There are also several stories about the birth of Rudra. Some of them are given below.
- Brahma created first four rishis called Sanandha, Sanaka, Sanathana and Sanal Kumara with a view to initiate the activities of creation. But all the four preferred to be ascetics and never bothered to reproduce. Then Brahma got so angry that the anger was sufficient to burn all the three worlds. This anger escaped from his eyebrows and took the form of Rudra. Rudra’s form was half woman and half man. Brahma commanded him to divide and disappeared. Rudra divided himself into Rudra the male part as well as Rudhrani the female part. This male part further got divided in to eleven parts. They were Ajan, Ekaath, Ahirbudhnyan, Twashta, Rudra, Hara, Sambhu, Tryambaka, Aparajitha, Easana and Tribhuvana. (Another source mentions them as Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahaan, Shiva, Ruthudwaja, Bhava, Kaama, Vaamadeva, and Drutha Vrutha and yet another source mentions them as Mrigavyadga, Sarpa, Nirvrithi, Ajaikapada, Ahirbudhya, Pinakin, Dahana, Kapalin, Sthanu, Bhaga and Tryambaka.). The female aspect was called Rudrani and she also divided herself into eleven parts and became consort to the eleven Rudras.
- From Brahma’s anger was born the Rudra, from his lap Narada, from his right Thumb Daksha, from his mind the Sanaka and from his left thumb one daughter called Veeraani.
- When Brahma was deep in prayer requesting for a son similar to him, a baby deep blue in colour came on to his lap. That son started crying and Brahma told him not to cry-“Maa Ruda”The child wanted a name. Since he was crying (rudha) , he was called Rudra. The child cried another seven times asking for names and another seven Rudras were formed.
“Kadrudraaya prachetasey meelhustamaaya tavyasey.
Vocheyma shantam hridey.”
Which means, “We sing this praise from our hearts of the great Rudra –who is a pourer for the sake of peace.” ( Ru means sound or to vibrate, Ruda is to pour or to cry and Rudra is to shed, to flow, to inflict)
The Sri Rudram called also as Satha Rudreeyam or Rudra Prasnam occurs in Krishna Yajur Veda in the Taithireeya Samhitha. It has two parts as mentioned before viz., Namakam and Chamakam each with eleven sections. While Namakam is a prayer to Rudra to forget about his avenging fierce, fearful and horrendous form and turn himself into a peaceful form and do good to us, Chamakam on the other hand lists out the blessings to be got from a prayer to Rudra and prays Him to regulate and bless our life for a moment forgetting his anger. This also has eleven parts.
Some Important Mantras
“Foremost among the mantras contained in Rudram is the Panchakshari Mantra: "Om Namah Shivaya” possibly the mantra most often chanted by Shaivites.
The great mrutyunjaya mantra is as follows.
“Tryambakam yajamahe Sugandhim pushtivardhanam Urvarurkamiva bhandhanam Mrityor mukshiya ma -mrtat.”
We salute and respect, Him who is naturally scented,
Him who looks after his devotees with mercy, And him who has three eyes.
And pray and request, To move us away from the catch of death,
Like the cucumber separated from its stalk, And firmly put us in the path of salvation.
The musical chant most often used for Deeparadhana for Shiva also occurs in Rudram.
Namasthe asthu bhagavan visweswaraaya mahaadevaaya tryambakaaya,Tripuraanthakaayaa trikagni kaalaaya kaalaagni rudhraaya neela kantaaya, Mrutyumjayaaya sarveshwaraaya sadashivaaya sriman maha devaaya nama.
Salutations to you God, Who is the lord of the universe, Who is the greatest among gods;
Who has three eyes, Who destroyed the three cities, Who is master of the three fires,
Who is the Rudura who burns the world,Who has a blue neck;
Who won over the God of death, Who is Lord of everything,
Who is ever peaceful,And who is the greatest God with goodness. Salutations again.
Five Methods of Chanting Rudra
There are five methods of chanting Rudra viz.,
- Ordinary method where first Rudram is read and then Chamakam.
- Rudra ekadasini where after chanting Rudram, the first anuvaka of Chamakam is chanted, again after chanting Rudram the second anuvaka of Chamakam is chanted and so on till the eleventh chanting of Rudram followed by eleventh anuvaka of Chamakam.
- Eleven such Rudra ekadasinis makes one Laghu Rudram
- Eleven such Laghu Rudrams makes one Maha Rudram and
- Eleven such Maha Rudrams make one Athi rudram.