Tag Archives: Shiva

Spiritual Personalities

Question: In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, there is Catuhślokī Bhāgavatam, which is spoken by the Lord Himself (SB 2.9.33–36). Was it spoken by the Lord on the first day (kalpa) of Lord Brahmā, or during the present kalpa?

Answer: On the first day of Brahmā.

Question: Do Sanatkumāra, Lord Śiva, and Śrī Nārada Muni take birth in every kalpa?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Are mother Sarasvatī and mother Gāyatrī two wives of Lord Brahmā?

Answer: Yes.

Question: In the Brahma-saṁhitā, we read that Lord Brahmā received kāma-gāyatrī from mother Sarasvatī.

Answer: There is also Sarasvatī in the spiritual world.

Question: In Bhāgavatam 3.12 28, are Vak (daughter of Lord Brahmā) and mother Sarasvatī the same person?

Answer: Sometimes they are described as the same and sometimes as different personalities. There are differences in the stories because they belong to different creation cycles. Creation cycles have no beginning. The stories from different kalpas are also merged and thus described as one cycle. The most important aspect is the teaching conveyed through stories. The teaching is the same but told in many ways. That is why the stories also vary from one Purāṇa to another.


Question: I’ve come across conflicting statements and thought to write you for clarity. 

Although Brahmā is a post, meaning many persons may fill that post, is there only one such person in each universe during its duration? Are there times when a Brahmā is liberated during the manifestation of that universe, and another fills the post of Brahmā?

Answer: Brahmā stays for his complete span of life. He is not liberated before that. For this reference, please refer to Vedanta Sutra 3.3.33—yāvad-adhikāram avasthitirīdhikāriṇām and also SB 12.4.5, which states that Brahmā stays for a period of dvi-parardha (his complete lifespan). There is only one person qualified for this post in a particular brahmāṇḍa. If there are more than one, they would be made in-charge in another brahmāṇḍa. When no one is qualified to take up the post, then Viṣṇu Himself accepts the post. When you read statements in some other texts that Viṣṇū manifestfrom Brahmā or Śiva, then it is to be understood that the specific Brahmā or Śiva is none other than Viṣṇu. In their unrestricted sense (mukta-pragraha nyāya) the words Brahmā and Śiva refer to Viṣṇu. But their popular meanings refer to the guṇavatāras of rajas and tamas.


Question: Who is Lord Śiva, and how did he manifest? What is his relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa? Who’s superior in tattva?

Answer: Please read the Twelfth Chapter of the Third Canto of the Bhāgavata.

Question: It says that Rudra was born out of the wrath of Brahmā. I have also heard other things about his origin; for example, He’s svayambhu, or in a different time period, he appeared first and expanded into Viṣṇu and Brahmā (ŚivaPurāṇa). I also read that Nārāyaṇa and Śiva are like milk and curd. Which version is correct?

Answer: We accept the Śrīmad Bhāgavata version. However, if you want to understand the true meaning of the statements that differ from the Bhāgavata description, then you have to study them in proper context. You did not give any references to your different descriptions, so I cannot comment on them.


Question: Only the Lord retains the two insignia of Śrīvatsa and Kaustubha. Śrīvatsa represents the consort of Lord, Śrī Lakṣmī Devī, the Goddess of Happiness. How can Lakṣmī Devī be understood in relation to Rādhārāṇī?

Answer: Rādhārāṇī is Mahālakṣmī.


Question: In Bhagavat Sandarbha, four types of sannyāsīs are mentioned. The most complete type is the paramahaṁsa. Can you explain the difference between a  jñānī-paramahaṁsa and a bhāgavata-paramahaṁsa?

Answer:Jñānī-paramahaṁsa means a sannyāsī following Advaitavāda, like Śaṅkarācārya. Bhāgavata-paramahaṁsameans a devotee sannyāsī, like the Gosvāmīs of Vrindavan.






Don’t Analyse Līlā by Logic

Question: If Śiva is omniscient, does Satī not know about the plan as a divine energy of Lord? For instance, is she controlled by yoga-māyā potency and thus unable to know the plan of the Lord?

Answer: If everybody were to behave as if they were omniscient, then there would be no līlā. So, as part of līlā, They play as if ignorant. Even Kṛṣṇa acts in the same way. Otherwise there would be no play, no fun and no education for us from their play. They perform naralīlā.

Question: It is said that Lord Śiva told Satī that, “Rāvaṇa had pleased ten expansions (Rudras) of Lord Śiva, but not the eleventh one, who would become the helpful hand of Śrī Rāma to destroy Rāvaṇa.” So how does one understand this? Are different expansions pleased independently, but not the eleventh one? Is the eleventh one is more special and superior to other ten expansions in terms of potency? 

Answer: The meaning is that Rāvaṇa offered his ten senses to Śiva but not his ego or pride. Without ego, the offering is not complete, and pride is the root cause of evil. 

Question: For getting a son, Maharāja Keśari at Gokarṇa protected the innocent sages by slaying a demon known as Śambasādana. Pleased with Keśari for relieving them of their burden, the sages offered them Śiva mantra. As soon as Keśari chanted this mantra, Lord Śiva appeared before him and blessed him with Śiva Śakti.

So why were the sages, who could offer the mantra, unable to summon Lord Śiva for their protection and instead had to wait for someone else to chant the mantra and help them?

Answer: As said above, some of these stories are there to promote līla, which is meant to give us education. So, you do not have to analyze everything by logic. Logic is not everything. Above logic is love. And līlā is manifestation of love. You are applying logic only to understand why someone did this and not that, but not to understand the intent of the śāstra. Śāstra intends to teach us. That should be our focus. Otherwise you go on analyzing, like modern scholars, who write papers but learn nothing practical that can be applied for the betterment of life.

Question: Is the relation between Mother Kuntī and Sūrya Deva, Añjana and Vāyudeva, Parāśara Muni and Satyavatī on the physical level? Or, is it by divine power from a distance that these women give birth to a divine child without seminal contact? Does Hanumān as an expansion of Lord Śiva take birth in the same way?

Answer:  Yes. These relations are not physical as in the case of human beings. They are divine. 

Question: How does birth in heaven happen? Do the devas take birth like a normal child after 9 months, and then grow from childhood to youth as on earth?

Answer: There is no birth in heaven like that of a human child. 

Question: Indra could give a boon to Hanumān which allowed no weapon to injure him, but the same Indra was defeated by the demons. Likewise, Hanumān was injured by the weapon of Bharata while bringing the Sañjīvanī herb that was meant to revive Lakṣmaṇa. So the boons of the devatās do not give absolute protection.  

Similarly, Brahmā gave Hanuman a boon to become the eternal servant of Srī Rāma, but he himself prayed to get the mercy of Kṛṣṇa as in Brahmā vimohanalīlā, where he prays to become grass and dust of Vraja. So how to understand this? Surely, one who can give something must be a possessor of that very thing?

Answer: Indra was defeated but was he injured? Getting defeated is not same as being injured. Was Hanumān really injured by Bharata’s arrow? So did he go to hospital for a dressing, or did he just fly away as if nothing has happened? If he was really injured, how could he fly away with the mountain on his hand? He was not groaning in pain.

Becoming a servant of Rāma is not the same as entering into Vraja. 

Question: Why did our Gauḍīya ācāryas not write any commentaries on the Rāmāyaṇa?

Answer: Why do you think they should write one? They are adherents of Kṛṣṇa-bhakti and not Rāma-bhakti. 

Question: The moon rests on Lord Śiva. How does it differ from the moon in the sky?

Answer: It is a representation of the moon. The meaning is that it keeps Śiva’s head cool. 

Question: Does Lord Śiva permanently hold Gaṅgā on His head?

Answer: Just a representation of Gaṅgā. 

Reconciling Conflicting Statements

Question: As you often cite Gītā verse 7.14 to support that only bhakti to Kṛṣṇa delivers one from the material world, what would you say about the following verse from Śiva Purāṇa?

“One who takes refuge with you, has surely taken refuge with me.

The one who thinks that you (Hari) are different from me surely falls into hell.” 10.14||(Rudra Samhitā, Sṛṣti Khaṇda)

Here is Gītā 7.14 for reference: 

“Those who take refuge in Me alone will cross this māyā”.

Also, a couple of preceding verses offer a different creative view on guṇa composition of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Harā. I am wondering how it can be reconciled with the Bhāgavatam view?

Answer: The first reply is that Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB) overrides anything that contradicts it. SB is the last word of Vyāsa. What comes later, supersedes.

Śiva and Pārvatī

Secondly, Śiva Purāṇa is one among the tāmasika Purāṇas. This is described in Tattva Sandarbha. Thus it may not give the ultimate truth.

The third reply is that the names Śiva and Parameśvar (as used here in Śiva Purāṇa) originally mean Kṛṣṇa. This is explained in Paramātma Sandarbha. So these types of verses (that speak of Śiva as supreme) are to be taken as spoken by Kṛṣṇa. Viṣṇu is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa and thus there is no conflict.

The fourth reply is that “Those who take refuge in Me alone will cross this māyā.”

Question:  It seems that Śiva Purāṇa applies the same principle that the Bhāgavatam does. The Bhāgavatam accepts Brahman but installs Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme. Likewise, Śiva Purāṇa accepts Hari but installs Śiva as the Ultimate.

Answer: Read the verse carefully. First it speaks of taking refuge in Hari and not Śiva. So a devotee of Hari is naturally devoted to Śiva, who is a Vaiṣṇava. The very third offence against the Name of Kṛṣṇa is to see the difference between Kṛṣṇa and Śiva. This is our principle. Nobody is different from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the advaya-tattva–-non-dual Reality. So we have no problem with this verse.

Moreover, the word “Īśvara” is used for Śiva and “Parameśvara” for Kṛṣṇa. So as I have said above, the verse is actually spoken by Parameśvara and not Īśvara.

Free Will

Question:  Viśvanātha Cakravartī writes in his ṭīkā of SB 4.25.25 – avidyā vṛttyā jīvaḥ svam icchayāiva badhnāti na tu tam īśvaras tayā balātkārena badhnāti iti vaktum tayoḥ sambandhasya prakāram āha. Bhanu Swami translates as follows: “The jiva by his free will becomes bound by the working of ignorance. To show that the Lord does not bind the jīva to ignorance by force, how they establish a relationship is explained.” What does free will mean in this context?

Answer: Icchayāiva means by his desire. There is no Sanskrit word for free will. In Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s comment the word used is icchayā eva, which means only by His desire or will. It is a Christian concept. Icchayā (instrumental case singular) is a function of ignorance; in the verse, avidyā vṛttyā modifies it. (avidyā vṛttyā icchayā means by desire which is a state of ignorance).