Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nila Rudra Upanishad

Nīla rudra is part of the Atharvana veda -paippalāda saṃhitā (sūkta 3 of kāṇḍa 14). It is also considered as a upaniṣad of the early pāśupatas equivalent to the śvetāśvatara of the kṛṣṇa yajurveda. In śrauta traditions of the atharvaṇas the brahmā recites the sūkta mentally, standing beside the yajamāna, when the fifth layer of the altar for the soma ritual was completed.

apaśyaṃ tvāvarohantaṃ divitaḥ pṛthivīma ava .
apaśyama asyantaṃ rudraṃ nīlagrīvaṃ śikhaṇḍinaṃ .. 1

Om. Thee I beheld in thy descending down from the heavens to the earth, I saw Rudra, the Terrible, the azure-throated, the peacock-feathered, as he hurled.

diva ugro .avārukṣaḥ pratyaṣṭhā bhūmyāma adhi .
janāsaḥ paśyatemaṃ nīlagrīvaṃ vilohitaṃ .. 2

Fierce he came down from the sky, he stood facing me on the earth as its lord; the people behold a mass of strength, azure-throated, scarlet-hued.

eṣa aitya avīrahā rudro jalāṣa bheṣajī .
vi te kṣepama anīnaśada vātīkāro vya etu te .. 3

This that cometh is he that destroyeth evil, Rudra the Terrible, born of the tree that dwelleth in the waters; let the globe of the storm winds come too, that destroyeth for thee all things of evil omen.

namaste bhava bhāmāya namaste bhava manyave .
namaste astu bāhubhyāma uto ta iṣave namaḥ .. 4

Salutation to thee who bringeth the world into being, salutation to thee, the passionate with mighty wrath. Salutation be to thy arms of might, salutation be to thy angry shaft.

yāma iṣuṃ giriśanta haste bibharśya astave .
śivāma giriśritāma kṛṇu mā himsīḥ puruṣāna mama .. 5

The arrow thou bearest in thy hand for the hurling, O thou that liest on the mountains, make an arrow of blessing, O keeper of the hills, let it not slay my armed men.

śivena vacasā tvā giriśāchā vadāmasi .
yathā nasa sarvama ija jagada ayakṣmaṃ sumano asata .. 6

With fair speech, O mountain-dweller, we sue to thee in the assembly of the folk, that the whole world may be for us a friendly and sinless place.

yā ta iṣuśa śivatamā śivaṃ babhūva te dhanuḥ .
śivā śaravyā yā tava tayā no mṛlda jīvase .. 7

That thy arrow which is the kindliest of all and thy bow which is well omened and that thy quiver which beareth blessing, by that thou livest for us, O lord of slaughter.

yā te rudra śivā tanūra aghorāpāpakāśinī .
tayā nasa tanvā śantamayā giriśantābhi cākaśaḥ .. 8

That thy body, O terrible One, which is fair and full of kindness and destroyeth sin, not thy shape of terror, in that thy body full of peace, O mountaineer, thou art wont to be seen among our folk.

namo .astu nīlaśikhaṇḍāya sahasrākṣāya vājine .
atho ye asya satvānasa tebhyo .ahama akaraṃ namaḥ .. 9

namāṃsi ta āyudhāyānātatāya dhṛṣṇave .
ubhābhyāma akaraṃ namo bāhubhyāṃ tava dhanvane .. 10

pramu¤ca dhanvanaḥ parya ubhayora ārtnyora jyāṃ .
yāśa ca te hasta iṣavaḥ parā tā bhagavo vapaḥ .. 11

avatatya dhanusa tvaṃ sahasrākṣa śateṣudhe .
niśīrya śalyānāṃ mukhā śivo naśa śaṃbhura ā cara .. 12

asau yasa tāmro aruṇa uta babhrura vilohitaḥ .
ye ceme abhito rudrā dikṣu śritāsa sahasraśo .avaiṣāṃ helda īmahe .. 13

This Aruna of the dawn that is tawny and copper-red and scarlet-hued, and these thy Violent Ones round about that dwell in the regions in their thousands, verily, it is these whom we desire.

adarśaṃ tvāvarohantaṃ nīlagrīvaṃ vilohitaṃ .
uta tvā gopā adṛśanna uta tvodahāryaḥ .
uto tvā viśvā bhūtāni tasmai dṛṣṭāya te namaḥ .. 14

Let the blue‐necked one render us happy, the one who rises in crimson splendour, whom the cowherds, the water‐maidens and all the creatures in the world can see.Let Him grant Happiness to us.

vijyaṃ dhanuśa śikhaṇḍino viśalyo bāṇavāna uta .
aneśanna asyeṣavaśa śivo asya niṣaṅgathiḥ .. 15

Let the bow of śikhaṇḍin, Rudra of the matted locks, be without its string. Let there be no arrows in His quiver. Let His arrows lose their capacity to strike and pierce. Let the sheath of his sword be not removed.

pari te dhanvano hetira asmāna vṛṇaktu viśvataḥ .
atho ya iṣudhisa tavāre asmina ni dhehi taṃ .. 16

Let the arrow of Your bow spare us in all ways. And place your quiver of arrows far away from us.

yā te hetira mīḍhuSṭama haste babhūva te dhanuḥ .
tayā tvaṃ viśvato asmāna ayakṣmayā pari bhuja .. 17

O! Supreme lord who showers mercy! Protect us from all wordly troubles with the weapons and bow in your hands, which are not for hurting us.

Shri Aurobindo's Interpretation :

1. Apaśyam, I beheld. The speaker is the author of the Upanishad, a prince of the Aryan people, as we see from the fifth verse. He records a vision of Rudra descending from the heavens to the earth.

Avaḥ, down, is repeated for the sake of vividness. In the second half of the śloka the Murti or image in which he beheld the Divine Manifestation is described, Rudra, the God of might and wrath, the neck and throat blue, peacock's feather as a crest, in the act of hurling a shaft.

2. He proceeds to describe the descent. He descended fiercely, that is, with wrath in his face, gesture and motion and stood facing the seer, pratyaṣṭhāt, on the earth, and over it, adhi, in a way expressive of command or control. This image of Divine Power, seen by the prince in Yoga, becomes visible to the people in general as a mass of strength, maha, scarlet in colour, deep blue in the neck and throat. Maha is strength, bulk, greatness. The manifestation is that of wrath and might. The people see Rudra as a mass of brilliance, scarlet-ringed and crested with blue, the scarlet in Yoga denoting violent passion of anger or desire, the blueśraddhā, bhakti, piety or religion.

3. Rudra, whom we know as the slayer of evil, comes. The Rajarshi describes him as born of the tree that is in the waters. Bheṣa is by philology identical with the Latin ficus or fig-tree, aśvattha. The aśvattha is the Yogic emblem of the manifested world, as in the Gita, the tree of the two birds in the Shwetashwatara Upanishad, the single tree in the blue expanse of the Song of Liberation. The jala is the āpah or waters from which the world rises. The Rishi then prays that thevātī mass of winds of which Rudra is lord and which in the tempest of their course blow away all calamity, such as pestilence etc. may come with him.

4. In the fourth verse he salutes the God. Rudra is the Supreme Ishwara, Creator of the World, He is the dreadful, wrathful and destroying Lord, swift to slay and punish. Bhāma is passionate anger, and the word manyu denotes a violent disturbed state of mind, passion, either of grief or of anger. Bhāmāyamanyavetherefore means, one who is full of the passion of violent anger. Rudra is being saluted as a God of might and wrath, it is therefore to the arms as the seat of strength and the arrow as the weapon of destruction that salutation is made.

5. Rudra is coming in a new form of wrath and destruction in which the Aryans are not accustomed to see him. Apprehensive of the meaning of this vision, the King summons the people and in assembly prayer is offered to Rudra to avert possible calamity. The shaft is lifted to be hurled from the bow; it is prayed that it may be turned into a shaft of blessings not of wrath. In this verse the Prince prays the God not to slay his men, meaning evidently, the armed warriors of the clan


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I commented previously:

    My name - S.Giridhar

    Teacher in Cochin, kerala.

    My email id -


    NOONE can truly understand Hindu DHarma or Sanatana Dharma WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING SHAIVITE PRINCIPLES..


    SHRI SHIVA says in Shiv Puran, to arjun after rewarding Paashupata astra - "I shall tell Shri Krishna to assist you, for He is my AATMA SWAROOPA.... !!!!


  3. Dear Giridhar,

    what you said is absolutely right, Sir.

    Thank you.