Are Rudra and Shiva , Shankar , Mahakaal the same person ?

Or Is Rudra some different person ? As this "Rudra" word is used very less.


1 Answer 1


Neither Rudra nor Shiva are names of people unless human beings name their children so.

Rudra is a collective Divine concept. Shiva is the very nature of that concept. Shiva is the very state-of-being of Brahman. Brahman is neither a name nor an entity/person. When Brahman had to be explained by Sages to students they said:

Sat: Existence (to Be)

Cit: Self-Consciousness,

Ananda: State of equanimity/bliss-in-thy-self,

Anantam: timeless,

Sivam: auspiciousness, a state of contradiction (a raw state of being that is unblemished by maya).

Purnam: Whole

Advitam: there are no two (this and that)

Satyam: the unaltered self

Sundaram: the state of knowing it

Scriptures say:

Oh Rudra you are of Śiva (auspicious) body/form. Salutations to that Śiva (the auspicious one), who is The most auspicious one (शिवतराय). ~Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5

So Rudra is not just Śiva but Most-Śiva. If everything about Rudra is Śiva, What about his fierce weapons?

Those arrows (इषु) are of Śiva+atvam (are auspicious), and that bow is also Śivam, that quiver is also Śiva.

Oh Dweller of the mountains, let those arrows be Śiva towards all beings of reality. Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5

How should our oblations to Rudra be?

With auspicious (Śiva) words, we appeal to your oh dweller or mountains. Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5

So if everything about Rudra is Śiva can we call him Śiva?

my salutations to the one called Śiva (the auspicious and gracious one) the all-knowing father, harm us not”. ~Shukla Yajur Veda Vajasneyi Saṃhitā 3.63

Did the Rishis emphasize that the nature of being Śiva is not temporary?

As īśāna (5th facet of Sadaśiva) you are the holder of all knowledge (Vid), As īśvara you are the sovereign Authority towards all beings (सर्व+भूतानां ), you are the overlord of Brahma (wisdom and its creative principle), and overlord receiver of all prayers (ब्रह्मकार) of all, He is the ever-expanding Supreme consciousness (र्ब्रह्मा) which is nothing but auspicious (शिवो ) well that is (मे +अस्तु) is the eternal auspiciousness (सदा+शिवोम्). Taittirīya Āraṇyaka

“nama̍ste astu bhagavan viśveśva̱rayā mahādevāya tryaṁbakāya tripurāntakāya trikalāgni-kālāya kālāgnirudrāya nīlakaṇṭhāya mrutyuṁjayāya sarveśvarāya śankaraya sadāśivāya śrīmanmahādevāya namaḥ. Kṛṣṇa Yajur Vedā 4.5

ईशानः सर्व विद्यानामीश्वरः सर्वभूतानां ब्रह्माधिपतिर्ब्रह्मणोऽधिपतिर्ब्रह्मा शिवो मे अस्तु सदाशिवोम् ॥ īśānassarva vidyānām īśvaras sarva bhūtānām brahmādhipatir brahmaṇo’dhipatir brahmā śivo me astu sadāśivom Taittirīya Āraṇyaka

Did other Devatas also call him Śiva?

He Roared fiercely towards them (rudratvam). The devas realized this and addressed him with due reverence by calling him Bhava. They said Bhava the entirety is thy Sarva. Because they said you are all this that revealed Śarva’s [prowess] as an archer. Because he then became favorable that is Śiva’s benevolence. Caraka Katha Āraṇyaka 2.100/101

Do the Upanishads concur with this conclusion?

यदा अतमः तत् न दिवा न रात्रि न सत् न च असत्। केवलः शिवः एव तत् अक्षरम् तत् सवितुः वरेण्यम्। immutable/ unchangeable/ unblemishable/ unaltered (तत् अक्षरम्), that the supreme light of the Creating Sun (तत् सवितुः वरेण्यम्) as its source (तस्मात्) all that is to be known and ancient (पुराणी प्रज्ञा) has come to be (प्रसृता) from that absolute singularity that is Śiva (एव केवलः शिवः) Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad 4.18

त्रिषु धामसु यद्भोग्यं भोक्ता भोगश्च यद्भवेत् ।तेभ्यो विलक्षणः साक्षी चिन्मात्रोऽहं सदाशिवः ॥ १८॥ In all the three realms (waking, dream and deep sleep), that which is enjoyed,the enjoyer and the enjoyment –I am different from them all, I am their Witness,the Pure Consciousness, I am Ever-auspicious. ~Kaivalya Upanishad 18

But can there be a definite proof that the very nature of Brahman is Śiva?

अणोरणीयानहमेव तद्वन्महानहं विश्वमहं विचित्रम् । पुरातनोऽहं पुरुषोऽहमीशो हिरण्मयोऽहं शिवरूपमस्मि ॥ २० I am smaller than the smallest thing, and also am I the most vast. I am the manifold universe, amazing am I!I am the Ancient one, the Purusha; the Supreme Ruler am I; the Effulgent one am I; by nature I am Shiva, the Ever-auspicious! ~Kaivalya Upanishad 20

-----There are so many names, Who is this Siva, Sankara, Mahadeva?----------

An exact question was asked by Yudhishthria to Sri Krishna, so let’s see what was the reply:

Vāsudeva said, – O mighty armed Yudhishthria, listen to me as I recite thee the many names of Rudra as also the high blessedness of that high-souled one. The Rishi’s describe Mahādeva as Agni, and Sthānu, and Maheswara, as one eyed and three eyed, of universal form, and Śiva or the highly auspicious. Brāhmanas conversent with the Vedas say that the divine has two forms, again are subdivided into many forms. That form which is fierce and terrible is regarded as identical with Agni and lightening and Surya. That other form which is mind and auspicious with Righteousness and Water and Chandramas. The again, it is said that half his body is fire and half is Soma (or the moon). That form of his which is mild and auspicious is said to be engaged in the practice of the Brahmacharya vow. That other form of his which is supremely terrible is engaged in all operations of destruction in the universe. Because He is great (Mahat) and the Supreme lord of all (Ishvara), therefore is called Maheswara. And since he burns and oppresses, is keen and fierce, and endued with great energy and is engaged in eating flesh, and blood and marrow, He is said to be Rudra. Since He is the foremost of all the deities, and since His dominion and acquisition are very extensive, and since he protects the extensive universe (creation), therefore he is called Mahādeva. Since he is of the form or color of smoke, therefore he is called Dhurjjati. Since by all His acts He performs sacrifice for all and seeks the good (welbeing) of every creature, therefore he is called Śiva or the auspicious one. Mahābhāratam Anuśāsanica Parva Section 161 (non-jaya section)

Are the Vedas talking about the same Sankara who resides in Kailash with Uma?

कैलासशिखरे रम्ये शंकरस्य शुभे गृहे । देवतास्तत्र मोदन्ति तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।। Rig Veda 24 The splendid (रम्ये) summits (शिखर) of mount Kailash (कैलास) is the auspicious residence (शुभे गृहे) of the Lord Shankara (शंकरस्य). All divinities (देवता) are stationed (स्तत्र) delighted in His presence (मोदन) with the inner self absorbed into Him (तन्मे मनः) may that be my auspicious resolve – many my resolve be of Śiva (शिव-संकल्प-मस्तु). Rig Veda Bhaskāla Śākhā Khilani 33 (Śivā Sankalpa Sukta)

-----------what is Kaal?---------

kālā (time), like a steed, moves and encompasses everything; like the Sun it emits seven rays that cover all, it has thousands of axles, with creation itself as its wheels that move; it is endless, ageless, the immortal father, and the first/primordial divine. The learned sages/Rishis mount this chariot. There is none stronger than this divine. In kālā are encompassed Heavens and Earth, all realms and all creatures, and the first Prajapati; the present, past, and future rest in it. The mind arises in it; it is the Prāṇa, and so are all forms and names (nama-rupa). The Sun, waters, winds, springs, rains, and heat, all arise in it. In it, all Yajna (karma) is inspired, and all years emerge.

Atharva Veda 19.53-54

-------Who is Mahakaal and is this title with Rudra?----------------------

  1. trikāgnikālāya, meaning the three fires which blaze at all times. Trik+āgni+kālāya also depicts the three dimensions of time, which are the memory of the past, the present moment at hand, and the upcoming imaginative future.

  2. kālāgnirudrāya (कालाग्निरुद्र), meaning fire that devours time. Rudra himself is Time

  3. Kālāya Namaha “कालाय नमः” TA10.18 (I bow to you, oh time)

  4. “अन्त:काले सञ्चुकोच”SU3.2, meaning He dissolves all beings into Him at the end of time.

  5. “संयोगनिमित्तहेतुः त्रिकालात् परः अकलः अपि दृष्टः”SU6.5, meaning when one beheld in witness of Rudra, know He is the cause and the beginning of all causes – beyond the past, present and the future – and He is not a part of it.

  6. Śrī Kṛṣṇa says to Yudhishthira in Mahābhāratam Anushasnika parvam 161.11 that Rudra is the past, the present, and the future. The exact statement was repeated by Rśi Vyāsa in Drona Parva 202.

  7. Maharśi Vaśiṣṭha’s Ramayana speaks extensively on the accessibility of time through dimensions beyond the current, and how Devi Sarasvatī takes Her devotee across time to make her witness the past, present and future unfold at the same instance. This is why Maharśi Vaśiṣṭha says “only concepts like Shiva go beyond time”.

The following Shiva Sankalpa Suktam of Rig Veda Baskala Khila and also present in the SukYajur Veda lays this out perfectly:

येनेदं भूतं भुवनं भविष्यत्परिगृहीतममृतेन सर्वम् । येन यज्ञस्तायते सप्तहोता तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।। 4 यस्मिन्नृचः साम यजूँ॑षि यस्मिन्प्रतिष्ठिता रथनाभाविवाराः ।यस्मिँ॑श्चित्तँ सर्वमोतं प्रजानं तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।।5

That (येनेदं) mental framework (मनः) that experiences (परिगृहीत) the past (भू॒तं), the current/present (भुवनं) and the future (भविष्यत) is the immortal (अमृतेन) all-knowing, all-comprehending (सर्वम्) inner self (तन्म -येन). It is the inner fire and source (यज्ञ). It encompasses (स्ता॒यते) seven (सप्त) inner priests performing the real sacrifice (होता). May that be my auspicious resolve – may my resolve be of Shiva (शिवसंकल्पमस्तु) 4

In which (यस्मिन्) the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Veda (ऋग् साम यजूँ॑षि ) are established (प्रतिष्ठिता) like the spikes of a chariot wheel (रथ-नाभाविवाराः) so that knowledge is linked within all beings (सर्व-मोतं प्रजानं), in that inner self (तन्मे), may that be my auspicious resolve – may my resolve be of Shiva (शिवसंकल्पमस्तु) 5

Rig Veda Baskala Shakha Khila Sukta 33 / Sukla Yajur Veda Kanva Shakha 33

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