Vishnu and Shiva

kalyan chakravarthy kalyan_kc at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 10 12:46:23 CST 2003


Before I start, please note that this topic is purely for academic interest
and I have no intention to hurt the feelings of anyone. Thank you for your

I understand that there are many puranas, some which praise Vishnu, some
Shiva, some Shakthi etc. But puranas are smriti and not sruti. From my
understanding it is sruti and not smriti which is more authoritative. For
that matter there are innumerable quotes in the puranas which praise Vishnu
as supreme. Eg. Vishnu Purana etc.(Sri Adi Shankara uses Vishnu Purana.) But
I refrained from quoting puranas as they are only smriti.

I want to know what the srutis say. The Rig Veda which is definitely a sruti
seems to say that Rudra derives his strength from Vishnu.(RV 7.40.5) And in
the Narayana and the Purusha suktas, it is Narayana/Purusha(Vishnu) who is
praised as the supreme. Here I foresee an objection ---

Objection - Vedas praise Rudra also as supreme.

Tentative answer1.(not my own) - When Rudra is praised as supreme it is
actually the Narayana inside the rudra who is praised.

Tentative answer2.(not my own)- Narayana is a proper noun, while siva,
rudra, shambhu etc. are common nouns. So the words siva etc. could be used
for narayana also.

Objection - When the sruti praises Narayana it could actually be referring
to rudra(just as what was said for sruti praising rudra)

Tentative Answer-That is not correct, for the sruti calls narayana as the
supreme self and the para brahma and more importantly, it would then be a
contradiction to call Rudra as deriving his strength from Vishnu.

I appreciate sharing of ideas on this subject.

PS: Please use sruti and not smriti to justify your answers. Thank you.

Best Regards

>From: Rolando Santos <sivadancer at YAHOO.COM>
>Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
>Subject: Re: Vishnu and Shiva
>Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 10:12:21 -0800
>Some thoughts that popped into my head when I read
>your post. I beg further clarification from more
>learned members:
>1) Rudra and Vishnu are ultimately ONE not TWO.
>2) Brahma - Vishnu - Rudra can be thought of as states
>of the ONE Being. For example: in the course of
>building a sand castle, you will experience these
>three states. When you are first building, you are
>like Brahma. When you protect your castle from the
>waves and wind, you are like Vishnu. When you finally
>tear down the castle, you are like Rudra. Throughout,
>you are still only the one being, only going through
>different states. If Brahma hadn't created, there
>wouldn't be anything for Vishnu to protect, and if
>Vishnu hadn't protected anything, there wouldn't be
>anything for Rudra to destroy...and if Rudra hadn;t
>destroyed, there wouldn't be any room for Brahma to
>create again. All states of being "get power" or are
>dependant on the other states.
>3) I think from the Puranas: Vishnu receives his power
>to protect the Universe from the sudarshana discus
>which was a boon from Shiva after Vishnu's worhipping
>him with his own eye.
>4) As long as we're going the Purana route, Brahma -
>Vishnu - Shiva ultimately get their power from their
>respective Shaktis...otherwize they are static and
>unmoving. So, as long as one is wondering who gets
>power from whom, I feel it is important not to forget
>--- kalyan chakravarthy <kalyan_kc at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > Namaskaar,
> >
> > I know my question is not relevant for
> > advaitins(including me), but just for
> > the sake of academic interest I am asking you this.
> > While going through the
> > Rig Veda, I have found the reference -
> >
> > asya devasya mILhuSo vayA viSNoreSasya prabhRthe
> > havirbhiH
> > vide hi rudro rudriyaM mahitvaM yAsiSTaM
> > vartirashvinAvirAvat
> >
> > (RIG VEDA 7.40.5)
> >
> > The essence of the translation(not mine, second
> > hand) is that Rudra's power
> > is due to Vishnu. Does it not show that Vishnu (and
> > more importantly not
> > rudra)is the cause of everything?
> >
> > Please understand that I am asking this out of
> > academic interest alone. I
> > apologize if I sounded offensive.
> >
> >
> > Best Regards
> > Kalyan
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