Shri Rudram Chamakam
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Sri Rudram (Sanskrit: श्री रुद्रम्), to which the Chamakam (Sanskrit: चमकम्) is added by scriptural tradition, is a Hindu stotra, hymn dedicated to Rudra (an epithet of Shiva), taken from the Yajurveda (TS 4.5, 4.7). Shri Rudram is also known as Sri Rudraprasna, Śatarudrīya, and Rudradhyaya. The text is important in Saivism where Shiva is viewed as the Supreme God. The hymn is an early example of enumerating the names of a deity, a tradition developed extensively in the sahasranama literature of Hinduism. By the first few centuries CE, the recitation of the Śatarudrīya is claimed, in the Jābala Upanishad, to lead to immortality. The hymn is referred to in the Shiva Purana.
The text is also famous for its mention of the Shaivite Panchakshara ("five-syllable") mantra (Sanskrit: Namaḥ Śivāya), which appears in the text of the Śatarudrīya in the eighth anuvaka. The text also contains the mantra Aum Namah Bhagavathe Rudraya. Through the chanting of Sri Rudram, Lord Shiva's various attributes and aspects are invoked and worshipped. Chanting the Rudram is considered to be of great benefit. The Rudram chanting can be done with or without the accompaniment of a Vedic yagna ritual. When accompanied with the Vedic fire ritual, it is called the Rudra Yagnam. It is said that Lord Shiva, after Bhasmasura was killed with the help of Lord Maha Vishnu, performed the Tandava Dance and then performed the "Rudra Yagna" for the betterment of humanity. The place where the Rudra Yagna was performed is where the "Sri Kalahasti" Temple stands now; this temple also has one of the 5 (Pancha bhootha - Vayu, Agni, Jala, Akash, Prithvi) lingas called Vayu v.
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Shri Rudram or the Namakam (chapter five) describes the name or epithets of Rudra, which represent his aspects. Additionally, the devotee asks for the benevolent aspect of Shiva to be invoked rather than the terrible aspect and requests forgiveness of sins. The Chamakam (chapter seven) asks for the fulfilment of wishes. Each part consist of eleven anuvaka or hymns. Traditionally Rudra is assigned the number 11, and among the thirty three deities of the Vedic pantheon, eleven are considered forms of Rudra.
The anuvakas of Shri Rudram correspond to the eleven hymns of TS 4.5, with the final anuvaka extended by an additional eight verses, including the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. The central Shaivite mantra, Om Namah Sivaya is also derived from the Shri Rudram, it appears (without the om) in TS 4.5.8.l.
There are eleven hymns; each has its own purpose and meaning. For instance, the seventh anuvakam is for education, progeny; the eighth anuvakam is for destruction of enemies and possession of one's own things from them.
The second part of the text, corresponding to TS 4.7, asks God for fulfillment of wishes. The repeated phrase, cha mé literally means, "and to me [be this granted]", accompanied by a list of desirables, which are primarily necessary appurtenances for Vedic sacrifices.
The original context of the Chamakam is the piling up of the fire-altar of the Vedic religion. The hymn invokes, apart from Agni and Vishnu at the beginning, a pantheon of Vedic deities that are successively linked with Indra to enable the yajamana or sacrificer/patron to successfully perform Vedic fire sacrifices or yagnyas, such as the Agnishthoma, Somayaga, and the Ashwamedha. The Chamakam can be interpreted both as a preparatory for a physical external sacrificial ritual, and the inner, possibly yogic sacrifice involving pranic control, since the yogic "vital airs" are explicitly mentioned as sacrificial adjuncts in anuvaka, or stanza 10.
The President of the Ramakrishna Mission, at Chennai, in commentating on the foreword to Swami Amritananda's translation of Sri Rudram and Purushasuktam, stated that "Rudra to whom these prayers are addressed is not a sectarian deity, but the Supreme Being who is omnipresent and manifests Himself in a myriad forms for the sake of the diverse spiritual aspirants." Sri Rudram occurs in the fourth Kanda of the Taittirya Samhita in the Yajur Veda. It is a preeminent Vedic hymn to Lord Shiva as the God of dissolution, chanted daily in Shiva temples throughout India."
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The prayer depicts the diverse aspects of the Almighty. The Shri Rudram hymn is unique in that it shows the presence of divinity throughout the entire universe. We cannot confine the qualities of the divine to those that are favorable to us. The Lord is both garden and graveyard, the slayer and the most benevolent one. The Almighty is impartial and ubiquitous: A few hymns of Shri Rudram are shown and explained below :
- Original text (TS iv.5.5) 5th Anuvaka
- namo bhavāya cha rudrāya cha
- namaḥ śarvāya cha paśupataye cha
- namo nīlagrīvāya cha śitikaṇṭhāya cha
- namaḥ kapardine cha vyuptakeshāya cha
- namaḥ sahasrākṣāya cha śatadhanvane cha
- namo girīśāya cha śipiviṣṭāya cha
- English Translation:
- Prostration to the one who is the most dear (pleasant), to the one who is the most dreaded terroriser (frightening).
- Prostration to the one who kills living beings with arrows, to the Lord (benefactor) of all living beings.
- Prostration to the blue-necked one (disfigured (discoloured) naturally), to the one with whitened throat (throat smeared with Bhasma (ash); disfigured (discoloured) artificially).
- Prostration to the wearer of matted tangled locks of hair, to him of shaven beard.
- Prostration to him of a thousand eyes (view from one point to everywhere), to him who has the capability of hundred bowmen (view from everywhere to one point - concentration of the view from all directions).
- Prostration to the Lord of mountains (conjoint into a mass), and to him who is all pervasive (disjoint and diffusing everywhere).
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- Explanation of terms:
- śipiviṣṭāya (adjective), by splitting the word into beeja; "śi" means 'auspiciousness', "pi" means 'gati' or movement, "viṣ" means pervade (to become diffused throughout every part of) here in viṣ, vi means apart asunder (apart from each other in position). The Almighty, which is ever moving and pervaded (diffused) in each and every thing. This adjective is mostly addressed to Vishnu in his praises in Sanskrit literature. There are some arguments which use this hymn to relate Shiva and Vishnu; (universal expanse is a possible translation; the other translation could be the one who is spread everywhere).
- Rudra the vedic deity is the personification of 'terror'. Rudra comes from 'Ru' meaning '"Roar or Howl" (the words 'dreaded' or 'fearsome' could only be used as adjectives to Rudra and not as Rudra, because Rudra is the personification of terror); 'dra' is a superlative meaning 'the most'. So Rudra, depending on the poetic situation, can be meant as 'the most severe roarer/howler' - could be a hurricane or tempest - or 'the most frightening one'.
- bhavā comes from 'Bha' meaning 'delusion or untruth' and vā(Vaa) means 'move' (as in 'Vaayu'). The one who moves Maya or Untruth (as in 'Asatoma Sat Gamaya') (in turn means the one who reveals the Truth) is The Almighty (poetically similar to the word 'Lord'; Bhavan can be used to address someone mighty also). Or it could also mean 'you', i.e., the one who knows all the truth about yourself. It has several associated meanings related to the context; it is poetically used to address a beloved person as the person who knows all about you and is dear to you.
- For an overview of thme Śatarudriya see: Kramrisch, pp. 71-74.
- For a full translation of the complete hymn see: Sivaramamurti (1976)
- For the Śatarudrīya as an early example of enumeration of divine names, see: Flood (1996), p. 152.
- Jab. U. 3.66 cited by: Flood (1996), p. 152.
- For mentions in the Shiva Purana see: Flood (1996), p. 152.
- For notability and text namaḥ śivāya see: Sivaramamurti, pp. 1, 24.
- Arthur Berriedale Keith, 1914
- "vis". Sanskritdictionary.com. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.
- Kramrisch, Stella (1981). The Presence of Śiva. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01930-4.
- Sivaramamurti, C. (1976). Śatarudrīya: Vibhūti of Śiva's Iconography. Delhi: Abhinav Publications.
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