Friday, January 6, 2012




Hinduism abounds in numbers which have far reaching spiritual and religious significance. To him the Supreme Principle who is 0 as well as infinity, 1 is Nature, 2 is two paths, Dakshinaayana, Uttaraayana 3 is Trinity, 4 is Brahma, 5 is Panchaanana, 6 is Shadaiswarya, 7 is Saptalokas, 8 is Ashtalakshmi, 9 is Navadurga, 10 is Dasaavataara and so on. In the first nine sections of Rudram The word Namah occurs 300 times paying obeisance to the Lord Rudra and is popularly known as Namakam in the South of India. This hymn chanting is invariably followed by another hymn where the syllables "Cha" and "May" occur e in every mantra and therefore that hymn is called Chamakam. Repition of God's name in prayers is not peculiar to Hinduism. In Islam which is against any sort of symbolism and idol worship, a devout Muslim repeats the ninety nine names of Allah Like Rudram. A faithful Christian moves the rosary beads repeating a sentence seeking mercy from the Lord. They are all in essence Japa mode of worship. Rishi of the 11th Anuvaaka of Chamakam surprises us with a Japa merely chanting some even and odd numbers, odd numbers in a series of 1-3, 3-5 etc. ending in 33 and even numbers 4-8, 8-12 etc ending in 48.


Chamakam is essentially a Brahmopasana or meditation on Brahman. Additionally it contains several desires from the Meditate for material benefit unlike the normal style of major Upanishads. Some later Upanishads include Phaalsrutis or benefits to be derived by chanting. The last Anuvaka of Chamakam in Rudraprasna of Rigveda ends with prayers to a set of even and odd number in series. The Rishi of these Mantras meditates on Rudra as a Vyahriti (glory) of Brahman and also expresses 36-38 desires to be fulfilled by his prayers to the Supreme Principle, called Rudra. Here Rudra represents Trinities as in Narayanopanishad. The period in which these mantras have been revealed to the humanity, Vedic sacrifice or Yajna was the predominant mode of worship and aspirants for liberation visualized Brahman in all his creations, in all their worship and prayers. Maha Narayanopanishad even glorifies clarified butter used in Yajans as Brahman (Vyaahriti), leave alone other minor deities. Not all Vedic mantras are used in Homas but this one is in Rudra Homams. The most famous among these is the Mrityunjaya Mantra used in Mrituyunjaya Homas_"Trayambakam Yajaamhe sughandim
pushtivardanam | Urvaaruvikm–iva mrityor moksheeya maamrutaat" the concluding Mantra of Rudram.


It is therefore reasonable to believe the Rishi had Yajna as foremost in his mind to fulfill his desires. It is also reasonable to believe the Rishi had in his mind two objectives—His first thought was to pay his obeisance to the Supreme Principle and to its creations and the second thought to thank the Supreme Principle for the various means provided to fulfill his short term as well as long term desires. Accordingly I have focused my thoughts essentially on the Supreme Principle, his various subordinate deities and various things in all of which he has entered as Antaryamin (inner-self) after having created as for as the first set of odd numbers are concerned. On the next set of even numbers my focus had been on the various means he has provided for our immediate Preyas (temporary happiness) and permanent Sreyas (immortal Bliss) for our liberation. Here I have somewhat deviated from the various more knowledgeable and profoundly religious authors who have translated Chamkam with very brief description unlike Rudram on which elaborate explanations are available.


The 11 th Anuvaka of Chamkam is as follows:

" Ekaa cha may tisracha may pancha cha may sapta cha may nava cha may ekaadasa cha may trayodasa cha may panchadasa cha may saptadasacha may navadsas cha may ekavi(ga)msatischa may trayovi(ga)msatischa may panchavi(ga)msatischa may saptavi(ga)msatischa may navavi(ga)msatischa may ekatri(ga)msacha may trayastri(ga)msascha may chatasrascha may ashtau cha may dvaadasa cha may shodasa cha may vi(ga)msatischa may chaturvi(ga)msatischa may ashtaavi(ga)msatischa may dvaatri(ga)mscha may shat-tri(ga)mscha may chatvaari(ga)mscha may chatus-chatvaari(ga)mscha may ashtaa-chatvaari(ga)mscha may vaajascha prasavascaa-pijascha kratuscha suvascha moordhaa cha vysniyascha-antyaayanascha-antyascha bhouvanascha bhuvanascha-adhipatischa ||11||


Om Idaa devahoor-manur-yajneer-brihaspatir-ukthaamadaani sa(ga)msishad-visvedevaah sookta-vaachah prithvimaatarmaa maa hi(ga)mseer-madhu manishye madhu janishye madhu vakshyaami madhu vadishyaami madhumateem devebhyo vaacham-udyaasa(ga)m sushrooshenyaam manushebhyastam maa devaa avantu sobhaayai pitaro-anumadantu || Om Shatih Shaantih Shaantih ||


[May I be granted the odd numbers1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, and 33 as well as even numbers 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, and 48 to ensure food and its continuity and the urge to enjoy the origin of all creation—the Sun, the heaven, the head of all, the infinite, the all pervading like the sky, time and the like present at the end of total consummation exists at the end of it on the earth as universal form, the Antaryamin, the immortal, the inner ruler of everything, the Omnipresent and Omnipotent.]


[The sacred gods are implored by mantras on Kamadhenu, the granter of all wishes. Manu does the sacrifices and Brihaspati recites the pleasant Mantras. May these praises of Visvedevas and Mother Earth save me from sufferings! May my pleasant thought bring forth pleasant actions and resultant enjoyable fruits! May my joyous offerings bring forth fine and worthy speech and my words please the divinity, make men turn their tears to joy; May Gods enlighten me and invoke my speech very powerful and my ancestors (Pitrus) feel extremely glad over it and bless me to perpetuate it.]


Reputed authors of great religious institutions of India have enlightened us with their wisdom thoughts on these mysterious numbers taking us round the Vedas and sacred Hindu scriptures. Ramakrishna Math has the following explanation: Odd numbers stand for Deva Chhandas and even numbers stand for Manushya Chhandas. In the beginning It (Prakriti) was alone being single. Eka was the material cause Prakriti in the beginning; then came three deities representing 3 Gunasa--Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. From these came 5 elements (Pancha Mahaa bhootas); from these were born 5 subtle uncompounded 5 Organs of Perception, Manas (mind) and Buddhi (Intellect) totaling 7. From these five elements in their gross form, the gross body with nine outlets came--two eyes; two ears; two nostrils; mouth; two excretory organs. Then the ten praanas(?) and their support Sushumna Naadi came. [Usually most of the Upanishads refer to Pancha (5) praanas though it varies from 3 to ten in some others].


From the Satvaamsa of these we have 13 devatas. 15 represent 15 Naadees such as Pushya, Yugandhaa, Sushumna etc. 17 are the limbs of Linga Sareera. 19 are the Maha-aushadhis of Ayurveda such as Sanjeevini, Vrana, Viropini well known in Nagarjuna Tantra. Then there are 21 vital parts in the human body according to medical sciences of Ayurveda. 23 are the serious diseases enlisted in Ayurveda. 25 are the divine damsels such as Rambha, Menaka and Urvasi. They are believed to live in the human body as in the heaven (yoga-latikas). 27 are the Gandharvas such as Chitrasena. Apsaraas and Gandharvas are known to be very intelligent. Brahman is also sometimes called Gandharva meaning the protector of Earth (Mahaanarayana Upanishad and Medha sooktam). Lord Krishna also says that among Gandharvas he is Chitrasena in Bhagavadgeeta. 29 are Jyotishmatis (?). Some think they are 29 Vidyut Devatas. 31 represent worlds. Besides 14 Lokas mentioned in Vedas they include: Vaikuntha, Radha, Goloka, Manidweepa, Mahakalipura, Sivapura, Ganeshapura, Seven sub heavens, Kailasa, Maanasa, Meru (Brahmaloka in its variation) in all totaling 31(?). 33 represents Various Vedic Gods (8 Vasus+12+Aadityas+11 Rudra+Asvinis + Prajaapati). Some think even numbers stand for 4 Purushaarthas; 8 Vedas and Upa-angas; 12 consist 6 Vedaangas and 6 Saastras; 16 Types of Knowledge(?); 20 Mahaa Bhootas(?); 24 to 48 are seven Vedic Meters of Rigveda.


But I do believe there are many other possible explanations for these mysterious odd numbers which abruptly end in 33 in 1-3 series and even numbers in 4-8 series with 48. 48 is a Mandala in Hindu concept and Mandala Pooja is auspicious in Hindu's consideration. Odd numbers are always associated with sacred thoughts—We do circum-ambulation three times; receive holy water three times; we have Panchagavya for purification of five constituents; we have Pancha-amritham; we undergo Saptapadi (Seven steps) round the sacrificial fire during wedding; we undertake Panchaanana Pooja; we wear three strands of holy thread with three thread in each strand; we wear three lines of Naamam or Vibhuti; Navagrahas influence our lives: we consider 11th and 13th day of the fortnight sacred for fasting in obeisance to Vishnu and Siva and so on, all in odd numbers. All good things in life we like to have are in even numbers. On this basis let us examine what could these numbers further mean in Chamakam. The following explanation is purely based on my random Spiritual thoughts and may not meet the standard explanation given by well known scholars and religious institutions.





The odd numbers given below are meant for Brahmoepaasana or meditation on Brahman through Rudra who is the Vyaahriti (glory) of Brahman.


Saguna Brahman (Tadekam; Eko viprah bahudaa vadanti- Vedas) or


Trayambakam or Thrikaalaagnikaalaka—Rudra [Traymabaka means one has three eyes or lights. Those are Sun, Moon and Fire, providing light, shine and heat.


Rudra is also called one who is like three fires—Gaarhapatya, Aahvaneeaya and Anivaarya


He alone is Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Trimurtis; Brahma; Vishnu; Mahesvara


Tryaksha, Triseersaka, Tripaada Khandaparasu: Three eyed (Siva); Three headed (Trinity); Tripaadah Khandaparasu (an epithet of Siva and Vishnu) [Subalopanishad]


Trigunas; Sattva, Rajas and Tamas--Subtle substances of Prakriti. Brahma is the embodiment of Tamas; Rudra is the embodiment of Rajas and Vishnun is the embodinment of Sattva


Tripaada—Vasudeva or Brahman in his Vyahritia, Pradyumna, Sankarshana and Aniruddhaa (Purusha-sooktam)


Five Vyuhas--Panchabrahma or Panchaanana (Maha narayanopanishad)


[Rudra is known as Tatpurusha with five heads and is called Panchaanana. His five faces are: Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Mahaadeva. These five terms are also applicable to Lord Narasimha, Incarnation of Vishnu. The five mantras related to Panchaanana or also called Panchabrahma and hence related to Supreme Brahman. In Pancharaatra concept Sriman Narayana is called Brahman who is none other than Vishnu. His five glorifications or Vyahritis are: Para; Vyuha; Vibhava; Archa; Antaryamin]


Panchaaksharee Mantra: "Namah Sivaaya"—five syllables of this Mantra stand for five elements in which form Lord Rudra is worshipped. (Rudram)


Pancha Vaibhavas: Five qualities of Brahman in Vedanta: Satyam (truth); Jnaanam(Knowledge); Anantam (Infinity); Aanandam (Bliss); Amalam (purity


Sapta-Praanaah; Sapta-archishah; Saptajihvaah; Sapta-Samidhah—these epithets to Agni also refer to Brahman since Agni is only a Vyaahriti of Brahman; hence these epithets are applicable to Rudra who is also known as Seven Praanas; Seven Fires; Seven Flames; Seven Sacrificial Fagots and Seven Lokas [Please refer to discourse on Vedic Mantras from Mahanaroyana Upanishad for more details and what these numbers seven signify]

Sapta Samudraah--Seven seas: He created seven seas and relaxed on Ksheerasagra. The seven seas are: Ksheera, Kara, Sura, Ghrita, Rusa, Dahi and Jala.


Sapta Rishis--Seven Rishis born out of Mind of Brahman: (Sapta Rishis): Atri, Bhrigu, Vasishtha, Gautama, Kasyapa and Angiras (Subala Upanishad—"maanasaan saptaputraan-asrijat")


Seven Saktis--Braahmi, Vaishnavi, Mahesvari, Kaumaari, Varaahi, Aindri, Chaamundi


Seven Dweepas (Islands): Jambu, Shaka, Kusha, Krauncha, Shalmali, Plaksha and Pushkara. (India is In Jambu-dveepa and USA in Krauncha-dveepa). Brahman created seven islands on Earth.



Pancha Mahabhutas and 4 Varnas: Five Mahabhootas are Prithvi, Appu, Agni, Vaayu and Aakaasa; Varnas among Gods: Brhaman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra (Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad). They constitute nine creations.


Nine Khandas (Nine lands): Rudra or Brahman is the one who created the Nine Khandas. These are—Indra; Kaseru; Taamra; Punnaga; Gandharva; Saumya;Varuna; and Bhaarata (India is Bharatakanda and USA Indra or Aindra)


11 Rudras: Mahendra; Siva; Rudra; Sankara; Neelalokhita; Easaana; Vijaya; Bheema; Devada; Bhavodbhava; Aaditya (OR) 11 Rudras: Vaamadeva; Jyeshtha; Sreshtha; Rudra; Kaala; Kaalavikarana; Balavikarana; Bala; Bala-praanadhara; Sarvabhoota-damana; Manonmaya [Lord Krishna says that among Rudras I am Siva meaning Brhaman—Rudraanaam Sivoham (the auspicious one amongst Rudras)]


Brahman is attributed with 8 Astaisvaryas (8) and Tripaadas (3)—Animaa, Mahimaa, Garimaa, Laghimaa, Praapti, praakaamyam, Easatvam, Vasitvam (Svetavataara Upanishad). He is also called Tripada (purushasookta) or having three forms. Brahman constitutes Bhogya-sthaan, Bhoga-sthaan and Bhogopakarana-sthaan—the object of experience, the place off experience and the instrument of experience (Maha Narayana Upanishad)


13 Visvedevas: Vasu; Satya; Kratu; Daksha; Kaala; Kaama; Dhritu; Kuru; Purooravas; Madarvas; Rocke; Dhanvi-Dhuri; Brihaspati (Some consider only first ten)


15 Prajaapatis: There are 14 Prajaapatis created by Saguna Brahman to take care of 14 Lokas. Visvakarma is also a Prajaapati. That makes a total of 15 Prajaapatis.


15 divine sounds: Pranava "Om" and 14 sounds that emerged out of the percussion of hand drum of Lord Siva at the final crescendo of the cosmic dance. These fourteen beats revealed fourteen aphorisms to Paanini known as Mahesvara-sootras.


Virat Purusha (Macrocosmic Form): Agni (Fire) is his head (1); Sun and Moon are his eyes (3); Four quarters or Directions are his ears (7); Four Vedas are his speech (11) The Universe is his mind (12); Air is his breath (13); Earth originated from His feet (14); He is indeed in the inner–self of all beings (antaryamin) (15). [ Mundakopanishad; Purusha sookta]



12 Jyotirlingas and 5 Mahabhootas-- (worshiped as 5 elemental forms in South India). In Panchaaksaree Mantra "Namah Sivaaya" five syllables stand for five elements in which form he is worshipped. These are the seventeen forms in which Rudra is worshipped.


12 Jyotirlingas of Siva worshipped in India are: Somanatha; Mallikaarjuna; Mahaakaala; Omkaaresvara; Vaidyanaatha; Kedaar-naatha; Trayambakesvara; Raamesvara; Bheemasankara; Viswanaatha; Ghrinesvara. Five Elemental Forms of Siva are: Prithvi; Appu; Vaayu; Agni; and Aakaasa


Seventeen Vedic Tattvas: Five elements + Ten senses (5 Jnanendriyas and 5 Karmendriyas)+ Praana (Entire world of activity) + Mind =17 [Mahaanaraayana Upanishad].


9 Pitru Ganas and 8 Vasus: 9 Pitruganas are—Visva; Visvabhuk; Aradhya; Dharma; Dhanya: Subhaana; Bhutida; Bhutidrit; Bhuti (According to Kamakoti Peetham) 8 Vasus are: Anala(Agni); Dhara(Prithvee); Anila(Vaayu); Aaha (Antariksha); Pratyusha(Aadiitya); Prabhasa(Dyaus; Chandramaa(Soma); Dhruva (Tarangini or Nakshatra). [Vasus and Pitruganas are always clubbed together in Saastras]


19 Medicinal Plants--Rudra created medicinal plants for cure; he is the father of all doctors and is therefore worshiped as Bhishak (Vaidyanaatha). He created 19 types of medicinal plants like Mrita-Sanjeevini, Vishalayakarani, Suvarnakarani, Sandhaani (referred in Smritis and Ramayana), Vrana, Virupini etc. Nagarjuna lists 19 of them.


10 Vedic Rivers of holy waters and Navakaanda Rishis (19): On the day of Upakarma every year holy rivers are invoked and water oblations are offered to Nine Rishis or groups. The 10 Holy rivers are; Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri, Marud-vridha, Purushni, Aarjikeeye, Asikni, Vitasta and Sushoma (Maha Narayana Upanishad). Nine Rishis area: Prajaapati, Soma, Agni, Viswedevas, Samhitee devatas, Yajnakee devatas, Varunee devatas, Svaayambhu and Sadasaspati. [Since this oblation to nine sets of Rishis is through water medium it is logical to conclude they are worshipped together invoking holy waters as practiced annually. In religious practices normally seven holy rivers are invoked; Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaaveri. Upaakarma ceremony is a rededication ritual for the continuance of the study of Vedas and also paying homage to nine sets of Rishis.]


Yajnas are the Vyahritis of Brahman and so meditated upon as Brahman, addressed as Yajnapurusha.

There are 3 groups of seven Yajnas—Paaka Yajna, Soma Yajana and Havir Yajnaas. They total 21 Yajnas.

Seven Paaka Yajnas are: Ashtaka; Sthaleepaaka; Parvana; Sraavani; Aagrahayini; Chaitri and Asvaayuja.

Seven Soma Yajnas are: Agnishtoma; Atyaagnishtoma; Uktya; Shodaci; Vaajapeya; Atiraatra; Aaptoryaama. Seven Havir Yajnas are: Agnihotra; Dasa-poornimaasa; Agniyaadhaana: Aagrayaana: chaturmaasya; Niruddha-pasubhandana; Soutraamani.


21 constituents of sacrificial Agni: Saptaarchishah (7 fires); Sapta Jihvaah(7 Flames); Sapta Samidhaah (7 Fagots) –1. SaptaaarchishaH (seven sacrificial fires) are: Graahapatya, Aahavaneeya, Dakshinaagni, Anvahaaraya; Aabhyaavastya: Prajaahita; Agnidreyah. 2. Sapta Jvaalaah (Seven Flames) are: Kaali; karaali; Manojava; Sulohita; Sudhoomra-varna;Sphuk linguini; Visvaaruchi. 3. Sapta-samidhs (seven fagots) are: Asvatta; Udumbara; Palaasa; Samee; Vikantaka; Asanihitavriksha; Pushkaraparna (Mahanarayana Upanishad).


The three constituents (of seven each) born out of Supreme Principle (21) 1. Sapta Praanaah (Seven praanas); 2. Saptaarchishah (Seven Agnis) and 3. Sapta Lokkaah (Seven Worlds).

Seven Praanas are five Jnaanedriyas (Organs of Perception), Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intellect). Seven Fires (agnis) as above. Seven Lokas (Worlds) are: Bhoo, Bhuvah, Suvah, Janah , Mahah, Tapah and Satyam. [Maha Narayana Upanishad describes Lord's creation as seven-seven (Sapta-sapta). It also includes seven flames of fires and seven fagots offered to fire, but these are components of Agnis only].


Three Sareeras (bodies) with 23constituents --Rudra or Brahman has created humans a composite unit of three types of bodies and presides over them—Gross body (Sthoola Sareera); Subtle Body (Sookshma Sareera) and Casual Body (Kaarana Sareera): Gross body consists of 5 elements after grossification—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Subtle body constitutes 5 Organs of Perception (Jnaanendriyas), 5 Orgnas of Action, Five Praanas, Mind (Manas) and Intellect (Buddhi). They constitute 17 things; Casual Body is the sole cause of the two other bodies and is free from duality. All the three bodies together constitute 23 things. Having created them he has entered into the humans as Antaryamin (Inner-self) as the overseer. (Subtle body is also known as Linga Deha)


25 constituents in humans: 5 Elements (Mahabhootas) +5 Jnaanedriyas (Organs of Perception) + 5 Karmendriyas (Organs of Action) + 5 Praanas, Heart, Soul, Seat of thought and feelings, Mind and Conscience (5 others). The last five are called Antahkaranas (inner organs or internal perceptions). (Some consider Antahkaranas as Mind, Intellect, Ego and Consciousness). Sankhya Philosophy talks about 24 Tattvas and Purusha. (antahkaranas are internal organs or faculties).

[These are the constituents in the microcosmic creation in individuals]


Supreme Abode (25)--7 Worlds and 18 steps lead to heaven. Badri and Jagannath Temples have 18 steps and Tirupati has seven hills symbolic of seven Worlds and the last hill is Srivaikuntha where temple is located. 7 Worlds are: Bhu, Bhuvah, Suvah, Janah, Mahah, Tapah and Satyam. 18 steps are 5 sense organs, 8 internal enemies like lust, greed etc., 3 Gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas and 2 Vidyas--Vidyaa and Avidyaa. 18 steps are supposed to be the ladder to heaven. 18 steps and 7 worlds constitute 25. [Tirupati temple is above Seven Hills; Srirangam Temple has seven Praakaaras. Ksheerasagara is the top among seven seas]




Time is often considered as Vyaahriti of Brahman (Maha Narayan Upanishad). He is often meditated upon as Kaala(Time) or Samvatasara(year). Spiritually evolved Time Measurements are; Samvatsara constituting Uttaraayana and Dakshinaayana (2); Yugas (4); Kalpas (7); Manvantaras (14). They constitute 27.

2 Ayanas (Solistice)—Uttaraayana; Dakshinaayana(They make one year or Samvatsara)

4 Yugas are: Krita, Treta, Dvaapara and Kali

7 Kalpas are: Paarthiva; Koorma; Pralaya; Anantha; Svetavaraaha; Braahma; Savitra (we are in Svetavaraaha Kalpa)

14 Manvantaras are: Svaayambhuva; Svaroochishta; Uttama; Taamasa;Raivata; Chakshusha; Vaivasvata; Savarni; Daksha Savarni; Brahma Savarni; Dharma Savarni; Rudra Savarni; Deva Savarni; Indra Savarn [We are now in Vaivasvata Manvantara as we say in Sankalpa]



Vyuhas of Visnhnu are 24 which contains 24 Gayatri syllables (Please see my discourse on shoedasopachara Pooja) Vyuhas of Siva are 5—Panchaayatana. Together they constitute 29. These are in essence Vyuhas of Brahman or his Vyahriti Rudra. We repeatedly read in Vedas and Upanishads that Siva and Vishnu are none other than Brahman.


Brahman created 9 Navagrahas+12 Adityas+10 Dikpalaks assigning specific duties in the Universe. These are as follows:

9 Navagrahas: Soorya(Ravi), Chandra, Kuja (Angaaraka), Budha, Guru (Brihaspati)., Sukra, Sani, Rahu and Ketu. [Navagrahas are invariably installed in all Siva Temples and worshipped in the beginning]

10 Dikpalakas: Indra, Agni, Easaana,Yama, Varuna, Vaayu, Soma, Nairuti, Brahma and Vishnu.

12 Aadityas: Aruna, Soorya, Bhaanu, Tapana, Chandramaa, Hiranyaveerya, Ravi, Aaryamaa, Mitra, Gabhasti, Divaakara and Vishnu


We chant in Shraddha and Tarpana mantras "Vasu-Rudra- Aaditya Swaroopaaya" to which status we wish to elevate Pitrus (ancestors) by our prayers. They constitute a group of 31 deities. These are 8 Vasus+11 Rudras+ 12 Aaadityas totaling 31.


33 Subordinate Gods--These are: 11 Rudras+12 Aadityas+8 Vasus+ Aswini devatas (twins) + Prajaapati totaling 33.




We now come to the question of prayers aimed at even numbers. These are for expressing gratitude for providing means for aiming at Sreyas and Preyas (as explained in Geeta) while leading life on earth. We often chant the famous Vedic mantras "Asato maa sadgamaya" and "Trayambakam Yajaamahe" seeking liberation leading to immortality. We do not have control over birth or death. But in between birth and death we have several possibilities for Preyas (material happiness) and Sreyas (progress towards spiritual evolution seeking Bliss). The Rishi in his Chamakam has explored these possibilities expressing his gratitude to Supreme Principle for providing that many possibilities contained in numbers 4 to 48 in steps of four.


The Divine has gifted us with wisdom contained in four Vedas. These are: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda.


We have four paths to improve or modify our lives having born. These are Four Purushrtas the lodestars of our lives--Dharma, Artha (Prosperity), Kaaama (Desire) and Moksha (Liberation). Dharma occupies first plays since everything has to be pursued through Dharma which is the main theme of Bhagavad- geeta and Upanishads. We have also 4 Antahkaranas which need to be clean (Antahkarana suddhi) to achieve these Purusharthas to enjoy both Sreyas and Preyas. Here the knowledge contained in Vedas is invaluable. 4 Antahkaranas are: Manas (mind); Buddhi (intellect) Ahankaara( Ego) and Chitta (Conscience). 4 Purushaarthas and 4 Antahkaranas add up to eight needed for our spiritual evolution.


The wisdom of Vedas are elaborately explained in Brahmasootra, Upanishads, 6 Vedaangas--Shiksha, Vyaakarana, Chandas, Nirukta, Jyotisha and Kalpa; Brahmsootra; Upanishads; and 4 Upa-vedas—Ayurveda; Gandharvaveda; Dhanurveda; Arthaveda. They constitue in all 12 Srutis and Saastras.


Ashtaangas--Yama, Niyama, Aasana, Praanaayaama, Pratyaahaara, Dhaarana, Dhyaana and Samaadhi (Svetavatara Upanishad). These are the eight cardinal virtues needed by an aspirant for spiritual evolution.

Eight Characteristics (Guna) of Aaatma: Dayaa(kindness); Sarvabhooteshu Kshantih (Tolerance to all beings); Anasooya((freedom from jealousy); Saucham (purity); Anaayaasah (free from stress); Mangalam (auspiciousness); Akaarpanyam (devoid of greed); Aspriha (devoid of desires). These eight virtues are parts of the wheels of Brahmachakra (Svetavataopanishad) which are to be practiced by one who meditates on Brahman





Twenty Counter spokes in Brahmachakra- These are five senses and their objects. Five senses are five organs of Perception. These are nourished by Five Vital Forces or 5 Praanas. These are controlled by five internal faculties call Antahkaranas. These are influenced by 5 Delusions— Kaama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride) and Maatsarya (jealousy). The senses with these 15 influencing factors can be kept steady by Brahmoepaasana. [Brahmachakra in Svetavatara Upanishad]. They constitute 20 on which the Rishi meditates for spiritual evolution.


The next seven numbers in the series represent 7 Rigvedic Chhandas contained in the Vedic mantras with which we are able meditate upon Brahman for our objectives (Brahmopaasana). Chamakam is from Rigveda and therefore the Chhandas of Rigveda only are involved at the time it was sung.


Gayatri Chhandas (24 syllables)


Ushnik Chhandas (28 Syllables)


Anushtup Chhandas (32 syllables)


Bruhati Chhandas (36 syllables)


Pankti Chhandas (40 syllables)


Trishtup Chahandas (44 syllables)


Jagati Chhandas (48 syllables)



Supreme Principle having created us with appropriate mix of three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) as we deserve has also gifted us with the knowledge embodied in 4 Vedas. Humans are also endowed with Antahkaranas which needs constant purification and fine tuning called Antahkarana-suddhi to achieve our goals in life. We not only need happiness here in this world (Preyas) but also need Liberation which only can give us eternal Bliss (Sreyas). For this, we have the guidance from the Vedas which are further elaborated by various Smritis and scriptures as indicated in 12. Liberation needs meditation on Brahman. Different types of achievements and characteristics which help Brahmopasana are given under 16. We aspire for Ashtasiddhis. Brahman has provided humans with the rare combination of 20 constituents unlike in other animates which when properly managed will lead to spiritual progress. The chanting of the Chamakam employs 7 Vedic divine meters called Chhandas. The Rishi of Chamakam expresses his gratitude to Rudra for all the even numbers which carry the above message. In the first set of odd numbers he meditates on Rudra and in the next set of even numbers he glorifies Rudra for the advantage he has as a human being, the means he has been provided with and his aspirations. Odd numbers signify Deva Paaraayana (Meditation and glorification of Brahman) and even Numbers Srddhaanjali (expression of gratitude) which one scholar called as Deva Chhandas and Manushya Chhandas.



Vishnu in Rudram

December 3, 2011 · by K V Sarma J · in dharma, Education, India, Religion   
This post is a humble attempt to translate this brilliant article by Sri Hari Sriramamurthy published in Rushipeetam monthly spiritual magazine in Feb 2007.
 Rudram means Rudradhyayam (रुद्राध्यायं )[1]. This is also referred to as Shatarudreeyam (शतरुद्रीयं), Rudropanishath (रुद्रोपनिशत्). It constitutes Namaka (नमक) and Chamaka (चमक) Mantras. These are taken from Yajurvedam. They are used in Rudrabhiskeham[2] (रुद्राभिषेकं). Sayana, Bhatta Bhaskara, Abhinava Shankara, Vishnu Suri wrote commentaries[3] on these mantras. A study on these mantras and these commentaries reveals that these mantras talk about Sun, Siva and Vishnu.
उतैनं गोपा अद्रुशन्नद्रुशन्नुदहार्यः |
उतैनं विश्वा भूतानिसदृष्टो मृढयातिनः ||
  1. based on interpretation for Sun :
    येनं = This Surya
    उदहार्यः = उद – water, हार्यः – taking or absorbing i.e., absorbing water
    गोपाः = gopikas ; गोपाः = गाः – Earth , पाः – Saving or protecting i.e., Sun Rays
    अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
  2. based on interpretation for Rudra (Siva):
    येनं = This Rudra
    उदहार्यः = (उत्अहार्यः) whose souls were taken away (up)[2]
    गोपाः = humans, living beings
    अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
  3. based on interpretation for Vishnu :
    Three different interpretations have been proposed.
    1. येनं = This Vishnu
      उदहार्यः = fetching water
      गोपाः = gopikas
      अदृशन् = watched or saw or noticed
    2. According to Vaijayanti Kosha, Harii (हरी) means jaarastri (जारस्त्रि) i.e., woman who is corrupted/spoiled
      कन्या प्रसूतिजा जारी हरी नाम्नैव दूषित
      वैजयन्ती कोश 87-96
      So, haaryah (
      हार्यः) means women who are corrupted/spoiled.  Thus “na haaryah” ( हार्यः) or ahaaryah (अहार्यः) meaning those women who are not corrupted/spoiled. (Since uth – उत् – means noble) So udahaaryah (उदहार्यः) means those women who are not corrupted but are noble women.
      Gopaah (
      गोपाः) = Gopikas
      Yenam (
      येनं) = This Krishna
      Adrushannadrushan (
      अद्रुशन्नदृशन्)  = (अदृशन् + अदृशन्; अदृशन् means watched, noticed or saw)[3] Noticed, watched or saw again i.e., Gopikas saw Krishna again and again and they felt blessed
      This means
      even though noble Gopikas were in rasaleela[4] (rasa dance) with Sri Krishna, they were not corrupted/spoiled but remained noble.
    3. Ahaaryah (अहार्यः) means a mountain according to Amarakosha – आहार्य धर पर्वताः. Udahaaryah (उदहार्यः) means the one who lifted a mountain i.e., Govardhana mountain – Sri Krishna. Thus it means Gopaah (गोपाः) i.e., Gopikas adrushan (अदृशन्) i.e., saw, noticed or watched such a Krishna and felt blessed.
Narayana Teertha (नारायण तीर्थ) called Gopikas as a manifestation of Vedas by referring to them as Srutayah (श्रुतयः). A similar reference to Gopikas as manifestation of Vedas can be found in Bhagavata Puranam.
इति गोप्यः परानन्दं गायंतस्त्याः पृथक् पृथक् |
अपराः श्रुतयोः भूयो भूयो तत्रैव संगताः ||
कृष्णलीला तरंगीणि
This summary comes from Narayana Teertha’s[4] observation on Mantras in Yajurveda and Shlokas in Bhagavata Purana in Krishna Leela Tarangini.
Putting all these interpretations in perspective,
येनं = This Paramatma (supreme being) devoid of all attributes and properties
उदहार्यः = उत् – noble, good अहार्यः – that which cannot be taken away or stolen or doesn’t vane
गोपाः = Vedic Mantras
अदृशन्  अदृशन्  =  noticing, watching or observing again and again
Vedic Mantras, which are noble and which cannot be taken away, stolen or vane, proclaim us to observe in them, a paramatma (supreme being) devoid of all attributes i.e., Sun, Siva and Vishnu are manifestations of paramatma (supreme being).
In Rudram,
नमो गिरिशायच शिपिविष्टायच |
Commentaries indicate that “shipivishta” (शिपिविष्ट) is a reference to Sun, Siva and Vishnu.  Sayana refers to Vishnu as
विष्णुमूर्ति धारी शिपिविष्टः |
which means Shipivishta is a manifestation of Vishnu. Vedas refer to Shipivishta in a similar way.
विष्णुः शिपिविष्टः |
In Vishnu Sahasranamam, Shipivishta is referred to as
नैकरूपो बृहद्रूपः शिपिविष्टः प्रकाशनः |
In Siva Sahasranamam, Shipivishta is referred to as
शिपिविष्टो अम्बिकानाधः |
In Naanardha Sangraha Kosha, Vishnu and Siva are referred to as Hari and Shankara respectively
शिपिविष्टस्तु दुश्चर्म खिल्वात हरिशन्कराः |
Vishnu Suri’s commentary explains
शिपयो जीवाः, तदनुसंधाता शिपिविष्टः सर्वसाक्षी रुद्रः |
This means “Shipis are living beings. Rudra as the all-pervading consciousness protects them by being their conscience”
In Taittriya Samhita,
यज्ञोवै विष्णुः, पशवः शिपिः, यज्ञ येव पशुषुः प्रतितिष्ठति |
तैत्त्रिय संहित 2-5-5
Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary on Vishnu Sahasranama and Vishnu Suri in his commentary proclaim
शिपयः पसवः, तेषु विशति प्रतितिष्ठति यज्नरूपेण इति शिपिविष्टः |
Cattle are also called as Shipis. Vishnu in Yajna manifestation, enters their inner consciousness and protects them as Shipivishta.
Thus one can see Vaishnavam in Rudram.
Also in Rudram,
नमस्ताराय नमस्चंभवाय |
Tarah (तारः) means that which blesses. This mantra talks of Siva (Rudra) who blesses. In Vishnu Sahasranamam,
अशोकस्तारणस्तारः |
भूर्भुवः स्वस्तरुः तारः |
Both Bhatta Bhaskara’s commentary,
तारय प्राणव रूपाय |
and Vishnu Suri’s commentary,
तारयति संसारदिति तारः प्राणवः तद्रूपाय |
indicate that tara (तार) means Om (). Both Siva and Vishnu are manifestations of Om.
Another mantra
नमो ह्रस्वायच वामनायच |
clearly talks of Vishnu’s reincarnation – Vamana.
Another mantra in rudram says
नमो गोष्ठायच गृःयायच
Sayana in his commentary explains
गोष्ठं गवाम् स्थानम् तत्र भवो गोष्ठ्यः
Meaning – Goshtam (गोष्ठं) is the place where cows live i.e., a Byre and Goshtyah (गोष्ठ्यः) is Krishna, since he stays with the cows. Vishnu Suri in his commentary says
श्रुतयो गवाः, तासां स्थानम् गोष्ठंमनोमय कोशं | तत्र प्रकशमानः गोष्ठ्यः | तस्मै नमः |
Vishnu Suri refers to Cows as Vedic Mantras. The place where cows stay is Goshtam (गोष्ठं). Vedic Mantras reside (in a human) is mind or manas (Manomaya Kosham).  One who resides there glowing brightly is called Goshtyah (गोष्ठ्यः) and that is Go-pala i.e., Go-vinda, the one who takes care of Cows which are manifestations of Vedic Mantras. That Go-pala is none other than Krishna.
Similarly, mantras like नमश्शोक्यायच, आशुषेनायच clearly refer to Vishwaksena or Krishna.
This way, all mantras in rudram clearly refer to Sun, Siva and Vishnu. Finally,
नमो रुद्राय विष्णवे मृत्युर्मे पाहि
meaning “I salute Siva who is manifestation of Vishnu and Vishnu who is manifestation of Siva. May Vishnu who is manifestation of Siva protect me from death. May Siva who is manifestation of Vishnu protect from death”. Such interpretation would lead to unity between Siva and Vishnu.
Rudram is also referred to as “Shata Rudreeyam” (Rudram of 100 mantras). In Drona Parva (in Mahabharata), Vyasa taught Ashvatthama and Arjuna as an Upadesam. Neela KanTa Deekshitulu in his commentary on Rudram, to show Vishnu in Rudram, says that Shata Rudreeyam starts with non-duality of Siva and Vishnu.
तदेवं विश्नोष्षिवमयत्वं व्याख्याय विष्णुत्राणात्
तन्मय स्वजगतः तराणमपि शिवमेव कर्मेत्युक्तं
यधा शिवमयो विष्णुरेवं विष्णुमयं जगत्
–  Bharatam – NeelakaTa Vyaakhya – Drona Parvam.
By explaining non-duality of Vishnu with Siva, it has also be summarized that like Vishnu, protection of the worlds is Siva’s Karma.
पूर्वयोः पर्वणोः विश्नोर्विस्वरूप प्रकाषणेन व्याख्यातं| अथ दृष्तांतीकृतं विश्निष्षिवमयत्वं व्याचिख्यासुः शतरुद्रीयमारभते |
– Bharatam – Drona Parvam – 1201.
Meaning “all smritis say that Siva is a manifestation of Vishnu and Vishnu is a manifestation of Siva. In Drona Parvam, to show this non-duality, Shata Rudreeyam is being started”
Explanatory Notes:
[1] Rudram is taken from Yajurvedam. It is also called as Rudradhyayam and Rudra Prasnam. It is a great treatise to the properties of universal consciousness or nirguna paramatma as explained earlier via an example from Chamakam here. Translators who came from Europe saw Rudram as sacrificial hymns to Shiva but rather these are actually properties of nature. This is probably the reason why so many commentators – ancient and modern see that Rudram is actually a treatise not just to Shiva but also Surya (Sun) and Vishnu –deities described by Adi Sankaracharya as three of the six primary deities or Shanmatas.
[2] Abhishekam is that process of worship in which a deity is anointed with some nature’s products as a part of worship. Panchamritas (ghee, milk, curd, sugar/jiggery syrup, honey), Sandalwood powder, leaves from different trees/plants, rice grain and many more are generally used for this purpose. This is treated as an offering made to the deity. Abhishekam is done to any deity according to Hindu worship. When it is done while reciting Rudra Mantras, it is called Rudrabhishekam.  Rudram is generally most used in deity worship through abhishekam.
[3] Actually the Sanskrit word – Bhashyam cannot be translated to English precisely. Commentary would be a misfit in many cases. We will however stick to the word commentary in this translation.
[4] Narayana Teertha’s Krishna Leela Tarangini is a literary work based on Dasama Skandam of Bhagavatam. The work is represented in many forms in modern day – both in music, dance. The lyrical beauty of in Krishna Leela Tarangini is something which has no parallel in its genre. For instance, sample this – Alokaye Sri Balakrishnam. Some more details are presented by Dr. Goli Anjaneyulu in this video commentary.

[Many of the Mantras of this Upanishad are chanted by Vaishanvites, Saivites and Sakta followers while worshipping their favorite deities. It looks as though later some of these Mantras have been adopted by Saivites and glorified as being exclusive to Lord Siva or Paarvati even though they are found in this Upanishad which is devoted to Lord Narayana, who is Paramatman as per Ramanuja. Some of these are Sivoepaasana Mantras, Tvarita Rudram Panchaanana Upaasanam and Durgasooktam].

The following five Mantras are interpreted by commentators as belonging to Lord Rudra. The five names of Sadyojata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Easaana signify the five faces (Panchaanana) of Lord Siva. These prayers are introduced after Medhasookta in Mahanarayana Upanishad, as Medha (Jnaana or Intellect) is to be obtained from Rudra. Important Sooktas from this Upanishad will be dealt separately. Compartmentalization of these Mantras is a later development when fight started between Vaishnavites and Saivites.

These five mantras are called by the name Panchabrahma and so it is appropriate to relate them with Brahman. Sadyoejaata (instant born) is also appropriate to Lord Narasimha who came out of the pillar when Prahlaada prayed. We all know the birth of Lingodbhava Moorti. It is also interesting to note Lord Narasimha is also worshipped in five forms of elements (Pancha Mahaabhootas) as Siva in five famous temples in South India about which we have talked about many a times. These are: Prithvee Narasimha (Earth); Vaayu Narasimha (Air); Aaakaasa Narasimha(Sky), Jwaalaa Narasimha(Agni); and Amrita Narasimha ( Amrita symbolizes liquid Water). Like Isvara is glorified as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Narasimha is also glorified as Brhama Narasimha, Vishnu Narasimha and Rudra Narasimha. He is also worshipped as Ghora Narasimha (Siva is also meditated upon as Ghora, Aghora and Ghoraa-ghora. In Bhuvanesvar in Orissa in India there are sanctums for Siva and Narasimha side by side and worship is carried out for Salagrama and Linga together. In Puri worship is carried out to Soorya and Narasimha along with Jagannath. There is sanctum for Narasimha there also. It is believed that Vaishnavites replaced Siva with Narasimha later. Thus one school of thought believes Narasimha and Siva are the same both being Vyaahritis of Parabrahman)

 Sadyoejaatam prapadyaami sadyoejaataaya vai namah |
Bhavebhave naatibhave bhajasva maam bhavoed-bhavaaya namah ||

 I surrender unto the Lord who was born at the very moment of His will. Obeisance to that lord who was born at his will instantaneously. May I not have repeated births, Please bless me! My obeisance are to him, from whom all effects emerge (for He is the cause).

 Vaamadevaaya namoe jyeshthaaya namoe rudraaya namah |
Kaalaaya namah kala-vikaranaaya namoe bala-vikaranaaya namoe
bala-pramathanaaya namas-sarvabhoota-damanaaya namoe manoenmanaaya namah ||

 Obeisance to Vaamadeva, the auspicious One; obeisance to the eldest; obeisance to Rudra, who drives away the disease of Samsaara (worldly miseries); obeisance to the destroyer; obeisance to One who is the cause of Time (divisions of moment, good and bad times); obeisance to the One who subdues all living beings; obeisance to One who is the agitator of the mind.

 [All the attributes here refer to the Supreme Brahman. They equally apply to Siva and Narasimha the manifested forms of Brahman. Supreme Brahman is the overlord of this universe and is the ruler of all. He punishes the wicked ruthlessly. He saves his devotees from repeated births. None is equal to Him. Both Vishnu and Siva were instantly born in terrific forms as man-lion and column of fire. Rudra means one who protects you from crying (rudraat traayate)]

 Aghoerebhyoe-atha ghoerebhyoe ghoera-ghoeratarebhyas-sarvatas-sarva sarvebhyoe namaste astu rudra-roopebhyah ||

 Oh Paramaatman! Obeisance unto the auspicious forms of yours, that are not terrible, or terrible or terribly terrible. Obeisance to you who has numerous forms that bestows good. (The Lord embodies all characteristics—good and terrible.)

 Tatpurushaaya vidmahe Mahaadevaaya dheemahi tannoe rudrah prachoedayaat ||

 We meditate upon that Purusha who is Naraayana. For that we meditate on Mahadeva. May the Lord Rudra fulfill by invigorating us! [In Mahaanaarayana Upanishad Purusha is referred to as Naaraayana or Supreme Brahman or Paramaatman]

 Easaanas-sarva-vidyaanaam-eesvaras-sarva-bhootaanam-brahma-adhipatir-brahmanoe-adhipati-brahmaa sivoe may astu sadaasivom ||

The Lord of all branches of knowledge, the Lord of all animate beings, the Supreme master of the Vedas, the Lord of Brahma the four-faced, the one who has Brahma as his body, the one who is ever free from anything defiling, the one whose name is Pranava, OM, may that Lord be one who bestows all good things on me! [Sadaasiva means ever auspicious]

Sri Rudra  Prasnah and Sri Chmaka Prasnah

Supreme Spirit in his dissolution aspect called Siva destroys the evil and bestows Bliss and Immortality on those who do Rudra Parayana daily as per Saastric mandates. This calls for atonement, purification and meditation for ultimate submission to His Will in one’s   life-journey. This can’t be a last minute escape prayer hence daily Parayana is mandated with focus. Siva is “asutoshin” easily pleased, think many   listening to Puraanic stories and also think easiest method of propitiating   Him is by chanting Rudram and Chamakam, not knowing He is quite watchful as auditor of Karmaa when handed over by Vishnu sustenance aspect of Brahman to him.  Also generally people try to approach him just prior to departure from this world. That is why the wise Pundits suggest daily Parayana with all focus and not last minute rush.  That is why I have tried to explain these mysterious numbers though not  sure. Who knows what is in His mind when He says just meditate on these odd and even numbers?

 Chant Rudra Prasnah, also called Namakah, once. Then recite one Anuvaka of Chamaka.  Repeat the chanting of Namaka second time along with second Anuvaka of Chamaka. In this way  Namaka may be recited 11 times with 11th Anuvaka of Chamaka. This is termed as one Rudra.  121 times of Rudra chanting is called one “Rudriakadasami”. When Rudra is repeated 1331 times it is named as one Maharudram. 11 Maharudrams will make one Atirudra (1464 times).

When 11 persons recite 11 times Rudra for a period of 11 days then it becomes Maharudra.

Now you know Mahasiva is not easy to please without Maharudram.   It is strange he did  not leave behind any clue like what he advised  in VSN-- “Sri Rama Rama Rameti” Think what would  have happened if he had elaborated all these odd and even numbers? Perhaps   we needed many more births. You also know by now Siva is not easy to please though Puranas say so. So Sankara said in Bhajgovindam   and Aatma  Bodha “tadvishnoh paramam padam”. Lord Siva Himself said Sri Rama Rama Rameti”. Understanding Rama Mantra is also not that easy! Rama Naamajapa is   easy! That will only  grant  short time  material benefits!