- Rudra, “the howler,” is the father of the MARUTS, the storm gods of the RIG VEDA, but is also known for causing disease and for healing. The epithet SHIVA, “the benign,” is given to him in the Rig Veda (though he is most often fierce), and thus he is conflated in Indian tradition with Shiva himself. In scholarship the term Rudra-Shiva is commonly used in the description of Shiva. The explicit iden-tification of Rudra and Shiva as Lord is first made in the SHVETASHVATARA UPANISHAD of perhaps the fourth century B.C.E.Uncharacteristically honored alone and not in concert with other divinities, as so many Vedic divinities are, Rudra causes diseases of cattle and men with his bow and arrows and is propitiated and appeased rather than loved. In his fierceness he is associated with desolate and distant places.Further reading: Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978); Stella Kramrisch and Praful C. Patel, The Presence of Siva (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.