(‘The Rudra [which is] excessively [powerful]’)

Offsetting the effects of sins through appropriate means is one of the subjects dealt with in the dharmaśāstras and the purāṇas. This can be done either through ‘kṛcchra’ (penances) or ‘viparyaya’ (reversal), the latter being adopted against diseases brought about by such sins. One of the several such remedies is ‘Atirudra.’

The eleven stanzas of the Taittirīya Saṁhitā (4.5) beginning with the words ‘namas te rudra manyava’ are popularly called 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’ and eleven Mahārudras, the ‘Atirudra,’ making it 14,641 repetitions of the Rudra. Mahā-rudra and Atirudra are generally done by employing 11 or 121 brāhmaṇas.