Rudra Avtar

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Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
(ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ)

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Jaap - Akal Ustat - Bachitar Natak - Chandi Charitar Ukat(i) Bilas - Chandi Charitar 2 - Chandi di Var - Gyan Parbodh - Chobis Avatar - Brahm Avtar - Rudar Avtar - Sabad Patshahi 10 - 33 Swaiyey - Khalsa Mahima - Shastar Nam Mala - Ath Pakhyan Charitar Likhyate - Zafarnama - Hikayats
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Rudra Avtar is a composition and epic poetry under title Ath Rudra Avtar Kathan(n), written by Guru Gobind Singh, present in Dasam Granth Sahib considered as second most important Scripture of Sikhs. This composition covers the most important war of Gurmat philosophy i.e fight between Bibek Buddhi and Abibek Budhi which is actually fight between truth and false, fight between Wisdom and Ignorance.

This composition also covered the concept of Gyaan (Wisdom) and Dhyana(Attention) and is against Fake Ritualism and Practices. Guru Gobind Singh sanctified and narrated the Life history of following two souls, which is designated with title Rudra:

  1. Datt Muni or Dattatreya
  2. Paras Nath


  • This epic poetry was written at Anandpur Sahib [1], probably in Samvat 1755/ 1698.
  • This text is part of Bachitar Natak Granth, as per rubrics at the end. Although modern interpretations believed that portion of Guru Gobind Singh life, whom he refer Apni Katha is Bachitar Natak , viewing all the rest compsition are independent form of it.
  • This composition is present in all old Manuscripts i.e Mani Singh's, Motibagh's, Sangrur's and Patna's Manuscripts.[2]
  • The Language of the composition is Hindi with mixture of Sanskrit words.[3]
  • First six Chandds are Introductory. 849 Chands narrates Dattatreya and 359 Chandds narrates about Paras Nath.
  • Unlike, Chandi Charitar and Krishna Avtar, The source of narration of Rudra Avtar are not any of 36 Puranas [3].


Rudra in Adi Guru Granth Sahib

ਰੁਦ੍ਰ ਧਿਆਨ ਗਿਆਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਕਬਿ ਜਨ ਭਲ੍ਯ੍ਯ ਉਨਹ ਜ ਗਾਵੈ ॥
रुद्र धिआन गिआन सतिगुर के कबि जन भल्य उनह जो गावै ॥
With Rudra's attention and the spiritual wisdom of the True Guru, says BHALL the poet, these may be counted.

Adi Granth Sahib covers the concept of Rudra Dhyaan. Every living being's surt/dhyaaan (or attention) can be directed in two ways, one towards one's body (outer world), and the other towards one's own self (source of attention). As long as our attention stays on our body only, and we loose connection with our self, we are incomplete (half or daal as in Gurbani). That is why we remain tense, confused and make wrong decisions. But those who are complete (The one as in Gurbani), their attention is focused on the source of attention itself (self) and thus, they are immune to any influence of outside world such as vices. Such a one-mindedness and focus is called Rudra Dhyaan. From such a dhyaan, the thoughts that sprout are all under divine hukam (and are not self-conceived). Consequently, Hukam itself is called Rudra.

In Sikh Thought, Rudra is a qualitative name of Supreme Command(Hukam).

Rudra/Siva versus Mahadev

In Dasam Granth, Rudra and Shiva are generic terms while Mahadev is the name of one person, whom mistakenly people call Rudra or Shiva.

In Gurmat Philosophy, Mahadev was a Yogi who was dweller of Himalayas. In Hindu Myth, Mahadev is also called Shiv or Rudra but in Gurmat philosophy, Shiv term does not comes for Mahadev, because Shiv is Nirankar(Formless). In Chopai, Guru Gobind Singh cleared it as: Mahadev ko kehat sada shiv, nirankar ka cheenat nahin bhiv. In History, people give person the name whom he worship as Mahadev was worshipper of Shiva, he is also called Shiva, like Nanak was worshipper of Guru (Shabad Guru - The source of wisdom), he is also called Guru as Guru Gobind Singh said aad ant ekey avtara, soyi guru samjheyo hamara. From content of composition of Rudra Avtar, it is clear that Mahadev and Shiva/Rudra are seperate entities. Hence, Dattatreya is not considered as avtar of Mahadev.

Concept of Avtar

In Sikhism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a soul to earth in any form.[4]

Guru Granth Sahib believes in the existence of Dasavtara, as Kings of their times. In ancient history, Religious figures gave honorary title of Avtar to person for their revolutionary changes and promoted wisdom among people and mostly were Kings. As per Rudra Avtar, Dattatreya and Parasnath understood Hukam(Rudra) philosophy and propagate Gurmat thought at their times, for this reason they are given title of Rudra Avtar by Guru Gobind Singh.

Philosophical Aspects

Concept of Almighty in Rudra Avtar

  • He is Creator, Birthless, Fearless. His Power of wisdom is above all.

ਜਿਹ ਏਕ ਰੂਪ ਕਿੰਨੇ ਅਨੇਕ ॥ ਪੁਹਮੀ ਅਕਾਸ਼ ਕਿੰਨੇ ਬਿਬੇਕ ॥
He who created many beings from one and with His Power of wisdom,

ਜਲਬਾ ਥਲੇਸ ਸਭ ਠੌਰ ਜਾਨ ॥ ਅਨਭਯ ਅਜੋਨ ਅਨ ਆਸਮਾਨ ॥੬੭॥
created the earth and the sky; that fearless, birthless and beyond desires is there at all the places in water and on plain.67.

  • He is indestructible. Created All Beings.

ਅਨਭੰਗ ਅੰਗ ਅਨਭਵ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ ॥ ਪਸਰੀ ਜਗੱਤ ਜਿਹ ਜੀਵ ਰਾਸ ॥
His limbs are indestructible; that Lord is the manifestation of cognition; because of His Grave, the beings are scattered over the whole world;

ਕਿੱਨੇ ਸੁ ਜੀਵ ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਅਨੇਕ ॥ ਅੰਤਹਿ ਸਮੇਯ ਫੁਨ ਰੂਪ ਏਕ ॥੭੬॥
He had created many beings in water and on plain and He ultimately merges everyone in His Form.76.

  • He is Blemishless(Nihkalanki = Kalki), Stable, Glorious, and of infinite qualities

ਅਕਲੰਕ ਰੂਪ ਅਨਛਿੱਜ ਤੇਜ ॥ ਆਸਨ ਅਡੋਲ ਸੁਭ ਸੁਭ੍ਰ ਸੇਜ ॥
Who is blemish less, Who is eternally glorious, Who is seated on a stable seat

ਅਨਗਨਤ ਜਾਸ ਗੁਨ ਮੱਧਿ ਸੋਭ ॥ ਲਖਿ ਸ਼ੱਤ੍ਰ ਮਿਤ੍ਰ ਜਿਹ ਰਹਤ ਲੋਭ ॥੭੨॥
and Who has infinite qualities. The enemies and friends all are allured to see Him||72||

Condemnation of Deities/Human worship in Rudra Avtar

  • Whom people calls Shiva was not able to know his end as he practiced yoga for many Years.

ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਹੰਸ ਬਰਖ ਲੌ ਜੋਗ ਕੀਨ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਨੇਹ ਗੇਹ ਬਨਬਾਸ ਲੀਨ ॥
Shiva practiced Yoga for thousands of years; he left his home and all attachment and resided in the forest;

ਬਹੁ ਕੀਨ ਜੋਗਿ ਤਹ ਬਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ॥ ਨਹੀ ਤਦਿਪ ਤਾਸ ਲਹਿ ਸਕਾ ਪਾਰ ॥੮੨॥
He also practiced Yoga in various ways, but still he could not know His end.82.

  • Here Guru Gobind Singh give a strong condemnation to following characters of history:

ਕਈ ਕੋਟ ਇੰਦ੍ਰ ਜਿਹ ਪਾਨਹਾਰ ॥ ਕਈ ਚੰਦ ਸੂਰ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾਵਤਾਰ ॥
Millions of Indras, Chandras, Suryas and Krishans serve Him;

ਕਈ ਬਿਸ਼ਨ ਰੁਦ੍ਰ ਰਾਮਾ ਰਸੂਲ ॥ ਬਿਨ ਭਗਤਿ ਯੌ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਕਬੂਲ ॥੯੫॥
Many Vishnus, Rudras, Rams, Muhammadas etc. mediate on Him, but He accepts none without true devotion.95.

ਕਈ ਦੱਤ ਸੱਤ ਗੋਰਖ ਦੇਵ ॥ ਮੁਨ ਮਨ ਮਛਿੰਦ੍ਰ ਨਹੀ ਲਖਤ ਭੇਵ ॥
There are many truthful persons like Dutt, many Yogis like Gorakh, Machhindar and other sages,

ਬਹੁ ਭਾਂਤ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਮਤ ਕੈ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ॥ ਬਿਨ ਏਕ ਆਸ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਨਿਰਾਸ ॥੯੬॥
but none has been able to comprehend His mystery; various types of Mantras in various religions the faith of One Lord.96.

External Links


  1. ^ Sri Dasam Granth Sahib
  2. ^ Sikh Religion, Culture and Ethnicity, C. Shackle, Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair, Gurharpal Singh
  3. ^ a b Dasam Granth, S.S. Kapoor, Page 17
  4. ^ Page 792, Line 7, Bhagat Kabir