Goddess Ambika is considered the wife of Lord Shiva but here Yajurveda calls Devi Ambika the sister of Lord Shiva:

एष ते रुद्र भाग: सह स्वस्त्राम्बिकया तं जुषस्व स्वाहैष ते रुद्र भाग S आखुस्ते पशु:।।57।।

Rudra, this is thine allotted portion. With Ambika thy sister kindly take it. This, Rudra, is thy share, the rat thy victim. (Shukla Yajurveda 3.57)

So why in this verse Devi Ambika is called sister of Lord Shiva?

Is the translation of this verse correct?

  • I don't have Sanskrit text of shuka yajurveda if someone has the original sanskrit text he can edit the question and post it. Nov 19, 2017 at 10:29
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    Added Sanskrit Shloka. In Shatapatha Brahmana also mentioned so. But it didn't provide the answer.Will try to search. Nov 19, 2017 at 12:27
  • Here is the link of Shatapatha Brahmana -wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/satapatha-brahmana-english/d/… Nov 19, 2017 at 12:30
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    Ok but still question is interesting. :) Nov 19, 2017 at 13:49
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    @KarmanyaNanda The whole sentence word by word is wrong. as जुषस्व means to enjoy or to like (food/drink) which was translated as kindly take it. Also आखुस्ते पशु: is not rat your victim instead rat your mount
    – user12262
    Nov 19, 2017 at 14:16

6 Answers 6


First, we have to understand who is the feminine version of Rudra? Maruts are also said to be the children of Rodasī (consort of Rudra) and the same hymn distinctly addresses Rudra as their father RV5.57. Rudra is not necessarily a single entity or a group because of the unique nature of Rudra to manifest across various concepts and divinities.Please note that the term trayambakam, with regard to appearance, means three eyes. With regard to nature, ambaka means Ritu (season) and Ambikā represents Autumn or harvest season. Amba+ka also means mother and sister. Ambika is given to Devi Parvati as her title because She is the Pāraśakti. If you check Durga Suktam of Rig Veda you will see that, all that is śakti is She, all reality and creation are Her, all Maya is her, all that is feminine (not just biological) is Her, like Land, rivers, seasons, dawn (Uṣas) prapancha, jagath is her. Why?

वागर्थाविव संपृक्तौ वागर्थप्रतिपत्तये । जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ ।। “I bow to the mother and the father of the world, Pārvatī and Parameśvara (Ṥiva), who are inseparably conjoined, just like a word and its meaning are inseparably conjoined for the purpose of comprehension.” ~Raghuvansham by Kalidas

Similarly, Śrī Adi Śankaracharya said:

माता च पार्वती देवी पिता देवो महेश्वरः बान्धवाः शिवभक्ताश्च स्वदेशो भुवनत्रयम् My mother is Devi Parvati, my father is the divine Maheśvaram (the supreme authority); all who worship the ever auspiciousness (Śiva) are my relatives, in this land and all the three worlds. ~Annapurāstakam by Śrī Adi Śankaracharya

Can the above be backed by Vedas? Sure, here is the answer:

भुवनस्य पितरं गीर्भिराभी रुद्रं दिवा वर्धया रुद्रमक्तौ ।बृहंतमृष्वमजरं सुषुम्नमृधग्घुवेम कविनेषितासः ॥ Of all dimensions/celestial mansions (भुवन) are your progeny (गर्भिन्) and you the father/source (पित), oh Rudra (रुद्र), by day/dawn (दिवा) and by dusk/night ( रुद्रमक्तौ ) you encompass (वर्ध) | Oh great and honorable and timeless/ageless (बृहंतमृ + ऋष्व + अजरं), most gracious(सु-सुम्न), unconditional one, we/rishis sing our poetic hymns (कविने) to the Supreme (इषितासः/iṣitāsaḥ). RV6.49.10

सथिरेभिरङगैः पुरुरूप उग्रो बभ्रुः शुक्रेभिः पिपिशेहिरण्यैः |ईशानादस्य भुवनस्य भूरेर्न वा उ योषद रुद्रादसुर्यम || You are well/completely (अङ्ग) established/sustainer (स्थिरेभिः) with multiple/diverse forms (पुरुऽरूपः), You are fierce (उग्रः), yet pure and luminous (शुक्र+भिः), with reddish brown and tawny hue (बभ्रु), all-encompassing (पिपि+श) brilliance (हिरण्यैः) | You are the sovereign authority (ईशानात्) of all realms/worlds (भुवनस्य), oh Great one (भूरि), You Rudra (रुद्रा +त्) the Divine spiritual head(सुर्यम्) RV 2.33.9 Please note: अङ्ग here is not hands or fingers but is a stressing adjective refers to Confirmation or solicitation. शुक्र means clear/white/opaque, hence the name śukreśvara linga of Varanasi.सुर्यम् means Godhead Rig Vedā 2.33.9/6.49.10

Oh Prajāpati, none other than thee to comprehend all that is created and its forms, to fulfill our heart’s desire; I offer my oblations to thee, your father and your sire is thy? Praise to that Rudra, the abode/lord of all riches, most vital supreme of names, I offer my oblations to thee! Sukla Yajur Vedā Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā 10.20

The above gave rise to sloka 4, Chap 3 in the Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad (one of the 18 primary Upaniṣhads):

यो देवानां प्रभवश्चोद्भवश्च विश्वाधिपो रुद्रो महर्षिः।हिरण्यगर्भं जनयामास पूर्वं स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु॥ He is (यो) the creator/source (प्रभव) of the emergence (उद्भवः) of all Deva’s/Divinity (देवा+नां) and the highest of Rishis (महर्षिः) and the supreme owner over entirety ( विश्व+अधिपो ). He is the cause of time (जनया+अमस) to the brilliant/golden womb/the source of creation (हिरण्यगर्भं), prior (पूर्वं) to celestial heavens and us (स – नो) and the one only (शुभया) to bestow/endow (संयुनक्त+ उ) knowledge and intelligence (बुद्ध्या) Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad 3.2

So, as we can see, companion (partner) or the one who comes along (sister) are more human and bilogical terms and after reading the above such translations shouldn't be take literally and be lowered to mere biological (flesh/blood) relations.

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    Good answer.I appreciate your efforts✔ Jun 19, 2021 at 19:30

To answer the question we must remember that:

First it is Vedic Language which is older than sanskrit. The word संस्कृत comes from संस्कार of the Vedic language made by Panini. So understanding the meaning of the words is next to impossible.

Second, in Sanskrit, स्वसा means sister and there seems to be no word like स्वस्त्रा.However स्वः ((heaven) + त्रा (traanakarini or protector(female)) can be conjoined to सवस्त्रा, which can mean the Mother Goddess.

Third, स्वस्त्रिया in sanskrit will mean 'with own wife'. As the language of the mantra is not sanskrit, it is difficult to say whether its a spelling mistake or not.

By the way according to Tantra, all male are Purusha's form and all females are Prakiti's or Shakti's form. So all relations like sister, wife, Mother etc are included in Shakti.


(1) There is a typo in your question. The word meaning "to your sister" spelled as svasrā rather that svastrā. See the scan below from the version edited by Wasudev Laxman Sastri Pansikar and published by Pandurang Jawaji of the Nirnayasagar Press:

enter image description here

(2) The interpretation of the word svasā (nominative form of the word 'svasrā') as 'sister' in this place is an incorrect one (although it is literally correct). This same mantra occurs also in in the Krisna Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita, as follows:

eṣa te rudra bhāgaḥ।
saha svasrāṃbikayā taṃ juṣasva

Vedic interpretation is non trivial even for people highly skilled in Paninian Sanskrit. This is illustrated by the commentator Bhattabhaskaracharya.

In his commentary on the Taittirya Samhita, Bhattabhskaracharya explains that this mantra leads to an absurd meaning when interpreted literally. There are different principles (called lakṣaṇas) that have to be applied when interpreting Veda mantras.

In the particular case of this mantra, one has to apply the principle of "lakṣita-lakṣaṇa" which can be translated as "indicative indication" or "secondary indication".

The easiest way to understand this is to interpret a word as a synonym's second meaning.

  • svasā = sister
  • sister = bhaginī
  • bhaginī = bhagavatī or bhāgya devatā (devatā of auspiciousness)

Interpreting svasā as bhāgya devatā, Bhattabhaskaracharya says that this manta is praying that Lord Shiva accepts the sacrificial offering along with his wife Ambika who is the devatā of (giver of) auspiciousness.

enter image description here


One of my friends is a scholar in Vedas. He gave the following explanation.

Yajurvedic Rudra is totally different from Shiva.

He's the destructive form of Indra Marutvā. When Indra is prayed to send his ūti (help) Rudra is prayed to avoid his heti (missile of affliction).

When Maruts turn destructive (instead of their constructive aggression) they become Rudras.

Since Rudra robs and nibbles off everything, rat becomes his symbol.

Ambikā becomes the sister with complimentary role (of creation and motherly affection) of Rudra who is invoked with Rudra to make him auspicious. It's euphemistic, much like Rudra being called Shiva.

Ambikā means mother. Like Rudra, she's the name of a Divine concept.

There are no individual gods and goddesses in Vedas, there are concepts through which we perceive the Divinity.

  • I dont usually agree that yajurvedic Rudra is diffearent from Shiva .Maruts are sons of Rudra(shiva) and subordinates of Indra In yajurveda Rudra is called shiva many times and mahabharata and ramayana frequently talked about 3 vedas and sages and even ramayana and mahabharata had vedic dieties only and in itihasas many time Lord Indra is also mentioned Supreme.My point is that if vedas meant something else or if the dieties were diffearent then they would have pointed this I see mahabharata and ramayana in same line where vedas is.Puranas can be still considered diffearent. Jun 8, 2019 at 11:11
  • You can see this answer hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/14208/11510 as well as this hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/22294/11510 Jun 8, 2019 at 11:13
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    @KarmanyaNanda: The issue involved is highly debatable. Interpretation matters. As far as I am concerned, Purusha Suktam itself an interpolated one.(hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/35160/3869). What was the idea of the saints of that Yajurvedic era is highly susceptible to interpretation. :-) Jun 8, 2019 at 11:58

The most important point to consider is that, as far as my knowledge, no Shaiva acharyas nor Vaishnava ones, nor acharyas from any background have ever dealt with this trouble. There is as per my knowledge, total acceptance of Ambika being wife of Shiva by all Shaiva Vedantins and Smartas. Neither Shankara, nor Srikantha and Appayya Dikshitar, nor Vaishnavas such as Ramanuja, Vedanta Desikan, Madhava and Vijendra Tirtha have ever made such acknowledgment of Ambika being Rudra's sister. Bearing all things in mind, we can safely say, the above translation is wrong.

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    You should cite proper sources
    – Vivikta
    Jun 14, 2021 at 3:26

They are All. Everything that exists and that doesn't exit is nothing but Shiva and Shakti. There is none other that Shiva and Shakti. So they are beholder of Every Relationship too...

enter image description here

अहं ते हृदये गौरि त्वं च मे हृदि संस्थिता । अहं भ्राता च पुत्रश्च बंधुर्भर्ता तथैव च ॥ त्वं तु मे भगिनी भार्या दुहिता बांधवी स्नुषा । अहं यज्ञपतिर्यज्वा त्वं च श्रद्धा सदक्षिणा ॥

~ Skanda Purana,

Īśvara Said to Īśvari : O Gaurī, I am abiding in your heart. You are stationed in my heart. I am your brother, son, kinsman and husband.

You are my sister, wife, daughter, kinswoman and daughter-in-law. I am the performer of Yajña and the Lord of Yajña. You are Śraddhā (faith) and also the Dakṣiṇā.

Whole Creation is nothing but the manifestations of Shiva and Shakti

शिवशक्तिमयं ह्येतत्प्रत्यक्षं दृश्यते जगत् । लिंगांकं च भगांकं च नान्यदेवांकितं क्वचित् ॥

~ Skanda-Māhapurāṇa,

This universe that is directly perceived is identical with Śiva and Śakti, being marked with Liṅga and Bhaga. Nowhere is it marked with any other Deva.

अहो विचारतो नास्ति ह्यन्यत्तत्वार्थवादिनः । निष्कलं सकलं चित्ते सर्वं शिवमयं जगत् ॥

~ Śiva Māhāpuraṇa,

If we consider properly there is nothing else for the real interpreter. Whatever is Niṣkala or Sakala is of the form of Śiva. The entire universe is the form of Śiva. This must be constantly thought of in the mind.

शिवो दाता शिवो भोक्ता शिवः सर्वमिदं जगत्। शिवो जयति सर्वत्र यः शिवः सोऽहमेव ॥ यत्कृतं यत्करिष्यामि तत्सर्वं सुकृतं तव ( तस्तवम् )। त्वं त्राता विश्वनेता च नान्योनाथोऽस्ति मे शिव ॥

~ Garuḍa Purāṇa, Ācāra Kāṇḍa, 23.28-29

O god! O thou the giver of fame! do thou destroy all my actions, good or ba whatever I have done who am of the dignity of Śiva. Śiva is the giver, Śiva is enjoyer and Siva is the entire universe. Śiva is victorious everywhere. I am myself Śiva. O Śiva! thou art the saviour and the learder of the universe. Save thee I have no other lord.


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