Vishnu and Shiva

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at YAHOO.COM
Tue Mar 11 16:12:56 CST 2003

--- kalyan chakravarthy <kalyan_kc at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:


> >Shankara also quotes the Agneya PuraaNa and the
> Kuurma PuraaNa in his
> >famous brahma suutra bhaashhya (3.4.41 and 4.3.10),
> and the Linga Purana
> >in his vishhNu sahasranaama bhaashhya (see his
> commentary on shiva-naama)
> >to emphasize the oneness of shiva and vishhNu. I
> believe he quotes from
> >a few other PuraaNaas also in his other
> bhaashhyaas.
> >
> >The Linga puraaNa says that in order to conquer the
> ego of nRisimha, Shiva
> >destroys that avataara of vishhNu and adds that
> skull to His garland, thus
> >"liberating vishhNu from ignorance"!
> >
> >I remember a thread on soc.religion.hindu when
> Ramakrishnan B. of this
> >mailing list gave several purANic examples where
> Shiva betters VishhNu
> 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 smriti
> 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).

The reason I gave the various quotes of Shankara on
several PurANaas was because of your statement
"Shankara uses the Vishnu Purana" [sic]. Iskconites
use this kind of half-baked knowledge to portray
Shankara as a Vaishnava!

> >Before we proceed -- how do you identify
> purushha/nArAyaNa with vishhNu?
> Note: I am using sruti only as primary. And I hope
> you do the same.


> 1.From the maha upanishad.

There are several spurious upanishhads that are used
by VaishhNavaas for their propaganda, though I cannot
be sure this is one!

Please see the shvetaashvatara upanishhad:

3.2 Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do
not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules
all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner
Self of every living being...

3.3 His eyes are everywhere, His faces everywhere, His
arms everywhere, everywhere His feet. He it is who
endows men with arms, birds with feet and wings and
men likewise with feet. Having produced heaven and
earth, He remains as their non—dual manifester.

3.4 He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods
and the bestower of their powers, the support of the
universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to
Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!

So you have some quotes from maha upanishhad about
vishNu, and I have some from shvetaashvatara about
Shiva. You drive one car and I drive another. Big

> 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).

The point that is made above is garbled, and far from

> 3.The very statement that Rudra derives his power
> from Vishnu(in the
> Rig-veda)and the statement made that Narayana is
> Rudra(just like Tat Tvam
> Asi Shevataketu which does not mean shvetaketu is
> the creator) shows that
> Vishnu has greater claim to be Narayana than anyone
> else.

Saying "Vishnu has greater claim than anyone else..."
is hardly proof that he is indeed nArAyaNa! And it
certainly does not eliminate the possibility that:

nArAyaNa > VishNu, rudra etc.

> By no means of
> imagination can I interpret Tat Tvam Asi to mean
> that Shvetaketu is creator,
> preserver or destroyer. It means that the jiva of
> Shvetaketu is Brahman in
> the stage of moksha.

The conscious Self that is Shvetaketu IS the creator,
preserver and destroyer of the universe. The conscious
Self is the same from Ishvara down to the smallest
insect. The upanishhad is firm on this point.

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

The purushha suuktam also says that "Hrii" is a
consort of the Purushha. "Hrii" is a bija-akshara of
aadiparaashakti a.k.a paarvatii, the consort of Shiva.
If anything, the purushha-suuktam praises both VishNu
and Shiva as the Purushha. Vidyasankar Sundaresan, one
of the moderators of this list, has explained this

> Again the Narayana sukta calls Narayana as purusha.

Again, how do you say that nArAyaNa is VishNu?

> 5.The Katha Upanishad which talks of Vishnu.(here
> however,Sri Adi Shankara
> interprets it as all-pervading)


> 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.

Read again the shvetaashvatara upanishhad:

3.3 His eyes are everywhere, His faces everywhere, His
arms everywhere, everywhere His feet.

Contrast this with the purushha suuktam which says
very similar things about the purushha.

According the shrI rudram of the yajur veda, rudra is
the deity who is "sarveshvara" -- the Lord of All.

The mahaanaaraayaNa upanishhad says, "Everything is
Rudra, we worship That Rudra."

> 7.Again it is Vishnu who is treated as the sacrifice
> as his head was cut
> off. Dont you see the similarity with the Purusha of
> the Rig Veda who was
> also the sacrifice?


> 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?

That still doesn't say VishhNu is supreme/nArAyaNa/...

I cannot believe you made these points seriously:

> 9. And Devi says that she is the power behind Indra
> and Rudra. No mention of
> 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 you
> identify this devi with the Uma of the Kena
> Upanishad, you can call her as
> Brahma-Jnana.
> 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
> Lakshmi.
> 11. All major schools interpret Vishnu as Narayana.
> As I said earlier, let there be a 1000 statements in
> the smriti which
> sub-ordinate Vishnu to Shiva. I need one statement
> from sruti which says
> that Vishnu derived his power from Rudra.

My point is: what about the statements that say that
rudra is the supreme? Are you going to simply ignore

I think the one and only point you really have going
for you thus far is: RV 7:40:5 that says


With offerings I propitiate the branches of this
swift-moving God, the bounteous Visnu. Hence Rudra
gained his Rudra-strength: O Asvins, ye sought the
house that hath celestial viands.

Firstly, there is no contradiction in saying that
rudra gained his strength from himself.

Second possibility: all that is being said is that
rudra gained his strength by sacrifice, but even if it
be by sacrificing to VishhNu, that still doesn't make
him strictly subordinate :-)

> >(The statement in the nArAyaNa suuktam.h that goes
> as "sa brahma, sa
> >shivaH sa hariH sendraH soksharaH
> parama.ssvaraaT.h" does not include
> >"hariH" in the shrI vaishhNava tradition, and they
> claim that the broken
> >chandas is a later addition.)
> First of all, I am a smartha only and not a
> sri-vaishnava or a madhva.
> Proof: I am an extreme and a fanatical believer in
> nirguNa brahman.(neti
> neti of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Turiya of the
> Mandukya Upanishad.)

It really doesn't matter who one is for the sake of an
academic discussion.

> Now, to the subject. Let Hari and Shiva be treated
> on an equal footing.
> After all saying "Tat Tvam Asi, Shvetaketo" does a
> similar thing. But by no
> means of wild imagination do we say that Shvetaketu
> is the cause of all
> causes.

By the very statement of fact of the upanishhads, the
conscious being that is shvetaketu IS Brahman, the
cause of all causes, whether the shrI vaishhNavaas
like it or not. No wild imagination is required for
this. If the shrI vaishhNavaas are arguing that they
find shruti "hard to believe", they're like babies
talking nonsense!

> 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.

See above.

> >There are several statements in the Vedas where
> rudra is praised as
> >supreme, especially the shvetaashvatara upanishhad.
> >There are also statements where other gods are
> praised as supreme:
> >
> >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.

When a science textbook says "This system OBEYS the
Poisson equation," it doesn't mean that the system is
sitting below the Poisson equation and awaits an order
from above! It only means that the system's laws are
described by the equation. We also say similarly "The
equation GOVERNS the system," again it is not to be
confused that the equation is the master and the
system the slave.

In the same way, when the upanishhads say that agni
fears Brahman, it only means that Brahman is the
ultimate cause of agni burning, just as IT is the
ultimate cause of EVERYTHING.

> The word Gods is not necessarily used to mean
> Brahman. Brahman is that which
> is not understood even by the Gods. Please refer to
> the Kena Upanishad. In
> case your reading is right, then Fire, being Brahman
> should also be afraid
> of Itself, which looks ridiculous.

Hardly any more ridiculous than saying that "tat tvam
asi" is to be replaced by "atat tvam asi".

> PS: I repeat once again that this discussion is
> purely academic and not with
> any other motives.
> Best Regards
> Kalyan



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