In the Rig Veda, Lord Shiva is referred as Rudra and this is believed to be the earliest written record on Lord Shiva.
In the Rig Veda (Rigveda),
- the first reference of Rudra can be found in Book 1, Hymn 43.
- the second reference of Rudra can be found in Book 1, Hymn 114.
- the third reference of Rudra can be found in Book 2, Hymn 33.
- the fourth reference is dedicated to both Soma and Rudra and can be found in Book 6, Hymn 74.
- the fifth reference of Rudra can be found in Book 7, Hymn 46.
The destruction aspect associated with Shiva can be found in most of these hymns.
O Rudra, harm not either great or small of us, harm not the growing boy, harm not the full-grown man.
Slay not a sire among us, slay no mother here, and to our own dear bodies, Rudra, do not harm.
Harm us not, Rudra, in our seed and progeny, harm us not in the living, nor in cows or steeds,
Slay not our heroes in the fury of thy wrath. Bringing oblations evermore we call to thee.
Another interesting aspect is that Rudra is considered as the Supreme Healer. (Book 1, Hymn 114, Verse 7&8)
Another interesting aspect is that Rudra is considered as the Supreme Healer.
To Rudra Lord of sacrifice, of hymns and balmy medicines,
We pray for joy and health and strength. (Book 1, Hymn 43, Verse 4)
With the most saving medicines which thou givest, Rudra, may I attain a hundred winters.
Far from us banish enmity and hatred, and to all quarters maladies and trouble. (Book 2, Hymn 33, Verse 2)
Rudra was also equipped with bow and arrows and other weapons and his anger resulted in death and destruction.
May thy bright arrow which, shot down by thee from heaven, flieth upon the earth, pass us uninjured by.
Thou, very gracious God, hast thousand medicines: inflict no evil on our sons or progeny.
Slay us not, nor abandon us, O Rudra let not thy noose, when thou art angry, seize us.
Give us trimmed grass and fame among the living. Preserve us evermore, ye Gods, with blessings. (Book 7, Hymn 46, Verse 3&4)