→Rudra in Vedas: added etymology section
Rudra (Samskrit: रुद्रः) is generally considered to be a form of Shiva. One of the Prajapatis, Rudra is said to be of tamasic guna and is known to be of fierce nature. The birth of Rudra is from Brahma. Like Vishnu Rudra is not said to have taken many avataras.
== Role of Rudra ==
Rudra and his more calmer form Shiva (in the later ages), have been revered from Vedic times for his role in creation. Shiva as one of the trimurthis is said to control death and pralaya (destruction of creation). Although a few mantras/suktas of the [[Rigveda (ऋग्वेदः)|Rigveda]] are devoted to describing and praising Rudra, there is a whole section of Taittriya Samhita, the Rudraprasna dedicated to him. Some of the attributes of Rudra are summarized as follows
* '''भिषक् ॥ Bhishak or Vaidya (वैद्या ॥ doctor)''' : Rudra is hailed as the bhishak (doctor) as are the Asvini Kumaras in the later ages.
* '''मृत्युन्जयः ॥ Mrtyunjaya:''' Rudra or Shiva is one of the main deities worshipped to overcome death and attain immortality. For example Markandeya intensely performed tapas to propitiate Shiva for longevity.
* '''नटराजः ॥ Nataraja:''' Known for his cosmic dance, Rudra or Shiva represents the eternal dancer and hence called as Nataraja.
* '''नीलकण्ठः ॥ Neelakantha:''' Rudra or Shiva came to be known as Neelakantha after he consumed the kalakuta poison which arose from samudra manthan.
While the highest number of suktas in Rigveda pertain to Indra, Rudra has been exclusively praised in three to five<ref name=":42">Pt. Suryanarayana Sastry Malladi. (1982) ''Samskruta Vangmaya Charitra, Volume 1, Vaidika Vangmayam.'' Hyderabad : Andhra Sarasvata Parishat (Page 134-137)</ref> suktas and mentioned about fifty times in context with other devatas. In Rigveda Rudra occupies a place of lesser importance, however in Yajurveda and Atharvaveda Rudra plays a prominent role.<ref name=":22322222">Gopal Reddy, Mudiganti and Sujata Reddy, Mudiganti (1997) ''[https://archive.org/stream/SAMSKRUTAKAVIJEEVITAMULUByMALLADISURYANARAYANASASTRIGARU/SAMSKRUTA%20SAHITYA%20CHARITRA%20BY%20MUDUGANTI%20GOPALA%20REDDI%26SUJATA%20REDDI%20#page/n33/mode/2up Sanskrita Saahitya Charitra] (Vaidika Vangmayam - Loukika Vangamayam, A critical approach)'' Hyderabad : P. S. Telugu University. (Pages 119-125)</ref>
Rudra Sukta (
1.1.43) of Rig Veda praises the qualities of Rudra that he is a Jnani (Knowledgeable), as one who gives good health and happiness along with longevity and as one who removes all the causes for ill-health. Along with Mitra, Varuna, Rudra aids in dispelling causes of diseases and ill-health.<ref>Pt. Sripada Damodar Satvalekar (1985) ''Rigved ka Subodh Bhashya, Volume 1 (Mandala 1).'' Parady : Svadhyaya Mandal (Pages 102-104)</ref>
Rigveda (2.33.1) further describes Rudra as the father of Marutganas. He is extremely fierce in dealing with those on the wrong path, while he is very kind to his bhaktas.<ref name=":03">Raghunathacharya, S. B. (1982) ''[http://ebooks.tirumala.org/Product/Book/?ID=877 Arshavijnana Sarvasvamu, Volume 1 : Vedasamhitalu (Telugu)]'' Tirupati : Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (Page 53)</ref>
Scholars<ref name=":42" /> opine that from the Rigvedic times, the mantras of the five Rudra Suktas have been used in the daily worship of people. These suktas are known famously as the Pancha Rudra Suktas
in the present day. They are 1.43.9, 1.114.11, 2.33.15, 6.74.4, and 7.46.4
=== Yajurveda ===