The Svetasvatara Upanishad describes Rudra, a
popular epithet for Siva, as the very Brahman. According to this Upanishad
the Highest Reality is verily Rudra who is without a
second. In one of the verses we come across this firm
declaration of truth, "Eko hi rudro na dvitiya tasthur."
It means, Rudra is truly one and there is no place for a second. A
concept that subsequently became the premise for the Non-dualistic (Advaita)
school of thought.
According to the Upanishad, Siva rules (isata)
these worlds with His enormous powers (isanibhi). He stands apart
from all creatures (pratyan janan) and He is the protector of
all the worlds (visvabhuvana gopa). At the end of creation He
withdraws these worlds into Himself. (3.2).
He is the source and origin of all gods, the
ruler of them and as Iswara gives birth to Hiranyagarbha, the golden
White in color (aditya varnam), beyond darkness
and ignorance (tamasa parastat), He alone can take us beyond the
cycle of births and deaths. There is no other path that can
help us. (3.8).
There is nothing else that is higher or smaller
than Him. He alone pervades the whole universe. (3.9).
"Sa bhagavan tasmat sarva-gatas sivah." He is the Lord and
He, Siva, is therefore found everywhere. (3.11).
The Purusha of the Samkhya school is identified
in this Upanishad as none other than Siva. As Purusha He controls
maya which is but Prakriti (Mayam tu prakriti viddhi, mayinam tu
The Svetasvatara Upanishad reflects the sentiments
and the spirit of the age in which it was composed. Saivism must
have already been a popular cult in many parts of ancient India and
this fact was amply established by the composer of the Upanishad through his personal spiritual experience.