We have seen Lord Rudra in Kailash sitting firmly in deep meditation. Does anyone of us have come across on whom does he meditate? He meditates on Parabrahman or whom?
There may be at least two answers to this question, as per the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa.
God Rudra meditates either solely on god Viṣṇu and his essence, or he meditates on both the gods, Viṣṇu & Brahmā.
1. God Rudra meditates on the essence of Vishnu and his tattvas (Rama, Krishna, etc.), as per the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa Verse 6.1.256.1-23
This same question was sought from god Mahādeva by the goddess Pārvatī once, as follows -
Chapter 256, Tīrtha-māhātmya, Nāgara-khaṇḍa, Skandapurāṇa
गालव उवाच ।
एकदा भगवान्रुद्रः कैलासशिखरे स्थितः । दधार परमां लक्ष्मीमुमया सहितः किल ॥ १ ॥
- Once Lord Rudra who stayed on the peak of Kailāsa mountain in the company of Umā was endowed with the greatest refulgence.
गणानां कोटयस्तिस्रस्तं यदा पर्यवारयन् । २ । एते चान्ये च बहवस्तदा भवसमीपगाः ॥ ७ ॥
- 2a,7b. At that time three crores of Gaṇas surrounded him. These and many others were by the side of Bhava...
नंदी दंडधरः संज्ञां दृष्ट्वा चक्रे हरो परः । अलं चापलदोषेण तपः कुर्वंतु भो गणाः ॥ १२ ॥
- On seeing them the staff-bearing Nandin who was virtually another Hara (Śiva) showed signs as if saying, “Enough of your fickleness. O Gaṇas, may ye all perform the penance.”
तदा सर्वे वनमपि भूकांडजमभूत्पुनः । गणास्ते तप आतस्थुर्दृष्ट्वा कान्तिंवसन्तजाम् ॥ १३ ॥
- The forest then became silent with all the birds remaining quiet. All those Gaṇas resumed their penance on seeing the splendor of spring.
ततः सा विश्वजननी पार्वती प्राह शंकरम् । इयं ते करगा नित्यमक्षमाला महेश्वर ॥ १४ ॥
- Then Pārvatī, the mother of the universe, asked Śaṅkara: “O Maheśvara, this rosary of beads is always held in your hands.
त्वया किं जप्यते देव संदेहयति मे मनः । त्वमेकः सर्व भूतानामादिकृत्सकलेश्वरः ॥ १५ ॥
- My mind is in doubt. What Japa is being performed by you? You are the sole primordial creator of all living beings. You are the Lord of everything.
न माता न पिता बंधुस्तव जातिर्न कश्चन । अहं तव परं किंचिद्वेद्मि नास्तीति किंचन ॥ १६ ॥
- You have neither a mother nor a father. You do not have any kinsman. You don’t belong to any caste. I know that there is nothing greater than you.
श्रमेण त्वं समायुक्तो श्वासोच्छ्वासपरायणः । जपन्नपि महाभक्त्या दृश्यसे त्वं मया सदा ॥ १७ ॥
- Though performing Japa with great devotion, it appears to me that while you are engaged in inhaling and exhaling, you do it under some strain.
त्वत्तःपरतरं किचिद्यत्त्वं ध्यायसि चेतसा । तन्मे कथय देवेश यद्यहं दयिता तव ॥ १८ ॥
- O Lord of Devas, if I am your beloved, tell me: Is there anything (anyone) greater than you which you meditate upon mentally?”
इति स्पृष्टस्तदा शंभुरुवाच हरिसेवकः । हरेर्नामसहस्राणां सारं ध्यायामि नित्यशः ॥ १९ ॥
- On being asked thus, Śaṃbhu, the servant of Hari said: “I meditate upon the essence of the thousand names of Hari always.”
जपामि रामनामांकमवातरं ससप्तमम् । चतुर्विशतिसंख्याकान्प्रादुर्भावान्हरेर्गुणान् ॥ २० ॥
- I perform Japa of the seventh incarnation of Hari known by the name of Rāma and the twenty-four manifestations as well as the good qualities of Hari.
एतेषामपि यत्सारं प्रणवाख्यं महत्फलम् । द्वादशाक्षरसंयुक्तं ब्रह्मरूपं सना तनम् ॥ २१ ॥ अक्षरत्रयसंबद्धं ग्रामत्रयसमन्वितम् । सबिंदुं प्रणवं शश्वज्जपामि जपमालया ॥ २२ ॥
- 21 & 22. With the rosary, I always perform the Japa of Praṇava inclusive of Bindu. What is called Praṇava is highly efficacious and it is the essence of all these (foregoing Avatāras etc.). I perform Japa of the eternal Brahman (Mantra) endowed with twelve syllables, (i.e. Om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya). Praṇava is union of three syllables (a-u-m) and it is endowed with the three Grāmas (of musical melody).
वेदसारमिदं नित्यं द्व्यक्षरं सततोद्यतम् । निर्मलं ह्यमृतं शांतं सदूपममृतोपमम् ॥ २३ ॥
- This two-syllabled Mantra (i.e. Rāma) is the essence of the Vedas. It is permanently exalted, free from impurities, immortal, tranquil, of the nature of the Sat (existence). It is comparable to nectar.
Therefore, as per the above excerpt, god Rudra meditates on the essence of the Viṣṇusahasranāmastotra. He performs the japa of the name of Śrī Rāma, and also the chants the twelve twelve syllabled maantra, (i.e. Om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya).
In short, god Rudra meditates on god Viṣṇu and his various names.
Alternatively, in the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa itself, we come across an interesting incident where it is revealed that all the three gods of the Trinity (the tridevas) i.e., Brahmā, Viṣṇu & Maheśa, meditate on each other.
2. God Rudra meditates on Brahmā and Viṣṇu both, as per the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa Verse 220.127.116.11-10
Once some sages were trying to ascertain who amongst the tridevas is the "best" to worship, for salvation. However, they ultimately saw for themselves each one of the three gods, worship the other two always, as shown below -
Chapter 41, Kaumārikā-khaṇḍa, Māheśvara-khaṇḍa, Skandapurāṇa
करधम उवाच ।
केचिच्छिवं समाश्रित्य विष्णुमाश्रित्य वेधसम् । वर्णयंति परे मोक्षं त्वं तु कस्मात्तु मन्यसे ॥ १ ॥
- Some say that liberation can be attained by resorting to Śiva. Some say, it is acquired by resorting to Viṣṇu, while others (say it) by resorting to Vedhas (Brahmā). From whom do you consider (that it can be acquired)?
महाकाल उवाच ।
अपारवैभवा देवास्त्रयोऽप्येते नरर्षभ । योगींद्राणामपि त्वत्र चेतो मुह्यति किं मम ॥ २ ॥
- All these three Lords, O leader of men, have unlimited greatness. The minds of even great Yogins get confused in this matter. What then (of an ordinary person) like me?
पुरा किलैवं मुनयो नैमिषारण्यवासिनः । संदिह्यांतः श्रेष्ठतायां ब्रह्मलोकमुपागमन् ॥ ३ ॥
- Formerly, the sages residing in the Naimiṣa forest, doubted in their minds about the excellence (of Devas) and went to the world of Brahmā.
तस्मिन्क्षणे विरिंचोऽपि श्लोकं प्रह्वोऽब्रवीत्किल । अनंताय नमस्तस्मै यस्यांतो नोपलभ्यते ॥ ४ ॥ महेशाय च भक्ते द्वौ कृपायेतां सदा मयि । ततः श्रेष्ठं च तं मत्वा क्षीरोदं मुनयो ययुः ॥ ५ ॥
- 4-5. At that very moment, Brahmā who was humble uttered this verse: “Obeisance to that Ananta (Infinite one) whose end is not obtained as well as to Maheśa. Let both of them always bestow favour on me (their) devotee.” Thereupon considering him (i.e. Viṣṇu) the most excellent one, the sages went to the Milk Ocean.
तत्र योगेश्वरः श्लोकं प्रबुध्यन्नमुमब्रवीत् । ब्रह्माणं सर्वभूतेषु परमं ब्रह्मरूपिणम् ॥ ६ ॥ सदाशिवं च वंदे तौ भवेतां मंगलाय मे । ततस्ते विस्मिता विप्रा अपसृत्य ययुः पुनः ॥ ७ ॥
- 6-7. There, the Lord of Yoga, on waking up spoke thus: “I salute Brahmā the greatest among all living beings, and Sadāśiva who has the form of Brahman. Let them both be for my welfare and auspiciousness.”
- Thereafter, those Brāhmaṇas who were surprised went away (from that place).
कैलासे ददृशुः स्थाणुं वदंतं गिरिजां प्रति । एकादश्यां प्रनृत्यानि जागरे विष्णुसद्मनि ॥ ८ ॥ सदा तपस्यां चरामि प्रीत्यर्थं हरिवेधसोः । श्रुत्वेति चापसृत्यैव खिन्नास्ते मुनयोऽब्रुवन् ॥ ९ ॥
- 8-9. At Kailāsa, they saw Sthāṇu speaking to Girijā, “On the Ekādaśī day let me dance and keep awake in the abode of Viṣṇu. I am always performing penance for the sake of propitiating Hari and Brahmā.”
English Translation by G.V. Tagare
(Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House, 1950 Print Edition)
As per the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa:
- Verse 6.1.256.1-23, god Rudra meditates on god Viṣṇu.
- Verse 18.104.22.168-10, god Rudra meditates on both gods Viṣṇu & Brahmā.