Sarabha Upanishad

Shiva Blessing Devotees

by P.R.Ramachander

Introduction

The Sarabha Upanishad belongs to the Atharva-Veda. It extols Lord Shiva in his fierce aspect as Sarabha. Shiva as the lord of the universe, created both Brahma and Vishnu. Then he assumed the form of Sarabha to kill Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is described in the verses as destroying the worlds. There is another verse which describes Vishnu as worshipping the feet of Shiva. According to the sixth verse, Shiva not only kicked Kala the god of death, but also Shiva the destroyer who consumed Halahala, the poison the came out during the churning of the oceans.

This Upanishad is clearly biased in favor of Shiva as the highest supreme God, just as there are some Upanishads that try to depict Vishnu in the same light. It is a good example of the intense rivalry that existed between the followers of Shiva and Vishnu in the ancient times. At the best such Upanishads should be treated as interpolations and not part of the original VedasThe following is an original translation of the Upanishad by P.R. Ramachander. Hope it will help you to understand the meaning and significance of the Sarabha Upanishad and of Shiva as the Lord of Death.- Jayaram V.

Translation

Aum ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;
May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !
May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,
Praising them with our body and limbs steady !
May the glorious Indra bless us !
May the all-knowing Sun bless us !
May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !
May Brihaspati grant us well-being !
Aum ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

1-2 I am saluting that primeval God who is the Lord, who is the best, who is the father of the world, who is the greatest among gods, who has created Brahma, who gave all Vedas to Brahma in the beginning, who is the father of Vishnu and other devas, who merits praise, and who at the time of deluge destroys the world. He is the only one who is greater than every body, who is the best and who rules over others.

3 That very strong Maheswara took the horrifying form of Sarabha and killed Narasimha who was destroying the world. (Sarabha is the avatar of Shiva which is a combination of eagle, lion and man.)

4 That god with his sharp claws tore, Vishnu who took the form of Narasimha. He who was wearing the hide became Veerabhadra.

5 For every one desiring to get all occult powers, he is the one who should be meditated. Salutations to that Rudra who tore away the fifth head of Brahma.

6 Salutations to that Rudra who kicked Kala the God of death and made him fall and also him who drank the burning Halahala poison.

7 Salutations to that Rudra whose feet were worshipped by the flower of Vishnu’s eyes and who being pleased gave him the holy wheel (Chakra).

8 The one, who has crossed sorrows, sees that God, who is atom within an atom, gross among the gross, who as Atma hidden in the heart of beings and who is beyond physical action, clearly because of these reasons.

9 Salutations to that Rudra who is the greatest god, who holds the Soola (spear) in his hand, who has a big swallowing mouth, who is the Maheswara and whose blessing has good effects.

10 “Chara”, indicates beings which move and because Brahmam shines in the half of their body as Hari, it is called Sarabham. Hey great sage, that can grant salvation directly.

Any twice born who reads this, which is called “the great Sastra of Paippalada” or makes others read it, would get rid of births and deaths and attain salvation. The Upanishad tells that he will become similar to Brahma.

Aum ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;
May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !
May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,
Praising them with our body and limbs steady !
May the glorious Indra bless us !
May the all-knowing Sun bless us !
May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !
May Brihaspati grant us well-being !
Aum ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

Here ends the Sarabhopanishad, as contained in the Atharva-Veda.

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