Shri Rudram is supposedly in the Taittariya Samhita and contains the very famous Mrthyumjayam mantra. Just purely translating the title: Shri means “mix or mingle” and rudram means “turbulence”. While the most common use of “Shri” is an address of respect, that makes sense only when “Rudram” is considered to be a name. But, I believe the translation of Rudram here is not a name but represents “tumultous” or turbulence in noun form. So, basically this is describing what happens when turbulence is mixed into what? I think it is OM or steady vibration.
These verses are also called “Namakam” and the reason becomes clear since it is a series of “Namah” or “Namaste” or “Namo”. What is interesting is translation of “Nam” which is the root word of all these words. While the common description given for Namaste is that it is a greeting or salutation, the word “Nam” itself translates to “to submit” or “to surrender”. Based on context it is used in, it also translates to “to turn away from or give up”. For eg., in “OM Hreem Shreem sva-adha devaih namah”, the namah translates to “give up”, so this translates to “OM, Hreem, Shreem, those the self has taken and hence formed energies, I give up”.
The verses here are very interesting and a glimpse of the differences in concepts of “Shiva”, “Rudra”, “Isha” start emerging. As I have said before, lot of the terms are in general considered to refer to be the same, while in-fact they are distinctly different. When they are projected into a set of dimensions that does not contain the dimension of difference, they obviously, take on the same meaning.
If we imagine three distinct states – “a state of void”, “a state of all possibilities” and “a state where one possibility is selected”, the dimension we are in, is the “the state where one possibility is already selected”. In here, the dimensions that we “sense” does not contain the dimensions from “the state of all possibilities”, hence the all concepts involved from that state will always project into the same point of ” the selected” in this state. In reading these verses, it should be remembered that this is the state prior to formation of even “Shiva”, this is definitely talking about the “state of all possibilities”. This seems to be describing that which is “selected”.
om namo bhagavate rudrāya ||
om namaste rudra manyava utotA iShave namah |
namaste astu dhanvane bāhubhyāmuta te namah |
yā ta iShuh śivatamā śivaM babhūva te dhanuh |
śivā śaravyA yā tava tayā no rudra mruDaya |
OM + namo + bhagavate + rudraya =
OM vibration + submit to + glorious + turbulence
OM + namaste + rudra + manyava + utotA + iShave + namah =
OM + has surrendered + turbulence + of the manas + weaving + of this potential (that environment of all possibilities) + turn away
namaste + astu + dhan + vane + bahu + abhyam + utate + namah =
surrenders to + this reality + cause to flow + to gain + many + advance violently against + weave + turn away from
ya ta + iShuh + sivatama + sivaM + babhuva + te + dhanuh =
which ever + of the environment of all possibilities + shivaM of the Shiva + has become + that + island
shiva + sharavya + yA + ta+ va + taya + no + rudra + mrDaya = shiva + target + or + that also + move + that + turbulence + be unrestricted
Here, I have translated not bAhu which means fore-arm, but as bahu which means many. Isha, as I had indicated in the Isha Upanishad indicates potential or a state of all possibilities. Shivam and shiva are another set of distinct concepts and should not be translated to the same concept. From the first verse of the Shiva Tandava sthotram, we find that the vibration that stretches out of the entanglement becomes the “shivam” of the constricted entanglement which is “shiva”. The translation of this:
OM surrenders to this glorious turbulence. OM has surrendered to the turbulent weaving of the manas turning away from this environment of all possibilities. Surrendering has caused this reality to acquire a flow, turning away from those numerous weaves that advance violently against it. Shiva targets Whichever of the environment of all possibilities has become the island of shivaM of Shiva, or that which moves unrestricted in that turbulence.
It should be seen here, that the second line can either be that the “turbulent manas has weaved Isha” in which case “turbulence causes the potential” or the way I have translated it here where “Isha already exists and turbulence arises in it to create the manas”, I tend to think it in this manner because it says “isha+ve” and adds “namah” after that.
yā te rudra śivā tanūraghorā'pāpakāśinī |
tayā nastanuvā śantamayā giriśaMtābhicākaśīhi |
yāmiShuM giriśaMta haste bibharShyastave |
śivāM giritra tāM kuru mā higMsih puruShaM jagat |
śivena vacasā tvā giriśācchāvadāmasi |
ya + te + rudra + siva + tanU + aghora + papaakashini =
that + which + turbulent + shiva + stretch + formidable / terrible + of that imperfection
taya + na + asta + anuva + shaMtamaya + girisha + antam + ahicAkshihi =
that which + not + is + after + settled + elevation + in the end + manifestation
ya + miSha + yuM + girishaMta + haste + bibharti + Sharva + yastave =
which + illusion + to mix + in elevation + (a quantity - a hand-ful) + maintain + to move / to go + settled
sivaM + giritra + taM + kuru + mA + hi + gMsIh + puruShaM + jagat =
ShivaM + protecting elevation + it + collection + form / make + set in motion + the earth + the world of "I"'s
siva + ena + vacasA + tva + girisha + acchA + vadAm + asi =
that which Shiva + describes + into that + in elevation + close by / here + is described
To note here, shaMtamaya, I have split and formed as shaM and tamaya as a modification to it, instead of shaMta and maya as a modification to it. shaM means calm, settled, where as shaMta means wholesome, nourish. When we look at the context here we are looking at a turbulence and hence settled is a better fit rather than nourish. The next word is “giri”, the standard translation is “mountain”. Again in this context “mountain” does not make sense “elevation” makes better sense. “Kuru” is a “race”, again taking the human out of it, it becomes a “collection”. So, this translates to:
That which remains imperfect after the turbulent shiva is stretched, that which is not settled from the turbulence in the end manifests. That illusion when mixed with turbulence and a handful settles with shivaM protecting the turbulence, that collected form sets in motion this earth, the world of “I”s, then, that which shiva dictates into that turbulence, in there that is described.
Yatha nah sarvamijjagadayakshmag sumana asatthu |
Adyavochadadhivakta prathamo daivyo bhisak |
AhIgsrava sarvanjnaambhyayantsarvasrva yatudhanyah |
Asau yastamro aruna uta babhru sumangalah |
Ye chemam Rudra abhito dikshu shritaha Sahasra sho vaisagum heda imahe |
yatha + nah + sarvam + majja + gada + yakshmag + su + mana + asat =
in this way + not + all + submerged in + description + consumed + good + manas + illusion / un-truth
adhya + vacha + dadhi + vakttA + prathamo + daivyo + bhiShak =
now + description + gives + to be described + original + the same + will be
ahIn + srava + sarvajna + jambha + yanta + sarva + shrava + yAtu + dhAnyah =
entire + sound + turned in all directions + engulf + limiting + all + sounds + one which is + granular
asau + yasta + amro + arunA + uta + babhruh + sumangalah =
in that + settled + a particular weight + light-brown / reddish + woven + deep-brown + favourable
ye + cemAM + rudrA + abhito + dikShu + shritAh + sahstrasho + vaiShAm + heDa + Imahe =
these + drink + turbulent + near + initiate + having taken + a thousand / many + change + encompass + in these
Here to note is the translation of “vaca”, while it is translated as “spoken”, it is more I think a “description”, the prior version of “speech” and “srava” while is translated as “hear” it again becomes “sound” the prior version of “hear”. “jamba” means “devour”, hence in the non-human form it becomes “engulf”.
But, to note here is the ever present arunA as reddish-brown or light-brown and “babhruh” which is dark-brown as favourable. This seems a repeating theme present in the Shiva Tandava and other sthotrams. This must be a specific frequency of vibration? I wonder. This translates to:
In this way not all submerged in description is consumed by illusion of manas, the description of now gives a description of that which is the same as the original. The entire sound turned in all directions is engulfed limiting all sounds to that which is granular in that settled, a particular light-brown weaves into a favourable deep brown, those that drink turbulence approaching initiation having undergone many changes, encompassed in these.
Will be continued in the next blog… Please note, the way I have split these verses is not how it is normally split. I have just done it looking at some logical points of split.