Rudra! – The God of Sandhya Vandanam and Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra is credited to sage Vishwamitra. He derived Gayatri mantra from the following verse of Rig Veda which is a prayer to the Sun god (Savitar).“tat saviturvareṇyaṃ bhargho devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ” (RV 3:62:10)
“May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the God: So May he stimulate our prayers”.When this mantra is prefixed with “vyahrtis (bhur bhuvah svah)“, it becomes the Savitri mantra (Full Gayatri mantra) as follows where Sun god Savitar is personified as the supreme creator of the universe.

“Om bhur bhuvah svah tat saviturvareṇyaṃ bhargho devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt “
“May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the God who has produced this universe. So May he stimulate our prayers”.

‘Savitar’ is a solar deity and one of the Adityas i.e. offspring of Vedic deity ‘Aditi. His name in Vedic Sanskrit connotes “impeller, rouser, vivifier”. Savitar has been sung in eleven whole hymns of the Rig Veda and in parts of many others, his name being mentioned about 170 times in aggregate. In modern Hinduism, Savitar is not worshiped directly. However, in spite of the common ignorance, the sacred Gayatri mantra is devoted to this God and Savitar is indirectly venerated. Reason why in Puranic and Epic times Savitar’s worship is lost we would understand shortly.

Let’s first discuss few more things related to Gayatri mantra. This divine Gayatri mantra is chanted by people after formally getting initiated through a samskara called as ‘Upanayanam (Thread ceremony)’. After getting initiated into Brahman-hood, the practitioner is supposed to do ‘Sandhya Vandanam’ and ‘Gayatri Japam (Chanting the Holy Gayatri mantra)’. It is mandated by scriptures that the practitioner should never abandon doing Sandhya Vandanam and as it has been ordained that one should do ‘trikAla sandhyA vandanaM‘ (means worshiping the Supreme during morning, noon and evening transitioning phases of time). A householder is supposed to lit three fires in these three times of Sandhya.

Sandhya Vandanam

Sandhya Vandanam literally means either “Salutation to the goddess of Dawn and dusk or, the prayers done during dawn and dusk.” Hindus considered the period just before dawn and just after dusk as well as the exact period of noon , as extremely suitable for meditation.

There is a detailed procedure to follow in Sandhya Vandanam and after completing that worship one is supposed to chant Gayatri mantra 108 times (or its half – 54 times or its half – 27 times or at least 10 times without fail). Sandhya Vandanam is a great and powerful worship; it gives immense aura, wealth, glory, fame, prosperity, knowledge, pious qualities, and many such virtuous qualities to the practitioner. When Sandhya Vandanam is performed at the morning time (prAtah sandhyA) it destroys all the sins committed by the individual during the night with hands, mouth, thought, and organ of generation. Similarly the madhyAhna sandhyA vandanaM (noon time worship) destroys all the ills and sins committed during the day, and likewise the sAyamsandhyA vandanaM (worship at the evening) destroys all the sins committed during the day. This worship makes a Brahmana sinless and raises him in glory and virtues.

Let me not quote entire procedure of sandhyA vandanaM here. But the main slokas (verses) which form the part of the worship in the three sandhyA times are quoted below.

At Dawn:

“suuryashcha maa manyushcha manyupatayashcha manyukR^itebhyaH |
paapebhyo rakshantaam.h | yadraatriyaa paapamakaarshham.h |
manasaa vaachaa hastaabhyaam.h . padbhyaamudareNa shishnaa |
raatristadavalumpatu | yatki~ncha duritaM mayi | iadamahaM maamamR^itayonii |
suurye jyotishhi svaahaa |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.32.1)
“May the Sun, Anger and the Guardians of anger guard me from the sins resulting from anger. May the Night efface completely whatever sin I have committed during the last night by thought, word, hands, feet, stomach and the procreative organ. Further, whatever sinful deed has been committed by me all that and myself I offer as an oblation into the Supreme Light represented by the sun, the source of Immortality. Hail!”

Here in the morning prayer of sandhyA vandanaM we can see that the prayer is addressed to Sun god (Surya), Anger (Manyu) and the guardian god who controls the Anger. We’ll know soon in this article about the actual God whom these prayers are addressed.

At Noon:

“aapaH punantu pR^ithiviiM pR^ithivii puutaa punaatu maam.h |
punantu brahmaNaspatirbrahmapuutaa punaatu maam.h | (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.30.1)
yaduchchhishhTamabhojya.n yadvaa dushcharitaM mama |
sarvaM punantu maamaapo.asataa.n cha pratigraham svaahaa |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.30.2)
“May this water cleanse my physical body that is made of earthy substances. Thus purified, may the earthy body purify me, the Soul within. May this water purify the guardian of the Vedas, my preceptor. May the purified Vedas taught by the purified teacher purify me. (Or may the Supreme purify me. May the water purified by the Supreme purify me). My defilement, repast on prohibited food and misconduct if any, and the sin accruing from the acceptance of gifts from persons disapproved by the scripture – from all these may I be absolved. May the waters purify me. Hail!”

Here in the Noon prayer of sandhyA vandanaM we can see that the prayer is addressed to Water (ApaH). We’ll know soon in this article about the actual God whom these waters represent

At Dusk:

“agnishcha maa manyushcha manyupatayashcha manyukR^itebhyaH |
paapebhyo rakshantaam.h | yadahnaa paapamakaarshham.h |
manasaa vaachaa hastaabhyaam.h | padbhyaamudareNa shishnaa |
ahastadavalimpatu | yatki~ncha duritaM mayi | idamahaM maamamR^itayonii |
satye jyotishhi juhomi svaahaa |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.31.1)
“May fire, Anger and Guardians of anger guard me from the sins resulting from anger. May the Day efface completely whatever sin I have committed on this day by thought, word, hands, feet, stomach and the procreative organ. Further whatever sinful deed has been committed by me, all that and myself I offer as an oblation into the Self-luminous Truth, the source of Immortality. Hail!”

Here in the evening prayer of sandhyA vandanaM we can see that the prayer is addressed to Fire god (Agni), Anger (Manyu) and the guardian god who controls the Anger. We’ll know soon in this article about the actual God whom these prayers are addressed.

With these basics of Sandhya Vandanam and Gayatri Mantram let’s now summarize the entire procedure to keep a better track of the events.

  • sandhyA is the three times of solar transit marking morning, noon and evening times. During the three sandhyA times a householder lights three fires respectively
  • prAtah sandhyA vandanaM (Morning prayer) addressed to Sun god (Surya), Anger god (Manyu) and God who controls the Anger
  • madhyAhna sandhyA vandanaM (Noon prayer) addressed solely to waters (ApaH)
  • sAyam sandhyA vandanaM (Evening prayer) addressed to Agni, Anger god (Manyu) and God who controls the Anger
  • Chanting Gayatri Mantra in each prayer viz. morning, Noon and Evening, where Gayatri mantra is addressed to Sun God ‘Savitar’ who is personified as the supreme creator of the universe

But who is that True God who is the three Sandhya times, who is the three fires lit by householder Brahmanas, whom the individuals worship through Sandhya Vandanam and whom they eulogize through Gayatri Mantram? Answer to all these questions in only one – One true god indwelling in all these rites and also who is the object of worship is none other than Bhagawan Rudra! Let’s see the evidences now.

Rudra is the three Sandhya times

“Namaste astu bhagavanh vishveshvaraya mahadevaya tryambakaya tripurantakaya trikagni kalaya |” (Yajurveda Sri Rudram – Anuvaka -1)
“Let my salutations be to that great God who is the Lord of the universe; the great God who has three eyes and who destroys Tripura, the three Asura cities. To that God who is the three Sandhya times when the three sacred fires are lit”.

Rudra is invoked in the prAtah sandhyA vandanaM (Morning prayer):

In the dawn prayer the deities addressed in the prayer that we noted above are – Sun god (Surya), Anger god (Manyu) and God who controls the Anger. They look multiple but there is no duality here. This entire prayer is actually addressed to Rudra alone. Let’s see the evidences now.

Sun is none other than Bhagawan Rudra as evident from the hymns of Sri Rudram.

“Asau yastamro aruna uta babhruh sumangalah |
Ye chemarudra abhito dixu Shritah sahasrashoavaishhaheda imahe |” (Yajurveda Sri Rudram – Anuvaka -1)
“This Sun who is copper-red when he arises, then golden-yellow, this highly auspicious and beneficent one is truly Rudra. These other Rudras who are quartered round about in all directions of this earth, may I ward off their anger by my praise”.

“Asau yoavasarpati nilagrivo vilohitah |
Utainam gopa adrishannadrishannudaharyah |
Utainam vishva bhutani sa drishhto mridayati nah |” (Yajurveda Sri Rudram – Anuvaka -1)
“The black-throated Rudra who has assumed the form of the sun that glows red when rising. Him the cowherds, the women carrying water, and all the creatures behold. He, who is seen by all, let Him send happiness to us”.

Manyu (Anger) is an attribute of Rudra. Sri Rudram begins with the salutations to Shiva’s anger as follows.

“namaste rudramanyavautota ishhave namah |
namaste astu dhanvane bahubhyamuta te namah |” (Yajurveda IV: 5:1: a)
“Oh! Rudra! My salutations to your anger and also to your arrows. My salutations to your bow and to your two hands”.

Then the same hymn requests Rudra to show his peaceful and auspicious form to the devotees and not to become angry.

“Yaa mishum giri shantha hasthe Bhibarshya sthave |
Shivaam girithra thaam kuru maa himsi purusham jagat |” (Yajurveda IV: 5:1: d)
“Oh Rudra who feeds us sweetness sitting on the mount, And who gives us solace sitting on the mount, Please make the arrow in your hand, Which you have brought to punish the sinners, Peaceful and do not give trouble to people and the world”.

So, anger (manyu) is an attribute of Shiva and at the same time he is the one who is the guardian of Manyu, means he only controls his anger and blesses the devotees with his peaceful form. So, it is evident beyond doubt that the prAtah sandhyA vandanaM prayer is addressed to Lord Rudra alone.

Rudra is invoked in the madhyAhna sandhyA vandanaM (Noon prayer):

In the noon prayer the deities addressed in the prayer that we noted above is only water (ApaH). This entire prayer is actually addressed to Rudra alone. Let’s see the evidences now.

Lord Rudra is the one who exists as water (ApaH).

“Yo rudro agnau yo apsu ya oshhadhishhu |
Yo rudro vishva bhuvanaaavivesha |
tasmai rudraya namo astu |” (YajurVeda 5:5:9-i Or Taittiriya Samhita 5.5.9.9)
“The Rudra in the fire, in the waters, in the plants, the Rudra that hath entered all beings, to that Rudra be homage”.

So, it is again clear that it is Rudra who is present as fire, water, and entire creation. So, this prayer of madhyAhna sandhyA vandanaM is addressed to Bhagawan Rudra only.

Rudra is invoked in the sAyam sandhyA vandanaM (Evening prayer):

In the dusk prayer the deities addressed in the prayer that we noted above are – Fire god (Agni), Anger god (Manyu) and God who controls the Anger. They look multiple but there is no duality here. This entire prayer is actually addressed to Rudra alone. Let’s see the evidences now.

Let’s revisit the references to understand that Rudra is Agni. For Manyu we have already seen evidences above.

“Yo rudro agnau yo apsu ya oshhadhishhu |
Yo rudro vishva bhuvanaaavivesha |
tasmai rudraya namo astu |” (YajurVeda 5:5:9-i Or Taittiriya Samhita 5.5.9.9)
“The Rudra in the fire, in the waters, in the plants, the Rudra that hath entered all beings, to that Rudra be homage”.

“tadevaagnistadaadityastadvaayustadu chandramaaH |
tadeva shukra.n tad.h brahma tadaapastat.h prajaapatiH |” (Sve Upa. 4:2)
“That Supreme Self is Agni (Fire); It is Aditya (Sun); It is Vayu (Wind); It is Chandrama (Moon). That Self is the luminous stars; it is Hiranyagarbha; It is water; It is Virat”.

Therefore it is proved beyond doubt that the three Sandhya times (times of transit of the sun), and the gods whom the prayers are addressed everything is identical with Lord Rudra alone! In fact Vedas instruct us to worship lord Rudra in morning, during the day, evening and also at night as mentioned below.

“námaḥ sāyáṃ námaḥ prātár námo rā́tryā námo dívā |
bhavā́ya ca śarvā́ya cobhā́bhyām akaraṃ námaḥ |” (Atharva Veda Xi:2:16)
“Let us pay our homage in the morning, during the day, in the evening, and at night – to the Lord who grants us life (Bhava) and who takes it away (Sarva)”.

We’re left with analyzing the God of Gayatri mantra. Let’s do that now.

Who is Gayatri? Who is the God invoked in Gayatri Mantra?

Gāyatrī = Gāya + Trī.

Gāya is derived from Ga (singing);

Trī = Female protector.

Trā = male protector;

Gāyatrī = Song (hymn) that protects; and Gayatri Devi is the protector.

Gayatri is not only a deity but it is a Vedic Meter also. Let’s understand what it means as a Meter.

Gayatri = A Vedic Meter, having three feet and each being 24 syllables long; which is the meter of Gayatri Devi.

Let’s see what Vedas state about the Gayatri.

Agni produced the Earth and he became the Earth in fact. So, Earth is same as Agni. This is evident from the below verse from Vedas.

“tā vā etā nava sṛṣṭayaḥ | iyamasṛjyata tasmādāhustrivṛdagniritīyaṃ hyagnirasyai hi
sarvo ‘gniścīyate |” (Satapatha Brahmana 6.1.1.14)
“This (earth), then, was created as (consisting of) these same nine creations. Hence they say, ‘Threefold (three times three) is Agni;’ for Agni is this (earth), since thereof the whole Agni (fire-altar) is constructed”.

Then that Earth sang (gâ), therefore she is Gâyatrî. But inf act it was Agni who sang. Hence it is Agni who is Gâyatra.

“abhūdvā iyam pratiṣṭheti | tadbhūmirabhavattāmaprathayatsā pṛthivyabhavatseyaṃ
sarvā kṛtsnā manyamānāgāyadyadagāyattasmādiyaṃ gāyatryatho āhuragnirevāsyai
pṛṣṭhe sarvaḥ kṛtsno manyamāno ‘gāyadyadagāyattasmādagnirgāyatra iti tasmādu
haitadyaḥ sarvaḥ kṛtsno manyate gāyati vaiva gīte vā ramate |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6.1.1.15)
“’This (earth) has indeed become (bhû) a foundation!’ (he thought): hence it became the earth (bhûmi). He spread it out (prath), and it became the broad one (or earth, prithivî). And she (the earth), thinking herself quite perfect, sang; and inasmuch as she sang (gâ), therefore she is Gâyatrî. But they also say, ‘It was Agni, indeed, on her (the earth’s) back, who thinking himself quite perfect, sang; and inasmuch as he sang (gâ), therefore Agni is Gâyatra.’ And hence whosoever thinks himself quite perfect, either sings or delights in song”.

Therefore Gayatri is none other than Agni indeed. It means Agni (male god) is visualized as Gayatri (the female deity). But indeed they are same.

“agnirvai gāyatrī |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 3:4:1:9)
“Gâyatrî is verily Agni”.

Now not only that Gayatri as a deity is same as Agni, but the meter (Chandas) is also identical since they both are not different. Agni’s measure also consists of 24 syllables. This is evident from the following verse from Yajurveda Shatapatha Brahmana.

“yadveva caturviṃśatiḥ | caturviṃśatyakṣarā vai gāyatrī gāyatro
‘gniryāvānagniryāvatyasya mātrā tāvataivainametatsaminddhe |” (Shatapatha Brahmana
6.2.1.22)
“And, again, why there are twenty-four,–the Gâyatrî consists of twenty-four syllables and Agni is Gâyatra: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, by so much he thus kindles him”.

This is not the end. Agni is an epithet used in Vedas to refer to Lord Shiva. This is evident from the below verse. Agni is indeed Rudra. Vedic seers prefer to not address Rudra directly by his names because of terror of Rudra. But entire Vedas sing only the praises of Rudra under various names.

“agnirvai sa devastasyaitāni nāmāni śarva iti yathā prācyā
ācakṣate bhava iti yathā bāhīkāḥ paśūnām patī rudro ‘gniriti
tānyasyāśāntānyevetarāṇi nāmānyagnirityeva śāntatamaṃ tasmādagnaya iti kriyate
sviṣṭakṛta iti ” (Shatapatha Brahmana 1:7:3:8)
“Agni is THAT god;–his are these names: Sarva, as the eastern people call him; Bhava, as the Bâhîkas (call him); Pasûnâm pati (‘lord of beasts,’ Pasupati), Rudra, Agni. The name Agni, doubtless, is the most auspicious (sânta), and the other names of his are inauspicious: hence it is offered to (him under the name of) ‘Agni,’ and to (him as) the Svishtakrit”.

Om bhur bhuvah svahNow let’s also touch the subject of appearance or looks of Gayatri. If we want to know how Gayatri Devi looks like, then we have a Dhyana Sloka (Meditation verse) of Gayatri in our scripture(s) which is as follows. From this verse we can note that she has five faces of various hues, has three eyes on each face and holds various kinds of weapons in her hands.

“Muktā-vidruma hema dhavalac-chāyair mukhais-tryakṣaṇair,
Yuktām indu-nibaddha-mukuṭām tatvārthavaṛṇātmikām |
Gāyatrīm varadābhayāṅkuśakaśāḥ śubhram kapālam guṇam
śaṅkham cakram athāravindayugalam hastair vahantīm bhaje |”

“I meditate on the (five-faced) Goddess Gayatri whose faces are of the hues of the pearl, coral, gold, black and white (stones) of three eyes (in each face), with jeweled diadems set with the crescent moon, composed of syllables representing the real Truth, and holding in the (ten) hands, the poses of offering refuge and boons, goad, whip, white skull, rope, conch, discus and two lotuses”.

Since she is Lord Shiva only in female form, she possesses all the attributes of Siva. Yajurveda Taittiriya Aranyaka (10.17.1, 10.18.1, 10.19.1, 10.20.1 and 10.21.1) detail out the qualities of five faces of Shiva viz. Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Ishana. The same faces (and names) and colors are carried by Gayatri Devi also. This proves that Gayatri is indeed Lord Shiva only represented in female form as the mother of Vedas conjoint with Prajapati (Brahma).

So, now we came to a conclusion that Rudra created the Earth, and he himself exists as Earth. Rudra is the goddess Gayatri. Rudra is the Gayatri meter also. This is proved in above analysis.

Now our next subject is to analyze who is the God who is praised in Gayatri mantra.

As read in the beginning, the Gayatri Mantra is –

“Om bhur bhuvah svah tat saviturvareṇyaṃ bhargho devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt “
“May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the God who has produced this universe. So May he stimulate our prayers”.

Here this Mantra offers salutations to Sun god (Savitar) calling him the supreme god who created the universe. Savitar is one among the twelve sons of Aditi and is one among the Adityas. The ‘Aditya’ is a name which represents sum total of all luminary bodies produced as sons by Aditi. So, even Savitar is an Aditya. And all the Adityas are manifestations of Lord Rudra only as shown in below verse.

“tamabravīdīśāno ‘sīti | tadyadasya tannāmākarodādityastadrūpamabhavadādityo vā
īśāna ādityo hyasya sarvasyeṣṭe |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:1:3:17)
“He said to him, ‘Thou art Îsâna (the Ruler).’ And because he gave him that name, the Aditya (Sun) became suchlike, for Îsâna is the Sun, since the Sun rules over this all”.

So, the god Savitar is a manifestation of Rudra and it is Rudra who created the universe, not Savitar.

” tásya vrā́tyasya saptá prāṇā́ḥ saptā́pānā́ḥ saptá vyānā́ḥ |” (Atharva Veda 15:15:1-2)
“Of that Vrātya (Shiva). There are seven vital airs, seven downward breaths, seven diffused breaths”.
“yò ‘sya prathamó vyānáḥ séyáṃ bhū́miḥ | yò ‘sya dvitī́yo vyānás tád antárikṣam | yò ‘sya tr̥tī́yo vyānáḥ sā́ dyáuḥ |” (Atharva Veda 15:17.1-3)
“His [Shiva] first diffused breath is this Earth. His second diffused breath is that Firmament. His third diffused breath is that Heaven”.

So, from this above analysis it is evident that since Sun (Savitar) is an Aditya and all Adityas are Rudra’s manifestations by his name Isana. And Rudra created the universe. Therefore it is Rudra who is the god whom Gayatri mantra pays adorations, indirectly under the name Savitar.

Why Savitar is not worshiped in later age of Puranic times? This was the question we put forth in the beginning of this article. The answer is not pretty much clear. In Vedic times the Vedic seers were scared of Rudra hence Vedas eulogize Rudra indirectly under various names like Manyu, Kama, Indra, Agni, Viswakarma, Skhambha, Kala, Vishnu, Varuna, Gayatri etc. And one such name is Savitar. But during the Puranic times, sage Vyasa has removed all such ambiguities and simply addressed Rudra directly in his books. So, an indirect worship of Rudra under the name of Savitar became extinct but Savitar still gets his place in Gayatri mantra as usual.

Extending the Analysis on Sun (Savitar | Surya | Aditya) and Rudra
In above portion of this article, we have already analyzed successfully the aspects of Sandhya Vandanam, Gayatri Mantra, Goddess Gayatri, Deity of Gayatri mantra and all related aspects. But that was at an abstract level. I being a detail oriented person, I would like to carry this analysis further.
In this section we would focus only on the Sun (Aditya | Surya | Savitar) aspect of Rudra and the various ways the Vedas correlate and speak about one God (Rudra) under these solar pseudonyms!
Let’s see a verse from Rig Veda addressed to Sun God (Savitar).

“ūrdhvaṃ ketuṃ savitā devo aśrej jyotir viśvasmai bhuvanāya kṛṇvan |
āprā dyāvāpṛthivī antarikṣaṃ vi sūryo raśmibhiś cekitānaḥ |” (RV 4:14:2)
“Producing light for all the world of creatures, God Savitar hath raised aloft his banner. Making his presence known by sunbeams, Sūrya hath filled the firmament and earth and heaven”.

In the above verse, ‘sūryo raśmi’ (sum beams) literally means, ‘rays of the sun’. But this verse ahs an esoteric meaning in reality. There the rays of the sun mean the all pervading Atman (Soul) which creates life on earth (as creatures), mid-air (as aerial creatures and microbial lives) and the heaven (as gods). This concept has been stated in a very direct manner in another verse of Rig Veda as follows.

“āprā dyāvāpṛthivī antarikṣaṃ sūrya ātmā jaghatastasthuṣaśca |” (RV 1:115:1)
“Surya (the sun), the soul (Atman) of all movable and immovable things, pervades the heaven, earth, and the intermediate regions”.

But here Vedas as usual speak in a very indirect manner. Here while praising Sun as doing all these Vedas actually address their prayers to Rudra only sicne it is Lord Rudra who pervades the three regions viz. Earth, Atmosphere and Sky. Rudra pervades as the indwelling Atman in all the mobile and immobile creation. He is the lord of entire Jagat. The following verses clarify that the ‘Surya’ of above verses actually is ‘Shiva’.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ |” (Atharva Veda 4:28:27)
“Bhava rules the sky, Bhava rules the earth; Bhava has filled the broad: atmosphere. Reverence be to him in whatever direction from here (he abides)!”

So, from above verse we learn that in every direction Bhava abides (dwells). Bhava dwells in the three regions filling them and remains as the sole ruler of everything thereon. Atharva Veda further supports this point and extends it saying:

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ” (Atharva Veda 4:28:10)
“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“yád éjati pátati yác ca tíṣṭhati prāṇád áprāṇan nimiṣác ca yád bhúvat |
tád dādhāra pr̥thivī́ṃ viśvárūpaṃ tát saṃbhū́ya bhavaty ékam evá |” (Atharvana Veda X:8:11)
“That which hath power of motion, that which flies, or stands, which breathes or breathes not, which, existing, shuts the eye. Wearing all forms that entity (Shiva) upholds the earth, and in its close consistence still is only one”.

Let’s visit some verses from Surya Upanishad. We’ll understand that these verses are again addressed to Surya but actually they are the glories of Mahadeva alone!

“suuryaadbhavanti bhuutaani suuryeNa paalitaani tu |
suurye layaM praapnuvanti yaH suuryH so.ahameva cha |
chakshurno devaH savitaa chakshurna uta parvataH | (Surya Upanishad)
“All creatures are born of Surya and are protected by him, dissolve in him – I am Surya himself. The divine Savitar is our eye the Parvata (spirit of the Time-periods), may be vouchsafe our eye”.

The above verse states that the divine “Savitar” who is the “Surya (Sun)” is the god who creates everything, sustains everything and destroys everything. Is that really an attribute of Sun god? Certainly not if you see in dualistic persepective since Sun himself has been begotten by Rudra. SO, what does it mean then? It actually shows the power of Advaita sicne there are numerous forms but all forms are the forms of one True God – Rudra! This verse speaks about only Rudra’s qualities under the name ‘Surya’ and ‘Savitar’. Here is the evidence.

“eko hi rudro na dvitīyāya tasthur ya imāṃl lokān īśata īśanībhiḥ |
pratyaṅ janāṃs tiṣṭhati sañcukocānta-kāle saṃsṛjya viśvā bhuvanāni gopāḥ |” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:02)
“Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time.”

The above verse clearly states that Rudra alone pervades as the Atman in all the beings, He alone creates all the worlds, he alone protects all the worlds, and at the end of time he withdraws the creation back to himself. This is not the only evidence, numerous evidences from Vedas can be cited in support of Rudra being the creator, protector and destroyer singly.

“Namo bhavaya cha rudraya cha | namah sharvaya cha pashupataye cha |” (Yajurveda Sri Rudram- Anuvaka 5)
“Salutations to Him who is the source of all things (Bhava) and to Him who is the destroyer of all ills (Rudra). Salutations to the destroyer of everything (Sharva) and to the protector of all beings in bondage (Pashupati)”.

As seen already in this article, that Sri Rudram clearly states that Rudra is the god who has assumed the form of the Sun. let me quote thata gain here since I wish to provide here another good commentary by Sayana on that.

“Asau yoavasarpati nilagrivo vilohitah |
Utainam gopa adrishannadrishannudaharyah |
Utainam vishva bhutani sa drishhto mridayati nah |” (Yajurveda Sri Rudram, Anuvaka-1)
“The blue-throated Rudra who has assumed the form of the sun that glows red when rising. Him the cowherds, the women carrying water, and all the creatures behold. He, who is seen by all, let Him send happiness to us”.

In his commentary on this verse, Sayanacharya states the following. This commentary has been taken from advaita-vedanta.org.

sAyaNAchAryabhAShyam.h (Commentary of sAyaNAchArya):

“yo rudro nIlagrIvaH kAlakUTadhAraNena nIlavarNA grIvA yasya-
asau nIlagrIvaH | sa eva vilohito visheSheNa lohitavarNaH
sannasau maNDalavartI bhUtvA .avasarpatyudayAstamayau
saMpAdayituM pravartate – tasya cha rudrasya maNDalavarti-
svarUpadhAraNe pryojanamuchyate – utApi cha gopA
vedashAstrasaMskArarahitA gopAlA apyenaM maNDalavartinam-
AdityarUpiNaM rudramadR^ishanpashyanti | udahArya udakAnAM
hAriNyo yoShito .apyenamadR^ishanpashyanti| utApi chainaM
maNDalavartinamAdityarUpiNaM rudraM vishvA bhUtAni
gomahiShyAdayaH sarve .api prANinaH pashyanti | sarveShAM
darshanArthameva hi rudrasyAdityamUrtidhAraNam.h| kailAsA-
divartirudrasya rUpaM tu vedashAstrAbhiGYaireva dR^ishyate
nAnyaiH | tAdR^isho rudro dR^iShTaH sanno .asmAnmR^iDayAti|
sukhinaH karotvityarthaH |”
“That Rudra whose throat is blue due to bearing the kAlakUTa poison, He only being distinctly reddish in color, being present in the orb of the sun, moves to achieve the rising and setting functions. The objective of Rudra’s assuming the role of being in the Sun’s orb is thus stated. Moreover, the cowherds who are without purifying ceremonies (saMskAras) of the vedas, too see Him, the Rudra of the form of Aditya in the solar orb. The women who carry water (in pots) too see Him. All beings, including animals such as cows, buffalos, etc., see Rudra who is in the form of Aditya, situated in the solar orb. Rudra assumes the form of Aditya just so that He can grant everyone a vision (darshan) of Himself. Only those who have known the Vedas, not others, can see the form of Rudra as He lives in KailAsa and other places, not others. May such Rudra, seen by us (in the form of Aditya), make us happy.”.

So, it speaks about the highest form of benevolence showered by Bhagawan Rudra on us by being available to us throughout the day in the form of Sun right in front of our eyes. Rudra as Sun is the visible Supreme God whom everyone (sinner to pious souls) can behold equally.

Therefore from above analysis it is evident that Rudra is the one God who is hailed under the name (pseudonym) of ‘Surya / Savitar’. The below verse from Svetaswatara Upansiahd would give more clarity to this subject. Shiva is the Supreme Brahman and his splendor shines the worlds as the light of wisdom. When the light of realization shines in us, darkness (Avidya) of ignorance ceases to exist. At that point of realization, only thing which remains real is Shiva alone. It is Shiva’s splendor of supreme wisdom which is called as “Savitar” in Vedas. And Gayatri Mantra eulogizes Shiva’s light of knowledge only. That is the real meaning of Gayatri Mantra.

“yadaa.atamastaanna divaa na raatriH na sannachaasachchhiva eva kevalaH |
tadaxara.n tat.h saviturvareNyaM praGYaa cha tasmaat.h prasR^itaa puraaNii |” (Svetaswatara Upanishad 4:18)
“When there is complete absence of the darkness of ignorance, then what is experienced is neither day nor night; neither existence or non-existence; only one pure Siva is there; that is indestructible; that is adorable light of even Savitar; from that this ancient wisdom proceeded all over the world”.

Conclusion

With this analysis we have seen that the three Sandhya times, the three Sandhya prayers (Sandhya Vandanam), the Goddess Gayatri, Gayatri Meter, God of Gayatri mantra, Sun God (Savitar / Aditya / Surya) everything is Lord Rudra alone.


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Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)
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Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)

Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula, is 'षण्मातुरः' or 'षण्णां मातृणां पुत्रः' in detail, which means 'The son of six (divine) mothers' as he considers the six great goddesses viz. Parvati, Ganga, Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Saraswati, and Gayatri, as his own mothers, and sees himself as an infant in their laps. Together with their respective consorts he considers them as his own parents. He considers their children such as Ganesha, Skanda, Sanatkumara, Narada, Pradyumna etc., as his own siblings; in fact, not different from himself. He loves these six mothers very dearly, and equally loves the divine fathers; however, he has offered his 'devotion' only to Mahadeva! Hence he stands for lord Shiva safeguarding him from his haters. One would know him better from his writings.
Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)
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17 Comments

  1. Lakshminarayana K

    The Gayatri Mantra is a mantra not to Rudra, but to Savitar. And Rig Veda itself shows that Savitar is superior to Rudra (RV 2.38.9) –

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rvsan/rv02038.htm

    na yasyendro varuṇo na mitro vratamaryamā na minanti rudraḥ |

    Here is the translation –

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv02038.htm

    “Him whose high law not Varuṇa nor Indra, not Mitra, Aryaman, nor Rudra breaketh….”

    It is clear that even Rudra cannot break the laws of Savitar. Hence Rudra is a lesser deity than Savitar. Hence the Gayatri Mantra cannot be that of Rudra but it belongs to the deity Savitar.

    Reply
    1. Light

      Your intellect is not capable of acknowledging the fact that there are various grades/levels of Rudras. See answer here and know it… http://hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/8210/is-shiva-or-rudra-born-and-is-he-still-alive-was-he-killed-or-merged-with-supre/14025#14025

      Reply
  2. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula

    Savitar is Rudra himself.

    Reply
    1. Vinay Kumar Polkam

      Namaste Santosh Garu,

      Yes, you are right! God Shiva is the sun, savitar, and the god of Gayatri, the God Bharga who is referred in Gayatri is verily Lord shiva.

      This is the information from the site http://shivyogi.com/bharga.html

      Lord Sadashiva is called as Bharga because he dries out the sins. This particular Bharga nature of Bhujunga-Bhushana is reckoned in the Gayatri Mantra. One who meditates upon Lord Shiva at the time of chanting of Gayatri- Mantra, Shiva parches all his sins. Maitrayani-Upanishad defines the word ‘Bharga’ as under—
      भाभिर्गतिरस्य हीति भर्गः। भर्जयतीति वैष भर्ग इति रुद्रो ब्रह्मवादिनः। अथ भ इति भासयतीमांल्लोकान्, र इति रञ्जयतीमानि भूतानि, ग इति गच्छन्त्यस्यिन्नागच्छन्त्यस्मादिमाः प्रजाः, तस्माद् भरगत्वाद् भर्गः॥
      One who is reaching everywhere through his light, that is called Bharga. Or Bharga is one who parches the sensual objects. ‘Bha’ means the thing which illuminates all the planets, ‘Ra’ means one who entertains all the elements, ‘Ga’ means the source and ultimate destination of everything; and Shruti gives it a combined name as Bharga. Below is the poetic explanation of Bhaskar Roy –
      भर्ज्यन्ते दुरितानां सन्दोहा यदवाप्त्या। गायत्रीप्रतिपाद्यस्त्वं तस्मादसि भर्गः॥
      Purport: Just by its attainment, the heaps of sins are burnt to ashes , that object is called Bharga. Shiva is called as Bharga for being the essence of Gayatri-Mantra.
      Another meaning of Bharga is sun. Shiva is called Bharga because he is the direct deity of Sun-God. Actually the pious and sinful deeds bear their fruits with the help of knowledge only. Shiva is personification of knowledge. Shiva destroys the ignorance which is the prime cause of birth and death. Attainment of Shiva saves us from all sinful reactions. Keeping Shiva in mind and understanding his sin-cleansing nature is the true sense of worship of Bharga.

      Thanks,
      Vinay

      Om Namah Shivaya!!!

      Reply
      1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

        Thank you for the valuable information.

        Reply
      2. Amith

        Thanks for this comment. I used to think Bharga actually meant ‘the glory of Savitr’. But your reference is more clear and makes more sense.
        Further, Sayana has commented on Savitr as the light, as in, the light of consciousness or Prajna.

        Reply
  3. Vinay Kumar Polkam

    Also , In shiva dandakam, shiva is praised as follows

    Bhava, Bharga,BhattAraka bhargavAgasthya kutsAdi nana muni stotra dattavadhAna.

    Reply
  4. Vinay Kumar Polkam

    Also, In Shiva Asthottara stotra shiva is praised as below.

    Bhujanga bhushano Bhargo giri dhanvi giri priya

    Reply
  5. Arun Subramaniyan

    Even Adi Shankara in his prahnottara mala states that chanting of Gayatri Mantra is a prayer to Shiva.

    Regards
    Arun

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thanks for the info bro.

      Reply
  6. Vinay Kumar Polkam

    Thanks Arun Ji. Here is the snippet of the Adi shankaracharya’s Prashnottara ratna mala,

    ६१. को ब्राह्मणैरुपास्यॊ? गायत्र्यर्काग्निगोचरो शंभुः।
    गायत्र्यामादित्ये चाग्नौ शम्भौ च किं नु? तत्तत्वं
    61. ko braahmanairupaasyo? Gaayatryarkaagnigocharo shambhuh
    gaayatryaamaaditye chaagnau shambhau cha kim nu? Tattatwam

    Q: Who is to be worshipped by brahmanas?
    A: Shambhuh (Lord Shiva) who is manifest in Gaayatri, the Sun and Agni (the Fire)

    Regards,
    Vinay

    Reply
  7. Abhijit Todkar

    Dear bro
    As i had mentioned earlier,nowhere on the net could I find the shaiva sandhyavandanam.
    Have you come in possession of the procedure? If yes then be so good to forward it to me.

    yours
    Abhijit

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Dear bro,

      Nice to hear from you. It’s been long time. How have you been? 🙂

      No bro, I haven’t come across Shaiva sandhyavandana procedure. Last time only Sri Chandrasekhara rajamoorthy ji said he has it, but somehow things didn’t materialize and he didn’t share.

      If I get any such book, will surely share that with you.

      thanks & regards,
      Santosh

      Reply
      1. K Dharan Shankaran

        Hi
        I am also looking for shaiva sandhyavandhanam for yajur veda
        If possible please share through mail

        Reply
        1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः) (Post author)

          It is found here in this video:

          Reply
    2. Karthick

      You can refer the below 2 links for Shaiva Sandhyavandanam:

      https://animeshnagarblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/shaiva-sandhya-vidhi/

      Reply
      1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः) (Post author)

        Thank you dear bro! Well done! Claps!

        Abhijit ji was asking for this for many years now. i didn’t have these details. He must be very happy obtaining this now.

        Reply

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