Shravan Shiva Puja 2022: Importance of Rudrabhishek

Rudrabhishek 2022
Rudra is the 'Roarer' or the 'Howler'. Shiva is the benevolent form, but Rudra is His fierce manifestation. In a popular Vedic tale, Rudra is said to have sprung up from Brahma's forehead. Sananandana, Sanaka, Sanatana and Sanatkumara were Brahma's children. Brahma created them even before He created the Prajapatis. All these four were men of great knowledge and abstained from worldly pleasures. Aware of the clutches of 'Maya', these four also refused to beget children. Brahma the Creator- the Expander of the 'Samsara' was furious to see his cyclic Creation coming to a sudden halt. Seeing his progeny refuse to obey his orders (of begetting children and contributing to his cycle of creation), his fury was unbounded. Such was his fury that he was prepared to destroy the three worlds. It was out of this extreme fury, that Rudra emerged from his forehead. This Rudra was part man part woman.
The Rudra that emerged from Brahma's forehead was brown in color and had a dazzling form. He is the God of winds, storms, hunting, and ferocious animals and birds. He rules over Death and is Time Himself. An early form of Shiva, Rudra also finds his mention in the Shiva Sahasranama (Thousand Names of Lord Shiva). He is one of the eleven expansions of Lord Shiva and Rudra has all His attributes. He drives away the evil and also represents the Ego principle that is the primary cause of anger and self-interest inherent in Man.
Rudra is ferocious and drives away the evil in us. Cleansing our hearts of ego, anger, and ignorance is a prerequisite to reaching the higher states of consciousness. Amidst the humdrum of daily life, we are stuck in worldly pleasures. But it's in the month of Shravana, that these sensory fascinations come to a halt. Shravana is the name of the lunar month chiefly referring to July - August. Rudra Puja and Rudrabhishek has always been an integral part of our lives, but in the month of Shravana- their significance attains a heightened degree.
Rudrabhishek is the ancient chanting that the Rishis received in their states of deep meditation. Rishis received this knowledge from Space or Akash in the form of 'Shruti'. What they heard- they transferred it to the other people. However, their preachings weren't stuck to mere rituals and had a deeper meaning. In the month of Shravan, Rudrabhishek consists of worshipping the Shivlinga. Shivlinga is symbolic of the Divine Power and is the manifestation of the Shiva Himself. Rudrabhishek is the worship of the 'Shiv Tattva'. The Shivites believe that everything- all that is seen and unseen- Chara (moveable) and Achara (immoveable) is 'Shiv' Himself.
Rudrabhishek is the 'Holy Bath of Rudra'. Devotees offer various ingredients to the Shivlinga while doing the Rudrabhishek. While mantras form an integral part of the Rudrabhishek, it's the Bhava or emotion (of the devotee) that forms the basis of a fruitful Rudrabhishek. Devotees offer various things to the Shivlinga- and each offering holds a particular meaning and significance.
Belpatra- Bel Patra or the Bilva leaves are a favorite of Lord Shiva. Bilva leaves represent the Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha. The three leaves are also believed to be the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Bilva leaves to balance the three humors or the doshas- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Raw milk and water- Milk is the symbol of purity while water is essential for sustenance by all creatures. Both these fluids are eternal and also signify the first human diet. Offering milk and water to Lord Shiva has a soothing effect on the nervous system.
Panchamrit- Panchamrit is a mixture of five liquids- milk, curd, honey, sugar, and ghee or clarified butter. These are the five ambrosial ingredients and represent the essential essences of the human body. Offering the Panchamrit on the Shivlinga will exert an invigorating effect on the entire body.
Gangajal- Ganga is the heavenly river flowing from the matted locks of Lord Shiva. Her waters symbolize purity and are enough to wash away the sins of one's numerous lifetimes. Her descent on earth speaks of the powers of penance (since She is the result of King Bhagiratha's severe penance) and the innumerable possibilities that mankind can unleash.
Bhasma or the Ash- Bhasma or ashes are extremely dear to Lord Shiva. From nothing we come and to nothing we go. Ashes represent the dissolution of Ego - the prime principle of destruction of knowledge and wisdom in man.
Datura- Datura fruit and flowers are both Lord Shiva's favorite. Offering the flowers and fruits of Datura to Lord Shiva represents the eternal bliss that one gets in the higher states of meditation.
Besides the above ingredients; sandal paste, camphor, incense sticks, ghee lamp, unbroken rice, rose water and perfumes are also offered to Lord Shiva. However, tulsi, vermillion and kewda flowers are not included in His worship.
Rudra is the perfect manifestation of Shiv. Doing Rudrabhishek has various benefits-
  • Wards off negative energies and cleanses your aura
  • Charges you with positive energy
  • Revamps your faith and confidence
  • Accelerates your health and spiritual wellness
  • Fulfills your wishes and desires
  • Inspires you to seek a higher meaning of life
  • Breaks the cycle of birth and death
  • Promotes peace, harmony and success in all spheres of your life.
According to Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Shravana refers to the first three phases of learning (besides its usual meaning of the 'month'). Here, learning alters not only the outer but also our inner dimensions. Doing Rudrabhishek alters the inner dimensions by uprooting the Avidya (ignorance) and the Kleshas. In His Rudra form - Shiva uses his ferocity to teach us the essence of Navadha Bhakti. It's only through Devotion that he bestows his devotees with worldly pleasures, perfect knowledge and salvation. The ultimate meaning of Rudrabhishek is to inculcate within us the awareness that everything is Shiva tattva- everything condenses and dissolves in Shiv tattva and nothing exists beyond this tattva.
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