Thursday, May 22, 2014

Citra-kavitvani Foreword

Rupa Gosvāmī's citra poems with the commentary of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa translated by Matsya Avatāra dāsa

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 Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī deserves to be honored as one of the greatest poets of all ages due to the monumental importance of his works in the history of Sanskrit poetry and dramaturgy. In the Stava-mālā, a major selection of his poems later collected by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, we can appreciate in every line the extension of his wisdom, the subtlety of his language, the sweetness of his mood, and above all, the depth of his unalloyed devotion to his beloved Lordships – Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. In the core of the Stava-mālā, we find a collection of twelve verses in the citra-kavitva genre in which the author distinctly displays his poetical dexterity in a most astounding way. Just as Lord Caitanya’s philosophy emphasizes variety in oneness, it is appropriate to say that although Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s poems are all exquisitely beautiful and dazzling, the citra-kavitva verses are particularly impressive and charming. In fact, due to their amusing constructions, they can even attract people who have never had an interest in poetry.

Sanskrit is by nature a highly poetic language. This is deduced by the mere fact that the Vedas exist eternally in perfect metrical patterns. The vast majority of both the revealed scriptures and the human compositions consist of poems in innumerable forms of versification, even in the case of books on medicine or civil law. Śrīla Vyāsadeva and Ādi-kavi Vālmīki gave preference to the anuṣṭup, a thirty two syllable verse, while later poets explored unlimited varieties of meters from one up to several dozen syllables per quarter. Versification became even more elaborate when besides syllables, the poets started to divide the quarters according to moraes, units based on the length of the phonemes. The number of figures of expression (alaṅkāras) and the genres of composition developed considerably from century to century, and at some point poetry became a very sophisticated art accessible only to highly educated brāhmaṇas and royalty. To write became a challenge for new authors and to understand became a challenge for the readers. Some exceptional works are the “Rāma-kṛṣṇa-viloma-kāvyam” of Daivajña Sūryakavi (14th century AD) in which the first line of each verse is repeated exactly in the second line in reverse order – one way narrating the pastimes of Lord Rāma, and the other way those of Lord Kṛṣṇa; “Rāghava-yādava-pāṇḍavīyam” of Cidambara (16th century AD) in which the same verses can be interpreted as simultaneously narrating the incidents of Rāmāyaṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Mahābhārata; “Rāghava-pāṇḍavīyam” of Venkaṭādhvarī (17th century AD), which reading forwards narrates the Rāmāyaṇa pastimes, and when read backwards narrates the Mahābhārata pastimes. Among the most difficult kinds of compositions is the multifold citra-kavitva genre, which has been in vogue for at least two thousand years. Mahā-kavis like Bhāravi (c. 6th century AD), Māgha (c. 7th century AD) and Śrīharṣa (12th century AD) indulged in it in their works. Among Vaiṣṇava poets, Vedānta-deśika’s (14th century AD) works are perhaps the most astonishing. Being challenged to do so, within a few hours of a single night he composed the “Pādukā-sahasram”, one thousand and eight verses praising the sandals of Lord Raṅganātha. The collection contains forty citra-kavitva verses that are breath taking.
 Although Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī had hundreds of years of tradition and many renowned poets behind him, he far surpassed many of them by the mere fact that instead of the usual mundane love theme, he depicted the loving pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa and His dearmost devotees. Such poetical descriptions emanating from the heart of a mahā-bhāgavata have the potency to give great pleasure to the Lord and His devotees and therefore they deserve to be venerated and recited just like the Vedas and Purāṇas. Yet to thoroughly relish the innumerable rasas that flow in these poems, a good command of Sanskrit language is an unavoidable pre-requisite.

In the introduction to his Pada-kaustubha, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa compares the Sanskrit grammar to a vast ocean of nectar – unless one dives in it, he won’t be able to know the flavors hidden there. It is remarkable that in the beginning of his commentary to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s citra-kavitva verses, Śrīla Vidyābhūṣaṇa prays to the Lord for the capacity to understand these verses, so difficult that they are. Had he not clarified some of the poems, it would have been much more difficult for the later Vaiṣṇava generations to grasp the intended meaning.  Nevertheless, given the complexity and character of the genre, we should keep in mind that his commentary is not meant to be exhaustive and that other scholars may eventually present other valid interpretations to these very same verses and highlight other poetic features as well. To bring solace to those who are not able to read the original, Matsya Avatāra dāsa presents here a very brilliant translation in elegant vernacular for both the verses and the Sanskrit commentary. This edition elucidates all the intricacies of the versification and the meaning of every word and thus makes easily accessible some of the gems from the nectarean ocean of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s poetry.
                                       Baladeva Dasa

Monday, March 17, 2014

Siva-tattva from a Vaisnava Perspective


                               Lord Śiva and Mohinī


In traditional Indian philosophy, authors usually start their treatises by defining the terms employed in a particular subject matter. In spite of the vast discord among the propounders of multiple theological and philosophical systems, their ontological definitions are usually expressed by the word “tattva,” which refers to each of the elements or principles accepted as absolutely or relatively true. For example, in the realism of Madhvācārya’s Dvaitavāda and in Kapila’s Sāṁkhya, the five gross elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) are considered as truly existing elements or tattvas, while in Śaṅkarācārya’s Māyāvāda and in Buddhist Śūnyavāda, they are taken as relatively true just for the sake of argument, since in the former there is ultimately only one element, Brahman, while in the latter there is ultimately no element at all. The word “tattva” is etymologically explained as “that which is spread in everything or as everything”.[1] Originally, this definition was applied to Brahman as the only existing truth, but different schools adopted this term to classify the various elements that constitute the universe according to their respective views. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.22.1-3) Uddhava remarks that there are so many different opinions regarding the number of elements, and he asks Lord Kṛṣṇa to clarify this controversy. In reply, the Lord explains that each philosopher is influenced by a particular mode of nature and thus presents theories that may be correct from a particular perspective, although clashing with other theories. Only a person who is self-controlled and free from the modes is able to see the underlying truth behind all the superficial contradictions, which is possible only after comprehending the original element. Although there are also multiple Vaiṣṇava systems of thought, all of them define the original element as “Viṣṇu-tattva.” The diversity arises from the fact that Viṣṇu-tattva is a Supreme Person Who has multifarious energies and manifestations, being able to expand Himself unlimitedly and still remain one and the same. There being innumerable of His manifestations, there are also innumerable ways of perceiving Him. The word “avatārī” is particularly used to refer to God in His original form, and all other forms are considered “avatāras” or incarnations. Some Vaiṣṇavas perceive this “avatārī” as the four-handed Nārāyaṇa; some perceive Him as the two-handed Kṛṣṇa; and yet others perceive Him as Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His avatāras are direct expansions of Himself (svāṁśa), while his multiple energies expand themselves into the material nature (prakṛti) and into the numberless living entities (vibhinnāṁśa). There is yet another expansion that is unique, not classified in any of the above categories, which is known as Śiva-tattva.

Lord Śiva very often appears in the epics and Purāṇas as a greatly powerful personality, revered and worshipped by all classes of living entities, from demons to demigods. Although occasionally even Lord Kṛṣṇa and some of His incarnations also worship Lord Śiva, it is also a fact that Lord Śiva also offers prayers and worships Lord Kṛṣṇa. This puzzling relationship between Them led to many centuries of controversy regarding Their ontological status, and to the present day, the supremacy of one or the other is fervently defended by Vaiṣṇavas and Śaivas. These became the two larger āgāmika groups[2] in India and both divided themselves into several philosophical schools, each with its own disciplic succession. The Vaiṣṇavas became divided into four major sampradāyas, each headed by one ācārya: Viṣṇu Svāmī, Nimbārka, Rāmānuja and Madhva. As for the Śaiva sampradāyas, they became known as Śaiva-siddhānta, Pāśupata, Kāśmīra, Vīra, Śivādvaita and Siddha-siddhānta. In their turn, all Śaivas agree that the original element is Śiva-tattva, the source of all other elements and incarnations. Although the most ancient Śaiva schools used to back up their conclusions primarily on the standard śruti and smṛti, over the centuries a large number of tantric treatises became their major source. The Vaiṣṇavas also compiled innumerable tantras in the Pāñcarātrika tradition, which became reference works for their mode of worship and philosophical concepts. Most of these tantric treatises drew a lot on the Purāṇas that belong to each tradition. The Śaivas resorted to Mahāpurāṇas like the Śiva Purāṇa, Liṅga Purāṇa, Vāyu Purāṇa, etc., while the Vaiṣṇavas took shelter in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Padma Purāṇa, etc. These different Purāṇas are characterized by the focus on one of the two worshipable Lords, Their pastimes, instructions, devotees, holy places, etc., and present either of Them as the Supreme God. Here is found the key to understand this topic, which apparently seems to be so contradictory: the Purāṇas are also classified within a particular mode of the material nature and are specifically meant for those under the influence of that mode. The Kūrma Purāṇa (2.43.49) and the Matsya Purāṇa (53.68-69) corroborate this point in the following words:


sāttvikeṣu purāṇeṣu māhātmyam adhikaṁ hareḥ

rājaseṣu ca māhātmyam adhikaṁ brahmaṇo viduḥ

tadvad agneś ca māhātmyaṁ tāmaseṣu śivasya ca


“In the Purāṇas in the mode of goodness, the focus is the glories of Lord Hari; in those in the mode of passion, the focus is the glories of Lord Brahmā; similarly, in those in the mode of ignorance, the focus is the glories of Lord Śiva and Agni.”

Persons in the mode of ignorance are not able to practise the kind of worship in the mode of goodness required to worship Lord Viṣṇu, so it is appropriate for them to worship Lord Śiva. The Vaiṣṇava standards are usually too high for many people, as tāmasika habits and foodstuffs are not at all acceptable, while among Śaivas intoxication and other bad habits[3] are not uncommon. Therefore, in order to encourage such people to take up a gradual process to advance towards the mode of goodness, they are advised to worship Lord Śiva as the Supreme. By such process one may eventually please Lord Śiva – who is known as Āśutoṣa, one who is quickly pleased – and thus be raised to a higher consciousness in which they can give up their bad habits and take up the Vaiṣṇava mode of worship. From this angle, there are no scriptural conflicts, for although there are different instructions for different kinds of people, they all point to the same direction and culminate in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

 In the verse quoted above are mentioned the three guṇāvatāras, the controllers of the modes of nature, who are different expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa. A single statement made by Him in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.8) would suffice to establish Kṛṣṇa as the avatārī: ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate, “I am the source of everything. Everything emanates from Me.” In this simple proposition are comprised all existing elements and beings, so there is no scope for looking for anything or anyone beyond Him. This had already been previously (BG 7.7) defined by Him: mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti, “There is nothing superior to Me.” If these statements are accepted as axiomatic truths, the next question would be regarding the relation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and the multitude of elements and beings that spring from Him. There are unlimited living entities both in the material world and the spiritual world, and they hold a different status according to their relation to the Supreme. The primary expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa are known as the catur-vyūha: Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. From Them emanate unlimited Viṣṇu-tattva expansions Who are the predominating deities of unlimited Vaikuṇṭha planets and Who incarnate in the material world from time to time. The internal energy of the Lord, yoga-māyā, expands herself as the eternal consorts of each of the Lord’s forms, such as Lakṣmī, Sītā, Rukmiṇī, etc. The secondary expansions of the Lord’s superior energy are known as jīvas, the living entities who inhabit either the material or the spiritual world. The liberated living entities have an eternal spiritual body, while the conditioned living entities transmigrate from one body to another in different species of life. The superior forms of life within the material world are those of the demigods, who are the presiding deities of the multifarious universal affairs. Above all the demigods are the guṇāvatāras: Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva, the controllers of sattva-guṇa (goodness), rajo-guṇa (passion) and tamo-guṇa (ignorance) respectively. These avatāras are primary or secondary expansions of the Supreme Lord for the purpose of creating, maintaining and annihilating the material universes. In spite of being in charge of material goodness, Lord Viṣṇu is always a plenary portion of Lord Kṛṣṇa and is situated in the platform of śuddha-sattva, pure goodness, in which there is no possibility of the slightest influence of any of the material modes. His body is spiritual and eternal, and His powers are never obstructed by material conditions, despite the fact that He is within the boundaries of the brahmāṇḍa. Lord Brahmā is usually a jīva empowered to create the universe, and for this purpose, he has to interact with the mode of passion. He receives a perishable body composed of material elements and therefore has a limited life span. In some ages, Lord Viṣṇu Himself may expand as Brahmā, in which case He keeps His status as the Supreme without being restricted by the mentioned limitations of a jīva. As for Lord Śiva, he is above all the demigods, including the jīva who holds the post of Brahmā, for his body is not composed of material elements and thus he is not subjected to birth and death. He is also not subject to the influence of time, nor does he acquire karma, but in spite of being so powerful, he is always subordinate to Lord Viṣṇu. In contrast to the jīvas, who are eternally energies of the Supreme Lord, Śiva is a puruṣa, but not exactly in the same capacity as the full-fledged Viṣṇu-tattva incarnations. In this regard, the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.45) gives the following analogy:

kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt

sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoh

yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād

govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

“I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, Who, for the purpose of executing the universal destruction, becomes Śambhu, just as milk becomes yogurt by a particular kind of transformation, and yet the effect is not different from the cause.”

This analogy gives a proper illustration so that we may understand the essential relation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Śiva. Yogurt has no independent cause other than milk, and both are similar in so many aspects. Yet both have different names and attributes. It is remarkable that milk can always turn into yogurt, but yogurt cannot turn into milk. Similarly, Lord Kṛṣṇa can manifest unlimited Śivas, but these can expand only as Śiva-tattva, not as Viṣṇu-tattva. The expansions of Viṣṇu and Śiva act in different capacities when displaying pastimes within the material world, and their characteristics, names, associates, etc. are also distinct.

 In the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (10.23), Lord Kṛṣṇa describes part of His unlimited opulence manifested within the material world. Therein He states: rūdrāṇaṁ śaṅkaraś cāsmi, “Among the Rudras, I am Śaṅkara.” This is further evidence that all the Śiva-tattva expansions are factually parts and parcels of Viṣṇu-tattva, and not the way around. The name “Śaṅkara” refers to the original form of Lord Śiva, from whom there are eleven primary Rudra expansions. In his commentary called “Tattva-dīpikā,” Vallabhācārya explains that Śaṅkara is particularly mentioned here because he is a Vaiṣṇava, an exalted devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. His devotion to Lord Viṣṇu is often described in the Purāṇas, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.13.16) confirms this: vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ, “Śambhu is the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas.” Commenting on this verse, Viśvanātha Cakravartī clarifies that Lord Śambhu is the best among Vaiṣṇavas because he is always teaching the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness to everyone. This fact is also expressed by his very name, which means “he from whom all auspiciousness comes.”[4] There is nothing more auspicious for all living entities than devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu, and therefore this is the essential message transmitted by Lord Śiva when preaching all over the universe, and by carrying this message, he is delivering auspiciousness to everyone. For example, in the Padma Purāṇa (Uttara-khaṇḍa, 253.176) he declares to his wife Pārvatī:

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param

tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

“My dear Pārvatī, of all kinds of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the best, but even better than this is the worship of His devotees.”

Here is another important aspect to encourage the worship of Lord Śiva: he is a topmost Vaiṣṇava, and by worshipping a Vaiṣṇava one pleases Lord Viṣṇu even more than by worshipping Him directly. This being so, Vaiṣṇavas also worship Lord Śiva on the basis of his relation with Lord Viṣṇu as a devotee, not as the Supreme. By receiving Lord Śiva’s blessings, one can quickly advance in devotional service and please Lord Viṣṇu, and for this reason, even in Vṛndāvana – the topmost place of worship for the Vaiṣṇavas – the custom is to first visit the temple of Gopīśvara Mahādeva and only then go to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s temples.

 Someone may object that in many passages of the śruti and smṛti, we see that the Supreme Lord is named Śiva, Hara, etc. and that this contradicts the statements that present Viṣṇu as the Supreme. In order to correctly understand such passages, the first consideration is to apply proper exegetical principles. Words can be basically classified into two broad groups according to the meaning they convey: yoga and rūḍha. Yoga refers to words that retain their etymological meaning from the very verbal root from which they are derived. For example, the word “dīpa” (lamp) comes from the verbal root “dīp” (to shine, burn), and it means “that which shines or burns.” Rūḍha refers to words whose meanings are not directly related to their etymological derivation but to the common usage among the populace. For example, the name “Draupadī” is a patronymic of the name “Drupada,” but it has no direct relation with its etymological meaning. There are also words which belong to both categories and are called “yoga-rūḍha.” For instance, etymologically, anything born in the mud (paṅke jāyate yat) can be called paṅkaja. Since the lotus is born in the mud, it is also called paṅkaja. Besides this, the word paṅkaja is conventionally used by people to denote the lotus. Thus in either way, the word paṅkaja conveys the same meaning. So in the case of the scriptural passages in which the Supreme Lord is called by names such as Śiva, etc., such names should be understood according to their etymological meaning in connection to Lord Viṣṇu. He can also be called “Śiva” because he is the benefactor of all living entities, and “Hara” because removes the distress of all, etc. Another way to reply to the raised objection is presented by Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣāṇa in his Govinda-bhāṣya (1.4.28), where he quotes the Bhāllaveya-śruti to substantiate the fact that all words have their origin in Lord Viṣṇu and derive from Him their power to convey meaning, and therefore they all can refer to Him within a specific context:


nāmāni viśvāni na santi loke yadāvirāsīt puruṣasya sarvam

nāmāni sarvāṇi yam āviśanti taṁ vai viṣṇuṁ paramam udāharanti


 “In the beginning, there are no names in this world, then all become manifest from the Supreme Lord and again all names merge into Him. This Supreme Lord is named Viṣṇu.”

To corroborate this point, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa gives further evidence from the smṛti-śāstra:

śrī-nārāyaṇādīni nāmāni vinānyāni rudrādibhyo harir dattavān

 “Except for names such as Nārāyaṇa, Lord Hari gave His other names to Rudra and other demigods.”

Being the source of everything and the cause of all causes, Lord Viṣṇu is naturally the origin of all names. Just as His expansions, His personal names are also unlimited in number, and therefore there cannot be any discrepancy when He is referred to by names that conventionally refer to other personalities or elements. The demigods are empowered by Him for particular purposes, so the meanings of their names are directly connected with Him. Even in cases in which the Supreme might be referred to as “Śiva” or similar names and the context properly applies to the guṇāvatāra who is Pārvati’s husband, it is still to be understood that he is so described on account of being an expansion of Lord Viṣṇu, from Whom he derives inconceivable powers and is thus able to destroy the whole universe merely by dancing.

 Here someone may object that by names such as Mahādeva (great god), Maheśa (great lord), etc. it is clear that Lord Śiva is the Supreme Lord. Otherwise, why would he be called so? In reply to this, the Vedānta-syamantaka (2.6) states that these names are indicative of the status of Lord Śiva above all the demigods and other living entities within the material world, and not his supremacy even over Lord Viṣṇu. Otherwise, because Indra is also called Mahendra (great king) he could also be considered the Supreme God. However, it is a well known fact that Indra is not the Supreme. Simply adding the adjective “mahat” (great) to their appellations does not imply that these personalities have the status of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just like by saying “a great tree” it is not implied that it is anything more than a tree.

 Lord Viṣṇu is the first to enter the brahmāṇḍa, so it is evident that any other living entity must have sprung directly or indirectly from Him and must consequently be subordinate to Him. There are innumerable scriptural statements that describe this fact. The Nārāyaṇopaniṣad (1) affirms:

nārāyaṇād brahmā jāyate, nārāyaṇād rudro jāyate nārāyaṇāt prajāpatiḥ prajāyate, nārāyaṇād indro jāyate |

“From Lord Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā was born. From Lord Nārāyaṇa, Rudra was born. From Lord Nārāyaṇa, Prajāpati was born. From Lord Nārāyaṇa, Indra was born.”

The Mahopaniṣad (1-2) states:

eko ha vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā neśāna (...) tasya dhyānāntaḥ-sthasya lalāṭāt try-akṣaḥ śūlapāṇiḥ puruṣo’jāyata |

“In the beginning, there was only Lord Nārāyaṇa. There was no Brahmā nor Śiva. (...) While Lord Nārāyaṇa was meditating, the three-eyed Śiva was born from His forehead.”

In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (4.1.85), Lord Brahmā says:

yasya prasādād aham acyutasya bhūtaḥ prajā-sṛṣṭi-karo’ntakārī

krodhāc ca rudraḥ sthiti-hetu-bhūto yasmāc ca madhye puruṣaḥ parastāt

“From Lord Acyuta’s kindness, I was born as the creator and progenitor, from His anger, Rudra was born as the destroyer, and from Him also became manifested the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.”

In the Varāha Purāṇa (90.1-3) the personified earth planet raises the point that there are different opinions regarding the supremacy of Viṣṇu, Brahmā or Śiva, and she asks Lord Varāha to settle the matter. He declares:

paro nārāyaṇo devas tatas tasmāc caturmukhaḥ

tasmād rudro ‘bhavad devi sa ca sarvajñatāṁ gataḥ

 “O goddess, Lord Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme God. From Him, the four-faced Brahmā was born, and from Him, Lord Śiva became manifest and attained absolute knowledge.”

Because Lord Śiva is the controller of the mode of ignorance, sometimes he seems to become bewildered. There are many instances in which he blesses demons who performed austerities to please him, and eventually he is so obliged that he takes the side of such demons against the demigods and even Lord Viṣṇu. In several Purāṇas there is a narration of how Śiva fought with Kṛṣṇa to protect Bāṇāsura. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa (5.33.24-25) describes this incident as follows:

jṛmbhaṇāstreṇa govindo jṛmbhayām āsa śaṅkaram
tataḥ praṇeśur daiteyāḥ pramathāś ca samantataḥ
jṛmbhābhibhūtaś ca haro rathopastham upāviśat
na śaśāka tadā yoddhuṁ kṛṣṇenākliṣṭa-karmaṇā

“By releasing His yawning weapon, Govinda made Śiva start yawning. Then all the demons and Śiva’s attendants were killed. Being overcome by constant yawning, Śiva sat on his chariot unable to fight with Kṛṣṇa, Whose actions are effortless.”

Another objection might be raised: it is seen in the Mahābharata (Anuśāsana-parva, chap.14) that Lord Kṛṣṇa worshipped Lord Śiva in order to have a son, and that after executing penances for several months, He received Śiva’s blessings and obtained Sāmba as a son. There are similar narrations in other texts as well, but they are just part of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, for it is also seen that He worshipped Nārada muni, Sudāmā and many others, and nobody would consider them as superior to Him for this reason. In His earthly activities, Kṛṣṇa was playing as an ideal king performing His duties and setting the example to be followed by common people as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.21-24). Moreover, we don’t hear of incarnations like Nṛsiṁha or Varāha worshipping Śiva. Rather, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.8.41) we see how Śiva offered prayers to Nṛsiṁhadeva. As for the supposed narrations that Lord Rāma worshipped Lord Śiva, they are not found in the original text of Rāmāyaṇa composed by the sage Vālmīki, and some scholars consider them to be much later additions.

So, do the Vaiṣṇavas consider Śiva as different from Viṣṇu? In his Paramātma-sandarbha (16), Jīva Gosvāmī answers this question by saying that their non-difference is stated in the scriptures,[5] and therefore we cannot propound any contrary statement. Yet Śiva and Brahmā are to be understood as Viṣṇu’s partial incarnations and therefore not as supremely powerful as Him. Otherwise, other scriptural passages would be contradicted. For example, in the Padma Purāṇa (Uttara-khaṇḍa, 235.9) it is said:

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ

samam anyair nirīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhavet sadā

“One who considers Lord Nārāyaṇa equal to Brahmā, Śiva and other demigods becomes a heretic eternally.”

This apparent contradiction can be better appreciated from the point of view of the acintya-bhedābheda philosophy preached by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in which the simultaneous oneness and difference of one and the same entity is not only a concept but the very means to explain the nature of the transcendental Supreme Lord, His expansions and His energies, which otherwise are inconceivable to common living beings. Other attempts to explain this relation between Viṣṇu and Śiva usually fall short within the boundaries of undistinguished monism, which fails to explain personality and diversity, and absolute dualism, which cannot properly justify the mentioned scriptural passages.

[1] Śabda-kalpa-druma: “tanoti sarvam idam iti.”

[2] Generally considered as five kinds of tantric traditions, each of them emphasizing the worship of Viṣṇu, Śiva, Devī, Gaṇeśa or Sūrya.

[3] Some Śaivas apply ashes to their bodies, smoke pot and roam in crematoriums, and some also practice tantric rituals known as pañca-makāra, which consist of five things starting with “m”: māṁsa (meat), matsya (fish), madya (wine), mudrā (parched grains), and maithuna (coitus). On the other hand, Vaiṣṇavas in general bath several times a day, do not take intoxicants, are strictly vegetarians, eat only foodstuffs offered to Viṣṇu, and are supposed to have intercourse only for begetting offspring.

[4] Śabda-kalpa-druma: śaṁ maṅgalaṁ bhavaty asmād iti.

[5] For instance, SB 4.7.54; 12.10.22, etc.

What follows is a brief compilation of relevant quotations on Lord Śiva:

yat-pāda-mūlam upasṛtya narendra pūrve
śarvādayo bhramam imaṁ dvitayaṁ visṛjya
sadyas tadīyam atulānadhikaṁ mahitvaṁ
prāpur bhavān api paraṁ na cirād upaiti
My dear King, in former days Lord Śiva and other demigods took shelter of the lotus feet of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Thus they immediately got free from the illusion of duality and achieved unequaled and unsurpassed glories in spiritual life. You will very soon attain that very same position.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 6.15.28

(śiva-viriñci-nutam [SB 11.5.33]).
mukti-pradātā sarveṣāṁ viṣṇur eva na saṁśayaḥ: "There is no doubt that Viṣṇu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone."
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 10.8

Then it is said, eko vai nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā na īśāno nāpo nāgni-samau neme dyāv-āpṛthivī na nakṣatrāṇi na sūryaḥ: "In the beginning of the creation there was only the Supreme Personality Nārāyaṇa. There was no Brahmā, no Śiva, no water, no fire, no moon, no stars in the sky, no sun." (Mahā Upaniṣad 1) In the Mahā Upaniṣad it is also said that Lord Śiva was born from the forehead of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Vedas say that it is the Supreme Lord, the creator of Brahmā and Śiva, who is to be worshiped.
In the Mokṣa-dharma Kṛṣṇa also says,
prajāpatiṁ ca rudraṁ cāpy
aham eva sṛjāmi vai
tau hi māṁ na vijānīto
mama māyā-vimohitau
"The patriarchs, Śiva and others are created by Me, though they do not know that they are created by Me because they are deluded by My illusory energy." In the Varāha Purāṇa it is also said,
nārāyaṇaḥ paro devas tasmāj jātaś caturmukhaḥ
tasmād rudro 'bhavad devaḥ sa ca sarva-jñatāṁ gataḥ
"Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and from Him Brahmā was born, from whom Śiva was born."

rudrāṇāṁ śaṅkaraś cāsmi
vitteśo yakṣa-rakṣasām
vasūnāṁ pāvakaś cāsmi
meruḥ śikhariṇām aham
Of all the Rudras I am Lord Śiva, of the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera], of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of mountains I am Meru.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 10.23

rudrādityā vasavo ye ca sādhyā
viśve 'śvinau marutaś coṣmapāś ca
vīkṣante tvāṁ vismitāś caiva sarve
All the various manifestations of Lord Śiva, the Ādityas, the Vasus, the Sādhyas, the Viśvedevas, the two Aśvīs, the Maruts, the forefathers, the Gandharvas, the Yakṣas, the Asuras and the perfected demigods are beholding You in wonder.
Bg 11.23
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 11.23

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
samatvenaiva vīkṣeta
 sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
 “‘A person who considers demigods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is to be considered an offender, or pāṣaṇḍī.’”
Madhya 18.117
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 18.117

sattvaṁ rajas tama iti prakṛter guṇās tair
yuktaḥ paraḥ puruṣa eka ihāsya dhatte
sthity-ādaye hari-viriñci-hareti saṁjñāḥ
śreyāṁsi tatra khalu sattva-tanor nṛṇāṁ syuḥ
The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world's creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Viṣṇu, the form of the quality of goodness.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.23

ko nāma tṛpyed rasavit kathāyāṁ
nāntaṁ guṇānām aguṇasya jagmur
yogeśvarā ye bhava-pādma-mukhyāḥ
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa [Govinda], is the exclusive shelter for all great living beings, and His transcendental attributes cannot even be measured by such masters of mystic powers as Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Can anyone who is expert in relishing nectar [rasa] ever be fully satiated by hearing topics about Him?

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.18.14

athāpi yat-pāda-nakhāvasṛṣṭaṁ
jagad viriñcopahṛtārhaṇāmbhaḥ
seśaṁ punāty anyatamo mukundāt
ko nāma loke bhagavat-padārthaḥ
Who can be worthy of the name of the Supreme Lord but the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa? Brahmājī collected the water emanating from the nails of His feet in order to award it to Lord Śiva as a worshipful welcome. This very water [the Ganges] is purifying the whole universe, including Lord Śiva.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.18.21

sa eṣa ātmātmavatām adhīśvaras
trayīmayo dharmamayas tapomayaḥ
gata-vyalīkair aja-śaṅkarādibhir
vitarkya-liṅgo bhagavān prasīdatām
He is the Supersoul and the Supreme Lord of all self-realized souls. He is the personification of the Vedas, religious scriptures and austerities. He is worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Śiva and all those who are transcendental to all pretensions. Being so revered with awe and veneration, may that Supreme Absolute be pleased with me.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.19

ahaṁ bhavo yajña ime prajeśā
dakṣādayo ye bhavad-ādayaś ca
svarloka-pālāḥ khagaloka-pālā
nṛloka-pālās talaloka-pālāḥ
ye yakṣa-rakṣoraga-nāga-nāthāḥ
ye vā ṛṣīṇām ṛṣabhāḥ pitṝṇāṁ
anye ca ye preta-piśāca-bhūta-
yat kiñca loke bhagavan mahasvad
ojaḥ-sahasvad balavat kṣamāvat
śrī-hrī-vibhūty-ātmavad adbhutārṇaṁ
tattvaṁ paraṁ rūpavad asva-rūpam
I myself [Brahmā], Lord Śiva, Lord Viṣṇu, great generators of living beings like Dakṣa and Prajāpati, yourselves [Nārada and the Kumāras], heavenly demigods like Indra and Candra, the leaders of the Bhūrloka planets, the leaders of the earthly planets, the leaders of the lower planets, the leaders of the Gandharva planets, the leaders of the Vidyādhara planets, the leaders of the Cāraṇaloka planets, the leaders of the Yakṣas, Rakṣas and Uragas, the great sages, the great demons, the great atheists and the great spacemen, as well as the dead bodies, evil spirits, satans, jinn, kūṣmāṇḍas, great aquatics, great beasts and great birds, etc.—in other words, anything and everything which is exceptionally possessed of power, opulence, mental and perceptual dexterity, strength, forgiveness, beauty, modesty, opulence, and breeding, whether in form or formless—may appear to be the specific truth and the form of the Lord, but actually they are not so. They are only a fragment of the transcendental potency of the Lord.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.6.43, SB 2.6.44, SB 2.6.45, SB 2.6.43-45

kāmaṁ dahanti kṛtino nanu roṣa-dṛṣṭyā
roṣaṁ dahantam uta te na dahanty asahyam
so 'yaṁ yad antaram alaṁ praviśan bibheti
kāmaḥ kathaṁ nu punar asya manaḥ śrayeta
Great stalwarts like Lord Śiva can, by their wrathful glances, overcome lust and vanquish him, yet they cannot be free from the overwhelming effects of their own wrath. Such wrath can never enter into the heart of Him [the Lord], who is above all this. So how can lust take shelter in His mind?

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.7

tam upāgatam ālakṣya
sarve sura-gaṇādayaḥ
praṇemuḥ sahasotthāya
As soon as Lord Viṣṇu was visible, all the demigods—Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, the Gandharvas and all present there—immediately offered their respectful obeisances by falling down straight before Him.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.7.22

ahaṁ brahmā ca śarvaś ca
jagataḥ kāraṇaṁ param
ātmeśvara upadraṣṭā
svayan-dṛg aviśeṣaṇaḥ
Lord Viṣṇu replied: Brahmā, Lord Śiva and I are the supreme cause of the material manifestation. I am the Supersoul, the self sufficient witness. But impersonally there is no difference between Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Me.
tasmin brahmaṇy advitīye
kevale paramātmani
brahma-rudrau ca bhūtāni
bhedenājño 'nupaśyati
The Lord continued: One who is not in proper knowledge thinks that demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are independent, or he even thinks that the living entities are independent.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.7.52

yaḥ paraṁ raṁhasaḥ sākṣāt
tri-guṇāj jīva-saṁjñitāt
bhagavantaṁ vāsudevaṁ
prapannaḥ sa priyo hi me
Lord Śiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the controller of everything—material nature as well as the living entity—is actually very dear to me.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.24.28

ity anukrośa-hṛdayo
bhagavān āha tāñ chivaḥ
baddhāñjalīn rāja-putrān
nārāyaṇa-paro vacaḥ
The great sage Maitreya continued: Out of his causeless mercy, the exalted personality Lord Śiva, a great devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa, continued to speak to the King's sons, who were standing with folded hands.
śrī-rudra uvāca
jitaṁ ta ātma-vid-varya-
svastaye svastir astu me
bhavatārādhasā rāddhaṁ
sarvasmā ātmane namaḥ
Lord Śiva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish that You be auspicious for me. You are worshipable by virtue of the all-perfect instructions You give. You are the Supersoul; therefore I offer my obeisances unto You as the supreme living being.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.24.33

nibodha tātedam ṛtaṁ bravīmi
māsūyituṁ devam arhasy aprameyam
vayaṁ bhavas te tata eṣa maharṣir
vahāma sarve vivaśā yasya diṣṭam
Lord Brahmā, the supreme person within this universe, said: My dear Priyavrata, kindly hear attentively what I shall say to you. Do not be jealous of the Supreme Lord, who is beyond our experimental measurements. All of us, including Lord Śiva, your father and the great sage Mahārṣi Nārada, must carry out the order of the Supreme. We cannot deviate from His order.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.1.11

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
oṁ namo bhagavate mahā-puruṣāya sarva-guṇa-saṅkhyānāyānantāyāvyaktāya nama iti.
The most powerful Lord Śiva says: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You in Your expansion as Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa. You are the reservoir of all transcendental qualities. Although You are unlimited, You remain unmanifest to the nondevotees.
SB 5.17.18
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.17.18

mat-prāptaye 'jeśa-surāsurādayas
tapyanta ugraṁ tapa aindriye dhiyaḥ
ṛte bhavat-pāda-parāyaṇān na māṁ
vindanty ahaṁ tvad-dhṛdayā yato 'jita
O supreme unconquerable Lord, when they become absorbed in thoughts of material enjoyment, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, as well as other demigods and demons, undergo severe penances and austerities to receive my benedictions. But I do not favor anyone, however great he may be; unless he is always engaged in the service of Your lotus feet. Because I always keep You within my heart, I cannot favor anyone but a devotee.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.18.22
yasya ha vā idaṁ kālenopasañjihīrṣato 'marṣa-viracita-rucira-bhramad-bhruvor antareṇa sāṅkarṣaṇo nāma rudra ekādaśa-vyūhas try-akṣas tri-śikhaṁ śūlam uttambhayann udatiṣṭhat.
At the time of devastation, when Lord Anantadeva desires to destroy the entire creation, He becomes slightly angry. Then from between His two eyebrows appears three-eyed Rudra, carrying a trident. This Rudra, who is known as Sāṅkarṣaṇa, is the embodiment of the eleven Rudras, or incarnations of Lord Śiva. He appears in order to devastate the entire creation.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.25.3

brahmā bhavo bhavantaś ca
manavo vibudheśvarāḥ
vibhūtayo mama hy etā
bhūtānāṁ bhūti-hetavaḥ
Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the Manus, all the other demigods in the higher planetary systems, and you prajāpatis, who are increasing the population, are working for the benefit of all living entities. Thus you expansions of My marginal energy are incarnations of My various qualities.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 6.4.45

śrī-nārada uvāca
evaṁ surādayaḥ sarve
brahma-rudra-puraḥ sarāḥ
nopaitum aśakan manyu-
saṁrambhaṁ sudurāsadam
The great saint Nārada Muni continued: The demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and other great demigods, dared not come forward before the Lord, who at that time was extremely angry.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.9.1

vilokya bhagna-saṅkalpaṁ
vimanaskaṁ vṛṣa-dhvajam
tadāyaṁ bhagavān viṣṇus
tatropāyam akalpayat
Seeing Lord Śiva very much aggrieved and disappointed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, considered how to stop this nuisance created by Maya Dānava.
SB 7.10.62
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.10.62

tad ugra-vegaṁ diśi diśy upary adho
visarpad utsarpad asahyam aprati
bhītāḥ prajā dudruvur aṅga seśvarā
arakṣyamāṇāḥ śaraṇaṁ sadāśivam
O King, when that uncontrollable poison was forcefully spreading up and down in all directions, all the demigods, along with the Lord Himself, approached Lord Śiva [Sadāśiva]. Feeling unsheltered and very much afraid, they sought shelter of him.
One may question that since the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally present, why did He accompany all the demigods and people in general to take shelter of Lord Sadāśiva, instead of intervening Himself. In this connection Śrīla Madhvācārya warns:
rudrasya yaśaso 'rthāya
svayaṁ viṣṇur viṣaṁ vibhuḥ
na sañjahre samartho 'pi
vāyuṁ coce praśāntaye
Lord Viṣṇu was competent to rectify the situation, but in order to give credit to Lord Śiva, who later drank all the poison and kept it in his neck, Lord Viṣṇu did not take action.
SB 8.7.20
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 8.7.20

tāṁ vīkṣya deva iti kanduka-līlayeṣad-
nātmānam antika umāṁ sva-gaṇāṁś ca veda
While Lord Śiva observed the beautiful woman playing with the ball, She sometimes glanced at him and slightly smiled in bashfulness. As he looked at the beautiful woman and She watched him, he forgot both himself and Umā, his most beautiful wife, as well as his associates nearby.
vayaṁ na tāta prabhavāma bhūmni
yasmin pare 'nye 'py aja-jīva-kośāḥ
bhavanti kāle na bhavanti hīdṛśāḥ
sahasraśo yatra vayaṁ bhramāmaḥ
Lord Śiva said: My dear son, I, Lord Brahmā and the other demigods, who rotate within this universe under the misconception of our greatness, cannot exhibit any power to compete with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for innumerable universes and their inhabitants come into existence and are annihilated by the simple direction of the Lord.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 9.4.56

dhārayiṣyati te vegaṁ
rudras tv ātmā śarīriṇām
yasminn otam idaṁ protaṁ
viśvaṁ śāṭīva tantuṣu
Like a cloth woven of threads extending for its length and breadth, this entire universe, in all its latitude and longitude, is situated under different potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Śiva is the incarnation of the Lord, and thus he represents the Supersoul in the embodied soul. He can sustain your forceful waves on his head.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 9.9.7

yasyāmalaṁ nṛpa-sadaḥsu yaśo 'dhunāpi
gāyanty agha-ghnam ṛṣayo dig-ibhendra-paṭṭam
taṁ nākapāla-vasupāla-kirīṭa-juṣṭa-
pādāmbujaṁ raghupatiṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye
Lord Rāmacandra's spotless name and fame, which vanquish all sinful reactions, are celebrated in all directions, like the ornamental cloth of the victorious elephant that conquers all directions. Great saintly persons like Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi still glorify His characteristics in the assemblies of great emperors like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Similarly, all the saintly kings and all the demigods, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, worship the Lord by bowing down with their helmets. Let me offer my obeisances unto His lotus feet.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 9.11.21

brahmā tad-upadhāryātha
saha devais tayā saha
jagāma sa-tri-nayanas
tīraṁ kṣīra-payo-nidheḥ
Thereafter, having heard of the distress of mother earth, Lord Brahmā, with mother earth, Lord Śiva and all the other demigods, approached the shore of the ocean of milk.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.1.19

brahmā bhavaś ca tatraitya
munibhir nāradādibhiḥ
devaiḥ sānucaraiḥ sākaṁ
gīrbhir vṛṣaṇam aiḍayan
Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, accompanied by great sages like Nārada, Devala and Vyāsa and by other demigods like Indra, Candra and Varuṇa, invisibly approached the room of Devakī, where they all joined in offering their respectful obeisances and prayers to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can bestow blessings upon everyone.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.2.25

tan-mūlā devatāḥ sarvāḥ
seśvarāḥ sa-catur-mukhāḥ
ayaṁ vai tad-vadhopāyo
yad ṛṣīṇāṁ vihiṁsanam
Lord Viṣṇu, the Supersoul within the core of everyone's heart, is the ultimate enemy of the asuras and is therefore known as asura-dviṭ. He is the leader of all the demigods because all the demigods, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, exist under His protection. The great saintly persons, sages and Vaiṣṇavas also depend upon Him. To persecute the Vaiṣṇavas, therefore, is the only way to kill Viṣṇu.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.4.42

evaṁ sandarśitā hy aṅga
hariṇā bhṛtya-vaśyatā
sva-vaśenāpi kṛṣṇena
yasyedaṁ seśvaraṁ vaśe
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, this entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet the Supreme Lord has one transcendental attribute: He comes under the control of His devotees. This was now exhibited by Kṛṣṇa in this pastime.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.9.19

ajānatāṁ tvat-padavīm anātmany
ātmātmanā bhāsi vitatya māyām
sṛṣṭāv ivāhaṁ jagato vidhāna
iva tvam eṣo 'nta iva trinetraḥ
To persons ignorant of Your actual transcendental position, You appear as part of the material world, manifesting Yourself by the expansion of Your inconceivable energy. Thus for the creation of the universe You appear as me [Brahmā], for its maintenance You appear as Yourself [Viṣṇu], and for its annihilation You appear as Lord Trinetra [Śiva].
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.14.19

dhanyā aho amī ālyo
yān brahmeśau ramā devī
dadhur mūrdhny agha-nuttaye
O girls! The dust of Govinda's lotus feet is so sacred that even Brahmā, Śiva and the goddess Ramā take that dust upon their heads to dispel sinful reactions.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.30.29

yad arcitaṁ brahma-bhavādibhiḥ suraiḥ
śriyā ca devyā munibhiḥ sa-sātvataiḥ
go-cāraṇāyānucaraiś carad vane
yad gopikānāṁ kuca-kuṅkumāṅkitam
Those lotus feet are worshiped by Brahmā, Śiva and all the other demigods, by the goddess of fortune, and also by the great sages and Vaiṣṇavas. Upon those lotus feet the Lord walks about the forest while herding the cows with His companions, and those feet are smeared with the kuṅkuma from the gopīs' breasts.
SB 10.38.9
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.38.9

tvām evānye śivoktena
mārgeṇa śiva-rūpiṇam
bhagavantarn upāsate
There are still others, who worship You, the Supreme Lord, in the form of Lord Śiva. They follow the path described by him and interpreted in various ways by many teachers.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.40.8

puṇyā bata vraja-bhuvo yad ayaṁ nṛ-liṅga
gūḍhaḥ purāṇa-puruṣo vana-citra-mālyaḥ
gāḥ pālayan saha-balaḥ kvaṇayaṁś ca veṇuṁ
vikrīdayāñcati giritra-ramārcitāṅghriḥ
How pious are the tracts of land in Vraja, for there the primeval Personality of Godhead, disguising Himself with human traits, wanders about, enacting His many pastimes! Adorned with wonderfully variegated forest garlands, He whose feet are worshiped by Lord Śiva and goddess Ramā vibrates His flute as He tends the cows in the company of Balarāma.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.44.13

yasyāṅghri-paṅkaja-rajaḥ-snapanaṁ mahānto
vāñchanty umā-patir ivātma-tamo-'pahatyai
yarhy ambujākṣa na labheya bhavat-prasādaṁ
jahyām asūn vrata-kṛśān śata-janmabhiḥ syāt
O lotus-eyed one, great souls like Lord Śiva hanker to bathe in the dust of Your lotus feet and thereby destroy their ignorance. If I cannot obtain Your mercy, I shall simply give up my vital force, which will have become weak from the severe penances I will perform. Then, after hundreds of lifetimes of endeavor, I may obtain Your mercy.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.52.43

yat-pāda-paṅkaja-rajaḥ śirasā bibharti
śṛīr abya-jaḥ sa-giriśaḥ saha loka-pālaiḥ
līlā-tanuḥ sva-kṛta-setu-parīpsayā yaḥ
kāle 'dadhat sa bhagavān mama kena tuṣyet
"Goddess Lakṣmī, Lord Brahma, Lord Śiva and the rulers of the various planets place the dust of His lotus feet on their heads, and to protect the codes of religion, which He has created, He assumes pastime incarnations at various times. How may that Supreme Personality of Godhead become pleased with me?"
SB 10.58.38
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.58.38

pṛthag-vidhāni prāyuṅkta
piṇāky astrāṇi śārṅgiṇe
praty-astraiḥ śamayām āsa
śārṅga-pāṇir avismitaḥ
Lord Śiva, wielder of the trident, shot various weapons at Lord Kṛṣṇa, wielder of Śārṅga. But Lord Kṛṣṇa was not in the least perplexed: He neutralized all these weapons with appropriate counterweapons.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.63.12

mohayitvā tu giriśaṁ
jṛmbhaṇāstreṇa jṛmbhitam
bāṇasya pṛtanāṁ śaurir
After bewildering Lord Śiva by making him yawn with a yawning weapon, Lord Kṛṣṇa proceeded to strike down Bāṇāsura's army with His sword, club and arrows.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.63.14

māheśvaraḥ samākrandan
vaiṣṇavena balārditaḥ
alabdhvābhayam anyatra
bhīto māheśvaro jvaraḥ
śaraṇārthī hṛṣīkeśaṁ
tuṣṭāva prayatāñjaliḥ
The Śiva-jvara, overwhelmed by the strength of the Viṣṇu-jvara, cried out in pain. But finding no refuge, the frightened Śiva-jvara approached Lord Kṛṣṇa, the master of the senses, hoping to attain His shelter. Thus with joined palms he began to praise the Lord.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.63.24

śrī-rudra uvāca
tvaṁ hi brahma paraṁ jyotir
gūḍhaṁ brahmaṇi vāṅ-maye
yaṁ paśyanty amalātmāna
ākāśam iva kevalam
Śrī Rudra said: You alone are the Absolute Truth, the supreme light, the mystery hidden within the verbal manifestation of the Absolute. Those whose hearts are spotless can see You, for You are uncontaminated, like the sky.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.63.34

ahaṁ brahmātha vibudhā
munayaś cāmalāśayāḥ
sarvātmanā prapannās tvām
ātmānaṁ preṣṭham īśvaram
I, Lord Brahmā, the other demigods and the pure-minded sages have all surrendered wholeheartedly unto You, our dearmost Self and Lord.
SB 10.63.44
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.63.44

yasyāṅghri-paṅkaja-rajo 'khila-loka-pālair
mauly-uttamair dhṛtam upāsita-tīrtha-tīrtham
brahmā bhavo 'ham api yasya kalāḥ kalāyāḥ
śrīś codvahema ciram asya nṛpāsanaṁ kva
"The dust of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, which is the source of holiness for all places of pilgrimage, is worshiped by all the great demigods. The principal deities of all planets are engaged in His service, and they consider themselves most fortunate to take the dust of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa on their crowns. Great demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, and even the goddess of fortune and I, are simply parts of His spiritual identity, and we also carefully carry that dust on our heads. And still Kṛṣṇa is not fit to use the royal insignia or even sit on the royal throne?

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.68.37

nimittaṁ param īśasya
hiraṇyagarbhaḥ śarvaś ca
kālasyārūpiṇas tava
 Even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva act only as Your instruments in cosmic creation and annihilation, which are ultimately done by You, the Supreme Lord, in Your invisible aspect of time.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.71.8

daśāsya-bāṇayos tuṣṭaḥ
stuvator vandinor iva
aiśvaryam atulaṁ dattvā
tata āpa su-saṅkaṭam
He became pleased with ten-headed Rāvaṇa, and also with Bāṇa, when they each chanted his glories, like bards in a royal court. Lord Śiva then bestowed unprecedented power upon each of them, but in both cases he was consequently beset with great difficulty.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.88.16

taṁ tathā vyasanaṁ dṛṣṭvā
bhagavān vṛjinārdanaḥ
dūrāt pratyudiyād bhūtvā
baṭuko yoga-māyayā
tejasāgnir iva jvalan
abhivādayām āsa ca taṁ
kuśa-pāṇir vinīta-vat
The Supreme Lord, who relieves His devotees' distress, had seen from afar that Lord Śiva was in danger. Thus by His mystic Yogamāyā potency He assumed the form of a brahmacārī student, with the appropriate belt, deerskin, rod and prayer beads, and came before Vṛkāsura. The Lord's effulgence glowed brilliantly like fire. Holding kuśa grass in His hand, He humbly greeted the demon.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.88.27, SB 10.88.28, SB 10.88.27-28

dhyeyaṁ sadā paribhava-ghnam abhīṣṭa-dohaṁ
tīrthāspadaṁ śiva-viriñci-nutaṁ śaraṇyam
bhṛtyārti-haṁ praṇata-pāla bhavābdhi-potaṁ
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam
My dear Lord, You are the Mahā-puruṣa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I worship Your lotus feet, which are the only eternal object of meditation. Those feet destroy the embarrassing conditions of material life and freely award the greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead. My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the shelter of all holy places and of all saintly authorities in the line of devotional service and are honored by powerful demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. My Lord, You are so kind that You willingly protect all those who simply bow down to You with respect, and thus You mercifully relieve all the distress of Your servants. In conclusion, my Lord, Your lotus feet are actually the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean of birth and death, and therefore even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva seek shelter at Your lotus feet."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 11.5.33

ity abhiṣṭūya vibudhaiḥ
seśaḥ śata-dhṛtir harim
abhyabhāṣata govindaṁ
praṇamyāmbaram āśritaḥ
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: After Brahmā, along with Lord Śiva and the other demigods, thus offered prayers to the Supreme Lord, Govinda, Lord Brahmā situated himself in the sky and addressed the Lord as follows.
SB 11.6.21
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 11.6.21

indro 'haṁ sarva-devānāṁ
vasūnām asmi havya-vāṭ
ādityānām ahaṁ viṣṇū
rudrāṇāṁ nīla-lohitaḥ
Among the demigods I am Indra, and among the Vasus I am Agni, the god of fire. I am Viṣṇu among the sons of Aditi, and among the Rudras I am Lord Śiva.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 11.16.13

tīrthānāṁ srotasāṁ gaṅgā
samudraḥ sarasām aham
āyudhānāṁ dhanur ahaṁ
tripura-ghno dhanuṣmatām
Among sacred and flowing things I am the holy Ganges, and among steady bodies of water I am the ocean. Among weapons I am the bow, and of the wielders of weapons I am Lord Śiva.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 11.16.20

ity uddhavenāty-anurakta-cetasā
pṛṣṭo jagat-krīḍanakaḥ sva-śaktibhiḥ
gṛhīta-mūrti-traya īśvareśvaro
jagāda sa-prema-manohara-smitaḥ
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Thus questioned by the most affectionate Uddhava, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme controller of all controllers, who takes the entire universe as His plaything and assumes the three forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, began to reply, lovingly displaying His all-attractive smile.
SB 11.29.8
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 11.29.8

asminn apy antare brahman
bhagavān loka-bhāvanaḥ
brahmeśādyair loka-pālair
yācito dharma-guptaye
parāśarāt satyavatyām
aṁśāṁśa-kalayā vibhuḥ
avatīrṇo mahā-bhāga
vedaṁ cakre catur-vidham
O brāhmaṇa, in the present age of Vaivasvata Manu, the leaders of the universe, led by Brahmā and Śiva, requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the protector of all the worlds, to save the principles of religion. O most fortunate Śaunaka, the almighty Lord, exhibiting a divine spark of a portion of His plenary portion, then appeared in the womb of Satyavatī as the son of Parāśara. In this form, named Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, he divided the one Veda into four.
SB 12.6.50
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 12.6.50

nimna-gānāṁ yathā gaṅgā
devānām acyuto yathā
vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ
purāṇānām idam tathā
Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Śambhu [Śiva] the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas.
SB 12.13.17
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 12.13.17

That Lord Śiva is a bhāgavata, a great devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, is stated in the Garuḍa Purāṇa (2.12-13):
ahaṁ dhyāyāmi taṁ viṣṇuṁ  paramātmānam avyayam
bhasmoddhūlita-dehas tu  jaṭā-maṇḍala-maṇḍitaḥ
viṣṇor ārādhanārthaṁ  me vrata-caryā pitāmaha
Lord Śiva said: “O Brahmā, I meditate on Lord Viṣṇu, the imperishable Supersoul. It is for the purpose of worshipping Him that I observe vows such as smearing my body with ashes and keeping matted hair.”

     Someone may object: Many passages in the scriptures do not support your conclusion at all.
     This adhikaraṇa is written to dispel this doubt. The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad explains:
kṣaraṁ pradhānam amṛtākṣaraḥ haraḥ
     "Material nature is in constant flux and the Supreme, Lord Hara is eternal and unchanging." (1.10)
eko rudro na dvitīyāya tasthuḥ
     "Lord Rudra is the Supreme. He has no rival." (3.2)
yo devānāṁ prabhavaś codbhavaś ca
     viśvādhiko rudraḥ śivo maharṣiḥ
     "Lord Śiva, who is known as Rudra, is the omniscient ruler of the universe. He is the father of all the demigods. He gives the demigods all their powers and opulences." (3.4)
yadā tamas tan na divā na rātrir
     na san na cāsac chiva eva kevalaḥ   
     "When the final darkness comes and there is no longer day or night, when there is no longer being and non-being, then only Lord Śiva exists." (4.18)
     The scriptures also explain:
pradhānād idam utpannam
     pradhānam adhigacchati
pradhāne layam abhyeti
     na hy anyat kāranaṁ matam
     "From pradhāna this material world was born. This world knows only pradhāna. This world merges into pradhāna at the time of annihilation. Nothing else is the cause of this world."
jīvād bhavanti bhūtāni
     jīve tiṣṭhanty acañcalāḥ
jīve ca layam icchanti
     na jīvāt kāraṇaṁ param
     "From the jīva all the elements of this world have come. In the jīva they rest without moving, and they finally merge into the jīva. Nothing else is the cause of this world."
     Saṁśaya: Should Hara and the other names given in these quotes be understood in their ordinary senses, as names of Lord Śiva, pradhāna, and jīva, or should they all be understood to be names of the Supreme Brahman?
     Pūrvapakṣa: The names should all be understood in their ordinary senses, as names of Lord Śiva, pradhāna, and jīva.
     Siddhānta: The conclusion follows.

Sūtra 28

etena sarve vyākhyātā vyākhyātāḥ
     etena -in this way; sarve -all; vyākhyātāḥ -explained; vyākhyātāḥ-explained.

     All (words in the scriptures) should be interpreted to agree with the explanation (that the Supreme Brahman is the original cause).
Purport by Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa

     In this sūtra the word etena means "according to the explanations already given," sarve means "Hara and the other names," and vyākhyātāḥ means "should be understood to be names of the Supreme Brahman because all names are originally names of the Supreme Brahman."
     The Bhāllaveya-śruti explains:
nāmāni viśvāni na santi loke
     yad āvirāsīt puruṣasya sarvam
nāmāni sarvāṇi yam āviśanti
     taṁ vai viṣṇuṁ paramam udāharanti   
     "The names of this world are not different from Him. All names in this world are names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All names refer to Him, Lord Viṣṇu, whom the wise declare is the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
     Vaiśampāyana Muni explains that all these names are names of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The Skanda Purāṇa also explains:
śrī-nārāyaṇādīni nāmāni vinānyāni rudrādibhyo harir dattavān
     "Except for Nārāyaṇa and some other names, Lord Hari gave away His names to Lord Śiva and the other demigods."
     This is the rule that should be followed: When the ordinary sense of these names does not contradict the essential teaching of the Vedas, the ordinary meaning should be accepted. When the ordinary sense of these names does contradict the teaching of the Vedas, these names should be understood to be names of Lord Viṣṇu.
 The repetition of the last word (vyākyātāḥ) here indicates the end of the chapter.
sarve vedāḥ paryavasyanti yasmin
     satyānantācintya-śaktau pareśe
     nityaṁ tasmin nas tu kṛṣṇe matir naḥ
     On Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the final goal taught by all the Vedas, who is the master of unlimited and inconcievable transcendental potencies, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who in His own pastimes creates, maintains and destroys the material universes, may we always fix our hearts.

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>

yogo yoga-vidāṁ netā
narasiṁha-vapuḥ śrīmān
     keśavaḥ puruṣottamaḥ

     He is the auspicious reservoir of yogic perfection, and success in yoga practice depends upon Him (yoga). He is the leader of those advanced in yoga (yoga-vidāṁ netā), and He is the supreme controller of the material universe and all living entities (pradhāna-puruṣeśvara). Even though He has appeared in a half-man, half-lion incarnation (narasiṁha-vapuḥ), He is extremely handsome (śrīmān). He is the father of Brahmā and Śiva (Keśava), and He is the supreme Person (puruṣottama).

     Note: In his commentary, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa quotes Lord Śiva's explanation of the name Keśava:

          ka iti brahmāṇo nāma
               īśo 'ham sarva-dehinām
          āvāṁ tavāṅga-saṁbhūtau
               tasmāt keśava-nāma-bhāk

     "Ka is a name of Brahmā, and I (Śiva) am known as īśa, because I am the master of all living entities who reside in material bodies. O Lord Kṛṣṇa, because we are born from your body, you are therefore known as Keśava (the father of Brahmā and Śiva)."

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>

smṛtiś ca
brahma śambhus tathaivārkaś
     candramāś ca śatakratuḥ
evam ādyās tathaivānye
     yuktā vaiṣṇava-tejasā
     smṛtiḥ—the Smṛti-śāstra; ca—and; brahma—Brahmā; śambhuḥ—Śiva; tathā—in the same way; eva—certainly; arkaḥ—Sūrya; candramāḥ—Candra; śatakratuḥ—Indra; evam—in this way; ādyāḥ--beginning with; tathā—in the same way; anye—others; yuktāḥ—engaged; vaiṣṇava—of Lord Viṣṇu; tejasā—by the prowess.
     The Smṛti-śāstra declares: "Brahmā, Śiva, Sūrya, Candra, Indra, and all the other demigods are appointed to their posts by Lord Viṣṇu and given extraordinary powers by Him. They areall the servants of Lord Viṣṇu."
sa-brahmakāḥ sa-rudrāś ca
     sendrā devā maharṣibhiḥ
arcayanti sura-śreṣṭhaṁ
     devaṁ nārāyaṇaṁ harim
     sa-brahmakāḥ—with many Brahmās; sa-rudrāḥ—with many Śivas; ca—and; sa-indrāḥ—with many Indras; devāḥ—demigods; mahā-ṛṣibhiḥ—with the great sages; arcayanti—worship; sura—of all the demigods; śreṣṭham—the best; devam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nārāyaṇam—known as Nārāyaṇa; harim—and Hari.
     The Śāstras explain: "Innumerable Brahmās, Śivas, Indras, sages and demigods, all worship the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa, the best of the demigods."

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>

padme ca, jīva-lakṣaṇe
dāsa-bhūto harer eva
     nānyasyaiva kadācana
     padme—in the Padma Purāṇa; jīva—of the living entities; lakṣaṇe—in the description; dāsa-bhūtaḥ—a servant; hareḥ—of Lord Hari; eva—certainly; na—not; anyasya—of anyone else; kadācana—at any time.
     The Padma Purāṇa describes the nature of the jīva (individual living entity) in the following way: "By nature the living entity is eternally the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari. He is never the servant of Brahmā, Śiva, or anyone else."

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>

3 Here someone may protest: Is it not true that Brahma, Siva and the other demigods are also masters of the world?  To this we reply: Yes. It is true. The demigods are masters because they are very qualified and powerful.  Still, Lord Krsna has supreme mastery.  He is master of all the demigods. This is confirmed in Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7 (quoted in the preceding paragraph). The demigods are like servants of a king. The servants are vested with some of the king’s authority and power.
 The Sruti-sastras affirm that all the demigods were born from Lord Krsna. In Sri Narayana Upanisad it is said:
 “Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, desired: ‘Let Me create some children.’...Then, from Lord Narayana Brahma was born. From Lord Narayana Siva was born.  From Lord Narayana Prajapati was born. From Lord Narayana Indra was born.  From Lord Narayana the eight Vasus were born. From Lord Narayana the eleven Rudras were born.  From Lord Narayana the twelve Adityas were born.”
 In the Maha Upanisad it is said:
 “In the beginning of the creation there was only the Supreme Personality of Narayana. There was no Brahma, no Siva. *...Then Lord Narayana meditated, and from His forehead was born a three-eyed person holding a trident in his hand. Then Lord Narayana created wealth, truth, celibacy, austerity, and renunciation.”
 In that Upanisad it is also said:
 ‘Brahma, who has four faces, was born from Lord Narayana.”
4 The word Narayana means, ‘the husband of Goddess Laksmi’.  It is said:
 “The word Narayana means, ‘the husband of Goddess Laksmi’.”
5 In Sri Visnu Purana the demigod Brahma says:
 “I, the creator of the living beings, was born from Lord Narayana’s happiness.  Siva, the destroyer of the worlds, was born from Lord Narayana’s anger. From Lord Narayana was also born Lord Visnu, who is greater than the greatest, and who is the maintainer of the worlds.”
 In the Moksa-dharma Lord Krsna says:
 “The patriarchs, Siva and others are created by Me, though they do no know that they are created by Me because they are deluded by My illusory energy.”*
 In the Chandogya it is said that Siva is the son of Brahma:
 “Obeisances to infallible Lord Siva, who has three eyes and who also has a form with a thousand eyes.  He is the master of the worlds and the master of karma.  He is an expansion of the creator Brahma.  He is Brahma’s eldest son.”
 In the Satapatha-brahmana, Astamurta-brahmana, the birth of Siva is described:
 “After one year, a child was born. When the child cried, Brahma said, ‘Child, why do you cry? You were born from my austerities’. Then the child said, ‘I am not free from evil. Now please give me a name’.”
 In Sri Varaha Purana it is said:
 “Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and from Him Brahma was born, from whom Siva was born.”*
 This relationship, where Siva was born from Brahma, was established in a different kalpa.
6 Here someone may protest: Is it not true that Lord Siva’s name ‘Mahesa’ (great lord) is proof that Lord Siva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all?
 To this I reply: No.  It is not as you think.  That name has the same meaning as Lord Indra’s name ‘mahendra’ (great king). To think the names ‘mahesa’ and ‘mahendra’ affirm that Siva and Indra are the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a mistake.  It is true that a certain demigod is named ‘indra’ (king) and it is true that the Dhatu-patha (Dictionary of Verbs) affirms, ‘Indra means ones who has supreme power and opulence’.  Still, Indra does not have mastery over all. Also, the master he does have he attained by his pious deeds, by performing a hundred yajnas. Therefore he is also called ‘Satamakha’ (he who performed a hundred yajnas). The word ‘Mahadeva’ is like Indra’s name. Its true meaning is ‘He who is the king of the demigods’.  It truly testifies to Lord Siva’s great power. That is its true meaning. The word ‘maha’ in Mahesa means ‘great’, just as when we say ‘a great tree’.
7 In the Mahabharata it is said that Brahma and Siva became masters of the world because they worshipped Lord Visnu, who is the yajna-purusa, the object of all yajnas:
 “After worshipping Lord Visnu for a thousand yugas, a certain faithful devotee was born in a lotus flower and attained the post of Brahma, the creator of the worlds.”
 Lord Krsna Himself explains:
 “In ancient times I created Brahma. When Brahma worshipped Me, I became pleased and offered him many boons.”
 “At the beginning of the kalpa I allowed him to become My son. Then I gave him mastery over the worlds.”
 In consoling the grieving Yudhisthira, Lord Krsna also said:
 “Lord Siva performed a great sarvamedha-yajna where he offered all living entities, including himself.
 “Lord Siva performed a great sarvamedha-yajna where he offered himself. As a result he became glorious and effulgent.  His fame filled all the worlds.”
8 The Sruti-sastras explain that because he attained a boon from Lord Krsna, Lord Siva became ‘pasupati’ (master of the beastly human beings):
 “Lord Krsna said, ‘You may ask a boon.’ Then Lord Siva said, ‘Please make me the master of the beastly human beings.’  That is how Lord Siva became the master of the beastly human beings.”
9 In the Padma Purana it is said:
 “Again and again Lord Visnu protected Brahma and rescued the Vedas.’
 In the Smrti-sastras it is said:
 “By chanting Lord Krsna’s holy names Lord Siva became free from the sin of killing a brahmana.”
 In the Matsya Purana Lord Siva says:
 “Then my eyes red with anger, with my left thumbnail I beheaded that brahmana.
 Then the brahmana said:
 “Because, even though I was innocent, you still beheaded me, you are now cursed.  You will be decorated with skulls.”
 Then Siva said:
 “Distraught my murder of that brahmana, I wandered the holy places of the earth.  O goddess, then I climbed the Himalaya Mountains.
 “There I met glorious Lord Narayana. I begged from Him a boon. With His fingernail He touched His own side and from that place a stream of blood flowed.
 “O girl with the beautiful thighs, by Lord Visnu’s mercy I became freed from my troubles. But from that time I have carried a thousand skulls. They are like a treasure I found in a dream.”
10 Lord Visnu arranged that invincible Lord Siva would kill the demon Tripura. In the Mahabharata it is said:
 “The Supreme Lord Visnu touched limitlessly powerful Siva’s bowstring. That is how Siva became able to kill the Tripura demon.”
 In the Visnu-dharma Purana it is said:
 “O best of the Kurus, as Lord Siva prepared to kill the Tripura demon, Lord Brahma spoke a mystic amulet to protect Lord Siva, an amulet that was a description of Lord Visnu’s transcendental form.
 In Banasura’s battle, Lord Krsna attacked Lord Siva with a yawning weapon. This is described in the Visnu Purana:
 “Throwing His yawning weapon, Lord Krsna made Lord Siva yawn. Then all the demons were easily killed.
 “Defeated by the yawning weapon, Lord Siva stepped down from the chariot. He had  no power to fight.  He was defeated by Lord Krsna, whose will is never thwarted.”
11 In Sri Ramayana, Lord Parasurama says:
 “Seeing Lord Siva stunned and yawning, the demigods and sages understood that Lord Krsna is more powerful than Lord Siva.”
 When Lord Siva was hankering to fight and defeat Nara Rsi’s friend Lord Narayana Rsi, then Lord Brahma advised Siva to surrender instead to Lord Narayana Rsi. This is described in the Mahabharata:
 “Then Lord Siva tried to please Lord Narayana.  He surrendered to Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who blesses His devotees.”
 By chanting Lord Krsna’s holy names, Lord Siva was able to neutralise the kalakuta poison.  This is described in the Smrti-sastra:
 “Chanting the mantra ‘Acyutananta govinda on namah’, Lord Siva cupped his hands and drank the poison.”
12 At the time of final cosmic annihilation Brahma and everyone else perishes. Only Lord Narayana remains.  This is described in the Sruti-sastra:
 “In the beginning of the creation there was only the Supreme Personality Narayana.  There was no Brahma, no Siva.”*
 In the Mahabharata it is said:
 “When Brahma, the demigods, the moving and unmoving beings, and all the worlds are merged in the unmanifest material nature, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana, the master of all, remains.”
 In the Visnu-dharma Purana it is said:
 “Brahma, Siva, Surya, Candra, Indra and all the demigods have power given by Lord Visnu.
 “When the universe is destroyed their powers are removed.  Powerless, they rush to destruction.”
13 In the Visnu Purana it is said:
 “The individual spirit souls and the manifest and unmanifest material nature, which is called maya, all merge into the Supreme Personality of Godhead at the time of cosmic devastation.
 “At that time everything rests in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose name is Visnu, and who is glorified in the Vedas and Vedanta.”
 In Srimad Bhagavatam (10.3.25) this prayer is offered to Lord Krsna:
 “After millions of years, at the time of cosmic annihilation, when everything, manifested and unmanifested, is annihilated by the force of time, the five gross elements enter into the subtle conception, and the manifested categories enter into the unmanifested substance.  At that time, You alone remain, and You are known as Ananta Sesa-naga.”*
 In this way, because Brahma and Siva are born from Lord Krsna and also enter into Him at the time of cosmic annihilation, it is proved that neither Brahma nor Siva can be considered the master of Lord Krsna.
14 In this way it is seen that Brahma, Siva and the demigods are all devotees of Lord Krsna.  In Srimad Bhagavatam (1.18.21) it is said:
 “Who can be worthy of the name of the Supreme Lord but the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna?  Brahmaji collected the water emanating from the nails of His feet in order to award it to Lord Siva as a worshipful welcome.  This very dear water (the Ganges) is purifying the whole universe, including Lord Siva.”*
 In Srimad Bhagavatam (3.28.22) it is also said:
 “The blessed Lord Siva becomes all the more blessed by bearing on his head the holy water of the Ganges, which has its source in the water that washed the Lord’s lotus feet.”*
 In another Purana it is said:
 “One person massages Lord Krsna’s feet. nother person washes Lord Krsna’s feet.  Another person places to his head Lord Krsna’s feet.  f these three, who is the best?  Please tell me.”
 In the Nrsimha Purana it is said:
 “In ancient times Brahma and all the demigods worshipped Lord Visnu. It is by Lord Visnu’s mercy that the demigods attained their posts.”
 In the Narayaniya it is said:
 “Manifest in a great variety of forms, the demigods and sages worshipped Lord Visnu with devotion.  Then Lord Visnu placed them in their respective posts.”
 Some people say:
 “We touch the Ganga’s water that falls from Lord Siva’s limbs, for it is very holy and purifying.”
 Some people think the Ganga is holy and purifying because it is touched by Lord Siva’s limbs. That is a foolish idea. These people say this quote means ‘The Ganga is holy and purifying because Lord Siva carried it on his head.’ The truth is that Lord Siva became pure by touching the Ganga, and that is why he has the power to purify others.
15 Here someone may protest: To rescue Samba, Lord Krsna worshipped Lord Siva.  Also, Lord Siva defeated Arjuna in a duel.  This is described in the Mahabharata.
 To this I reply: Lord Krsna also worshipped Narada and the sages. These actions are part of Lord Krsna’s pastimes.
 Then someone may again protest: On Mount Drona, Vyasa glorified Lord Siva with a hundred prayers.  He said Lord Siva is the cause of all causes.
 To this I reply: His prayers were in truth addressed to Lord Visnu, the Supersoul in Lord Siva’s heart. This must be so, for there cannot be two Supreme Personality of Godheads, and no one can be equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
 In this way the supreme position of Lord Visnu is proved. One should not be bewildered by reading in some Puranas some statements that Brahma or other demigods have the highest supremacy. Those statements are in Purana meant for persons in the modes of passion or ignorance, and therefore those statements should be rejected.
16 In the Matsya Purana it is said:
 “Some religious rules are in the mode of ignorance, some in passion, some in goodness, and some in mixtures of different modes. For the people’s benefit the demigod Brahma spoke these four kinds of religious rules.
 “In ancient times Brahma recorded these different kinds of religious rules in different Puranas.  In them he glorified different Deities.
 “In the Puranas meant for persons in the mode of ignorance, Brahma glorified Agni and Siva. n the Puranas meant for persons in the mode of passion, he said the worship of Brahma was better.
 “In the Puranas meant for persons in mixed modes, he glorified the worship of Sarasvati and the Pitas.  Finally in the Puranas meant for persons in the mode of goodness, he said the worship of Lord Visnu is best.  Persons who follow the goodness Puranas and become perfect in yoga go to the supreme spiritual abode.”
17 In the Kurma Purana it is said:
 “In the Puranas the wise sages, considering the present time and circumstances, described numberless religious rituals for the worship of Brahma, Visnu and Siva.
 “In the religious rituals meant for people in the mode of goodness, the sages said the worship of Lord Visnu is best.  In the religious rituals meant for people in the mode of ignorance, they glorified the worship of Lord Siva.  In the religious rituals meant for people in the mode of passion, they glorified Lord Brahma.”
 Manu explains that any Smrti-sastra that contradicts the four Vedas should be rejected.  He says:
 “Any Smrti-sastra that contradicts the four Vedas is wicked and useless. Anyone who follows such a sastra should be considered bewildered by the mode of ignorance.”
 “The Puranas in the mode of goodness provide evidence that should be accepted.  Any evidence contradicting this evidence should be clearly rejected.” They who are wise think in this way. They are not bewildered by any evidence contradicting the Puranas in the mode of goodness.

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>  (From the Vedanta-syamantaka, 2)

kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt
     sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoh.
yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād
     govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
     kṣiram-milk; yathā-as; dadhi-yogurt; vikāra-viśeṣa-of a speclal transformation; yogāt-by the application; sañjāyate- is transformed into; na-not; hi-indeed; tataḥ-from the milk; pṛthak- separated; asti-is; hetoḥ-which is the cause; yaḥ-who; śambhutām-the nature of Lord Śiva; api- also; tathā-thus; samupaiti-accepts; kāryāt- for the matter of some particular business; govindam- Govinda; ādi-puruṣam- the original person; tam-Him; aham-I; bhajāmi-worship.

     Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Śambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction.**
Commentary by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī

     In this verse Maheśa, the next in this sequence, is described. Here an example of cause and effect is given. Here the cause remains unchanged after creating the effect. In this sense the cause is like a cintāmaṇi jewel, which also remains unchanged after creating an effect. The Lord remains thus unchanged because His potencies are inconceivable. In the Śruti-śāstra it is said:

eko ha vai puruṣo nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ. sa munir bhūtvā samacintayat. tata ete tyajāyantaṁ viśvo hiraṇyagarbho 'gnir varuṇa-rudrendrāḥ

     "In the beginning only Lord Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Person, existed. Neither Brahmā nor Śiva existed then. Lord Nārāyaṇa began to meditate, and from His meditation the material universe was manifested. From His meditation Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, Varuṇa, and Agni were born."
     It is also said in the scriptures:

sa brahmaṇā sṛjati rudreṇa nāśayati. so 'nutpatti-laya eva hariḥ kāraṇa-rūpaḥ paraḥ paramānandaḥ

     "Lord Hari is the blissful Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the cause of creation and destruction. He employs Brahmā to create the universe and Śiva to destroy it."
     He creates Lord Śiva by touching the modes of material nature. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam's Tenth Canto is said:

harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt
     puruṣaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ
śivaḥ śakti-yutaḥ śaśvat
     tri-liṅgo guṇa-samvṛtaḥ

     "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is always uncontaminated by the modes of material nature, for He is beyond the material manifestation.* On the other hand, powerful Śiva carries the marks of the three modes of material nature."
     In the scriptures it is also said:


     "Śiva is touched by the modes of material nature."
     In some places in the scriptures it is seen that Śiva is not different from Lord Viṣṇu. For this reason it may be concluded that They are not different. This is described in the following words of the Ṛg-veda-śiraḥ:

atha nityo nārāyaṇo brahmā ca nārāyaṇaḥ śivaś ca nārāyaṇaḥ śakraś ca nārāyaṇaḥ kālaś ca nārāyaṇaḥ diśaś ca nārāyaṇaḥ adhaś ca nārāyaṇaḥ ūrdhvaṁ ca nārāyaṇaḥ antar bahiś ca nārāyaṇaḥ. nārāyaṇa evedaṁ sarvaṁ jātaṁ jagatyāṁ jagat.

     "Nārāyaṇa is eternal. Nārāyaṇa is Brahmā. Nārāyaṇa is Śiva. Nārāyaṇa is Indra. Nārāyaṇa is time. Nārāyaṇa is the directions. Nārāyaṇa is below. Nārāyaṇa is above. Nārāyaṇa is within. Nārāyaṇa is without. Nārāyaṇa is the entire created material universe."
     Their relationship is described by Brahmā in these words (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.6.32):

sṛjāmi tan-niyukto 'haṁ
     haro harati tad-vaśaḥ
viśvaṁ puruṣa-rūpeṇa
     paripāti tri-śakti-dhṛk

     "By His will, I create, Lord Śiva destroys, and He Himself, in His eternal form as the Personality of Godhead, maintains everything. He is the powerful controller of these three energies."*

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>
ananta brahmāṇḍe rudra—sadāśivera aṁśa
guṇāvatāra teṅho, sarva-deva-avataṁsa
ananta—unlimited; brahmāṇḍe—in the universes; rudra—Lord Śiva; sadāśivera aṁśa—part and parcel of Sadāśiva; guṇa-avatāra—an incarnation of a quality; teṅho—he also; sarva-deva-avataṁsa—the ornament of all the demigods.
Rudra, who is an expansion of Sadāśiva and who appears in unlimited universes, is also a guṇāvatāra [qualitative incarnation] and is the ornament of all the demigods in the endless universes.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Ādi 6.79

teṅho karena kṛṣṇera dāsya-pratyāśa
nirantara kahe śiva, ‘muñi kṛṣṇa-dāsa’
teṅho—he; karena—does; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; dāsya-pratyāśa—expectation of being a servant; nirantara—constantly; kahe—says; śiva—Lord Śiva; muñi—I; kṛṣṇa-dāsa—a servant of Kṛṣṇa.
He also desires only to be a servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Sadāśiva always says, “I am a servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”
Ādi 6.81
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Ādi 6.81

nijāṁśa-kalāya kṛṣṇa tamo-guṇa aṅgīkari’
saṁhārārthe māyā-saṅge rudra-rūpa dhari
 “Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, expands a portion of His plenary portion and, accepting the association of the material mode of ignorance, assumes the form of Rudra to dissolve the cosmic manifestation.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.307

māyā-saṅga-vikārī rudra—bhinnābhinna rūpa
jīva-tattva nahe, nahe kṛṣṇera ‘svarūpa’
 “Rudra, Lord Śiva, has various forms, which are transformations brought about by association with māyā. Although Rudra is not on a level with the jīva-tattvas, he still cannot be considered a personal expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.308

dugdha yena amla-yoge dadhi-rūpa dhare
dugdhāntara vastu nahe, dugdha haite nāre
 “Milk is transformed into yogurt when it associates with a yogurt culture. Thus yogurt is nothing but milk, but still it is not milk.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.309

kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt
 sañjāyate na tu tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoḥ
yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād
 govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
 “‘Milk changes into yogurt when mixed with a yogurt culture, but actually it is constitutionally nothing but milk. Similarly, Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, assumes the form of Lord Śiva [Śambhu] for the special purpose of material transactions. I offer my obeisances at His lotus feet.’

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.310

‘śiva’—māyā-śakti-saṅgī, tamo-guṇāveśa
māyātīta, guṇātīta ‘viṣṇu’—parameśa
 “Lord Śiva is an associate of the external energy; therefore he is absorbed in the material quality of darkness. Lord Viṣṇu is transcendental to māyā and the qualities of māyā. Therefore He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.311

śivaḥ śakti-yuktaḥ śaśvat
 tri-liṅgo guṇa-saṁvṛtaḥ
vaikārikas taijasaś ca
 tāmasaś cety ahaṁ tridhā
 “‘The truth about Lord Śiva is that he is always covered with three material coverings—vaikārika, taijasa and tāmasa. Because of these three modes of material nature, he always associates with the external energy and egotism itself.’

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.312

brahmā, śiva—ājñā-kārī bhakta-avatāra
pālanārthe viṣṇu—kṛṣṇera svarūpa-ākāra
 “The conclusion is that Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are simply devotee incarnations who carry out orders. However, Lord Viṣṇu, the maintainer, is the personal feature of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.317