study aspects of the nature and dimensions of Rudra’s personality, mode of worship and position in vedic period. The evolution of Rudra in the religious history of India has an age-long tradition. Unlike major vedic deities like Agni, Indra, Savitr, Usas etc., Rudra is a deity who has been emancipated in considerable major from his connection with the phenomenon which produced the concept. His name does not bring back at once his essential character. The obscure meaning of his appellation has made the genesis of the concept of Rudra, the subject of manifold studies leading to mutually contradictory results. Moreover, the detailed view and understanding of the nature and background of the Saivism of the present day can be made possible through intensive investigations into the various implications of Rudra’s personality in vedic period.

This study aims at analysing some basic elements in the concept and religion of vedic Rudra, which provide a suitable background for the understanding of the present day concept and practice of Saivism refuting the views which search for the beginning of Saivism in the prevedic non-Aryan worship. It is also found that later vedic Indian religion has essential characteristic similarities and affinity with the vedic culture and the idea of this deity has retained the essence of the vedic religion in a modified and changed form.

It is to be further emphasized that the various details of rituals, the purpose of offering and other practices associated with vedic Rudra throw considerable light on the origin, growth and basic character of Rudra worship. These practices can not be set aside, as a mere superstructure of religion as they reflect the very fundamentals of the religion associated with Rudra. No study of vedic Rudra is therefore, be complete without the study of the religious practices associated with Rudra. An attempt is thus made here to study the place of Rudra in vedic sacrifices.

The work consists of five chapters besides an Introduction to the entire study which consists of two main sections, namely; an estimate of the previous works done on the subject, and secondly the discussion on the necessity of the present study.

The first chapter is an exposition of the concept of Rudra in various vedic texts starting from samhita to sutra literature. The main objective of the study is to analyse the visions of seers relating to Rudra as reflected in the vedic literature, which led to the formation of the concept of Rudra-Siva. Thus an attempt is made here to present the ideas about Rudra as found in vedic literature along with the various implications of the ideas associated with this study and finally to show how this divinity imbibes some characters outside the Aryan domain and is ultimately crowned with an axalted position in the vedic worship. The physical depiction of Rudra and the dimensions of his different spheres of activities as well as his essential characteristics are analysed. Rudra’s association with different allied cults as revealed from Atharvanic mantras is also highlighted. The myth behind the origin of Rudra along with it’s various significance form an important study of the Brahmana period. An account of Rudra’s position in the upanisadic literature constitutes an important feature of this chapter. Rudra’s concept in the sutra literature is also highlighted. All such analysis is made with a view to find out the basis of Rudra worship and to determine his essential characteristic features.

The second chapter is an account of the different names and epithets of Rudra in vedic samhita texts. The three major samhita texts like Rgveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda form the main basis of this chapter. The interpretation of these names in other vedic texts have been taken into account. Different explanations of the meanings of the term ‘Rudra’ have given rise to a number of controversies on the real nature of Rudra. The importance and implications of the vast number of names ascribed to him in the Yajurveda form an important feature of this chapter. An analysis of the names brings out to it’s effect the omnipresence and all-pervading character of Rudra and the growing popularity of him among the people of all walks of life. Besides, this chapter also given an idea about the dropping epithets and new epithets of Rudra in the different vedic texts. Alphabetical index of the names of Rudra in the above samhita texts is also furnished in this chapter.

Chapter three deals with the position of Rudra in vedic sacrifices. In Rgveda vi.49.10, the seer invokes Rudra as kavina isitasah rdhak huvenma which means ‘may we worship him in a particular way or in a special manner’. Besides there are several instances, which show that there were much peculiarities in the manner of worshipping Rudra. Rudra’s place in the vedic sacrifice forms an important facet for the study of Rudra cult. The peculiar manner of offering oblations, the materials of oblations and bali offerings and the purpose of offerings to Rudra are studied in this chapter. For the viniyoga of Rgmantras, Sayana’s introduction to the concerned mantras as well as the Rgvidhana have been taken into account. The analysis is done on the basis of Rgveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, Brahmana literature, Srautasutras and Grhyasutras.

The fourth chapter is a garland of different flowers as it centres round Rudra’s relation to different vedic deities. Rudra is a comparatively isolated deity in vedic pantheon bearing relation with only a few deities and the basis behind this association throw much light on the character and nature of Rudra. This forms the main content of the fourth chapter. An analysis of the relation of Rudra with Agni, Soma, Indra, Maruts, Asvins, the tutelary deities like Ahirbudhnya, Ajaekapad, Ksetrapatih and the female deities like Ambika, Rodas –etc., brings out the interesting features of the Rudra worship. The work ends with the fifth chapter which is a brief epilogue.

This work ‘Rudra-Siva in the Vedas’ is a slightly modified form of the Thesis which I had prepared for the award of my PH.D. Degree of Utkal University in 1992 with the title “Rudra Cult-A study” under the supervision of prof. Dr.K.C. Acarya, the former Head of the P.G. Dept. of Sanskrit. Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. I started the work at Utkal University as a research scholar after qualifying in UGC NET Exam. I am grateful to the UGC and the authorities of Utkal University for providing me scholarship and other necessary facilities to carry on the study.

I record my profound sense of gratitude and obligation to my revered teacher and supervisor Prof. K.C. Acharya for his valuable guidance and blessings for the completion of the work. I express my immense gratitude to Prof. Shriniwas Rath, Vice-President, Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratisthan, Ujjain, for his kind evaluation of the work along with his blessings in three Sanskrit verses, which I ever cherish as invaluable treasure of my life. I am extremely indebted to Prof. S.P. Singh, Retd. Prof. of Sanskrit, Aligarth Muslim University, Aligarh for his kind evaluation and suggestions for the work.

I am extremely thankful to Prof Dr. P.K. Mishra, Utkal University, Vanivihar for not only extending his scholarly suggestions during the course of my research work but also for his encouragements for the publication of the work.

I record my grateful acknowledgement to all the scholars in the field, whose research has illuminated my knowledge. I shall remain indebted to the Institutions and Libraries which have helped me to collect the data.

I am deeply indebted to my family members, whose blessings and co-operation illuminated my course of action and who are the constant source of inspiration behind me. I am specially grateful to my husband Sri Taraprasad Rath for his persistent encouragements in my academic and research pursuits.

Best compliments to Mrs. Twinkle Malhotra, and Sri Raman Kumar Jain, Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan, New Delhi, to have undertaken the publication of this work.

I myself take all responsibilities for the omissions and commissions in this work.

At last I bow down before the Almighty Rudra-Siva as He is the Real Knowlwdge and Ever Burning Light to destroy the ignorance and to bestow the knowledge. Om namah Rudraya/Om namah Sivaya//



1.Genesis of Rudra-Siva
The Vedic literature occupies a vital position in the study of the history of religion. The vast literature is rich in mythology which is significant for the study of the history of the mental activity of the people belonging to a vast antiquity and to analyse earliest stages of thought. Oldenberg rightly remarks, “out of all the rack and ruin of Indian antiquity, the most momentous objects, which the investigator can hope to render comprehensible to the modern reader, are the great religions of ancient India. At their head stands the religion embodied in the literature of the Veda-a belief closely related to the ancient religions of the principal European peoples, but retaining in a clearer manner than they the marks of distant prehistoric stages, the traces of mighty commotions in which man’s religious thought and feeling labouriously struggled forth from the crude confusion of primitive ages to nobler and more elevated forms.”

The concept of Vedic Rudra forms an important study in indological research and thus many scholars have contributed new light in this field. In the religious history of India, no religion has had a long and continuous tradition as Saivism. All the study in this field may be broadly divided into two categories as tracing the beginning of Rudra-Siva worship to the Mahenjodaro Pasupati cult and secondly in proving Rudra as a purely Vedic deity. The very antiquity of Rudra-Siva worship implies the vicissitudes in course of its long history through which this religion has passed and this attracts the attention of the scholars who are of divergent opinions. The present work endeavours to prove the genesis of the Saivism in the Vedic Rudra worship.

2. A Survey of Previous Works
Considering the works which deal more specifically with Rudra-Siva and allied religious cults, which are frequently referred to in this work, the mention must be made at the very out set of Vaisnavism Saivism and minor religious Systems by R.G. Bhandarkar. This work represents a systematic scientific approach of the historical analysis of the origin and development of the Saiva religion from the Vedic time onwards. Suggestive information’s are also furnished by this book on the schools of Saiva philosophy. C.V. Narayan Ayyar’s Origin and Early History of Saivism of South India is specifically important as he adheres to the view that Rudra-Siva was already a Vedic diety at the dawn of history. According to N. Venkataramanayya, there are no valid grounds for pursuing a non-Aryan origin of puranic Siva. Vedic Rudra according to him, is an Aryan deity of solar origin. “Rudra in the Veda” published in VMT and “Vaisnavism and Saivism” published in Insights into Hindism by R.N. Dandekar, The Presence of Siva by Stella Kramrisch, Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva by Wendy doniger O’ Flaherty, The Indian Theogony by Sukumari Bhattacharji and The concept of Rudra-Siva Through the Ages by Mahadev Chakravarti are the significant contributions in this line of research. The above mentioned works are considered to be the latest contributions in this direction, where the scholars are of varied form of opinions to attribute a definite character to Rudra on the basis of textual references as well as on the basis of epigraphic and numismatic data. The works done by R.N. Dandekar are of immense importance as they consider almost all the opinions critically. He has taken into account a number of works of which the following are noteworthy. They are Vaisnavism Saivism and Minor Religious Systems by R.G. Bhandarkar, E. ve’ ron-Historie Naturelle des Religions, C. Von Orelli-Allgemeine Religions Geshchichte, S. Reinach-Orpheus Histoire Generali des Religions and A.S. Bishop-The Worlds’ Altar Stairs, Introductory Studies in the Religions of the World-1910. L Von Schroeder-Arische Religion, H.H. Wilson-Essays and Lectures on the Religion of the Hindus, A Barth-des Religions de I’ Inde, The Religions of India by E.W. Hopkins, Indische Religions-geschichte by E. Hardy, and Andient India, its Language and Religions by H. Oldenberg, etc.

3.Theories Associated with Rudra
Apart from the above cited works time and again innumerable theories developed around Rudra’s character, though no single theory can be ascribed to Rudra’s personality in the whole of Vedic literature. A short account of the important ideas associated with Rudra is furnished below.

Rudra as a Storm God
The most common theory about Vedic Rudra is that Rudra is a storm god, which is accepted and forwarded by Kuhn, Bloomfield, Hardy, Hopkins and Macdonell. This view is based upon certain characters of Rudra as follows.

The celestial character of Rudra is referred to in a number to texts. He is divah asurah or the god of the heaven (RV, II.1.6; VIII.20.17) and he is divo var ahah (RV, 1.114.5). His arrows are sent from heaven (RV, VII. 46.3). Rudra is prayed to come down to the earth from heaven (RV, X.92.9). He is the possessor of thunderbolt (RV, II.33.3) didyut is the weapon of Rudra; which is understood as vidyut or lightning (RV, VII.46.3). These characters prove Rudra to be a god of tempest. This idea is more intensified in (RV, VII.46.3), where his lightning being hurled down from the sky, passes along the earth and which is prayed to avoid the worshipper. In (AV, XI.2.26), Rudra is prated not to assail the worshipper with celestial fire and his lightning is desired to descend else where.,p> Moreover, the naturalistic interpretation of Vedic mythology connects Marutss with the storm. Rudra as the father of Maruts, is closely connected with them, who are often implored as rudrah, rudr as ah, etc. Rodasi is their female companion while Rudra is their father. On the basis of above points Rudra is viewed as a storm deity.

Rudra as a Rain God
Rudra makes the streams flow over the earth. The words like midhva, midhustama, milhusa, etc. are often ascribed to him. These words are derived from mih (=to shower) and are usually applied in RV to the deities who are connected with storm and rain. The benevolent and malevolent nature of Rudra is also explained by the purifying and baleful aspect of the storm as the rain brings purifying happiness to the living being while the lightning causes rain. The medicinal potency of water is often referred to in connection with Rudra. Rudra’s physician character is hinted at several Vedic stanzas. The healing power of Rudra is referred to in AV, II.27.6 and in VS, III.59; XVI. 5; 49. The medicinal capacity of water is stressed upon in a number of Vedic texts as apsu antar visvani bhesaja RV, (1.23.20). The epithet jalasabhe saja is exclusively attributed to Rudra in several mantras. The exponents of storm god theory interpret this word as one whose medicinal remedies consist of waters. Waters as medicines are also connected with Maruts (RV, V.53.14) and the medicinal remedies are described as coming down from the sky (RV, X.59.9). Thus Rudra’s connection with rain is confirmed on the background of Rudra’s character as a storm deity. His physician character is best proved by his epithets as mi dhvah or as the dispenser of rain water which freshenes up the atmosphere by its purifying and cleansing activity.

In the SR, Rudra is depicted as the lord of rains, clouds, lightning and wind. The wind is described there as the arrow of Rudra ye sam vata I savah/Rudra’s connection with the constellation ardra is found in Brahmanic texts. TB, III.1.4.3. depicts the arddra as the constellation of the moist, whose ruling deity is Rudra. Rudra’s derivation from the root rud (= to roar) also refers to a roaring and thundering storm god. But a number of deficiencies of this theory has been marked by R.N. Dandekar. According to him in RV the characters of Rudra do not exclusively prove him as a god of tempest. Moreover, the storm god theory is exclusively based upon the evidences of RV, where the post RV literature gives a more living and full picture of Rudra. As to Dandekar, the heavenly character is thrust upon Rudra tendentiously. The terms like vajravaju (RV, II.33.3) and didyut, signifying the thunderbolt and lightning as the weapon of Rudra, are not used in a definite sense but in a general and more or less in a rhetorical sense of something frightful and destructive.

The basis of Maruts relationship with Rudra is not accepted by Dandekar on two grounds. Firstly the relationship between Rudra and the Maruts does not produce the impression of being a ‘living relationship’. Secondly on the basis of the view of Hillebrandt, “in the Vedic mythology, the fathers may have outward resemblance with their children, but there does not necessarily exist any similarity so far as their essential characters are concerned”. As to the epithet of midhvah, he is of the contention that this epithet is also attributed to a number of deities, who are not the so-called rain gods as Agni, Mitra, Varuna, Visnu and Soma.

Rudra as a Mountain Deity
Oldenberg depicts Rudra as the old man of the mountains on the basis of the epithets like girisa, giritra, girisanta, etc. and also on the basis of SR mantras which depict Rudra as a Sylvan deity as van an ampati h, vrksanam-pati h, aranyan ampati h and harike sah, etc. He also gives stress upon Rudra’s banishment to the Mujavat mountain in several Vedic texts. Rudra’s ‘physiognomy’ is different from that of the storm gods of the Vedaa. AS remarked by Dandekar “According to Oldengerg in the Vedic descriptions of Rudra, lightnings do not flash, rains do not pour down, winds do not rush forth (JAOS 16, CI). He therefore, concludes that at least in the consciousness of the Vedic poet, Rudra was not a god of tempest”. Further there is no reference in RV for characterzing Rudra as a rain bringing storm god and also there is no necessity of storm god in presence of Indra and the view that Indra represents the benevolent aspect of the storm whereas Rudra represents the malevolent aspect is not sound on the basis of the references to Rudra’s medicines and healing power. Rudra’s association with several classes of the community like vratyas, brahmacarins and the munis, his identification with Pasupati, Sarva, Bhava and Siva, who are not storm gods and his isolated character do not fit in with this theory. Oldenberg’s opinion of accepting Rudra as mountain deity appears to be too limited as it explains only one aspect of Rudra’s complex personality.

Rudra as Agni
The most important theory about Rudra’s identification centers round Agni, which is based upon a number of Vedic evidences. The word rudra is used as an adjective of Agni (TS, 1.2.11). Rudra is again identified with Agni in RV, II.1.6, TS, V. 4.31 states rudra vai e sa yadagni h/ TS, 1.5.1 narrates a story about how Agni came to be called as Rudra. The explanation behind SR testifies the identification between Rudra and Agni. Weber is of the opinion that rudra denotes both the roaring of the storm and the crackling of the fire. Thus Rudra is the conglomeration of both the storm and the fire. This combination had already been accomplished at the time of SR.

R.N. Dandekar brings out certain deficiencies in this theory. The Rg Vedic evidences do not support this view. Rather in the Rg Vedic period Rudra and Agni were quite different deities. Other gods are also identified with Agni in RV, II.1.6. So this is a conventional reference of the identification between Rudra and Agni.

The exclusion of the viedic Rudra from the ritual and his connection with robbers, thieves, hunters, etc. do not account for his identification with the Vedic priestly deity Agni. Dandekar is of the opinion that Agni and Rudra stand for two distinct religious ideologies-the one priestly ritualistic and the other popular and folk cultish.

God of Tropical Heat before Rain
Hillebrandt, on the other hand depicts Rudra as the god of the tropical heat before rain, which is discarded by Dandekar as “discordant with the usual mode of thought of the Vedic poets”, and also on the point that Hillebrandt’s opinion is based upon post Rgvedic evidences.

Rudra as a God of Death
Arbman is of the opinion that Rudra is the product of lower mythology. He is earthly, demoniac and fearful. So he has originated from primitive concept of death and its fears. His presence from the pre-Vedic time and his importance in the popular religion of Ancient India are accepted by Arbman as his original character. According to the scholar the later Vedic Rudra is not the direct descendant of Vedic tradition, but of a primitive non-Vedic Rudra. The Rgvedic Rudra represents the artificial side growth of the pre-Vedic Rudra and the later Vedic Siva. Arbman’s opinion of Rudra as god of death is not accepted by R.N. Dandekar as he questions “why should a death god, as such, be regarded as both benevolent and malevolent?” Rudra is not a god of death in RV either consistently or exclusively.

Thus highlighting almost all the important theories Dandekar sums up his contention as follows:

• The adoption of Rudra in Vedic religion is from pre-Vedic non-Aryan religion. He is the Aryanised or Brahmanised version of proto-Indian God.

• Rudra does not play any important role in Vedic my-thology and ritual; and yet, more particulars are given in the Veda about his personality and character than about those of many other gods. Rudra does not enjoy any prominence and honour in the srauta ritual. He is either driven back to his home as in the agnihotra or only the remnants of oblations are assigned to him. Thus Rudra was essentially different from the normal hieratic vedic gods and he belonged to a milieu which was foreign to the vedic poet priests.

• The vedic poet priests must have accommodated him in their religious complex under the pressure of circumstances and therefore reluctantly and almost under protest. While doing so they either suppressed or transferred many of that god’s essential traits.

• As a result of this only one aspect of Rudra’s original complex character, namely, that of the god of death came to be generally emphasized in the vedic literature.

• He further holds that there is sufficient evidence to justify the assumption that Rudra is but the Vedic version of a well-established, pre vedic, non-Aryan popular god. The prevalence of yoga, penance, austerity and phallic cult as associated with him, his over lordship of animals, association with serpents, fertility rites, female deities and association with spirits prompt one to associate him with proto-Indian worship.

4. Analysis of the Existing Views
All such analysis of Dandekar and his detailed study on Rudra is quite thought provoking and opens a way for deeper study on the Vedic Rudra. The arguments on the basis of characters of Rudra appear to be sound which touches the subtle points of Vedic religion and mythology. Dandekar accepting Rudra’s emergence as a gret vedic God says, “Indeed, some indications are available in the Vedic literature itself of the rise of Rudra, in the form of Rudra-Siva, to the position of supreme godhood. For instance various references in AV, XV suggest Rudra’s correspondence with Ekavr atya (AV, XV.1) and with Bhava, sarva, Pasupati, Ugradeva, Mahadeva and Isana (AV, XV.5). Moreover in the Maitrayani samhita II.9.1, Rudra is identified with purusa and Mahadeva”. But he resumes there is sufficient evidence to justify the assumption that Rudra is but the Vedic version of a well-established pre-Vedic non-Aryan popular deity.

The alienated character of Rudra as suggested by Dandekar no doubt differentiates Rudra from the other Vedic deities. But most of the above features are not to be accepted as pre-Vedic characteristics. Over lordship of animals or association with animals is a common Vedic phenomenon in the character of a deity. As suggested by S.P. Singh, the RV (IX, 64.8-9) clearly depicts the Pasupati aspect of Rudra in a graphic form. It can be pointed out in this connection that an Indus valley seal, identified by John Marshall as Pasupati, is generally accepted as the precursor of the Vedic Rudra. The Vedic Rudra is said to be influenced by the Indus Pasupati figure. But a pointed out by S.P. Singh, Indus Pasupati figure has not influenced the character of Vedic Pasupati but rather is influenced by the Vedic idea of Rudra. In this context he cites the RV, 1.64.9, where Rudra is found to be surrounded by wild beasts. The icon of Pasupati of Indus valley does not strictly represent the Indus valley civilization. Because it is well-known that Indus-valley civilization is based on stable city life for which the wild Pasupati surrounded with wild beats is not akin to them. So how can the seal here be the reflection of Indus valley life? On the other hand the description of the seal is quite akin to the mantra of RV, I.64.9; where the mention of the beasts are found.

Under these circumstances it can be said that the Vedic God might have influenced the Pasupati figure of the Indus seal instead of being influenced. Thus Rudra is not an intruder to Vedic pantheon but on the other hand has extended his personality to other fold of civilization.

His association with serpents is not so much stressed upon in the Vedic literature except certain evidences in AV and YV. Moreover the idea of serpent in the Veda seems to be symbolic as Agni is called a raging serpent and Ahirbudhnya or the dragon of the deep is a Vedic deity. About the fertility rites it may be said that Indra the foremost Vedic deity is more connected with fertility rites than Rudra. The importance of mother goddess in Rudra’s worship is mentioned in the third chapter of VS in the context of srauta sacrifice. So how can these aspects of Rudra’s personality be explained as alienated from vedic culture? On this ground the assumption of proto-Indian character of Vedic Rudra needs to be examined.

Another basis of the proto-Indian character of Rudra is the red colour associated with Rudra as he is arusah, babhruh, tamrah, arunah, vilohitah and nilalohitah. This idea is further strengthened by the derivation of the word Rudra from a hypothetical lost root rud which means to be red or ruddy. But Rudra is also depicted as svitic, sitikanthah, surya iva sukrah, etc. so Rudra is not only red but he is also depicted as of white colour. Moreover, the derivation of the word Rudra from a hypothetical lost root rud does not correspond to the stories associated with Rudra where his name Rudra appears to be derived from the root rud meaning to make sound or cry.

The horn headdress of the Pasupati figure of the Mahenjo-daro is depicted as the usnisa (VS, XVI.22) and kaparda (VS, XVI.43) of Vedic Rudra. Further these horns are accepted as reappearing in the form of crescent moon on Siva’s forehead. The appearance of moon on Siva’s forehead may not to be assumed as horned headdress but it’s appearance may be referred to Rudra’s relation with Soma. It is the only Vedic deity Soma, who happens to be invoked with Rudra conjointly. So also many offerings are conjointly made to Soma and Rudra accordingly. It appears more relevant to assume that Soma became placed upon the head of Rudra as moon.

Dandekar traces two Rudras who are distinct from each other. One is heavenly and the other id earthly. Rg Vedic Rudra’s hosts are represented by Maruts. But in the post-Rg Vedic literature, he is accompanied with various kinds of evil spirits and dreadful beings. For this he has furnished sets of arguments for both identity and difference.

Rudra may be said to consititute two distinct personalities. The Rg Vedic Rudra himself is represented as possessing a double personality. He is said to be particularly fierce god (RV, II.33.9; 11; X.126.5) distinctive like terrible beast (RV, II.33.11), unassailable and unsurpassed in might (RV, I.114.4; II.33.3; 1; X.92.5).

The description of Rudra’s distinctive physical features and dress no doubt tend sharply to isolate him from the other Vedic gods.

Muni, brahmachari and vratyas are the three peculiar cults which are assumed to be strange to the Vedic religion. But they are found to be related with Rudra. Certain distinctiveness in their description can not be denied like the drinking of poison of muni, association of brahmachari with gharma, tapas, mekhala and other austere practices and depiction of vratyas. But when these feature are found mention in the samhitas and brahmana literature then it is not improper to accept them as different aspects of Vedic religion. It is not out of the place to state here that the Vedic religion is to be defined on the evidence of the Vedic texts. When one whole kanda seems to be devoted to the vratyas in AV and the brahmacari is ascribed an exalted position, the munis utka is explained as referring to the Sun, then how can it be framed that these ideas are non-Vedic? Rather such notion seems to limit the vital scope of Vedic religion to assume that the sacerdotal practices form the only dimension of Vedic religion. Rudra’s affinity with these concepts may not be assumed as non-Vedic.

The celestial Rg Vedic character of Rudra becomes evident in the texts of post-Rg Vedic period as suggested by the expressions like daivyobhisak, disampati, meghaya, vidyutaya and asau yo ‘vasarpati nilagra na vilohitah/ etc. The Martus related with Rudra in Rg Vedic texts are found to be transferred to Rudraganas in post-Rgvedic literature and subsequently they became his dreadful followers. The growth of the personalities of Rudra though not fully grown and extensively said in RV yet, almost all aspects of the Rgvedic Rudra finds elaborate expressions in post-Rgvedic literature.

When one compares the representation of Rudra in RV and YV, some differences are noticed in a different line. It appears that Rudra is a deity in RV like Agni, Indra and Varuna etc. But in YV his nature is inconceivable. So far as the representation of Rudra in the third chapter of VS is taken in to account, Rudra appears to be a mythological deity. But in SR, the representation of Rudra is not on the same plane. Unlike VS III, Rudra is not associated with Ambika nor Rudra is a deity of a particular parochial or provincial nature in SR. But Rudra becomes a concept or a manifestation of the supreme power and of the entire cosmic world. The back ground is Agni as it is evinced from the explanation of the Brahmana, on the Agnicayana sacrifice. This sacrifice has some cosmic character of restoring power. So the fire which is enkindled, is appeased by the SR but in the process of eulogisation in SR, the fire concept remains in the background and the power par excellence becomes more concrete and crystalised in the eyes of the seer. Thus it may be said that in SR, Rudra is not a conventional mythological Vedic deity, but he becomes a concept, a sumtotal of different manifestations.

Rudra’s physical depiction receives much more importance in YV than in RV. The physical features of Rudra, are only the depiction of his qualitative personality as ghoratanuh, siv atanuh, vyuptake sah and harikesah, etc. Moreover, the words like sate sudhi and giri santa etc. are not at all depiction of his physical features. The red colour of Rudra is expressed in YV by a number of epithets as nilagriva, nilaohitah, tamra, babhru, aruna etc. But in RV, Rudra is svitic, suryaivasukrah/, tve sah along with babhru and aruna. So the white colour in the personality of Rudra is a much received feature in RV. Moreover the epithets like usni sin, etc. are alluded to Rudra as he is the presiding deity of different profession and class of people. These words are not exactly the epithet of Rudra but of the people whom he represents.

5. Scope of the Study
While considering the evolution of the personality of Rudra, the vedic evidences furnish an interesting picture of rudra’s traverse from a minor deity to the height of a supreme god. Any study of Rudra worship extends to a vast period beginning from the pre-historic period to the present age. His personality has traversed through all the stages of the development of Indian culture and religion. But the scope of the present study is made limited to the vedic period starting from the samhita literature to the Sutra literature. The study of Rudra’s character in post-vedic literature forms a different phase of study along with the emergence of different Saiva sects with their technicalities of worship, Considering this the wide canvas of Rudra-Shiva’s concept, and religious evolution is thus limited to it’s first phase only in this work. The study of the implications of Rudra’s names and epithets, his relation to other Gods in vedic panorama and his interesting place in vedic ritual tradition forms the main scope of the work.

6. Method of Study
The basis literary sources of this study are vast starting from Rgveda to the sutra literature and auxiliary works like Brhaddevata, Niruktam and Rgvidhana etc. The study begins with the information supplied by the hymns and verses, csontaining the term Rudra-Siva as well as relating to Rudra in the vedic literature beginning from Rgveda-samhita to Sutra literature. The main sources of such informations constitute the Vaidika Padanukramakosa of VVRI, Hoshiarpur, Original Sanskrit Texts of J.Muir,Sacred Books of The East and vedic concordance. For the interpretation of verses, the Sanskrit commentary of Sayanacarya and available English translations of the vedic texts have primarily been consulted. The contents of the verses are grouped and separated according to their implications which constitute the primary data and on the basis of these, the concept of Rudra is analysed from etymological, liturgical and evolutionary point of view. Further, in the process of the study, the views of the scholars, bearing references to the topic, published in different Indological books and Periodicals have been taken into account.

The age old quandaries on Rudra-Siva have prompted the scholars for manifold studies of which the present work is but a step leading to further studies.




  Astrvacanam (vii)
  Preface (ix)
  Abbreviations (v)
  Introduction 1-15
  Chapter I : The Concept of Rudra in Vedic Texts 16-117
A. The Concept of Rudra in RV  
B. The Concept of Rudra in YV  
C. The Concept of Rudra in AV  
D. The Concept of Rudra in the Brahmanas  
E. The Concept of Rudra in Upanisads  
F. The Concept of Rudra in Sutra Literature  
  Chapter II : Names and Epithets of Rudra 118-182
A. Introduction  
B. Names and Epithets of Rudra in RV  
C. Names and Epithets of Rudra in YV with Special Reference to SR  
D. The Names and Epithets of Rudra in AV  
  Chapter III : Rudra in Vedic Rituals 183-251
A. Introduction  
B. Rudra as Related to Sacrifice in RV  
C. Rudra as Related to Sacrifice in AV  
D. Rudra as Related to Sacrifice in Brahmana Literature  
E. Rudra as Related to Sacrifice in Srautasutras  
F. Rudra as Related to Sacrifice in Grhyasutras  
  Chapter IV : Rudra and Associated Deities 252-314
A. Introduction  
B. Rudra and Agni  
C. Rudra and Maruts  
D. Rudra and Soma  
E. Rudra and Indra  
F. Rudra and Asvins  
G. Rudra : Ajaekapad and Ahirbudhnya  
H. Rudra and Ksetrapati  
I. Rudra and Vastospati  
J. Rudra and Female Deities  
K. Similarity of Rudra in Other Parts of the World  
L. Conclusion  
  Chapter V : Epilogue 315-319
  Select Bibliography 320-335

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