By Swami Harshananda
Atirudra literally means ‘The Rudra which is excessively powerful’.
Offsetting the effects of sins through appropriate means is one of the subjects dealt within the dharmaśāstras and the purāṇas. This can be done either through ‘kṛcchra’ (penances) or ‘viparyaya’ (reversal). The viparyaya being adopted against diseases brought about by such sins. One of the several such remedies is ‘Atirudra.’The eleven stanzas of the Taittireya Samhitā begin with the words :
‘Namaste rudra manyava’
This stotra is popularly called as Rudrādhyāya or just Rudra. Reciting the Rudra once is called ‘āvartana.’
- Reciting it eleven times is called ‘Ekādaśinī.’
- If the Ekādaśinī is repeated eleven times, it is called ‘Laghurudra.’
- Eleven repetitions of the Laghurudra constitute the ‘Mahārudra’.
- Eleven Mahārudras make ‘Atirudra’.
Mahārudra and Atirudra are generally done by employing 11 or 121 brāhmaṇas.
- Taittireya Samhitā 4.5
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore