When someone asked Adi Shankaracharya what is that one thing that can give you liberation as well as all material pleasures and achievements, Shankaracharya replied, “Shri Rudram.”
Shri Rudram or Rudra Puja is a set of mantras that are done to invoke and pay obeisance to the Shiva tattva (Shiva energy/ principle) in the cosmos. These mantras will not only help one grow spiritually, but it will also help one achieve everything else that they desire in their material life. We have had a chance to host Rudra Pooja this Monsoon, and it was beautifully performed by Art of Living Team.
Shri Rudram consists of five major parts:
Ganpati Atharvashirsha: Any puja or ritual would not start without invoking Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.
Anganyas: Anganyas is the process in which one invokes the deity within themselves before they can pray to the deity outside them.
Panchamrut Snanam: After Anganyas, the abhishekam (worship) of the Shiva Lingam is done with the panchamrut. The elements of the panchamrut represent the pancha-tattvas (the five elements of which the universe is made – space, air, fire, water, and earth). Shivalinga itself is the symbol of this existence, including all manifest and unmanifest universe.
Namakam: Namakam is recognizing the presence of Shiva tattva in everything. As per quantum physics, we are all made up of the same energy. This part of Rudram is done to recognize that the same energy pervades in everyone and everything.
Chamakam: In this, we recognize that all of the things present in the existence are within us. So, that tattva or Rudra is present everywhere and everything that contains that energy is within me. And here we worship the presence of that Rudra within us.
Why is Rudra Puja important?
Since Vedic times, it has been known that Rudra Puja is the most powerful tool to bring peace in the environment. In all the Shankaracharya Parampara (the wisdom lineage of Shankaracharya), one thing that has been followed with utmost discipline and commitment, is common across all the paramparas, is the Monday Rudra Puja. There are many benefits of sitting in the Shri Rudram, but chief amongst them is the feeling of peace and harmony.