The reason why many mistake the Satarudriyam, Rudra Suktam and other such portions of Veda as pertaining to Shiva is because they are unaware that these are names of nArAyaNa. More specifically, all of the names occurring in the Vedas are names of nArAyaNa. For example take the various suktams in the Rg Veda. All the names belong to bhagavAn sriman nArAyaNa only, as follows:
Brahmanaspati = Lord of Brahma = nArAyaNa.
Agni = Agra Netha = One who leads = nArAyaNa.
Indra, the vajrapAni, slayer of vRtra = The foremost one (Indra), who destroys the covering known as prakrti (vRtra) and who bears the vajra mark on his foot (vajrapAni) = nArAyaNa.
Manyu = Angered Narasimha/Yajna (Sacrifice)/Intelligent One (root-man) = nArAyaNa.
vAyu = One who moves (towards his devotees) = nArAyaNa.
Rudra = Destroyer of samsAra dukham = nArAyaNa.
Bhaga = Gracious Lord = nArAyaNa.
Kshetrapati = Lord of Kshetra (body or holy place) = nArAyaNa.
Isa/IshAna = Ruler = nArAyaNa.
Shambhu = One who causes happiness (by his beauty) = nArAyaNa.
Vishnu = all-pervading One = nArAyaNa.
nArAyaNa = nArAyaNa (from mahAnArAyaNa up.)
So, let us dispense with the idiotic claims that ”Vishnu is mentioned 50 times in the Veda whereas Indra is mentioned 100 times” and other such nonsense. All names belong to nArAyaNa only.
There is however, a speciality with names like “Rudra”, “Soma” and “Ishana” in the sense that these names are exclusively used as names of Narasimha (with very few exceptions) only in the Veda. The commentaries of Sri Rudram and Rudra Suktam in this website would help readers to comprehend this fact.
The devata known as Parvati Pati has a connection with Narasimha. Let us examine the facts with unbiased, authengtic pramAnams derived from the lotus feet of AchAryAs.
NARASIMHA AS SAKSHAT SANKARSHANA
It is said in the sAstra that there are 4 (or 3) vyuhAs – vAsudeva, sankarshana, pradyumna and aniruddha. There is a pillar in sri vaikunta known as viSaka yUpam which has 4 nodes in 4 directions. This pillar is an avatAram of bhagavAn in moksha sthAna itself.
The topmost node of this pillar is a mass of effulgence, hard to discern and is ParavAsudeva, srI vaikunta nAtha himself. Proceeding downward the nodes become more visible, with the next node being red in color like a ruby and is the Sankarshana vyUham (In this context, remember the name “rohita” occurring in the Rudram, anuvakam 2 which describes the 5 forms of bhagavan – refer the commentary in this website). The third node is golden in color and is Pradyumna, whereas the fourth node is black like a thundercloud and is Aniruddha.
Thus, these are the 4 vyUhas. And all the vibhava avatArAs proceed from Aniruddha. That being the case, there are three unique exceptions where the avatArAs were amShas or avatArAs of Sankarshana vyUha. These three avatArAs are Adi Sesha, BalarAmA and Narasimha. Now, Adi Sesha is a jivAtmA who is empowered with the amSha of sankarshana. BalarAmA is an avatArA of Sankarshna, BhagavAn himself, who has the amSha of Adi Sesha. But Narasimha avatArA is sAkshAt Sankarshana.
The vishnu purana describes Narasimha as SankarshanAmsam. The Vishnu DharmOttara purAnA explicitly identifies Narasimha as Sankarshana by saying Haris sankarshanaamsena narasimha-vapur-dharah and also says that Narasimha destroys ignorance, sankarshanaatmaa bhagavaan ajnaanasya vinaasanah. Obviously, the gunams of Sankarshana are balam and jnAnam. This was exhibited by Narasimha to destroy Hiranyakasipu and fulfil the desire of prahlada by understanding the latter’s needs respectively.
Thus, Narasimha alone has a unique place as he is sAkshAt sankarshana, the most powerful and primitive vyUha of nArAyaNa.
THE SUPREMACY OF NARASIMHA
This section has already been discussed in “Narasimha and Satarudriyam” section of this website. Let me add that:
- Narasimha is equated to ParavAsudeva in the narasimha tApanIya Upanishad which says he is beyond viraja.
- The Rudram reteirates the above by using the nama “namO vrikshEbhyO harikEshebhyO” for both paravAsudeva and narasimha in the 2nd and 8th anuvAkams respectively.
- The name “IshAnas sarvavidyAnAm” also validates this.
- The sahasranama contains the names of paravAsudevan in the first set, it includes “nArasimha vapuH srimAn” among the paravAsudeva nAmas!
PARVATI PATI WORSHIPS SANKARSHANA
The quintessential question – why does the srimad bhAgavatam refer to Shiva as “vaishnavam yathaH shambhuH”? What makes him the greatest of vaishnavas?
Here, “greatest of vaishnavas” refers to his strength of yOga. He is the greatest among those who meditate on Vishnu.
Why is he the best meditator?
It is because bhakti yOga has 4 stages equated to the 4 vyUhas in the mAndukya Upanishad – VaisvAnara stage presided by Aniruddha, Taijasa presided by Pradyumna, Prajna presided by Sankarshana and Turiya presided by ParavAsudeva. The Garuda Purana states that Rudra, who is a stitha prajna, attains Sankarshana padam and will soon attain vAsudeva. What this statement means is that Rudra will attain the position (padam) of yoga presided by Sankarshana, ie, Prajna and then, will attain the final stage known as turiya, which culminates in Brahma sAkshAtkAra and hence, moksha - paravAsudeva.
So, Shiva is currently meditating on Sankarshana, which is the most advanced stage of upAsaNa for a samsAri. And here, we supply the pramAnam from the Bhagavatam as well:
bhavani-nathaih stri-ganarbuda-sahasrair avarudhyamano bhagavatas catur-murter maha-purushasya turiyam tamasim murtim prakritim atmanah sankarshana-samjnam atma-samadhi-rupena sannidhapyaitad abhigrinan bhava upadhavati (Bhagavatam 5.17.16)
Note that here it says that Sankarshana is the AtmA of Rudra, who is always meditating on the former. The sAstrAs say that sriman nArAyaNa assumes the form desired by the yOgI in his (yogi’s) heart when the yogi advances in his upAsaNa. In that aspect, let us remember two points,
- The Satarudriyam, which is a praise of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha (and also in his rAghava simha aspect) calls him as “girisanta”, ie, the source, end, limit or origin of Girisha (pArvati pati rudradeva). Thus, the Bhagavatam sloka above is a direct upabrahmaNa of this veda nAma.
- The mantra “stuhi srutam gartasadam…” refers to the form of Narasimha in the cave of the heart. Thus, a meditator of Sankarshana visualises Narasimha in the cave of the heart.
Thus, it is established that Rudra is a Sankarshana-Narasimha upAsaka. What is the phalan of such upAsaNa? Some amount of sArUpyam is obtained even in samsAra. Thus, Rudra has the 3 eyes of Narasimha, bluish neck resembling the black neck of Narasimha, etc.
And of course he has named himself after Narasimha. Thus, the names such as Rudra, Soma, Nilalohita, Pinaki, Pashupati, Girisha, Giritra, NeelakaNtha, Mrityu, etc denote Narasimha in the Veda only. It is only that pArvati pati has named himself after his chosen upAsya mUrthy.
Thus, it is established that the names of the Satarudriyam pertain to Narasimha only. In that aspect let us clarify a mistake made in the earlier articles where we mentioned pArvati pati was the devata for Rudram. This is wrong. There is zero pramAna for this other than certain interpolated versions of Mahabharata.
The devata for Rudram is Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. The rishi for the Rudram is pArvati pati, who meditates on Sankarshana. The “aghora rishi” who is the mantra draShta for the Rudram is pArvati pati himself. The same pArvati pati is also the rishi for the Rudra Suktam of Rg Veda which is a praise of Narasimha as well.
The further proof that Rudra worships Sankarshana-Narasimha is furnished by the following Garuda Purana incident:
NARASIMHA AS THE REFERRENT OF SATARUDRIYAM, ATHARVASIKHA, ATHARVASIRAS AND MANTRA RAJA PADA STOTRA
The narasimha tApanIya Upanishad contains the following enlightening statement:
rudra-japaka-shatam ekam ekena atharvashirah-shikha-adhyapakena tatsamam atharvashirah- shikha-adhyapaka shatam ekam ekena tapaniyopanishad adhyapakena tatsamam tapaniyopanishad-adhyapaka-shatam ekam ekena mantraraja-adhyapakena tatsamam (~Narasimha pUrva tApanIya upanishad).
This says that the mantrarAja pada stOtram is superior to japam of the Rudram, Atharvashika, Atharvasiras and the Narasimha tApanIya itself. This is similar to “srI rAma rAma rAmEti…” in the sahasranAma, which asserts that all the kalyAna guNams described in the sahasranama can be seen in the name of rAma itself. It does not mean the other portions are inferior, but only means that the mantra rAja pada stOtram is the essence of these portions just as “rAma nAmam” is the essence of sahasranAma.
1. The Satarudriyam glorifies Narasimha
Since the Rudram glorifies Narasimha, this is justified already. A little more to add:
The satapatha brahmana contains the following story. Prajapati cried in anger and the tears formed into Rudra of a thousand quivers. The devas, being afraid, appeased this Rudra with the Satarudriyam.
This story is wrongly interpreted as pArvati pati. The meaning of the story is:
Prajapati refers to jiva who possesses prajas (pati means possessor). Thus, prajas signify attachments. Tears are a metaphor for pleasure and pain due to such attachment and anger is a metaphor for the wayward nature of the indriyas. The rudra of a thousand quivers is the indriyas of the jivAtma. “Rudra” is a name that denotes the indriyas since one of the meanings is “One who makes us cry” and the Indriyas make the relatives weep at the time of departure of the jiva from the body.
Thus, to appease the wayward indriyas, they need to be engaged in a stuti of bhagavAn to wean them away from attachments. So, the devas signify sattva guNa and such tendencies who offer the Satarudriyam, a praise of Narasimha, to the indriyas, ie, the indriyas engage themselves by praising narasimha with the satarudriyam.
Thus, the Rudram glorifies Sri Lakshmi Narasimha.
2. The Atharvasiras glorifies Narasimha
Secondly, the Atharvasiras refers to the antaryAmin of Rudra. The statement Rudra makes “I am supreme” is similar to how Prahlada says “I am the unborn lord of all” in the Vishnu purAna and is the statement of a realised person who sees himself as the body (sarIra) of sriman nArAyaNa. The antaryAmin of Rudra is none other than Narasimha only. Thus, this Upanishad talks about Narasimha as well.
3. The atharvasikha glorifies Narasimha
The atharvasikha contains the following. SrI rAmAnujar, in his vedArtha sangraham, quotes the atharvasiras which says, "brahmA, viShNu, rudrEndras tE sarvE samprasUyantE“ and "kAraNam tu dhyEyaH”. These vAkyas mean the following - Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Indra are effects. One must rather choose to meditate on the Cause, which is Shambhu.”
Shambhu is interpreted by achAryan in this work as nArAyaNa. The name Shambhu also occurs in the Vishnu sahasranAmA (svayambhu shambhuraditya) and is a common noun. So, the sruti enjoins meditation on nArAyaNa only.
But why mention Vishnu among the others as effects? Because Vishnu is an avatAra of sriman nArAyaNa in the material world and as such, is included in the category of effects. This does not mean he is limited like the other effects – rather, he is identical to nArAyaNa, the Cause, in all respects as evidenced by Vishnu gAyatri. As per sruti vAkya “ajAyamAno bahuda vijAyatE”, he takes avatArams for sport among the material world and is often mentioned along with lesser deities. The Vishnu Purana also says, “the same janArdhana has become Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva”. Here, Brahma and Shiva are jivAs with nArAyaNa as indweller. Vishnu is verily nArAyaNa himself.
It is mentioned to meditate on the cause only in the context of Brahma Vidya. This does not mean one must not meditate on Vishnu. Different brahma vidyAs enjoin meditation on Brahman in different ways leading to the same goal of Sri Vaikunta. This particular vidya enjoins meditation on the kAraNatma, known as Shambhu, rather than the effects, among which vishNu avatAra is included.
As seen before, Narasimha is equated with paravAsudeva, the kAraNAtma, in many places. Also, the Satarudriyam says, “namas shambhavE” with specific reference to Narasimha, hence Shambhu is his name. The sahasranAma says “nArasimha vapuH srimAn”, ie, his appearance is extraordinarily beautiful which is the exact meaning of the shambhu nama occurring later in the sahasranAmA – “he who causes happiness by the beauty of his appearance is Shambhu” (svayambhushambhur Aditya…).
Furthermore, the kAraNatma in the atharvasikha is identified as narasimha by srI krishNa in the harivamSha where Krishna addresses the upanishadic statement to the antaryAmin of rudra, ie, narasimha. This stuti can be found in the section “prayers of sri Krishna to shiva” where you can see that the last sloka of the stuti is an upabrahmaNa of the atharvasikha addressed to Narasimha.
In this context, there are some detractors like the author of the mahapashupatastra blog who quote the following from the atharvasikha and say it refers to Shiva as supreme “Eeshana”,
The pranava (the sound of Om) makes all the souls to bow before it. It is the one and only one which has to be meditated upon as the four Vedas and the birth place of all devas. One who meditates like that goes away from all sorrows and fears and gets the power to protect all others who approach him. It is because of this meditation only that Lord Vishnu who is spread every where, wins over all others. It is because Lord Brahma controlled all his organs and meditated upon it, he attained the position of the creator. Even Lord Vishnu , parks his mind in the sound (Om) of the place of Paramathma (ultimate soul) and meditates upon Eeshana, who is most proper to be worshipped. All this is only proper in case of Eeshana.
Now, I do not have the Sanskrit text, but let us assume this translation is correct.
Even though the entirety of the atharvasikha is not quoted by vedAntins, this mantra does not trouble vaidikas in anyway. All it says is that Ishana is the supreme object of worship. This Ishana is none other than Narasimha who is referred to as “IshAnas sarvavidyAnAm” in the mahAnArAyaNopanishad and Narasimha tApanIya Upanishad. It is said Vishnu meditates on this Ishana which is also perfectly true. Just as Sri Rama worshipped Narayana (himself) and Krishna worshipped Narasimha, the antaryAmin of Shiva (refer the section on prayers of sri Krishna to shiva), it is clear that Mahavishnu worships himself always. And he gains his strength from his own nature to win over others.
So, this “Ishana” is not pArvati pati as imagined ludicrously by the author of mahApashupatAstra blog, but Narasimha only.
4. The mantra rAja pada stOtra eulogises Narasimha
The mantra rAja pada stOtra is the greatest stotra on narasimha as well, we can easily say that the mantra rAja pada stOtra is the essence of the other sections as abov in explaining the tattvams related to narasimha and hence, of greater merit. That is the purport of this mantra.
Indeed, Ahirbudhnya (Shiva) composed the stotra as the essence of these portions only. Shiva is in the stage of bhakti yOga presided by Sankarshana mUrthy and since Narasimha is an amsam of Sankarshana, he (Shiva) is constantly meditating on Narasimha. Thus Sri Lakshmi Narasimha is the devata of the Rudram and hence is described.
And Ahirbudhnya, being Shiva, also shows how Shiva is constantly meditating on Narasimha.
So, this article conclusively proves:
- Sankarshana-Narasimha identity.
- Narasimha is praised by all names such as Rudra, Soma, Shambhu, Pashupati, Ugra, etc.
- Parvati Pati is the rishi for these vedic portions and not the devata.
- Parvati pati worships Narasimha in this manner.
- The confusion arising in the minds of those who learn the Satarudriyam, etc will be dispelled as they now know that pArvati pati has named himself after Narasimha and is not referred to by the vedic portions.
- The mahApashupatastra blog author’s views have been completely demolished by the various sections on Satarudriyam as well as this article.