Conclusion: Inclusiveness of Hinduism
The purpose of this magnificent hymn, the Sri Rudra Prasna, is to instill into the minds of people the knowledge that God is not merely the creative Parent of the universe, but He is also immanent in every particle, in every speck of space, in every unit of time, in every nook and corner, in every particle of such creation.
God has been painted here through every conceivable notion of dual character of the universe such as the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the right and the wrong, the positive and the negative, the high and the low, the gross and the subtle, the wise and the ignorant, the strong and the weak, the believable and the unbelievable, the mortal and the immortal, existence and non-existence and so on.
Synonyms and antonyms, parallels and the opposites personify the existence of God. Thus the contrast of white is black, and God is both the white and the black. This is logical because we cannot understand what is white unless there is black. Thus if we say that something is good, there has to be something else that is bad, as otherwise our mind is incapable of imagining what can be good. If we want to know what is heat there has to be some thing which is cold.
Hence God has to be blended in both the aspects in a Transcendent Presence which is neither the good nor the bad, yet is the good and the bad, the subject and the object. Every experience, every perception, every way of human thought is involved in this predicament of juxtaposing, blending or bringing together contraries in the God-Being.
This blending is typically brought out in the iconographic representation of Siva called Ardha Nareesvara which shows him with one half of the body as male and the other half as female the principle behind which is portrayed in a soothing poetical form in the Sri Rudra Prasna. In Hindu philosophy, this portrayal visualizes the belief that the sacred ultimate power of the universe as being both feminine and masculine, being mutually complementary and corollary to each other signifying the bipolar nature of the world.
The whole of life is nothing but an arena of battle where forces collide with one another, because the universe is not a uniform, featureless, range of a single form of existence, but is a mixture of opposing constituents. We may call them the centripetal and the centrifugal movements - energies that tend towards the centre and energies that direct them away from the centre towards the periphery, towards the objects of senses. The battlefield of life is nothing but the field of the conflict of these two tendencies, everywhere.
Thus, whenever our conceptions and perceptions get tuned to the tendencies in the universe that move toward the centre of the cosmos (centripetal forces), we appear to be seeing good things, beautiful things, happy things, pleasant things; but whenever perceptions, cognitions, outlooks get entangled in those tendencies which move outwards, away from the centre (centrifugal), towards the objects, things appear unhappy, ugly, bad and evil.
So, the perception of this disparity of characters in things is not due to any actual disparity in the cosmos, as disparity is not really there, but is due to the incapacity of the human individual to conceive its totality at one go.. The weakness of the faculty of human perception is that it can only conceive sharp divisions but not a unified whole.
Sri Rudra Prasna puts an iron curtain before such human way of looking at things, and helps us to recognize the All Mighty Being in every little thing in the cosmos, whether they are liked ones or disliked ones, good ones or bad ones, necessary ones or unnecessary ones, pleasant ones or unpleasant ones, beautiful ones or ugly ones and so on.
To our shock, it is only here that we come across God being praised as the Lord of thieves, the Lord of bandits, the Lord of dacoits marauding on the mountain tops, and as He who is present in workshops, in marketplaces, in the streets, in earth, water, fire, air and ether, in vegetation, in animals—in all things and every thing in creation.
Sri Rudra Prasna opens before us the wide canvas of the cosmos, or the Virat-Svarupa of the Lord, as the original Almighty before creation and also after creation, in whom the whole of creation is absorbed in a blend of unity with its own existence. The effort here is to lift the human mind above the bodily and empirical perceptions and to envisage the universe as one single unit in which the subject and the object are blended together.
This description of Siva, in Sri Rudra Prasna is comparable to what we see about Vishnu in the Vibhuti Yoga (Chapter 10) and Visvarupa Sandarshana Yoga (Chapter 11) of the Bhagavad Gita or in the Purusha Suktam or in the Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram.
Sri Rudra Prasna is generally interpreted to show that Vishnu is another aspect of Siva and accordingly to hold that Vishnu and Siva are one and the same God from an Advaita viewpoint. Interestingly, the Vishnu Sahasranamam, in a similar manner, states Siva is an aspect of Vishnu.
Usually, the human being is regarded as the subject and the universe and the world as objects, as something external. Here, in this hymn the Almighty, Rudra or Siva, is conceived as the Universal Presence in all creation. The distinction usually drawn between the thinker and the thought, consciousness and matter, subject and object, is wiped out by making consciousness itself to deeply commune with that Being who is not only the consciousness that meditates, but also that which is meditated upon.
It is obvious that no one who has not lifted himself above the limitations of human thought can offer prayers in this manner. Thus, Satarudriya is a Universal Vedic prayer to the Supreme Being, denoted by the epithet - Rudra and Siva - demonstrating in abundant measure the universality, catholicity and inclusiveness of Hinduism.
None is left out, nothing is omitted, and no wish has remained unfulfilled, no detail escaped attention, while painting the universe as an all-embracing form of the Supreme Being Himself. Every thing in creation is illustrated as Satyam-Sivam-Sundaram.
1. Talks on Sri Rudram by Swami Dayananda Saraswati
2. Sri Rudram and Purusha Suktam by Swami Amritananda
3. Daily Invocations by Swami Krishnananda
American evangelists attacks Hinduism