Rudrashtakam

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The Shri Rudrashtakam (Sanskrit: श्री रुद्राष्टकम् , Rudrāṣṭakam) is a Sanskrit composition in devotion of Rudra, composed by the Hindu Bhakti poet Tulsidas (Sanskrit: तुलसीदास). Tulsidas composed this eulogy in the late fifteenth century in Uttar Pradesh in India and created many other literary pieces including the magnum opus Ram Charit Manas.

The devotional hymn "Rudrashtakam" appears in the Uttara Kand of the celebrated Ram Charit Manas, where Lomash Rishi composed the hymn to propitiate Lord Shiva. His main purpose was to set his pupil free from the curse of Shiva. He succeeded and asked also a second boon (devotion for himself). His pupil would be the bird ' Kaga-Bhusundi' in a next life, a devotee of Shri Rama and an excellent teller of the life story of Shri Rama.

The Ashtakam is in reverence to Rudra, though the context pertains to the Shiva, the post-Vedic transformation of Rudra. It is arguable that the distinction between Rudra and Shiva was already lost by the time of Tulsidas.

The Rudrashtakam is lucid and simple in style and plays an instrumental role in the Shaiva traditions.

Poetry[edit]

The term "Astakam" is derived from the Sanskrit word aṣṭan, meaning "eight". An astakam is made up of eight stanzas.

In Rudrashtakam, each stanza is written in Jagati meter, and hence contains 48 syllables per stanza.

An astakam belong to the genre of lyric poetry, which tends to be short, extremely melodic, and contemplative. It reflects and portrays the poet's own feelings, states of mind, and perceptions about the theme or character in the Astakam.

Context[edit]

The Rudrashtakam narrates the qualities and deeds of Shiva.

The body of the Rudrashtakam includes many qualities, attributes and motifs associated with Shiva, including the destruction of Tripura (mythology), the annihilation of Kamadeva etc. These symbols and motifs related to the life and deeds of Rudra or Shiva.

Text[edit]

See Sanskrit for details of pronunciation.

Devanagari IAST English Translation
॥ श्री रुद्राष्टकम् ॥ .. Śri Rudrāṣṭakam.. Eight Stanzas on Rudra
आचार्य तुलसीदास Ācārya tulasīdāsa Acharya Tulsidas
नमामि ईशम् ईशान Namāmīśamīśāna O Lord, O' Īśāna! I prostrate before thee
निर्वाणरुपम् nirvāṇa rūpaṃ Who is the embodiment of Nirvāṇa bliss
विभुम् व्यापकम् vibhuṃ vyāpakaṃ Who is omni-present
ब्रह्मवेदस्वरूपम्, । brahma veda svarūpaṃ, Who is knowledge of the Brahman in reality and totality/ Who is origin of Brahma, the originator and of the Veda
निजम् nijaṃ Who is ever dwelling in his own self,
निर्गुणम् nirguṇaṃ Who is quality-less, beyond attributes/ origin of every (3) qualities, hence cannot be measured by standards of qualities
निर्विकल्पम् nirvikalpaṃ Who is immutable
निरीहम् nirīhaṃ Who is dispassionate, desireless
चिदाकाशमाकाशवासम् cidākāśamākāśavāsaṃ Who is immeasurable like the sky, and Who dwells in the sky.
भजेऽहम् ॥ १ ॥ bhāje'haṃ .. 1 .. I beseech.
निराकारम् nirākāraṃ Formless
ओंकारमूलम् oṃkāramūlaṃ The root of Om
तुरीयम् turīyaṃ Always in stateless Turiya – The fourth and most sublime state of existence
गिरा girā Gira == Vani, Voice words / Mount Kailash
ज्ञान गोतीतम् ईशम् jñāna gotītaṃ īśaṃ Who is beyond the scope of voice, knowledge and words/ origin of Vani, Gyan, Words etc.
गिरीशम् girīśaṃ The ruler of Mount Kailash/ God of mount Kailash
करालम् । karālaṃ Fierce
महाकाल कालम् । mahākāla kālaṃ Destroyer of Death/ Mahakaal is when the entire universe dies and He is the destroyer of that Mahakaal
कृपालम् kṛpālaṃ benevolent and compassionate
गुणागार guṇāgāra Who is the treasury of all qualities
संसारपारम् saṃsārapāraṃ beyond the Samsara, the mundane universe
नतोऽहम् ॥ २ ॥ nato'haṃ .. 2 .. I bow.
तुषाराद्रि tuṣārādri Like a snowy white mountain
संकाश saṃkāśa (His) face is sweet
गौरम् gauraṃ Fair and resplendent / Fair like a snowy mountain (tusharadri = snowy mountain (tushar+adri), sankash = like, gauram = Fair/ white)
गभीरम् । gabhīraṃ Who is profound / He is so deep that to understand Him one has to go to absolute depth of divinity
मनोभूत manobhūta Who is the mind of all beings/ elements
कोटिप्रभा koṭiprabhā Of immense splendor
श्री शरीरम् śrī śarīraṃ Beautiful bodied ( His beautiful body if of immense splendor)
स्फुरन्मौलि sphuranmauli shining forehead
कल्लोलिनी चारु गङ्गा kallolinī cāru gaṅgā Wavy and enticing Ganges / sacred Ganges flows cheerfully from His shining forehead
लसद् lasad Shiny
भाल bhāla forehead
बालेन्दु bālendu A youthful (crescent) moon / young moon is shining on His forehead
कण्ठे भुजङ्गा ॥ ३ ॥ kaṇṭhe bhujaṅgā.. 3 .. Snake garlands around the neck
चलत्कुण्डलम् calat kuṇdalaṃ swaying earrings
भ्रू सुनेत्रम् विशालम् bhrū sunetraṃ viśālaṃ With beautiful eyebrow and broad eyes
प्रसन्नाननम् prasannānanaṃ happy countenance/ facial expression reveals satisfaction or peace
नीलकण्ठम् । nīla kaṇṭhaṃ blue throated one
दयालम् dayālaṃ Compassionate
मृगाधीश चर्माम्बरम् mrigāḍhiśa carmāmbaraṃ lion-skin around His waist / skin of God of deers, which is lion, is His garment
मुण्ड मालम् muṇḍa mālaṃ Skull-cap garland
प्रियम् शंकरम् priyaṃ śaṃkaraṃ Beloved Shankar
सर्वनाथम् भजामि ॥ ४ ॥ Sarvanāthaṃ bhajāmi.. 4 .. I meditate upon the Lord of the Universe. (sarva+natham = God of everything)
प्रचण्डम् pracaṇḍaṃ Fierce / full of immeasurable energy
प्रकृष्टम् prakriśhtam Immense / Better than everything
प्रगल्भम् pragalbhaṃ Mature and bold
परेशम्। pareśaṃ The supreme Lord
अखण्डम् akhanḍam Whole and Immeasurable
अजम् ajaṃ Birthless
भानुकोटि प्रकाशम् bhānukoṭiprakāṣaṃ Splendor of a billion Suns
त्रयः शूल trayaha śūla Three kind of obstacles in human life – 1. Physical 2. Divine/Devil / 3. Environmental
निर्मूलनम् nirmūlanaṃ One who does not have any origin or One who removes from root (terminates all three kinds of issues from root of it)
शूलपाणिम् भजेऽहम् śulapāṇim bhaje'haṃ I pray the holder of the trident
भवानीपतिम् bhavānīpatiṃ The divine consort of Bhavani
भावगम्यम् ॥ ५ ॥ bhāvagamyaṃ.. 5 .. One who is achieved easily through emotions (devotion)
कलातीत Kaalātīta Timeless, beyond time and death (it's कलातीत i.e. one who is having command on all forms of art, the one from whom art takes birth)
कल्याण kalyāṇa Blissful
कल्पान्तकारी kalpāntakārī The terminator of Kalpas - The destroyer (Kalpa = when our universe dies)
सदा सज्जनानन्ददाता sadā sajjanānanda dātā Always blissful and giver of boons to righteous
पुरारि । purāri The enemy of the Puras – The destroyer of Tripura (mythology)
चिदानंद संदोह मोहापहारी cidānaṃdā saṃdohā mohāpahārī Who is eternal bliss, and Who absolves abundant passion (absorbs happiness which comes from materialistic wishes)
प्रसीद प्रसीद prasīda prasīda Be pleased with me.
प्रभो मन्मथारी॥ ६ ॥ prabho manmathārī.. 6 .. Lord, the destroyer of Kamadeva
न यावत् Na yāvat Those who do not / until or unless
उमानाथ पादाराविन्दम् Umānātha pādārāvindaṃ The lotus feet of Umanath
भजंतीह bhajaṃtīha Pray
लोके परे वा loke pare vā In the universe
नराणाम् narāṇāṃ Of men
न तावत् । na tāvat Not their / till then men will not get
सुखम् शांति sukhaṃ śāñti Happiness and peace
सन्ताप नाशम् sañtāpa nāṣaṃ Destroy agonies
प्रसीद prasīda Be propitious
प्रभो सर्वभूताधिवासम् ॥ ७ ॥ prabho sarvabhūtādhivāsaṃ.. 7 .. O’ Lord! The Lord of all beings/ elements
न जानामि ja jānāmi I don’t know
योगम् yogaṃ Yoga
जपम् japaṃ Meditation
नैव naiva nor
पूजाम् pūjāṃ Oblations
नतोऽहम् nato'haṃ I always bow
सदा सर्वदा sadā sarvadā Ever, always
शम्भुः Śambhuhu O shambhu, the bliss-giver
तुभ्यम् । tubhyaṃ Before you
जरा jarā Old age
जन्म janma Birth and life
दुःखौघ duhkhaugha Immense sorrows of mundane life and existence
तातप्यमानम् tātāpyamānaṃ. Pangs of pain and agony
प्रभो prabho O Lord
पाहि pāhi Redeem me
आपन्नमामीश āpannamāmīśa I am saluting You, O Lord!
शम्भो ॥ ८ ॥ Śambho.. 8 .. O Shambhu!
रुद्राष्टकम् इदम् प्रोक्तम् विप्रेण हर तोषये । (this Brahman, tulsidas, has written Rudrashtakam to praise/ satisfy Har (Shiva))

ये पठन्ति नरा भक्त्या तेषाम् शम्भुः प्रसीदति ।। (whoever men will read this with intense devotion, O Shambhu please be propitious to them)

See also[edit]

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