Vishnu and Shiva

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Mar 18 01:06:04 CST 2003

This is a reply to several points raised in the thread.

Dr. P.K. Nair wrote:

> Pranam to all the learned among the several discussants.
> I try to read most of your postings. I find several as intellectual
> exercises and I do not see much spirituality. Will there be a return to
> spirituality?
> The term Parameshwara is used for Siva as well. In Advaita, is there a
> difference between Vishnu and Siva? Aren't they the same? In Siva Sahasra
> Namaavali one of the names (#638) of Siva is Padmanabha.

You are absolutely right.  to be fair, Kalyan did say his question was
academic rather than practical.  From the point of Advaitic practice such
bickering is totally pointless.

And to address the bit about "return to spirituality", people write about
what they are interested in.  If you aren't interested in the same things
please write about something you are interested in.  (Like some of the
names from the Shivasahasranama and their advaitic purport maybe?)  The
beauty of the internet is there is an unlimited amount of space for

Rolando Santos wrote:

> 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.

This is a very important concept to grasp imo.  Time moves along a wheel.
So while it may seem to be in constant motion, the net effect is of
stillness if you look at the big picture.  Nowadays we are learning more
and more about the cycles of life.  Take for example forest fires.  In a
forest you occasionally have a huge conflagoration that devastates entire
areas.  But paradoxically, this is a good thing.  The fire destroys the
deadwood that strangles new growth and its ashes fertilize the ground
replenishing the source of nourishment.  So a forest fire is not just
destruction but also maintainence and creation.

> 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.

Interestingly we read that as Shri not Hri.

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

In an offlist conversation, a list member and I were discussing a Rk where
Surya Bhagawan is called the Gandharva in the waters.

Kalyan Chakravarthy wrote:

> Again, in the Isa Upanishad, the Sun is asked to remove its rays so that the
> Purusha within the Sun may be viewed. Does this not resemble Rudra being THE
> solar diety and Vishnu being the source of strength for Rudra?

No this is just illustrating the difference between the saguna and nirguna
aspects of Brahman.

I think a case can be made tht Vishnu Bhagawan is given a greater
prominence in the Vedic texts.  In a followup posting, I'll explain why.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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