PASUPATI, – An epithet

Pasupati was an epithet for a divinity that meant “lord of the creatures (pasu)” and “lord of cattle (pasu).” In the early Vedic hymns this appellation pointed to Agni, the god of fire, whose divine heat (tapas) was creative and destructive (rudra). Another figure, Purusha (the first man), was also praised as Pasupati. However, it was Rudra as the fire (agni) that kills that finally appropriated the epithet—or one should say Rudra-Siva, since Siva appropriated Rudra’s entire mythology. In the Satapatha Brahmana Rudra accepted birth in order to punish Prajapati, the creator, who had had incest with his daughter, and to become ruler of all creatures.
Rudra-Siva was the divine herdsman, the five-faced lord of life, naked, teacher of the highest and most secret knowledge, possessing the five energizers (pranas). Saiva theology spoke of the three constituents of life—all intercon­nected, all necessary: Pasupati (lord), pas’u (creature), pasa (reins, noose, con­troller of karma, of destiny).

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