Rudra means king

Dayananda Saraswati has translated Rudra to mean king in the Sri Rudram (Yajurveda Chapter 16)

Does Yajurveda tells about Shiva having the qualities of a king?

What is the meaning of Rudra given in the Nirukta.


5 Answers 5


Does Yajurveda tells about Shiva having the qualities of a king?

Not sure what you exactly mean by having qualities of King. If by quality of King you mean being a ruler, Sri Rudram clearly establishes Lord Shiva as the Lord of Everything. The Anuvakam 2 of Sri Rudram is solely dedicated to call Lord Rudra as Lord of various things which are:

Following are the verses from Anuvakam 2:

दिशां च पतये नमः । Lord of Directions (Disha)

पशूनां पतये नमः । Lord of Pashus

पथीनं पतये नमः । Lord of Paths (Path)

अन्नानां पतये नमः । Lord of Food (Anna)

पुष्टानां पतये नमः । Lord of Nourishment (Pushti)

जगतां पतये नमः । Lord of the Universe (Jagat)

क्षेत्राणां पतये नमः । Lord of Area (Kshetra)

वनानां पतये नमः । Lord of Forest (Vana)

वृक्षाणां पतये नमः । Lord of Plants (Vriksha)

कक्षाणां पतये नमः । Lord of inaccessible places (Kakshya)

ओषधीनां पतये नमः । Lord of Medicines (Aausadhi)

पत्तीनां पतये नमः । Lord of Soldiers सत्वनां पतये नमः । Lord of Virtuous (Satwa)

Similarly the 11th Anuvakam says:

ये भूतानामधिपतयो Who is the Lord of all beings (Bhutanam Adhipati)

The 10th Anuvakam also addresses Lord as Bhagvan Ishana (Ruler):

तासामीशानो भगवः Ruler Bhagvan (Ishano Bhagava)

I discuss in my answer here regarding etymology of the name Rudra:

यद्रोदोत् तस्माद्रुद्र। He cries therfore he is Rudra | संहारकाले प्रजा: संहरन् रोदयतीति रुद्र:। He makes people weep by destroying during Samhara Kala (destruction time), thus he is called Rudra। रुर्दु:खं दुःखकारणं वा, द्रावयतीति वा रुद्र:। Ru is suffering or cause of suffering and he who destroys it is Rudra रोदनाद् द्रावणाद्वापि रुद्र इत्युच्यते। He drives away the Rodana (cry) thus called Rudra रुदं राति ददातीति वा रुद्र:। He gives voice (ie Rud) so he is called Rudra।

Regarding the various types of Rudra, I discuss it in my answer here.


This is a very challenging question because Rudra is Divine Contradiction, so before giving 7 meanings let me give an example, The RV hymns say He is “fierce/mighty”, then in contradiction, they call him “pleasant with beneficent heart”. He is “the resort/lord to all hymns/songs”, He is “the resort/lord of all yajñá/sacrifice”, and “He is bliss”. So many authentic Scholars were baffled in exploring Rudra. So, let's try to define the meaning of the word Rudra:

  1. Sri Aurobindo said Rudra = force that propels creation.
  2. Sukla Yajur Vedā Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā 16.31 says: Rudra is "both the hasty/active/rapid and yet calm"
  3. Prajapati said: "you are the first cry so I call you Rudra". 'Rud' means cry.
  4. Rudra = Raw/Unmanifest: Because Rudra can manifest in anything and in everything. (This is a huge subject and the link is below)
  5. Yajur Veda says : Since this form originated from anguish/cry (ruditāt), He is called Rudra.

So, the word Rudra has many meanings based on the process involved, this is why Rudra is the Divinity of many contradictions. This incomprehensible fierce form frightened all the Devas, so they asked Prajāpati to pacify him with hymns called 'rudriyas'. They gathered calming oblations/offerings called Śāntadevatyam; this calming oblation to Rudra is called Śāntarudriya. Yajur Veda also says

  1. Rudra means: Drāpa / Andhasahpathi: the dispelled of Darkness.
  2. Rudra = He is the one who makes us weep with His roar, which is his feared aspect. In contradiction, all three profound commentators Sāyaṇācārya, Bhattabhaskara, and Abhinavasankara defined Rudra as रुदं द्रावयतीति इति रुद्र, meaning the one who removes the cause of our grief is Rudra. Now, why did they say that, where is the source for this claim? Well, this exact statement was said by Sri Krishna in Mahabharata Itihasa.

If you go to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, it also says: "Rudras are the 10 pranas and 11th Atman, when the pranas leave, it makes the relative weep. Hence they are called Rudra". Now compare this above where Prajapathi says, "since you (the baby) made the first cry (Rud) I call you Rudra". So when the pranas enter a newborn or when the pranas leave the body, both times some one will cry (rud) so you are Rudra. But Pranas are ten right? and Prana is nothing buy air/wind which is Vayu right? So is Vayu Rudara? Yes, the Vedas call Vayu Rudra. How is that possible? How can Vayu be Rudra? Well the Ashvins are called Rudras, Surya is also called Rudra, Agni is called Rudra.. and the list goes on. In Mahabharatam, Krishna himself says I am a part of that Rudra and I am Rudra. So, how is this possible? Vedas clearly answered this question, they told Rudra is Vishvarupam (his form is that of the entirety), Pururupam (of different ora/hue), Vahurupam (various forms). So Rudra is not a single person or character, Rudra is everything. Hence the Vedas say "Everything is verily Rudra, there is none second to Rudra". And Prajapati says, "Rudra is everything so with what can we give oblation with? So I give you with your own share and your own essence? " People will always choose the title that fits their narrative. So you can choose that which appeals to you. Pranam


According to Shankaracharya's commentary on Vishnu-sahasranama, the name Rudra means: 114 रुद्र - One who created all beings by prayer during the disappearance of the cosmos. Or the one who gives the speech. Or one who takes sorrow far away. Shiva Purana 6.9-14 states: Ru means sadness. As the Lord removes all sorrows, and Shiva removes their causes, then removing the final cause is called Rudra.


In the Rg Veda Sukta 1.114.1 there is a set of passages intended for use in a yaga meant for Rudra:

इमा रुद्राय तवसे कपर्दिने क्षयद्वीराय प्र भरामहे मतीः । यथा शमसद्द्विपदे चतुष्पदे विश्वं पुष्टं ग्रामे अस्मिन्ननातुरम् ॥१॥ मृळा नो रुद्रोत नो मयस्कृधि क्षयद्वीराय नमसा विधेम ते । यच्छं च योश्च मनुरायेजे पिता तदश्याम तव रुद्र प्रणीतिषु ॥२॥ अश्याम ते सुमतिं देवयज्यया क्षयद्वीरस्य तव रुद्र मीढ्वः । सुम्नायन्निद्विशो अस्माकमा चरारिष्टवीरा जुहवाम ते हविः ॥३॥


Sayanacharya says at the beginning, introducing the sukta that this mantra is used in yaga-s addressed to Rudra, during upasthanam, citing the Ashvalayana Grihya Sutra.

सायणभाष्यम्‘इमा रुद्राय’ इति एकादशर्चं नवमं सूक्तं कुत्सस्यार्षम्। दशम्येकादश्यौ त्रिष्टुभौ । शिष्टा नव जगत्यः । रुद्रो देवता । तथा चानुक्रान्तम् -‘ इमा एकादश रौद्रं द्वित्रिष्टुबन्तम् ‘ इति ॥ शूलगवादिषु रुद्रदेवत्येषु कर्मस्वनेन सूक्तेन दिगुपस्थेया। तथा च सूत्रितं – कद्रुद्रायेमा रुद्राया ते पितरिमा रुद्राय स्थिरधन्वने गिर इति सर्वरुद्रयज्ञेषु दिशामुपस्थानम् ‘ ( आश्व. गृ. ४. ९. २१ ) इति ॥

In the bhashyam to the sukta Sayanacharya gives a few etymologies for the term ‘Rudra’:

रुद्राय । रोदयति सर्वमन्तकाले इति रुद्रः ।

He makes everyone weep at the end of their lives.

यद्वा । रुत् संसारख्यं दुःखम् । तत् द्रावयति अपगमयति विनाशयतीति रुद्रः ।

He drives away/annihilates the misery, Rut, of samsara

यद्वा । रुतः शब्दरूपाः उपनिषदः । ताभिर्द्रूयते गम्यते प्रतिपाद्यते इति रुद्रः ।

The Upanishads are of the nature of words: Rut. Rudra is known through the Upanishads Rudra.

यद्वा । रुत् शब्दात्मिका वाणी तत्प्रतिपाद्या आत्मविद्या वा । तामुपासकेभ्यो राति ददातीति रुद्रः ।

Rut is sound that establishes Atmavidya. He who vouchsafes that to upasakas is Rudra.

यद्वा । रुणद्धि आवृणोति इति रुत् अन्धकारादि । तत् दृणाति विदारयतीति रुद्रः ।

That which envelops, like darkness, is Rut. He who destroys it is Rudra.

यद्वा । कदाचित् देवासुरसंग्रामे अग्न्यात्मको रुद्रो देवैर्निक्षिप्तं धनमपहृत्य निरगात् । असुरान् जित्वा देवा एनमन्विष्य दृष्ट्वा धनमपाहरन्। तदानीमरुदत् । तस्मात् रुद्र इत्याख्यायते। तथा च तैत्तिरीयकं– सोऽरोदीद्यदरोदीत्तद्रुद्रस्य रुद्रत्वम् ‘ ( तै. सं. १. ५. १. १) इति ।

On the basis of the Taittiriya Samhita ‘He wept ..and hence Rudra.’ A story is recalled here: During a battle of Devas and Asuras Rudra in the form of Agni took away the wealth kept in safe custody by Devas. The Devas, after vanquishing the Asuras, found out Rudra and seized the wealth. Then Rudra wept.


Rudra's etymology is given in Nirukta like this

Rudra is (so called) because he bellows (ranti), or because he runs (dravaii) vociferating (int. of ru), or it is derived from the causal of the verb rud (to roar). There is a Kathaka passage ; Because he has roared, that is the characteristic of Rudra. There is a Hlridravika passage. Because he roared, t! at is the characteristic of Rudra. The following stanza is addressed to him.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .