Vishnu and Shiva

Aniruddhan ani at EE.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Mar 11 12:56:28 CST 2003

namaste Sri Kalyan,

>Smriti statements are secondary to the sruti statements. The eg of vishnu
>purana was given to show that I have avoided quoting from it as it is
>only. Let there be a 1000 statements in the smriti sub-ordinating Vishnu to
>Shiva. What I need is a simple and a direct statement from the sruti that
>says Vishnu has derived his power from Shiva.(not that which says Vishnu is
>equal to Shiva).

Based on *one* quote saying that rudra derives his power from vishnu, and
others saying that vishnu is the supreme, you are going to discount all
other numerous statements in the vedas about rudra being the supreme???
Especially since, from the context, it is not clear whether vishnu with the
shankha-chakra or brahman (in an etymological sense) is being referred to
in the "rudra derives his power from vishnu" quote?

>1.From the maha upanishad.

Can you please give the relevant quote from the maha upanishad? Is this the
same as the mahAnArAyaNopanishad? maybe you are referring to the narayana-

>2.The Rig Veda praises Vishnu as helping Indra in defeating his enemies.
>Again it is the Kena Upanishad, which says that the victory of Gods is
>actually the victory of Brahman.(Brahman = Narayana).

Therefore vishnu is not brahman, because brahman is nirguna, but vishnu has
shankha, chakra, resides in the milk-ocean, has the qualities of pure
sattva etc. If you are using vishnu to refer to brahman, then you will get
no arguments from anybody here. In fact, in all the rigvedic quotes you
have given, are there any references to the qualities of vishnu to show
that the bhagavan vishnu is being referred to as opposed to vishnu just
being used as another name of brahman in the etymological sense?

>4.The purusha sukta which calls purusha as having Lakshmi as His consort.
>Again the Narayana sukta calls Narayana as purusha.

The Purushasuktam says H^rishchate LakshmIshcha patnyau. i.e. H^ri AND
Lakshmi are the consorts of the Purusha. Usually H^ri refers to Parvati. So
Rudra has as much right as Vishnu to be the Purusha of the Purushasuktam.

>8.And in the Rig Veda itself, in the devi suktam, Devi mentions herself as
>having her source of power in the oceans. Who is the being in the oceans?
> Is
>it not Vishnu?

Maybe Varuna, the lord of the oceans?

>9. And Devi says that she is the power behind Indra and Rudra. No mention
>Vishnu over there. Thus she can be treated as identical to Narayana(she
>being the source of power for Rudra) or derived from Narayana. Again, if
>identify this devi with the Uma of the Kena Upanishad, you can call her as

Why no mention of brahmaa(prajapati), varuna etc? because they are all
brahman only, and indra and rudra have been singled out because they are
NOT brahman? No, Indra and Rudra have been mentioned as examples only.

>10.Again, Devi calls herself as the Queen of the Universe and the giver of
>wealth to those who worship Her. This can be taken as a similarity to

Are there any quotes that say that only Lakshmi devi is the Queen of the
Universe and that Parvati and Sarasvati derive their powers from her? Maybe
we can then discount the statements in the vedas that say Parvati/Sarasvati
is the supreme devata :-)

>11. All major schools interpret Vishnu as Narayana.

Agreed that in the popular context nArAyaNa refers to bhagavan vishnu only.
In any case, in the advaita school, vishnu is not always interpreted as
Narayana. It is quite common to interpret vishnu in the etymological sense.
For example, the Shloka "ShuklAmbaradharam vishnum..." is interpreted as
referring to Lord Ganesha, the God who removes obstacles, as opposed to
bhagavan Vishnu.

>By saying that Rudra derives his power from Vishnu, it is clear that the
>statements that treat Rudra as - equal to Vishnu, most auspicious, the
>Supreme among Gods, etc., must be interpreted in the same way in which we
>say "Tat Tvam Asi, Shvetaketo".(This is at the stage of moksha only).
>Similarly all supremacy goes to the Brahman or Narayana in Shiva.

In fact, by the "narayana-in-shiva" reference this means that narayana is
nirguna brahman only, and not vishnu. Is there any vedic quote in support
of this one god in another god statement? In fact, in the narayana suktam,
there is not one reference to the qualities of bhagavan vishnu like shankha-
chakra etc and at the end it says "sa harih..." etc.

>>agni is the foremost among the Gods (Rg Veda 1.1).
>>"rudro vA eshhayadagniH", rudra verily is agni. (RV)
>Please see the above explanation. Also, in the Upanishads, it is
mentioned -
>In fear of That(Brahman) fire burns. So if fire = rudra as you seem to say,
>then rudra must be afraid of Brahman.

may I refer you to your point #6:

>6.Vishnu is the solar diety. And the Upanishads call the "being" in the sun
>as Brahman and more importantly as the Purusha, which as shown earlier is
>applicable to Vishnu.

If I am not mistaken, your quote above that "in fear of brahman fire burns"
is from the taittiriyopanishad - bhishasmadvata:pavate etc. In fact, two
lines before bhishasmad-agnishcha-indrashcha ("agni and indra are in fear
of brahman"), the upanishad says bhishodeti suryah (the sun is in fear of
brahman). In light of your statement above that vishnu is the solar diety,
what does this mean? Also shown earlier is that the title of Purusha is as
applicable to Rudra as to Vishnu.


Sruti smRti purANAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam
namAmi bhagavatpAda Sam.karam lokaSam.karam

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