Sri Rudram- Meanings and benefits- Anuvaka 1- Mantras 11-15

Mantra  11

अवतत्य धनुस्त्वं सहस्राक्ष शतेषुधे ।

निशीर्य शल्यानां मुखा शिवो नः सुमना भव  ॥

सहस्राक्ष-  One with many eyes!     शतेषुधे-  One with many quivers!    त्वं-  you,    धनुः-  your bow,     अवतत्य-  with untied bow-string,   शल्यानां-  of arrows,   मुखा-  edges,   निशीर्य-  blunting,  नः-  to us,   शिवः-   with auspicious form,    सुमनाः-   with favourable thoughts,    भव- be.


After praying for removal of the arrows from sight, the Rishi, still feeling afraid, prays now for blunting the edges of the arrows. If one is capable of seeing only limited places and has only limited arrows, he can be made to be favourable to us, once he has thrown away the arrows. As Sri Parameswara has limitless number of eyes, is capable of seeing everywhere and possesses limitless quivers and arrows, the Rishi uses the two terms of address, ‘Sahasraaksha’ and ‘Satheshudhe’ to indicate this fact. Even if the arrows have been blunted, if the discharging warrior is cruel, he might trouble us somehow. Hence the Lord is prayed to be ‘Sivo bhava’. As there is no use of showing a kind face if there is no compassion in the mind, the prayer also says ‘Sumana bhava’.

Mantra  12

विज्यं धनुः कपर्दिनो विशल्यो बाणवाँ उत  ।

अनेशन्नस्येषव आभुरस्य निषङ्गधिः  ॥

कपर्दिने-   Of Parameswara,   धनुः-  bow,   विज्यं- may be bereft of string.    बाणवान् उत-  also quiver,         विशल्यः-   be bereft of arrows.  अस्य-  Of this Parameswara,   इषवः-  arrows,    अनेशन्- be destroyed with no powers to harm,     निषङ्गधिः-  sheath of sword,    आभुः-  be bereft of sword.   (Alternative meaning: निषङ्गधिः-   sword,  आभुः- be powerless.)

Rishi of the three mantras-10, 11 and 12 is Narada; Chandas is Anushtup; Devata is Rudra.


उद्यद्भास्करकोटिप्रकाशं आदीप्तदहनमूर्धानम् ।

भीषणभुजङ्गभूषं ध्यायेद्विविधायुधं रुद्रम्  ॥

“One should meditate on Sri Rudra, who is brilliant like a crore of Suryas, with flaming Agni on the head, with awful serpents as ornaments and having many types of weapons.”

Mantra  13

या ते हेतिर्मीढुष्टम हस्ते बभूव ते धनुः  ।

तयाsस्मान् विश्वतस्त्वमयक्ष्मया परिब्भुज  ॥


मीढुष्टम-  One who grants desires of devotees!    या-  which,   हेतिः-  the weapons like sword which exist,     ते-  your,   हस्ते-   in the hand,  धनुः-  the bow,  बभूव-  is present,     अयक्ष्मया-  causing disease-free state of devotees,    तया-   with those weapons and bow,     त्वम्- you,   अस्मान्-  us,   विश्वतः-  from all types of dangers,       परिब्भुज- may protect always in all respects.


After praying in the previous three mantras for withdrawing all weapons, the Rishi prays now for protection using those weapons.

Mantra  14

नमस्ते अस्त्वायुधायानातताय धृष्णवे  ।

उभाभ्यामुत ते नमो बाहुभ्यां तव धन्वने  ॥


ते- Parameswara! Your,   अनातताय- not ready to harm,      धृष्णवे- but capable of harming,         आयुधाय-  to weapons,   नमः अस्तु-  may my prostration be.     उत- Further,  ते- your,   उभाभ्यां-  both,     बाहुभ्यां-   to the hands,  तव- your,  धन्वने –  to the bow,  नमः- prostration.


Having prayed in the previous mantra, the Rishi prays again to the weapons etc. The term ‘bahubhyam’ denotes two hands; hence saying ‘ubhabhyam’ again is due to the fear causing shiver on seeing the weapons in the hands.

Mantra  15

परिते धन्वनो हेतिरस्मान् वृणक्तु विश्वतः ।

अथो य इषुधिस्तवारे अस्मन्निधेहि तम् ॥


ते-  Parameswara! Your,    धन्वनः- of the bow,    हेतिः-  weapon of arrow,   अस्मान्-  us,  परिवृणक्तु-   ignore, i.e. protect by not coming near us.   अथो- Further,   तव-  your,   य: इषुधिः- the quiver, which is there,   तम्-  that,     अस्मत्-  our,     आरे-  in the group of enemies, i.e. in the inimical heap of sins, or at a long distance,       निधेहि-  place.


In these mantras, prostration and prayer are occurring alternately. Having prostrated through the previous mantra, the Rishi prays now: “Please do not use your arrows against us and protect us. In case there are many sins with us, hindering your protection, kindly place your weapons in that heap of sins and destroy them.” ‘Aare’ means the group of enemies. As sin is our worst enemy, ‘Aare’ was interpreted to mean heap of sins. The meaning of group of other enemies would also be appropriate. If we take ‘Aare’ as an indeclinable particle of Samskrit grammar, we can also interpret as ‘please keep your weapons not near us, but at a very long distance from us.’

For the three mantras- 13th, 14th and 15th– Rishi as well as Devata is Sri Parameswara himself; Chandas is Anushtup.


प्रणमदमरसङ्घमौलिमालाकुसुमरजोरुणपादपद्मयुग्मम् ।

अनवरतमनुस्मरेत्भवान्या सह जगतां पितरं पिनाकपाणिम्  ॥

“One should meditate constantly on Parameswara, whose twin feet are reddened by the pollen of the flowers from the garlands worn by groups of Devas on their heads, who is the father of all the worlds, holding the bow called ‘Pinaka’ in his hand and accompanied by Parvati.”

The fruit for these three mantras is said to be destruction of enemies. (referring to our inner enemies- namely Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha, Maatsaryam



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