“I am Rudra. I am His (God’s) force of Destruction. Boundless also is my Compassion for the doleful earth. It is I who lead the earth and her children towards a new creation. Therefore, unique am I.”
(The Descent of the Blue, Sri Chinmoy)
This post links to the page Rudra, Shiva and Loki which explores the connection between these three Gods.
Rudra is a very old God first mentioned in the Vedic scriptures and many believe that Lord Shiva developped out of Rudra and is a somewhat “tamer” form of this wild force of nature. At the end of a cycle God plays the role of Rudra, when He descends into creation to replace the old world with a new one.
In the Vedic scripts there are several hymns about Rudra and one whole hymn is dedicated to Him simply asking Him for protection from His terrifying form. He is described as “The flame-red boar of heaven, youthful with braided hair, powerful lips, merciful hands, tender-hearted and easy to invoke. Prone to anger and quick to dispatch weapons especially arrows against those who enrage him. He is also a deity with healing remedies and a provider of good luck. … Father of the Maruts, dazzling like the bright sun, powerful like a wild beast, swift, with the destructive power of lightning, storm and fire, he is lord of the sacrifice, of song and the physician of physicians. One of the adjectives used for him is indeed śiva (auspicious), but not exclusively. It is used for Agni also.
Rudra is later addressed as Nīlagrīva, Śitikanṭha, Giriśaya (mountain dweller), Viṣāpaharaṇa (one on whom the deadliest poison has no effect), and Paśupati, he is the lord of the forests, trees, fields and plants. In the Śatarudriya is also evident his all-inclusive divinity which is extended to wanderers, thieves, tricksters, robbers and pilferers.”
“My own reading is that despite being on the fringe of the Vedic society … he has forever been a force to reckon with. Dangerous, incredibly powerful and uncontrollable. Just read the hymn dedicated to him to get a sense of how terrified they were of him. Over the millennia and particularly with the Puranic process, the custodians of the brahminical texts have managed to pacify him, make him Sankara (he who pacifies) and Siva (the auspicious). They have bound him with a household, given him two sons and an equally powerful wife, probably as a counter balance.
Some new aspects that were added to Rudra came naturally to him. For instance asceticism. Rudra, the hunter, lived in the forest and rejected the Vedic sacrifice and way of life.”
“Rudra is one of the most significant Vedic gods. There are a number of hymns in the Rig Veda about Rudra, and three of them are solely dedicated to him. Rudra is the supreme Warrior, the divine Fighter, the God of Power. He is terrible according to the human view: he is dynamic according to the divine view. In the popular understanding of Indian mythology, Rudra is the Storm-God or Thunder-God. It is said that he creates thunder with his arm and uses lightening bolts from the sky. He is also said to use the bow and arrow. Rudra is closely associated with the Maruts, the Divine Sons, who are also connected with the natural forces and the heavens. In Indian mythology, Rudra wears a golden necklace and is adorned with costly celestial garments. His lips are said to be beautiful, and his hair is always braided.”
Rudra is the lord of terror, but, at the same time, he is the Lord of Compassion. We can also say that Rudra is Shivam Shantam the Lord who embodies Peace, and the auspicious qualities.”
According to tradition, this god, Rudra, has no time to spend with the dead. He deals only with the living, the striving, the aspiring. As Christ said of his Father, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living,” so, too, this is Rudra.
With his dynamic, divine energy it is Rudra who frees us from ignorance and inwardly compels us to march towards the Light, the Light of the Beyond. He does this more powerfully, perhaps, than any of the other gods. He can work in and through us most convincingly when we bring our own heart-elevating and soul-illumining emotions to the fore.
… people in India who know Rudra’s tremendous power pray to him not to hurt them or destroy them. Earthbound people feel that when Rudra is invoked, the moment his divine force touches their petty human weaknesses they will be destroyed. Actually, Rudra enters into our aspiring hearts with his dynamic valour not to destroy us but to transform our ignorance. Whenever there is aspiring energy, Rudra is present to offer his indomitable strength to his human devotees.
Spirituality in its purest sense is the acceptance of life. If we want to transform the world, first we have to accept it. When we face the world, what we see initially is imperfection, and our immediate reaction is a feeling of despondency. But the real divine warrior feels that he is indomitable — a perfect match for the darkness of the world — for he knows that Rudra is constantly inspiring him and aspiring in him and for him.
Rudra does not want even an iota of an undivine force to remain within us. Compassion he has in boundless measure, but his compassion he uses only in the form of Light. Where there is Light, Compassion reigns. Again, where there is Compassion, there also is Light. Rudra’s Compassion is the Compassion of oneness. Rudra feels that if he is perfect, then his human children must also become perfect. He feels that we can all be perfect, for in our soul’s nature we are already perfect.
We are all seekers of the infinite Truth. We have to adore Rudra, the indomitable, not out of teeming fear or excruciating pain, but out of love, out of selfless devotion and surrender. Rudra wants to establish the Kingdom of Truth and Perfection here on earth. He strives to establish the Kingdom of Truth in a world of falsehood, the Kingdom of Perfection in a world of imperfection.”
“Rudra (…) is not a sectarian deity, but the Supreme Being who is omnipresent and manifests Himself in a myriad forms for the sake of the diverse spiritual aspirants. (…) The prayer depicts the diverse aspects of the Almighty. The Shri Rudram hymn is unique in that it shows the presence of divinity throughout the entire universe. We cannot confine the qualities of the divine to those that are favorable to us. The Lord is both garden and graveyard, the slayer and the most benevolent one.”