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Why is Lord Shiva the Coolest Dude ???

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Nice picture, only the bearded figure hardly looks like Shiva to me... I never saw Shiva with beard! To me he looks more like Sri Vyasadeva dressed up like a Shivaite. Strange. What is this pastime of ...uh... Shiba holding baby Krishna? Oh! It must be this pastime where Shiva enters Braja dressed up as a travelling mendicant, in order to have Krishna's darshan!

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How Vaishnavas worship Lord Shiva


by Nirguna dasi



Vaishnavas and Vrajavasis celebrate by seeking Lord Shiva's blessings and worship him in his form as a gopi at the ancient temple of Gopishwara in Vrindavan.


"It is said, vaishnavanam yatha sambhu: Lord Shiva is the best of devotees of Lord Krishna. In Vrindavan there is Lord Shiva's temple called Gopishwara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Shiva but Katyayani (Durga) as well, but their aim was to attain the favour of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krishna does not disrespect Lord Shiva, but worships Lord Shiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krishna. Consequently, whenever a devotee worships Lord Shiva he prays to Lord Shiva to achieve the favour of Krishna and he does not request material profit." (Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4. 24.30.)


Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur offered these prayers wriiten for Gopishwara Mahadev when he visited the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneshwar on June 22nd, 1922:


Vrindavanvani-pate jaya soma soma

maule sanandana-sanatana-naradeya

gopishvara vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme

prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namas te


"O Shiva, O gatekeeper of Vrindavan!

O you who are accompanied by Uma (Parvati)!

O you who carry the moon in your hair!

O lord worshiped by Sananda-kumar, Sanat-Kumar and Narada Muni!

O Gopishwar, the worshipable deity of the gopis!

Desiring that you bestow upon me love for the divine couple, Sri Sri Radha Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja, I offer my obeisances unto you again and again."


(Srila Vishwanatha Chakravarti's Sri Sankalpa-kalpadrum, cited in vol. 7 of Sri Krishna Kathamritam)


It is related that Lord Shiva desiring to witness the Rasa Lila is stopped from crossing the Yamuna by goddess Vrinda. Shiva protests this refusal of entry, saying he is a great devotee of Krishna and should be allowed to participate in His most wonderful pastime with the Gopis.


Vrinda devi's rejoinder is firm: "Krishna is the only male in the rasa-lila."


Lord Shiva, not to be outdone, submerges himself in Yamunadevi, non-different from love of Krishna, and emerges as a gopi. Now qualified as feminine, he gains an exclusive inside view into the Rasa play of Krishna and the gopis. The other Gods, including Brahma, may only witness and shower flowers from outside the realm of Vamsivata on Yamuna shore.


The Deity of Gopishwar Mahadev, worshipped in a small temple near Vamsivata, is a lingam -- one of four important Shiva-linga shrines in Vraja. Each night the lingam is transformed as he assumes the semblance of a gopi's face, replete with nose ring and other feminine ornaments in a most colourful attire The ensemble is different every day of the year. Lord Shiva resides forever in Vrindavan as Gopishwara Mahadeva, the dearest devotee of Krishna, and thus participates in all the Lord's unending Lila.




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Shri Mahadeva protects the Holy Dham of Braja, and every wise pilgrim must go to offer his respect and homage unto him.


Shri Mahadeva presides in Vraja as Gopishvara in Vrindavan, Bhuteshvara in Mathura, Nandishvara at Nandagrama, Kameshvara at Kamyavana, Cakaleshvara at Govardhan and Kundeshvara at Radha Kund.


Prior to parikrama of Radha Kund we offer our respects to Kundeshvara Mahadeva, and prior to entering Vamsi Vat we pray for the blessing of Gopishvara Mahadeva, who guards the arena of the sacred circle dance.


Every Vaishnava in the Holy Dham prays for the kind blessing of Shri Mahadeva.


Visvanatha writes in his Sankalpa Kalpadruma (103):


vRndAvanavani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule


gopIzvara! vraja-vilAsi-yugAGghri-padme

prema prayaccha nirupAdhi namo namaste

"O gatekeeper of Vrindavana!


O Soma, all glories to you!

O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and

who is worshipable for the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada!


O Gopisvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Shri Shri Radha-Madhava who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer pranamas unto you time and again!"




All those who are averse to Lord Shiva, the Gopiswara will never enter the Divine Vrajadhama. They will be (rerouted) sent to Vishnu's abode, Vaikuntha or Dwaraka.


So devotees who want to associate Radha-Krishna must worship Lord Shiva as Gopiswara.


Only ignorant, unrealized fool claims that Gopi is a demigod.

How can demigods have even access into Goloka Vrindavana, the Divine abode?


Gopis are direct expansions of Radharani and it is explained by Ramananda Raya's talks with Sriman Mahaprabhu.


Another point, Vishnu couldnot become Gopiswara nor he could enter Vrindavana nor participated in Maharasa lila.


His consort Mahalakshmi too was not granted entrance into Maha Rasa lila of the Gopis and Radha-Krishna.


Even though she did penance for thousands of years, she could only receive the status of queen Rukmini of Dwaraka.


Of course devotees have a choice to go to Vrindavana or Vaikuntha.


Just as no one can enter the door of Lord Rama without the permission of Hanumanji, no one can enter the Divine Vrindavan without the permission of the Divine Dhama's door-keeper, Gopiswara Bhagavan Shankar.


So the devotees should think twice about creating their sanskaras of blasphemy and its consequent effects on their devotion.

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Rupa Gosvami explains in his Laghu Bhagavatamrita:



26 Siva -- Siva appears in eleven forms and eight forms. Generally he has ten arms and five heads, with three eyes on each head.

27 The scriptures explain that, as Brahma is, so Siva is sometimes a jiva soul and sometimes an amsa-avatara like Lord Sesa.


28 Because He is an incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, He is generally beyond the modes of material nature. However, because he is touched by the mode of ignorance, He is thought to be affected by it. This is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.88.3):


"Lord Siva is always associated with the three modes of nature."


29 He is described in Brahma-samhita (5.45):


"Just as milk is transformed into curd by the actions of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither the same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Sambu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction."


30 Sometimes He is born from Brahma's forehead and other times from Visnu's forehead. At the kalpa's end He is born from Lord Sankarsana as the fire of time.


31 Siva's form named Sadasiva, who is a direct expansion of the Personality of Godhead, is the cause of all causes, is free from the slightest scent of the mode of ignorance, and resides in Sivaloka, is described in the Vayu Purana and other scriptures.


32 He, is the original form of Lord Siva, is described in Brahma-samhita (5.8):


"Rama-devi, the spiritual (cit) potency, beloved consort of the Supreme Lord, is the regulatrix of all entities. The divine plenary portion of Krsna creates the mundane world. At creation there appears a divine halo of the nature of His own subjective portion (svamsa). This halo is divine Sambhu (Sadasiva), the masculine symbol or manifested emblem of the Supreme Lord. This halo is the dim twilight reflection of the supreme eternal effulgence. This masculine symbol is the subjective portion of divinity who functions as progenitor of the mundane world, subject to the supreme regulatrix (niyati). The conceiving potency in regard to mundane creation makes her appearance out of the supreme regulatrix. She is Maya, the limited, non-absolute (apara) potency, the symbol of mundane feminine productivity. The intercourse of these two brings forth the faculty of perverted cognition, the reflection of the seed of the procreative desire of the Supreme Lord."


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The Gopishvara Mandir (temple) is a very ancient temple which houses Lord Siva in his form of Gopishvara, who appears as a large Shiva Lingam, brown in color during the daytime, and at night, Gopishvara is dressed in sari and appears in his female feature as a gopi. In the morning, many devotees come to the Gopishvara Mandir to take Gopishvara Mahadev’s darshan, some bathing him with either milk or water, others coming to offer worship, and others coming to offer food and/or prayers Lord Krishna’s great grandson Vrajranabha was the person to install this Shiva Lingam. Five thousand years ago when Krishna wanted to engage in His Maha Rasalila, Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati Devi, very much wanted to see this event. Mother Parvati was allowed to enter the arena of the Rasalila, but as Lord Shiva tried to enter, he was told that he could not come due to the fact that he was possessed of a male body. It was explained by the gopi Vrinda (after whom Vrindavan is named) that no male except for Krsna was allowed to enter into this Rasa arena.


Lord Shiva feeling so much distressed being denied access into the arena, began to cry very intensely. Seeing His heart’s remorse, Vrindadevi felt great compassion and decided she would enable Lord Shiva to enter into the arena of the Rasa Lila. Vrindadevi told Mahadev to go to Manasarovar to take bath and explained that if he did so, he would be able to enter into the Rasa arena. Following the instruction of Vrindadevi, Lord Shiva after coming out from the water had attained a female form. He then went to the arena of the Rasalila where Krsna upon seeing this new gopi, called “her” Gopishvara. At this, Srimati Radharani became upset. “Why is it you are calling this particular gopi by this name. I am Gopishvara.” Krishna then explained the situation and Srimati Radharani became most happy.


Krishna then designated the duty to Gopishvara Mahadev that he should remain always at the entrance of the Rasalila in the position of a guardian, that he would allow entrance into the Rasalila arena only those persons qualified to enter. Since that day, Gopishvara Mahadev keeps this service to Krishna and His beloved gopis.


Gopishvara is the guardian of the Rasalila and the guardian of Vrindavan. Anyone who comes to Vrindavan must first come to Gopishvara to beg his permission and get his mercy to enter into Vrindavan.


It is said that the Vraja gopis themselves installed the Shiva linga of Gopishvara and worshipped him for the fulfillment of their desires.


Of this worship, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said, “The gopis worshipped Lord Shiva in Vrindavan, and the Lord is still staying there as Gopishvara. The gopis, however, prayed that Lord Shiva bless them by giving them Lord Krishna as their husband.”

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During the churning of the ocean, of the many things that where produced was also the 'bala chandra' or small moon. It was decided to be gifted to Lord Siva....who may have been hot after swallowing the poison....hence he, Lord Siva wears the small moon which is cooling by nature on his head!!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Hindus Aren't Laughing at Times Of India Piece on Lord Siva



LONDON, ENGLAND, March 11, 2005: Anil Bhanot of the Hindu Council UK

(abhanot@hinducounciluk.org) is protesting an article which appeared

the day before Maha Sivaratri in the Times of India. It is titled "He's

hot, he is Indian Idol No 1," and is by Bachi Karkaria.


It begins:


"Indra can keep his corner office. The penthouse of the pantheon

belongs to Shiva. Its decor bears the imprimatur of a Fortune-favoured

designer, and yet, it's unmistakably bohemian. Shiva knows the rules to

break them; he's awesome at shifting the goal posts.


He's comfortable with 'if you've got it, flaunt it'; he can swim with

the sharks, and still find place in his heart for the littlest minnow.

He wears the suit of divinity lightly. Yes, Mahadev is a maha-dude."


Go to "source" if you want to read the rest and look at the picture of

Lord Siva as a rock star.

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what a dry bunch! I liked the piece you showed in your post. and yes, why not flaunt it! siva certainly does, when he feels like it.

remember the sacrifice of daksa??? awesome display of flaunting his power and rightfully so. Siva sa a rockstar? how appropriate - drugs, sex, rock and roll, the pillars of shivaite power.


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  • 3 months later...



It is said,


vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh :Lord Shiva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Krsna are also devotees of Lord Shiva.


In Vrnndavana there is Lord Shiva's temple called Gopisvara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Shiva but Katyayani, or Durga, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Krsna.


A devotee of Lord Krsna does not disrespect Lord Shiva, but worships Lord Shiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krsna.


Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Shiva, he prays to Lord Shiva to achieve the favor of Krsna, and he does not request material profit.


In Bhagavad-gita (7.20) it is said that generally people worship demigods for some material profit. Kamais tais tair hrta jñana. Driven by material lust, they worship demigods, but a devotee never does so, for he is never driven by material lust.


That is the difference between a devotee's respect for Lord Shiva and an asura's respect for him. The asura worships Lord Shiva, takes some benediction from him, misuses the benediction and ultimately is killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards him liberation.

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Much too familiar. Siva is not cool, in fact, he has a very short fuse, just ask his son Ganeshaji, who got his head lopped off just for protecting Parvarti while Siva was away.


To use such familiar and mundane phrases to describe the topmost vaisnava, one of the 12 authorities of devotional service, is like calling Srila Prabhupada "Bro" or thinking any vaisnava is just "one of us". This is a great offence, to consider such personalities Ordinary.


haribol, amhaksadasa

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From B.G. Purport to 3.24:



We should always consider the position of the isvaras, or those who can actually control the movements of the sun and moon, as superior. Without such power, one cannot imitate the isvaras, who are superpowerful. Lord Siva drank poison to the extent of swallowing an ocean, but if any common man tries to drink even a fragment of such poison, he will be killed. There are many pseudo devotees of Lord Siva who want to indulge in smoking ganja (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Siva they are calling death very near. Similarly, there are some pseudo devotees of Lord Krishna who prefer to imitate the Lord in His rasa-lila, or dance of love, forgetting their inability to lift Govardhana Hill. It is best, therefore, that one not try to imitate the powerful, but simply follow their instructions; nor should one try to occupy their posts without qualification. There are so many "incarnations" of God without the power of the Supreme Godhead.

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Srimad Bhagavatam 3.14.24




Lord Siva, or Rudra, is the king of the ghosts. Ghostly characters worship Lord Siva to be gradually guided toward a path of self-realization. Mayavadi philosophers are mostly worshipers of Lord Siva, and Sripada Sankaracarya is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Siva for preaching godlessness to the Mayavadi philosophers. Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. Mayavadi philosophers desire to lose their individuality and merge into the impersonal spiritual brahmajyoti existence. Lord Siva, being very kind to the ghosts, sees that although they are condemned, they get physical bodies. He places them into the wombs of women who indulge in sexual intercourse regardless of the restrictions on time and circumstance. Kasyapa wanted to impress this fact upon Diti so that she might wait for a while.


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Yam BrahmA Varundendra Rudra Marutah...


Yam SaivAh SamupAsatE Siva Iti...


It really does not matter to the Saivites how many pieces are written in Lord Vishnu's praise, with full knowledge that He alone is the Supreme Lord.


Shyam and others have pointed out statements from Mahopanishad, Narayanopanishad and other Vedantic sources. But to no avail. Saivites still believe in Siva's supremacy.


Why do I think Lord Vishnu is Superior?


Let's consider Vedic and Puranic stories.


The very first one is Sage Bhrigu's story who visits Brahma, then Siva (who is only interested in amorous plays with Goddess Parvati) and finally Lord Vishnu. Finally he declares that Lord Vishnu is the greatest (Harih Sarvottamah). Which is why the famous statement: "Yagnyo Vai Vishnuh" came about.


Siva is generally represented as a Tamoguna PradhAna, while Lord Vishnu is Satva Guna PradhAna and BrahmA is Rajoguna PradhAna. Siva is full of fury and anger, as evidenced in Sri Rudram. In this whole 11 AnuvAkas (TaittarIya Samhita), the constant prayer and wish is to keep Rudra propitiated, but as far away as possible. Consider the verse: SahasrAni Sahasraho RudrAh Adhi BhUmyAm, TEshAgam Sahasra YojanEva DhanvAni Tanmasi...So the idea is to respect Rudra and propitiate him but keep him at bay. Take even the beginning. The devotee in a trembling manner says: Namaste Rudra Manyava Utota IshavE namah...first bowing to Rudra, his Dhanus, his Bahus (arms) and so on. Fear rules the hearts of Rudra's worshippers.


There is a reason for Siva's Tamoguna. Siva or Rudra was born from the anger of BrahmA and he immediately started crying. When BrahmA tried to console him, the child demanded a name. Since the child was crying continuously, BrahmA named him Rudra (Rodati iti Rudradevah). It is an appropriate name since he makes people cry during the time of death.


On the other hand, Lord Vishnu's worshippers always love Him so much that they want to spend eternity with Him in His abode (Vaikunta).


Next, consider Siva's sexual urges. He has no control over them. When Mohini came out to help out to help the Devas against the cruel Rakshasas, Siva was enamoured. In one story, it goes that all the Devas were calling out to Siva that he should not fall for Mohini, but Siva totally ignred their advice and ran behind Mohini. In Srimad Bhagavatam, it is said that Siva went to Lord Vishnu and begged the Supreme Lord to show the form of Mohini. The Lord obliged and what did Siva do? Ran to hug her, right in front of Goddess Parvati, who is the epitome of good and right conduct. Mohini somehow slipped from Siva's clutches and ran away, Siva somehow controlled himself, his Retas fell and the rest is history.


And, of course, the Saivites have extended the story and have made Mohini a spouse for Siva, a divine son born to them and the story of Ayyappa is firmly in place in the South India.


Siva also does not think too much of the consequences of his actions.


One story is that he cut off BrahmA's head and had to beg Lord Vishnu's help in getting rid of Brahma-hatyA Dosham (the sin of killing a Brahmin).


The more interesting story is that of BhasmAsura, who does Tapas to Siva and propitiates him. When the Rakshas asks Siva for the boon that when the Rakshas puts his hand on someone's head, that person should burn to ashes immediately, Siva immediately agrees and grants that boon. In an attempt to test Siva's boon, BhasmAsura tries to put his hand on Siva's head to burn him down, at which Siva runs for his life. Unable to find a satisfactory answer, he prays to Lord Vishnu, who comes in the form of Mohini and using brilliant tacticts, makes BhasmAsura burn himself.


Now here is the question for you all. If Siva is the supreme lord, wouldn't he know what was going to happen to him if he granted the Asura such a boon?


Finally we have the gory details of Lord Ganesha's story. Siva comes home and Ganesha would not let him inside his own home (because Goddess Parvati has ordered Ganesha to stand guard). So what does Siva do? He assumes RaudrAkAra and cuts off Ganesha's head. The Goddess comes out, is shocked and cries, yells and explains the story to Bhole Sankar, who hangs his head in shame and then makes it up to her by placing an elephant's head on the boy's body. Thus Siva became Lord Ganesha's father too.


I can go on and on. But the message is obvious. One who does not know the consequences of his own actions cannot be Paramatma.


Thus Siva is not Supreme Lord.


But, then, Siva is a Parama Vaishnav. He prays sincerely and with supreme Bhakti to Lord Narayana. No one rejoices as much as Siva when Lord Vishnu prevails over the evil. He came in the form of DakshinAmUrti to teach everyone about the greatness of Lord Vishnu.


Siva is also a great devotee of Lord Rama, which is why he says: "SahasranAma Tattulyam RAmanAma VarAnane" (By saying only one word called Sri Rama, one achieves the punyam of reciting the whole Vishnu Sahasra NAmam. Siva could not stand separation from Lord Vishnu and came down to the earth in the form of Sri HanumAn to help out Lord Ramachandra.


Naturally, Siva is a great admirer and a Bhakta of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Krishna Vasudeva.


So, let's first pray to Siva:


Namah SankarAyacha MayaskarAya cha namah SivAyacha SivatarAya cha Namo Parama Vaishnave Vishnu PriyAya Vishnu PrasAditE Nahah.


And then let's bow down to the Supreme Lord of the Universe.


Jagad-hitAya KrishnAya GovindAya Namo Namah!



Om NArAyanAya VidmahE VAsudEvAya DhImahi

TannO Vishnuh PrachOdayAt


NArAyanAth Parama Gatim NAsti

Rudro NArAyanAt JAtah

NArAyana VAsudEvo hi Parabrahmah



Edited by BinduMadhav (06/11/05 07:09 PM)

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by Madhavananda das


Common people generally judge a great personality according to the qualities of his or her followers. They also usually think that the dearest follower of that personality must be the one that has received the most facilities, attention, and position from that great person. How then do we understand Lord Shiva and his distribution of mercy? Many powerful demons such as Ravan, Banasura, Vrikasura, and Sudakshina worshiped Shiva. By all appearances it seems that each of these demons were very dear to him and received his mercy. Shiva even went so far as to fight against Lord Krishna on behalf of his devotees Banasura and Sudakshina. Certainly those were signs of his mercy! Or were they?





Lord Shiva is famous as asutosa, "he who is easily pleased". He is very easily pleased and he is very quick to give benedictions. Like Lord Shiva, his consort Maya-devi is also very free in distributing mercy to everyone, including even the demons and impersonalist mayavadis. In his footnote to Hari-nama-cintamani (7.61), Thakur Bhaktivinode comments on the nature of their mercy on such persons:


"In the material world the mayavadis worship Goddess Maya and chant her names like 'Durga' and 'Kali'. Lord Krishna's spiritual potency is His personal potency. Maya is the shadow of that spiritual potency. Gradually purifying them, Goddess Maya convinces the rebellious souls who have turned their faces away from Lord Krishna to turn and face Him again. Maya has two kinds of mercy: sakapata-krpa, mercy with cheating, and niskapata-krpa, mercy without cheating. When she gives sincere mercy, she gives to the conditioned soul true knowledge and devotional service offered to Lord Krishna. When she gives cheating mercy she gives to the soul temporary material pleasures. The limit of this cheating mercy is when she throws the soul into the state of merging with impersonal Brahman. When that happens to the soul, all is lost."


Lord Shiva has two types of mercy, niskapata-krpa, mercy without cheating, and sakapata-krpa, mercy with cheating. An intelligent person should understand the difference, and aspire for Lord Shiva's niskapata-krpa. Although it appears that Lord Shiva is being merciful to the demons when he grants them benedictions, in actuality they are not recipients of Lord Shiva's real mercy.




A good example is Ravan, the demoniac king of the raksasas. Ravan worshipped Lord Shiva, and it would seem that Shiva favored him since he granted Ravan so much wealth and power. However, Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur has given a penetrating look at Ravan's service to Lord Shiva and shown that actually Ravan did not please Shiva at all. In his Sri Caitanya-Bhagavata (madhya 10.148-149), Vrindavan Das states:


siracchedi bhakti yena kare dasanana na manaye raghunatha - sivera karana


"Ravan worshiped Shiva but would not worship Lord Ramachandra. For this offense Ravan's ten heads were cut off."


antare chadila siva, se na jane iha seva vyartha haila, maila savamse pudiya


"In his heart, Lord Shiva rejected Ravan and did not accept his service. Ravan did not know this. Ravan's service to Lord Shiva was all in vain. In this way he and his family were all destroyed."




Aside from being worshiped by the demons, Lord Shiva is also the guru of many great krsna-bhaktas. The fourth canto, twenty-fourth chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam describes how Shiva bestowed his mercy upon the Prachetas, by which they became great devotees of Lord Krishna. The twelfth canto, tenth chapter describes how Markandeya Rishi worshipped Shiva to get devotion to Krishna. In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (4.13.72) Garga Muni describes himself as a disciple of Lord Shiva. He says that Lord Shiva taught him the glories of Krishna's name. The Narada-pancaratra, first ratra, chapters eight and nine, describes that Shiva acted as guru for the great devotee Narada Muni.


In his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam (4.2.2), His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes Shiva as being guru for both the demons and the devotees:


"Lord Shiva is described here as caracara-guru, the spiritual master of all animate and inanimate objects. He is sometimes known as bhuta-natha, which means "the worshipable deity of the dull-headed." Bhuta is also sometimes taken to indicate the ghosts. Lord Shiva takes charge of reforming persons who are ghosts and demons, not to speak of others who are godly; therefore he is the spiritual master of everyone, the dull and demoniac, as well as the highly learned vaisnavas. It is also stated, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh - Shambhu, Lord Shiva, is the greatest of all vaisnavas. On one hand he is the worshipable object of the dull demons, and on the other he is the best of all vaisnavas, and he has a sampradaya called the Rudra-sampradaya."


In His Sivastakam prayers (text 7), quoted by Murari Gupta in his Sri Caitanya Carita Mahakavya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu describes Lord Shiva's position as guru, sivaya sarva-gurave namo namah - "I repeatedly offer my obeisances to Lord Shiva, who is the guru of everyone." Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami has also commented on this point:


"This siva-tattva and guru-tattva are the same. Guru and Bhagavan, Shiva and Bhagavan, have a very intimate relationship, priya-sakhya, a relationship of lover and beloved, premi-premastata. In that sense there is no difference between Shiva and Krishna, guru and Krishna."


In many places it is described that the guru is considered to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa (4.139) says:


gurur brahma gurur visnur guru devo mahesvarah gurur eva param-brahma tasmat sampujayet sada


"The guru is Lord Brahma. The guru is Lord Vishnu. The guru is Lord Shiva. The guru is the Supreme Absolute Truth, therefore always worship Sri Guru with all you possess."


Narada Purana (63.121) says:


diksaya guru-murti-sthah sarvanugrahakah sivah


"Through diksa, Shiva, the giver of all benedictions, is manifested in the form of the guru."


The same point is made again in Narada Purana (65.58):


om namas te natha bhagavan sivaya guru-rupine


"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Shiva, who has assumed the form of guru."




Siva-tattva and guru-tattva are also the same in the sense that both Shiva and guru are krsna-krpa-sri-murti - manifestations of Krishna's mercy. In Bhagavad-gita (4.11) Krishna has described, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham - "As a person surrenders to Me, I reciprocate with him accordingly." Similarly, as manifestations of Krishna's mercy Shiva and Sri Guru also reciprocate according to the motive of the worshiper. Although they are merciful to all, it's not that everyone who approaches them gets the same thing. To sincere persons they give niskapata-krpa, mercy without cheating, and to duplicitous materialistic persons they give sakapata-krpa, mercy with cheating.


Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Bhag. 1.13.37 purport) describes the topic of cheating:


"That great souls cheat others may be astonishing to know, but it is a fact that great souls cheat others for a great cause."


On another occasion (lecture, 21 May 1969) Srila Prabhupada made a similar comment:


"[buddha] situated the atheistic people on the line of understanding God. So this is, in one way, cheating. But this cheating is not cheating. Just like a father or guardian sometimes cheats the young boy. That is not cheating; that is for his good."


The Lord's Mohini Murti pastime as described in the eighth canto, chapter nine of Srimad Bhagavatam is a good example of niskapata-krpa and sakapata-krpa. When Mohini Murti began to distribute nectar, it didn't seem that She was paying any attention to the demigods. She was seen to be smiling and casting glances only on the demons. However, while it appeared that She was favoring the demons, in actuality She was cheating them and giving all of the nectar to the demigods. In the same way, because of the attention and approval showered on them by Shivaji and Sri Guru, sometimes persons with selfish motives appear to have obtained great favor, but in actuality they are being cheated while genuine mercy is quietly being given to others.


Bahirmukha-janas, "outward-facing" persons such as the demon Ravan, absorbed in external things, are full of passion and equate receiving material opulence, position, and recognition from Shiva or guru to be mercy. However, antarmukha-janas, introspective persons such as Markandeya Rishi, recognize that the real mercy of Shiva and guru is gained when they become truly pleased. They understand that the niskapata-krpa of Shiva and guru is not manifest in external things such as receiving opulence, high position, or public shows of approval from guru and Shiva. Rather, it is in obtaining krsna-prema. Materialistic followers who approach great personalities such as Durga, Shiva and Sri Guru and with their lips cry out, krpa koro, krpa koro - "Please give me your mercy! Please give me your mercy!" while internally desiring something material, are given what they want, but are deprived of real mercy. They are the recipients of sakapata-krpa, not niskapata-krpa.


Like Lord Shiva, Sri Guru externally accepts everyone's service, and, like Lord Shiva, it is not always easy to know if he is actually pleased or not. Thakur Vrindavan Das has described (Cb. madhya 10.150):


bhala manda siva kichu bhangiya na kaya yara buddhi thake, sei cinte buddhi laya


"Lord Shiva does not reveal whether he is pleased or displeased with his servant. A person who is intelligent can understand in his heart whether Lord Shiva is pleased or displeased."




In his commentary on Caitanya-bhagavata (adi 17.154-158) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada says that even the mere desire for niskapata-krpa is rarely found in conditioned souls. He says that the only hope for most is to get the merciful kick of a pure devotee:


"The community of arrogant persons will take millions and millions of births to understand Vrindavan Das Thakur's causeless mercy, so until their offenses are exhausted they will never have the opportunity to receive a kick on the head from the sanctified all-auspicious feet of a pure vaisnava. Even the genuine desire for receiving the niskapata-daya, non-duplicitous mercy of a pure vaisnava, is a rare commodity for ignorant mundane sinful people, pious fruitive workers, or mental speculators. Living entities who are averse to Hari, Guru, and vaisnava have not accumulated sufficient piety in their previous lifetimes, nor have thousands of their forefathers accumulated sufficient piety, that they are qualified to receive the all-auspicious kick from the lotus feet of the pure, transcendental, ultimate-benefit-awarding lotus feet of Thakur Vrindavan. The moment that dust from the lotus feet of a pure vaisnava will fall on the heads of sinful persons, that very moment they will become free from all material contamination and deceit and thus become proprietors of the wealth of devotional service."



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Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja


If some occasion arises to offer worship to Shiva, a vaisnava offers worship to Vishnu or Krishna in the murti of Shiva, because there is no difference between them, “priyasya sakhyuh”. One example of this is found in Visnu-dharmottara:


There was a very dear, parama bhagavata devotee of Vishnu named Viswaksena. He was traveling throughout the world. Once, feeling tired, he sat down in a forest. There was a village close by. The son of the chief of that village happened to come by. Seeing the brahmana Viswaksena, he said, “I am the son of the village chief. I have a very bad headache today so I cannot offer worship to my ista, Shivaji. So I request you, please offer worship to Shivaji today on my behalf.”


Viswaksena said, “I am a visnu-bhakta, I am a dear devotee of Vishnu. I only offer worship to Krishna and His forms such as Vishnu, Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. I never offer worship to demigods. I never offer worship to anyone else. You may go elsewhere.”


The son of the village chief became angry and drew his sword, “If you do not obey me, if you do not worship my ista, Shiva, on my behalf, then I will cut off your head.”


In order to save himself from death, Viswaksena said, “Yes, yes. I will worship. I will worship.” He thought to himself that Shiva is Rudradev, the incarnation of ignorance, tamo-guna. As Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to Bhag. 9.9.7 [see the beginning of this lecture]:


The material world exists predominantly in the mode of ignorance. Therefore Lord Shiva is compared here to the longitude and latitude of the entire universe, which resembles a cloth woven of threads extending for both its length and breadth.


Rudra is the incamation of tamo-guna and Nrisinghadev is the killer of the demons, in whom tamo-guna is predominating. So Viswaksena thought, “I must worship Nrisinghadev in the Shiva murti to kill this person’s tamo-guna.” So uttering the mantra, “sri nrsimhaya namah” — “I offer my obeisances to Lord Nrisinghadev.” — he offered flowers to the Shiva deity. When the son of the village chief heard him chant that mantra he got angry and drew out his sword to cut off his head, “What are you doing? You are uttering nrisingha-mantra? You are not worshipping my ista, Shiva!” When that person drew his sword to cut off Viswaksena’s head, immediately Nrisinghadev appeared from the Shiva murti and cut off the head of that person and all of his family members. All were finished.


So where is the difference between Shiva and Vishnu? This siva-linga that Lord Nrisingha came out of is still there in South India. It is known as linga-sphota. You may go and see it.


Siva-tattva and Guru-tattva


Vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh — Shivaji is a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and Krishna. In Brahma Purana, Lord Shiva says:


yo hi mam drastum iccheta brahmanam va pitamaham

drastavyas tena bhagavan vasudevah pratapavan


A person who yearns to see me or to see grandfather Brahma should yearn to see all-powerful Lord Vasudeva.” (Brahma Purana 226.46 quoted in Bhakti-sandarbha 106.27)


Shiva says this because those who know Vasudeva and those who have gotten Vasudeva, they know Shiva and Brahma, they have gotten Shiva and Brahma. Therefore in his purport Srila Prabhupada has described that Shivaji, Brahma, and Vishnu are not equal:


yas tu narayanam devam brahma-rudradi-daivataih

samatvenaiva vikseta sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam


A person who considers demigods like Brahma and Shiva to be equal with Narayan is to be considered an offender, or pasandi. (Padma Purana quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 1.117, and Cc. madhya 18.116)


They are not equal. But they are equal in the sense of “priyasya sakhyuh”, equal because they are very intimate, dear friends. This is guru-tattva, saksad-dhari, Shivaji is sevaka-bhagavan, servitor Bhagavan. He is asraya-vigraha bhagavan, not visaya-vigraha bhagavan. This is tattva.


This siva-tattva and guru-tattva are the same. Guru and Bhagavan, Shiva and Bhagavan, have a very intimate relationship, priya-sakhya; a relationship of lover and beloved, premi-premastata. In that sense there is no difference between Shiva and Krishna, guru and Krishna.


In the Caitanya-caritamrta (adi 1.45) it is said, guru krsna-rupa hana sastrera pramane — according to all revealed scriptures, the spiritual master is non-different from Krishna. Therefore we say that guru is Krishna massaging His own legs with His own hands. sadhu-guru-rupe krsna aila nadiya — Krishna took birth in the form of sadhu-guru in Nadiya. This siva-tattva and guru-tattva are the same tattva. It is a very deep tattva. But if someone thinks that Shiva is svatantra-isvara, the independent supreme controller, he commits offense. He becomes pasandi and he will lose bhakti. However, if someone offers worship to Shivaji as a very intimate friend of Krishna, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh, as the chief of the vaisnavas, he gets bhakti.


Two Types of Mercy


Therefore vaisnavas worship Shiva. The gopis worship Shiva to get Krishna as their husband. That is Gopiswar Mahadev in Vrindavan. Similarly, vaisnavas offer worship to Shiva as a dear vaisnava, maha-bhagavata, and beg, “Give us bhakti.” They never ask for anything material. It is the demons that ask for material gains, material wealth, position, and strength.


Shivaji has two types of mercy, sakapata-krpa, and akapata-krpa, mercy with duplicity, and mercy without duplicity. The demons get the mercy with duplicity. In his purport, Srila Prabhupada has given the example of the demon Ravan. He got mercy with duplicity. The demons want material things, so they get material wealth, power, strength, prestige, and position — everything they want. Shiva gives it, “All right, tathastu! Take it! Take it!” But Shivaji never accepts it for himself. Shivaji’s form is naked. He wears garlands of bones and snakes. His whole body is smeared with ashes. He lives in the cremation ground and dances naked like a madman. This means that he kicks out all material assets, wealth, and enjoyments. But he gives them to demons, “All right, take it!” This is mercy with duplicity, sakapata-krpa. But the vaisnavas, bhaktas, they get akapata-krpa, mercy without duplicity. They get bhakti. Therefore the gopis pray to Shiva, “Let Krishna be our husband.” Shivaji has these two types of mercy.


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