Consider the following lines from Rudram and their translation

Nama kapardhine cha vyupthakesaya cha

Salutations to him who has a crown of hair and to him who has a shaved head

I heard that a person reconciled the above line as follows

The Siva with crown of hair is Dakshinamurthy and with shaved head is Adi Shankaracharya

What is the name of the person who gave the above statement.


1 Answer 1


Abhinava Shankara in his commentary on Rudram says Vyuptakesha refers to Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavadpada. Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Mahaswamigal says the same and quotes Abhinava Shankara's commentary as reference.

This is what Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamigal says in one of the talks:

In addition to being the several things of this world, there are also the names of the form of parameshvara which we know. These are called asAdharaNa nAmas. Usually, we understand sAdhAraNam as ordinary and asAdharaNam as something special or rare. The fact is sAdhAraNam means what is general and asAdhAraNam means what is specific. When paramashiva is referred to as the several things of the world, such reference will be in the plural form and the asAdhAraNa names which are exclusive to paramashiva are mentioned in singular. While mentioning names specific to shiva, it is said, bhava, rudra, sharva, pashupati, nIlakaNTha, shitikaNTha; note that the names are all in singular. After the name shitikaNTha, the two names kapardI and vyuptakesha are mentioned with namaskAram immediately followed by sahasrAkSha (one with countless eyes) and shatadhanvan (one with countless weapons). Then the names girIsha and girisha are mentioned which which are specific to shiva are also mentioned. Thus, due to the occurrence in the midst of the several asAdhAraNa nAmas appropriate only to parameshvara, the names kapardin and vyuptakesha are listed, it means that these two are also specific to Him.

What is meant by kapardin and vyuptakesha? Kapardin means the one who is having jaTA. Vyuptakesha means the one who is having a shaven head. In rudra, names given to Ishvara in succession are opposites in quality. He is jyeShTha and he is kaniShTha. In the same manner, he is the one with jaTA and the one with the shaven head. But there is something special about kapardi. Kaparda means jaTA. But it does not refer to the jaTA of everyone. Only the jaTA of parameshvara is called kaparda. When mahAviShNu, brahmA, indra, and all the other devas are wearing a kirITa on their heads, it is only shiva, the yogi, who is with jaTA. Only parameshvara who wears the gangA, the moon, the snake, the kapAla, the dhatUra flower etc. has been specifically given the name kapardI. It is therefore a confirmation that this name refers only to parameshvara.

Therefore, the name vyuptakesha which comes immediately after kapardi must also be specific to paramashiva. This name does not appear in between the names such as the carpenters, potters, fishermen, outcaste, thieves etc., but instead between those names which refer to Him as the only one Ishvara who is the Lord of the world. These two names are mentioned in singular referring to Ishvara only. We have seen that kapardi is the asAdhAraNa nAma specific to him; therefore the name vyuptakesha should also be such based on the pattern. This is an important point we should make note of.

Thus, the name vyuptakesha refers to the form of sannyAsin with shaved head, which is specific to paramashiva. There is no mUrti other than our AchArya which can be shown as with a shaven head. Whether it is dakShiNAmUrti, naTarAja or tripurAri, all these mUrtis are with jaTAs. When it is so and the veda clearly refers to a particular mUrti of paramashiva as vyuptakesha, it only refers to the shankara avatAra which is to take place in the future. This is how abhinava shankara who has commented on the rudram has explained this nAma.

Will it be enough if we say that when rudram specifically mentions a person with shaven head as shiva svarUpi, it is specifically our AchArya? It will be satisfying only if some other authority is also shown. This is where we examine the purANas. It is the way of our elders that the meaning of the veda should be understood only through purANAs and itihAsas.

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