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In the Rig Veda – believed to have been composed during 1500 BCE–1200 BCE – Rudra figures as a powerful wild god symbolizing destruction. He is known for his wrath  and most hymns (hymns 1.43, 1.114, 2.33, 6.74, and 7.46) implore him to be merciful to humans and beasts. The Yajur Veda (1200–1000 BCE) pays homage to his “auspicious look” (4.5). Both the Rig Veda and the Yajur Veda hail him as a wild hunter and as the best healer. While in the Rig Veda Rudra is a nature god symbolizing fierceness, diseases, and remedies, the Yajur Veda presents him as a celestial and ominous god. Rudra, the most terrifying of the divine figures, rides upon a chariot carrying a bow and arrows in search of beings to devour (Rig Veda, hymn 1.114 and Yajur Veda 4.5). But polarities operate on all levels of his ambiance as there lies grace along with fierceness in Rudra’s being. This ambivalence may reflect the religious tension of Rudra’s post-Vedic appropriation with Śiva as one of the primary Hindu...
Keywordspost-Vedic Period Sanskrit Root Brahmanas Ancient Indian Texts Oxymoronic Character
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