Thus Brahmā is the creator, Viṣṇu is the maintainer, and when the time for annihilation arrives, Śiva will finish everything.
Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
CC Preface and Introduction
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Bhakti-sandarbha (213), has clearly explained that a pure devotee's observation of the spiritual master and Lord Śiva as being one with the Personality of Godhead exists in terms of their being very dear to the Lord, not identical with Him in all respects. Following in the footsteps of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, later ācāryas like Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura have confirmed the same truths.
Before the creation and after its dissolution, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates exist; there is no existence of the material elements. This is confirmed in the Vedic literature. Vāsudevo vā idam agra āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ. The meaning of this mantra is that before creation there was no existence of Brahmā or Śiva, for only Viṣṇu existed.
Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are qualitative incarnations. Empowered incarnations are those like the Kumāras, King Pṛthu and Mahā-muni Vyāsa (the compiler of the Vedas).
The path of worship of the innumerable devas, or administrative demigods, is still more hazardous and uncertain than the above-mentioned processes of karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa. This system of worshiping many gods, such as Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Sūrya and the impersonal Viṣṇu form, is accepted by persons who have been blinded by an intense desire for sense gratification.
(4) From Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.33–34 and 7.9.38):
- dhyeyaṁ sadā paribhava-ghnam abhīṣṭa-dohaṁ
- tīrthāspadaṁ śiva-viriñci-nutaṁ śaraṇyam
- bhṛtyārti-haṁ praṇata-pāla-bhavābdhi-potaṁ
- vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam
"We offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Him, the Lord, upon whom one should always meditate. He destroys insults to His devotees. He removes the distresses of His devotees and satisfies their desires. He, the abode of all holy places and the shelter of all sages, is worshipable by Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. He is the boat of the demigods for crossing the ocean of birth and death."
This example also explains the appearance of qualitative incarnations like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, śambhos tu tamo-’dhiṣṭhānatvāt kajjalamaya-sūkṣma-dīpa-śikhā-sthānīyasya na tathā sāmyam: "The śambhu-tattva, or the principle of Lord Śiva, is like a lamp covered with carbon because of his being in charge of the mode of ignorance. The illumination from such a lamp is very minute. Therefore the power of Lord Śiva cannot compare to that of the Viṣṇu principle."
(3) Sthāna: the maintenance of the universe by the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu's function is more important and His glory greater than Brahmā’s and Lord Śiva's, for although Brahmā is the creator and Lord Śiva the destroyer, Viṣṇu is the maintainer.
"Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always the most worshipable Deity of the demigods, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, who came in the garb of ordinary men, bearing love for Him. He instructs His own pure devotional service to His own devotees. Will He again be the object of my vision?"
Demigods such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva come in contact with the material energy, and their power and potency are therefore of different gradations. All the incarnations of Viṣṇu, however, are equal in potency, for the influence of māyā cannot even approach Them.
This text from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.3.23), spoken by Lord Śiva when he condemned Dakṣa, the father of Satī, as an opponent of Viṣṇu, confirms beyond a doubt that Lord Kṛṣṇa, His name, His fame, His qualities and everything in connection with His paraphernalia exist in the sandhinī-śakti of the Lord's internal potency.
The unlimited spiritual atmosphere of that Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma is far above and beyond the material cosmos. This is confirmed in the Svāyambhuva-tantra, in a discussion between Lord Śiva and Pārvatī regarding the effect of chanting the mantra of fourteen syllables.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is not like a material object that can be known by experimental knowledge or sense perception. In the Nārada-pañcarātra this fact has been explained by Nārāyaṇa Himself to Lord Śiva. But Śaṅkarācārya, the incarnation of Śiva, under the order of Nārāyaṇa, his master, had to mislead the monists, who favor ultimate extinction. In the conditioned stage of existence, all living entities have four basic defects, of which one is the cheating propensity. Śaṅkarācārya has carried this cheating propensity to the extreme to mislead the monists.
The beauty of Saṅkarṣaṇa is greater than that of innumerable full moons radiating light beams. He is worshipable as the principle of ego. He has invested Anantadeva with all the potencies of sustenance. For the dissolution of the creation, He also exhibits Himself as the Supersoul in Rudra, in Adharma (the personality of irreligion), in sarpa (snakes), in Antaka (Yamarāja, the lord of death) and in the demons.
Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are situated within this universe as the directors of the three modes, and their connection with the modes is known as yoga. This does not indicate, however, that these personalities are bound by the qualities of nature. Lord Viṣṇu specifically is always the controller of the three qualities. There is no question of His coming under their control.
In the Vāmana Purāṇa it is said that the same Viṣṇu expands Himself as Brahmā and Śiva to direct the different qualities.
Assuming the form of Rudra, He destroys the creation. Thus creation, maintenance and dissolution are created by His will.
Maheśvara, or Lord Śiva, is not an ordinary living being, nor is he equal to Lord Viṣṇu. Effectively comparing Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva, the Brahma-saṁhitā says that Viṣṇu is like milk, whereas Śiva is like yogurt. Yogurt is nothing like milk, but nevertheless it is milk also.
The Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 2.36–42) gives the following description of the Viṣṇuloka within this universe, quoted from the Viṣṇu-dharmottara: "Above Rudraloka, the planet of Lord Śiva, is the planet called Viṣṇuloka, 400,000 miles in circumference, which is inaccessible to any mortal living being. Above that Viṣṇuloka and east of the Sumeru Hill is a golden island called Mahā-Viṣṇuloka, in the ocean of salt water. Lord Brahmā and other demigods sometimes go there to meet Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu lies there with the goddess of fortune, and it is said that during the four months of the rainy season He enjoys sleeping on that Śeṣa Nāga bed. East of Sumeru is the ocean of milk, in which there is a white city on a white island where the Lord can be seen sitting with His consort, Lakṣmījī, on a throne of Śeṣa. That feature of Viṣṇu also enjoys sleeping during the four months of the rainy season. The Śvetadvīpa in the milk ocean is situated just south of the ocean of salt water. It is calculated that the area of Śvetadvīpa is 200,000 square miles. This transcendentally beautiful island is decorated with desire trees to please Lord Viṣṇu and His consort."
"What is the value of a throne to Lord Kṛṣṇa? The masters of the various planetary systems accept the dust of His lotus feet on their crowned heads. That dust makes the holy places sacred, and even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lakṣmī and I Myself, who are all portions of His plenary portion, eternally carry that dust on our heads."
All the associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, such as Brahmā, Śiva, Nārada, Śuka and Sanātana Kumāra, are very pleased in the sentiment of servitude.
Rudra, who is an expansion of Sadāśiva and who appears in unlimited universes, is also a guṇāvatāra (qualitative incarnation) and is the ornament of all the demigods in the endless universes.
There are eleven expansions of Rudra, or Lord Śiva. They are as follows: Ajaikapāt, Ahibradhna, Virūpākṣa, Raivata, Hara, Bahurūpa, Devaśreṣṭha Tryambaka, Sāvitra, Jayanta, Pināki and Aparājita. Besides these expansions there are eight forms of Rudra called earth, water, fire, air, sky, the sun, the moon and soma-yājī. Generally all these Rudras have five faces, three eyes and ten arms. Sometimes it is found that Rudra is compared to Brahmā and considered a living entity. But when Rudra is explained to be a partial expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is compared to Śeṣa. Lord Śiva is therefore simultaneously an expansion of Lord Viṣṇu and, in his capacity for annihilating the creation, one of the living entities. As an expansion of Lord Viṣṇu he is called Hara, and he is transcendental to the material qualities, but when he is in touch with tamo-guṇa he appears contaminated by the material modes of nature.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, it is stated that Lord Rudra is always associated with the material nature when she is in the neutral, unmanifested stage, but when the modes of material nature are agitated he associates with material nature from a distance. In the Brahma-saṁhitā the relationship between Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva is compared to that between milk and yogurt. Milk is converted into yogurt by certain additives, but although milk and yogurt have the same ingredients, they have different functions. Similarly, Lord Śiva is an expansion of Lord Viṣṇu, yet because of his taking part in the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation, he is considered to be changed, like milk converted into yogurt. In the Purāṇas it is found that Śiva appears sometimes from the heads of Brahmā and sometimes from the head of Viṣṇu. The annihilator, Rudra, is born from Saṅkarṣaṇa and the ultimate fire to burn the whole creation. In the Vāyu Purāṇa there is a description of Sadāśiva in one of the Vaikuṇṭha planets. That Sadāśiva is a direct expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa's form for pastimes. It is said that Sadāśiva (Lord Śambhu) is an expansion from the Sadāśiva in the Vaikuṇṭha planets (Lord Viṣṇu) and that his consort, Mahāmāyā, is an expansion of Ramā-devī, or Lakṣmī.
"O Uddhava! Neither Brahmā, nor Śaṅkara, nor Saṅkarṣaṇa, nor Lakṣmī, nor even My own self is as dear to Me as you."
One may argue that since Śaṅkarācārya is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, how is it that he cheated people in this way? The answer is that he did so on the order of his master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa, in the words of Lord Śiva himself:
- māyāvādam asac chāstraṁ pracchannaṁ bauddham ucyate
- mayaiva kalpitaṁ devi kalau brāhmaṇa-rūpiṇā
- brahmaṇaś cāparaṁ rūpaṁ nirguṇaṁ vakṣyate mayā
- sarva-svaṁ jagato ’py asya mohanārthaṁ kalau yuge
- vedānte tu mahā-śāstre māyāvādam avaidikam
- mayaiva vakṣyate devi jagatāṁ nāśa-kāraṇāt
"The Māyāvāda philosophy," Lord Śiva informed his wife Pārvatī, "is impious (asac chāstra). It is covered Buddhism. My dear Pārvatī, in Kali-yuga I assume the form of a brāhmaṇa and teach this imagined Māyāvāda philosophy. In order to cheat the atheists, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be without form and without qualities. Similarly, in explaining Vedānta I describe the same Māyāvāda philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of the Lord."
In the Śiva Purāṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead told Lord Śiva:
- dvāparādau yuge bhūtvā kalayā mānuṣādiṣu
- svāgamaiḥ kalpitais tvaṁ ca janān mad-vimukhān kuru
"In Kali-yuga, mislead the people in general by propounding imaginary meanings for the Vedas to bewilder them." These are the descriptions of the Purāṇas.
Students of Vedic philosophy know very well how strongly Śrī Rāmānujācārya's viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda and Śrī Madhvācārya's tattva-vāda contest the impersonal Māyāvāda philosophy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, accepted the direct meaning of the Vedānta philosophy and thus defeated the Māyāvāda philosophy immediately. He opined in this connection that anyone who follows the principles of the Śārīraka-bhāṣya is doomed. This is confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa, where Lord Śiva tells Pārvatī:
- śṛṇu devi pravakṣyāmi tāmasāni yathā-kramam
- yeṣāṁ śravaṇa-mātreṇa pātityaṁ jñāninām api
- apārthaṁ śruti-vākyānāṁ darśayal loka-garhitam
- karma-svarūpa-tyājyatvam atra ca pratipādyate
- sarva-karma-paribhraṁśān naiṣkarmyaṁ tatra cocyate
- parātma-jīvayor aikyaṁ mayātra pratipādyate
"My dear wife, hear my explanations of how I have spread ignorance through Māyāvāda philosophy. Simply by hearing it, even an advanced scholar will fall down. In this philosophy, which is certainly very inauspicious for people in general, I have misrepresented the real meaning of the Vedas and recommended that one give up all activities in order to achieve freedom from karma. In this Māyāvāda philosophy I have described the jīvātmā and Paramātmā to be one and the same."
The material world is a manifestation of the three modes of material nature, but one has to become free from these modes to come to the spiritual world, where their influence is completely absent. Now Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu will disassociate Lord Śiva from Māyāvāda philosophy in the following verse.
“Śaṅkarācārya, who is an incarnation of Lord Śiva, is faultless because he is a servant carrying out the orders of the Lord. But those who follow his Māyāvādī philosophy are doomed. They will lose all their advancement in spiritual knowledge.
Māyāvādī sannyāsīs do not worship the Deity, or if they do so they generally worship the deity of Lord Śiva or the pañcopāsanā (Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, Durgā-devī, Gaṇeśa and Sūrya). Here we do not find any mention of the demigods or Viṣṇu, and yet Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted food in the midst of the sannyāsīs on the basis that they had chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and that He had excused their offenses.
The important point in this verse is that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regularly visited the temple of Viśveśvara (Lord Śiva) at Vārāṇasī. Vaiṣṇavas generally do not visit a demigod's temple, but here we see that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regularly visited the temple of Viśveśvara, who was the predominating deity of Vārāṇasī. Generally Māyāvādī sannyāsīs and worshipers of Lord Śiva live in Vārāṇasī, but how is it that Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who took the part of a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, also visited the Viśveśvara temple? The answer is that a Vaiṣṇava does not behave impudently toward the demigods. A Vaiṣṇava gives proper respect to all, although he never accepts a demigod to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Brahma-saṁhitā there are mantras offering obeisances to Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, the sun-god and Lord Gaṇeśa, as well as Lord Viṣṇu, all of whom are worshiped by the impersonalists as pañcopāsanā. In their temples impersonalists install deities of Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, the sun-god, goddess Durgā and sometimes Lord Brahmā also, and this system is continuing at present in India under the guise of the Hindu religion. Vaiṣṇavas can also worship all these demigods, but only on the principles of the Brahma-saṁhitā, which is recommended by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. We may note in this connection the mantras for worshiping Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, goddess Durgā, the sun-god and Gaṇeśa, as described in the Brahma-saṁhitā.
"Milk is transformed into curd by the actions of acids, yet the effect, curd, is neither the same as nor different from its cause, viz., milk. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, of whom the state of Śambhu is a similar transformation for the performance of the work of destruction." (Bs. 5.45)
All the demigods are servants of Kṛṣṇa; they are not equal with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore even if one goes to a temple of the pañcopāsanā, as mentioned above, one should not accept the deities as they are accepted by the impersonalists. All of them are to be accepted as personal demigods, but they all serve the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śaṅkarācārya, for example, is understood to be an incarnation of Lord Śiva, as described in the Padma Purāṇa. He propagated the Māyāvāda philosophy under the order of the Supreme Lord. We have already discussed this point in text 114 of this chapter: tāṅra doṣa nāhi, teṅho ājñā-kārī dāsa. "Śaṅkarācārya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purport of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Although Lord Śiva, in the form of a brāhmaṇa (Śaṅkarācārya), preached the false philosophy of Māyāvāda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu nevertheless said that since he did it on the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there was no fault on his part (tāṅra doṣa nāhi).
We must offer proper respects to all the demigods. If one can offer respects even to an ant, why not to the demigods? One must always know, however, that no demigod is equal to or above the Supreme Lord. Ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: (CC Adi 5.142) "Only Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others, including the demigods such as Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, goddess Durgā and Ganeśa, are His servants."
In this material world, the holy name of Viṣṇu is all-auspicious. Viṣṇu's name, form, qualities and pastimes are all transcendental, absolute knowledge. Therefore, if one tries to separate the Absolute Personality of Godhead from His holy name or His transcendental form, qualities and pastimes, thinking them to be material, that is offensive. Similarly, to think that the names of demigods such as Lord Śiva are as good as the name of Lord Viṣṇu—or, in other words, to think that Lord Śiva and the other demigods are other forms of God and are therefore equal to Viṣṇu—is also blasphemous. This is the second offense at the lotus feet of the holy name of theLord.
The tomb of Gadādhara dāsa Prabhu, which is in the village of Eṅḍiyādaha, was under the control of the Saṁyogī Vaiṣṇavas and later under the direction of Siddha Bhagavān dāsa Bābājī of Kālnā. By his order, Śrī Madhusūdana Mullik, one of the members of the aristocratic Mullik family of the Nārikelaḍāṅgā in Calcutta, established a pāṭavāṭī (monastery) there in the Bengali year 1256 (A.D. 1849). He also arranged for the worship of a Deity named Śrī Rādhākānta. His son Balāicāṅda Mullik established Gaura-Nitāi Deities there in the Bengali year 1312 (A.D. 1905). Thus on the throne of the temple are both Gaura-Nityānanda Deities and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deities. Below the throne is a tablet with an inscription written in Sanskrit. In that temple there is also a small Deity of Lord Śiva as Gopeśvara. This is all described on a stone by the side of the entrance door.
Text 87 of the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, compiled by Śrī Kavi-karṇapūra, describes Acyutānanda as a disciple of Gadādhara Paṇḍita and a great and dear devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. According to the opinion of some, he was an incarnation of Kārttikeya, the son of Lord Śiva, and according to others he was formerly the gopī named Acyutā.
Sometimes Māyāvādīs pose themselves as Vaiṣṇavas, or worshipers of Lord Viṣṇu, but actually they do not believe in Lord Viṣṇu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for they consider demigods like Lord Śiva, Durgā, the sun-god and Gaṇeśa equal to Him. They are generally known as pañcopāsaka-smārtas, and one should not count them among the Vaiṣṇavas.
It is also said that on the northern side of the temple there was a Deity of Lord Śiva named Bhāṇḍīśvara and that the father of Nityānanda Prabhu, Hāḍāi Paṇḍita, used to worship that Deity. At present, however, the Bhāṇḍīśvara Deity is missing, and in his place a Jagannātha Svāmī Deity has been installed.
Dressing themselves as the wives of brāhmaṇas, all the celestial ladies, including the wives of Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, King Indra and Vasiṣṭha Ṛṣi, along with Rambhā, a dancing girl of heaven, came there with varieties of gifts.
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a newborn baby, He was visited by the neighboring ladies, most of whom were the wives of respectable brāhmaṇas. In the dress of brāhmaṇas' wives, celestial ladies like the wives of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva also came to see the newborn child. Ordinary people saw them as respectable brāhmaṇa ladies of the neighborhood , but actually they were all celestial ladies dressed in that way.
Ḍākinī and Śāṅkhinī are two companions of Lord Śiva and his wife who are supposed to be extremely inauspicious, having been born of ghostly life. It is believed that such inauspicious living creatures cannot go near a nima tree.
According to the Vedic system, when small girls ten or twelve years old would go to the bank of the Ganges to take their bath, they would especially worship Lord Śiva with prayers to get good husbands in the future. They especially wanted to get a husband like Lord Śiva because Lord Śiva is very peaceful and at the same time most powerful. Formerly, therefore, small girls in Hindu families would worship Lord Śiva, especially in the month of Vaiśākha (April-May). To take a bath in the Ganges is a great pleasure for everyone, not only for adults but for children also.
Addressing the girls, the Lord would say, "Worship Me, and I shall give you good husbands or good benedictions. The Ganges and goddess Durgā are My maidservants. What to speak of other demigods, even Lord Śiva is My servant."
""The greatness of mother Ganges always brilliantly exists. She is the most fortunate because she emanated from the lotus feet of Śrī Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead. She is a second goddess of fortune, and therefore she is always worshiped both by demigods and by humanity. Endowed with all wonderful qualities, she flourishes on the head of Lord Śiva.""
The third fault is that of viruddha-mati, or contradictory conception, in the words bhavānī-bhartuḥ. The word bhavānī refers to the wife of Bhava, Lord Śiva. But since Bhavānī is already known as the wife of Lord Śiva, to add the word bhartā, "husband," thus forming a compound meaning "the husband of the wife of Lord Śiva," is contradictory, for thus it appears as if the wife of Lord Śiva had another husband.
“The word "bhavānī" means "the wife of Lord Śiva." But when we mention her husband, one might conclude that she has another husband.
“It is contradictory to hear that Lord Śiva's wife has another husband. The use of such words in literature creates the fault called viruddha-mati-kṛt.
In Bengal there is perpetual competition between the devotees of goddess Kālī and the devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Generally Bengalis, especially those who are meat-eaters and drunkards, are very much attached to worshiping the goddesses Durgā, Kālī, Śītalā and Caṇḍī. Such devotees, who are known as śāktas, or worshipers of the śakti-tattva, are always envious of Vaiṣṇavas. Since Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura was a well-known and respected Vaiṣṇava in Navadvīpa, Gopāla Cāpāla wanted to reduce his prestige by bringing him down to the platform of the śāktas. Therefore outside Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura's door he placed various paraphernalia for worshiping Bhavānī, the wife of Lord Śiva, such as a red flower, a plantain leaf, a pot of wine, and reddish sandalwood paste.
On another day a great devotee of Lord Śiva, chanting of Lord Śiva's qualities, came to Lord Caitanya's house, where he began dancing in the courtyard and playing his ḍamaru (a musical instrument).
Then Lord Caitanya, adopting the mood of Lord Śiva, got on the man's shoulders, and thus they danced together for a long time.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu adopted the mood of Lord Śiva, for He is Śiva also. According to the philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, Lord Śiva is not different from Lord Viṣṇu, but still Lord Śiva is not Lord Viṣṇu, just as yogurt is nothing but milk and yet is not milk nevertheless. One cannot get the benefit of milk by drinking yogurt. Similarly, one cannot get salvation by worshiping Lord Śiva. If one wants salvation, one must worship Lord Viṣṇu. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.4): mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ. Everything is resting on the Lord, for everything is His energy, yet He is not everywhere. Lord Caitanya's adopting the mood of Lord Śiva is not extraordinary, but one should not therefore think that by worshiping Lord Śiva one is worshiping Lord Caitanya. That would be a mistake.
The definition of a pāṣaṇḍī is given in the tantra-śāstra:
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
"A pāṣaṇḍī is one who considers the great demigods such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa." (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, 1.17)
Great so-called svāmīs have written books saying that one may chant any name—Durgā, Kālī, Śiva, Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, and so on—because any name is all right for invoking an auspicious atmosphere in society. Thus they are called pāṣaṇḍīs—unbelievers or faithless demons.
The pastimes of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are wonderful and unlimited. Even personalities like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Śeṣa Nāga cannot find their end.
The Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta is divided into two parts. The first is called "The Nectar of Kṛṣṇa" and the second "The Nectar of Devotional Service." The importance of Vedic evidence is stressed in the first part, and this is followed by a description of the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Śrī Kṛṣṇa and descriptions of His pastimes and expansions in svāṁśa (personal forms) and vibhinnāṁśa. According to different absorptions, the incarnations are called āveśa and tad-ekātma. The first incarnation is divided into three puruṣāvatāras—namely, Mahā-Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Then there are the three incarnations of the modes of nature—namely, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva).
There are discussions of how one can be liberated even in this life (jīvan-mukta), Lord Śiva as a devotee, and how a bhakta and his devotional service are eternally existing.
After that, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu delivered the celebrated Sapta-tāla trees, took His bath at Setubandha Rāmeśvara and visited the temple of Lord Śiva known as Rāmeśvara.
According to the śākta-sampradāya, a person called kaulāvadhūta thinks materially while externally appearing to be a great devotee of Lord Śiva. When such a person is in an assembly of Vaiṣṇavas, he appears like a Vaiṣṇava.
About six miles south of this Jayanagara station is a village named Chatrabhoga. Sometimes this village is called Khāḍi. In this village is a Deity of Lord Śiva known as Vaijurkānātha.
After hearing this narration, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Gopāla in great ecstasy of love of God. From Kaṭaka He went to Bhuvaneśvara and saw the temple of Lord Śiva. In this way, He gradually arrived at Kamalapura, and on the banks of the Bhārgī River He came to the temple of Lord Śiva, where He entrusted His sannyāsa staff to Nityānanda Prabhu. However, Nityānanda Prabhu broke the staff into three pieces and threw it into the Bhārgī River at a place known as Āṭhāranālā. Being angry at not getting His staff back, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left the company of Nityānanda Prabhu and went alone to see the Jagannātha temple.
In his book Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa, Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura has very nicely described the Lord's journey en route to Kaṭaka (Cuttak). On that journey, the Lord visited a place known as Bālihastā, or Bālakāṭīcaṭi. He then visited the city of Bhuvaneśvara, where Lord Śiva's temple is located. The temple of Bhuvaneśvara is situated about five to six miles from Bālakāṭīcaṭi. The temple of Lord Śiva is mentioned in the Skanda Purāṇa, in the narration about the Lord's garden and the one mango tree. A king named Kāśirāja wanted to fight with Lord Kṛṣṇa, and consequently he took shelter of Lord Śiva to acquire the power to fight the Lord. Being pleased with his worship, Lord Śiva helped him fight Kṛṣṇa. Lord Śiva's name is Āśutoṣa, which indicates that he is very easily satisfied when one worships him, regardless of the purpose, and he gives his devotee whatever benediction the devotee wants. Therefore, people are generally very fond of worshiping Lord Śiva. Thus Kāśirāja was helped by Lord Śiva, but in the fight with Lord Kṛṣṇa he was not only defeated but killed. In this way the weapon known as Pāśupata-astra was baffled, and Kṛṣṇa set fire to the city of Kāśī. Later Lord Śiva became conscious of his mistake in helping Kāśirāja, and he begged Lord Kṛṣṇa's forgiveness. As a benediction from Lord Kṛṣṇa, he received a place known as Ekāmra-kānana.
In the Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya-khaṇḍa, Chapter Two) it is said that when Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu arrived at Śrī Bhuvaneśvara, He visited the temple of Lord Śiva known as Gupta-kāśī (the concealed Vārāṇasī). Lord Śiva established this as a place of pilgrimage by bringing water from all holy places and creating the lake known as Bindu-sarovara. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took His bath in this lake, feeling a great regard for Lord Śiva.
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the temple of Lord Śiva known as Kapoteśvara, Nityānanda Prabhu, who was keeping His sannyāsa staff in custody, broke the staff in three parts and threw it into the river Bhārgīnadī. Later this river became known as Daṇḍa-bhāṅgā-nadī.
“(Addressing Lord Śiva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead said:) "Please make the general populace averse to Me by imagining your own interpretation of the Vedas. Also, cover Me in such a way that people will take more interest in advancing material civilization just to propagate a population bereft of spiritual knowledge."
"(Lord Śiva informed goddess Durgā, the superintendent of the material world:) "In the Age of Kali I take the form of a brāhmaṇa and explain the Vedas through false scriptures in an atheistic way, similar to Buddhist philosophy.""
Kūrma-sthāna is a well-known place of pilgrimage. There is a temple there of Kūrmadeva. In the Prapannāmṛta it is said that Lord Jagannātha took Śrī Rāmānujācārya from Jagannātha Purī and one night threw him to Kūrma-kṣetra. Kūrma-kṣetra is situated on the line of the Southern Railway in India. One has to go to the railway station known as Srikakulam Road. From this station one goes eight miles to the east to reach the holy place known as Kūrmācala. Those who speak the Telugu language consider this holy place very important. This statement is reported in the government gazette known as Gañjāma Manual. There is the Deity of Kūrma there, and, as mentioned above, Śrīla Rāmānujācārya was thrown from Jagannātha Purī to this place. At that time he thought that the Deity of Kūrma was Lord Śiva's deity; therefore he was fasting there. Later, when he understood that the kūrma-mūrti was another form of Lord Viṣṇu, he instituted very gorgeous worship of Lord Kūrma.
""The favor mother Yaśodā obtained from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the bestower of liberation, was never obtained even by Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva, nor even by the goddess of fortune, who always remains on the chest of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu.""
Because Māyāvādīs are on the material platform, they recommend the worship of Śiva or Durgā and say that worship of Kālī and Kṛṣṇa are the same. However, on the spiritual platform there is no demigod worship. The only worshipable object is Kṛṣṇa.
A general example is given: If one wishes to arrive at a certain place, there are many roads leading there, and one can go to that place by any one of these roads. Similarly, these gross materialists say, there are different ways to attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They claim that one can conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as goddess Durgā, goddess Kālī, Lord Śiva, demigod Gaṇeśa, Lord Rāmacandra, Kṛṣṇa, the impersonal Brahman or whatever, and one can chant the Lord's name in any way and in any form. Such materialists claim that since ultimately all these names and forms are one, the result is the same. They also give the example that a man who has different names will answer if called by any one of them. Therefore, they claim, there is no need to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. If one chants the name of Kālī, Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa or anyone else, the result will be the same.
Such claims made by mental speculators are no doubt very pleasing to mental speculators, but those who are actually in knowledge do not admit such conclusions, which are against the authority of the śāstras.
Those who are interested in material promotion engage in ritualistic religious ceremonies and economic development to develop sense gratification. They ultimately attempt to merge into the impersonal existence of the Lord. Such people generally become impersonalists. They are interested in worshiping Lord Śiva or goddess Durgā, but their return is one hundred percent materialistic.
“Even Satyabhāmā, one of the queens of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, desires the fortunate position and excellent qualities of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. All the gopīs learn the art of dressing from Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and even the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, and the wife of Lord Śiva, Pārvatī, desire Her beauty and qualities. Indeed, Arundhatī, the celebrated chaste wife of Vasiṣṭha, also wants to imitate the chastity and religious principles of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
One may become famous as a brahma-jñānī, an impersonalist scholar, or one may become a materially opulent person. In either case, such reputations are inferior to the reputation of Kṛṣṇa's devotee. In the Garuḍa Purāṇa it is said:
- kalau bhāgavataṁ nāma durlabhaṁ naiva labhyate
- brahma-rudra-padotkṛṣṭaṁ guruṇā kathitaṁ mama
"In this Age of Kali, the fame of one who is known as a great devotee is very rare. However, such a position is superior to that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Mahādeva. This is the opinion of all spiritual masters."
In the Ādi Purāṇa, in a conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, it is said, bhaktānām anugacchanti muktayaḥ śrutibhiḥ saha: "The most exalted position of liberation is given by Vedic knowledge. Everyone follows in the footsteps of the devotee." Similarly, in the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa it is further stated, adyāpi ca muni-śreṣṭhā brahmādyā api devatāḥ: "Until now, even the great demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva did not know the influence of a devotee."
It was Lord Śiva who said, "I do not know the truth about Kṛṣṇa, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa knows all the truth. Out of all the devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Prahlāda is the greatest."
In the Bṛhad-vāmana Purāṇa, Lord Brahmā tells Bhṛgu:
- ṣaṣṭi-varṣa-sahasrāṇi mayā taptaṁ tapaḥ purā
- nanda-gopa-vraja-strīṇāṁ pāda-reṇūpalabdhaye
"I underwent meditation and austerities for sixty thousand years just to understand the dust of the lotus feet of the gopīs. Still, I could not understand it. To say nothing of me, even Lord Śiva, Lord Śeṣa and the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, could not understand it."
In the Ādi Purāṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself says:
- na tathā me priyatamo brahmā rudraś ca pārthiva
- na ca lakṣmīr na cātmā ca yathā gopī-jano mama
"Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the goddess of fortune and even My own self are not as dear to Me as the gopīs."
Unless one is a devotee, it is very dangerous to hear the songs about the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa that were written by Jayadeva Gosvāmī, Caṇḍīdāsa and other exalted devotees. Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison, but one should not imitate this. One must first become a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Only then can one enjoy hearing the songs of Jayadeva and relish transcendental bliss. If one simply imitates the activities of Lord Śiva and drinks poison, one will certainly meet with death.
At Śrī Śaila-parvata, the Lord met Lord Śiva and his wife Durgā in the dress of a brāhmaṇa and brāhmaṇī. From there He went to Kāmakoṣṭhī-purī and later arrived at southern Mathurā.
A pāṣaṇḍī is one who thinks that the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is on the same level with the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. A devotee never considers Lord Nārāyaṇa to be on the same platform with Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. The Madhvācārya-sampradāya and Rāmānuja-sampradāya are mainly worshipers of Lord Rāmacandra, although the Śrī Vaiṣṇavas are supposed to be worshipers of Lord Nārāyaṇa and Lakṣmī and the Tattvavādīs are supposed to be worshipers of Lord Kṛṣṇa. At present, in most of the monasteries belonging to the Madhva-sampradāya, Lord Rāmacandra is worshiped.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went to Mallikārjuna-tīrtha and saw the deity of Lord Śiva there. He also induced all the people to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
Mallikārjuna is also known as Śrī Saila. It is situated about one hundred miles northeast of Karṇula on the southern bank of the Kṛṣṇā River. There are great walls all around the village, and within the walls resides the deity known as Mallikārjuna. It is a deity of Lord Śiva and is one of the Jyotir-liṅgas.
There he saw Lord Mahādeva (Śiva), the servant of Lord Rāma. He then went to Ahovala-nṛsiṁha.
“(Lord Śiva addressed his wife, Durgā:) "O Varānanā, I chant the holy name of Rāma, Rāma, Rāma and thus enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Rāmacandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Viṣṇu."
After showing mercy to the brāhmaṇa, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left the next day and arrived at Vṛddhakāśī, where He visited the temple of Lord Śiva.
Vṛddhakāśī’s present name is Vṛddhācalam. It is situated in the southern Arcot district on the bank of the river Maṇimukha. This place is also known as Kālahastipura. Lord Śiva's temple there was worshiped for many years by Govinda, the cousin of Rāmānujācārya.
Arriving at Śiva-kāñcī, Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the deity of Lord Śiva. By His influence, He converted all the devotees of Lord Śiva into Vaiṣṇavas.
Śiva-kāñcī is also known as Kāñcīpuram, or the Benares of southern India. In Śiva-kāñcī there are hundreds of temples containing symbolic representations of Lord Śiva, and one of these temples is said to be very, very old.
After visiting Trimalaya, Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to see Trikāla-hasti. There He saw Lord Śiva and offered him all respects and obeisances.
Trikāla-hasti, or Śrī Kāla-hasti, is situated about twenty-two miles east of Tirupati. On its western side is a river known as Suvarṇa-mukhī. The temple of Trikāla-hasti is located on the southern side of the river. The place is generally known as Śrī Kālahasti or Kālahasti and is famous for its temple of Lord Śiva. There he is called Vāyu-liṅga Śiva.
At Pakṣi-tīrtha, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Lord Śiva. Then He went to the Vṛddhakola place of pilgrimage.
Pakṣi-tīrtha, also called Tirukāḍi-kuṇḍam, is located nine miles southeast of Ciṁlipaṭ. It has a five-hundred-foot elevation and is situated in a chain of hills known as Vedagiri or Vedācalam. There is a temple of Lord Śiva there, and the deity is known as Vedagirīśvara.
At Vṛddhakola, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Śveta-varāha, the white boar incarnation. After offering Him respects, the Lord visited the temple of Lord Śiva, wherein the deity is dressed with yellow garments.
The temple of Lord Śiva mentioned here is situated in Pītāmbara, or Cidāmbaram, which lies twenty-six miles south of Cuddalore. The deity of Lord Śiva there is known as Ākāśaliṅga. The temple is situated on about thirty-nine acres of land, and all this land is surrounded by a wall and by a road that is about sixty feet wide.
The temple of Śiyālī-bhairavī is located in the Tanjore district, about forty-eight miles northeast of Tanjore City. There is a very much celebrated temple of Lord Śiva there and also a very large lake. It is said that once a small boy who was a devotee of Lord Śiva came to that temple, and the goddess Durgā, known as Bhairavī, gave him her breast to suck.
The Lord then visited a place known as Go-samāja, where He saw Lord Śiva's temple. He then arrived at Vedāvana, where He saw another deity of Lord Śiva and offered him prayers.
Go-samāja is a place of pilgrimage for the devotees of Lord Śiva. It is very important and is located near Vedāvana.
Seeing the Śiva deity named Amṛta-liṅga, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered His obeisances. Thus He visited all the temples of Lord Śiva and converted the devotees of Lord Śiva into Vaiṣṇavas.
At Kumbhakarṇa-kapāla, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw a great lake and then the holy place named Śiva-kṣetra, where a temple of Lord Śiva is located.
Kumbhakarṇa is the name of the brother of Rāvaṇa. At the present moment the city of Kumbhakarṇa-kapāla is known as Kumbhakonam; it is situated twenty-four miles northeast of the city of Tanjore. There are twelve temples of Lord Śiva located at Kumbhakonam, as well as four Viṣṇu temples and one temple of Lord Brahmā. Śiva-kṣetra, within the city of Tanjore, is situated near a big lake known as Śiva-gaṅgā. At this place is a large temple of Lord Śiva known as Bṛhatīśvara-śiva-mandira.
After visiting the holy place named Śiva-kṣetra, Caitanya Mahāprabhu arrived at Pāpanāśana and there saw the temple of Lord Viṣṇu. Then He finally reached Śrī Raṅga-kṣetra.
On the other hand, one should not think that the forms of the Lord are the same as the forms of the demigods. This is certainly offensive, as confirmed by the Vaiṣṇava-tantra:
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
"A pāṣaṇḍī is one who considers the great demigods such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa." (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 7.117)
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks, "Which Śrī Śaila is being indicated by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī is not clearly understood. There is no temple of Mallikārjuna in this area because the Śrī Śaila located in the district of Dhārwād cannot possibly be there. That Śrī Śaila is on the southern side of Belgaum, and the Śiva temple of Mallikārjuna is located there. (Refer to text 15 of this chapter.) It is said that on that hill Lord Śiva lived with Devī. Also, Lord Brahmā lived there with all the demigods."
In Śrī Śaila Lord Śiva and his wife Durgā lived in the dress of brāhmaṇas, and when they saw Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they became very pleased.
Lord Śiva, dressed like a brāhmaṇa, gave alms to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and invited Him to spend three days in a solitary place. Sitting there together, they talked very confidentially.
After talking with Lord Śiva, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took his permission to leave and went to Kāmakoṣṭhī-purī.
Southern Mathurā, presently known as Madurai, is situated on the banks of the Bhāgāi River. This place of pilgrimage is specifically meant for the devotees of Lord Śiva; therefore it is called Śaiva-kṣetra, that is, the place where Lord Śiva is worshiped. In this area there are mountains and forests. There are also two Śiva temples, one known as Rāmeśvara and the other known as Sundareśvara.
The island of Pambam is about seventeen miles long and six miles wide. On this island, four miles north of Pambam Harbor, is Setubandha, where the temple of Rāmeśvara is located. This is a temple of Lord Śiva, and the name Rāmeśvara indicates that he is a great personality whose worshipable Deity is Lord Rāma. Thus the Lord Śiva found in the temple of Rāmeśvara is a great devotee of Lord Rāmacandra. It is said, devī-pattanam ārabhya gaccheyuḥ setu-bandhanam: "After visiting the temple of the goddess Durgā, one should go to the temple of Rāmeśvara."
After this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to a holy place known as Ciyaḍatalā, where He saw the Deities of the two brothers Lord Rāmacandra and Lakṣmaṇa. He then proceeded to Tila-kāñcī, where He saw the temple of Lord Śiva.
The Gajendra-mokṣaṇa temple is sometimes mistaken for a temple of Lord Śiva. It is about two miles south of the city of Kaivera (Nagercoil). Actually the Deity is not of Lord Śiva but of Viṣṇu.
Pānāgaḍi (Pannakudi) is about thirty miles south of Tirunelveli. Formerly the temple there contained the Deity of Śrī Rāmacandra, but later the devotees of Lord Śiva replaced Lord Rāmacandra with a deity of Lord Śiva named Rāmeśvara or Rāma-liṅga Śiva.
Tamāla-kārtika is forty-four miles south of Tirunelveli and two miles south of Aramavallī Mountain. It is located within the jurisdiction of Tovalai. At Tamāla-kārtika is a temple of Subrahmaṇya, or Lord Kārtika, the son of Lord Śiva.
Vetāpani, or Vātāpāṇī, is north of Kaila in the Tamil Nadu state. It is also known as Bhūtapaṇḍi and is within the jurisdiction of the Tobala district. It is understood that formerly there was a Deity of Lord Rāmacandra there. Later the Deity was replaced with a deity of Lord Śiva known as Rāmeśvara or Bhūtanātha.
The mind, yoga-nidrā, the goddess of fortune, devotional service in spontaneous ecstasy, incarnations beginning with Lord Rāmacandra, Deities, the conditioned soul and its duties, the truth about Lord Viṣṇu, prayers, Vedic hymns, Lord Śiva, the Vedic literature, personalism and impersonalism, good behavior, and many other subjects are also discussed. There is also a description of the sun and the universal form of the Lord. All these subjects are conclusively explained in a nutshell in the Brahma-saṁhitā.
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.17.28) regarding the personality Citraketu. Once when Citraketu saw the goddess Pārvatī sitting on the lap of Lord Śambhu (Śiva), he criticized Lord Śiva for being shameless and sitting just like an ordinary man with his wife on his lap. For this reason Citraketu was cursed by Pārvatī. Later he became a demon named Vṛtrāsura. Citraketu was a very powerful king and a devotee, and he could certainly retaliate even against Lord Śiva, but when Pārvatī cursed him, he immediately accepted the curse with a bowed head. When he agreed to accept this curse, Lord Śiva praised him and told Pārvatī that a devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa is never afraid of accepting any position provided there is a chance to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the purport of nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati.
After seeing Pañcāpsarā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Gokarṇa. While there, He visited the temple of Lord Śiva, and then He went to Dvaipāyani. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the crown jewel of all sannyāsīs, then went to Sūrpāraka-tīrtha.
Gokarṇa is situated in North Kanara, in the Karnataka state. It is about thirty-three miles southeast of Karwar. This place is very famous for the temple of Lord Śiva known as Mahā-baleśvara. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims come to see this temple.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then visited Nāsika, where He saw the deity of Tryambaka (Lord Śiva). He then went to Brahma-giri and then to Kuśāvarta, the source of the river Godāvarī.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then says, "There are, of course, many Vaiṣṇavas in these holy places, and most of them worship Lord Nārāyaṇa. Others, who are called Tattvavādīs, are also Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa worshipers, but they do not belong to the pure Vaiṣṇava cult. There are many worshipers of Lord Śiva, and there are also many atheists. Regardless, My dear Bhaṭṭācārya, I very much like Rāmānanda Rāya and his opinions."
hen a Vaiṣṇava visits the temple of a demigod, his vision of that demigod is different from the vision of the impersonalists and Māyāvādīs. The Brahma-saṁhitā supports this. A Vaiṣṇava's visit to the temple of Lord Śiva, for example, is different from a nondevotee's visit. The nondevotee considers the deity of Lord Śiva an imaginary form because he ultimately thinks that the Supreme Absolute Truth is void. However, a Vaiṣṇava sees Lord Śiva as being simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Lord. In this regard, the example of milk and yogurt is given. Yogurt is actually nothing but milk, but at the same time it is not milk. It is simultaneously one with milk yet different from it.
Not understanding the process of disciplic succession, so-called logicians put forward the theory of pañcopāsanā, in which a person worships one of five deities—namely Viṣṇu, Śiva, Durgā, the sun-god or Ganeśa. In this conception the impersonalists imagine one of these five deities as supreme and reject the others. Such philosophical speculation, which is certainly idol worship, is not accepted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu or by Vaiṣṇavas.
“(Lord Śiva told the goddess Durgā:) "My dear Devī, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the rendering of service to Vaiṣṇavas, who are related to Lord Viṣṇu."
There are recommendations in the Vedas for the worship of various demigods as well as Lord Viṣṇu. In this quotation from the Padma Purāṇa, Lord Śiva answers a question posed to him by goddess Durgā. This verse is also included in the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (2.4), by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. The words viṣṇor ārādhanam refer to the worship of Lord Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. Thus the supreme form of worship is the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The principles of dharma, religion, come down in the paramparā system beginning with twelve personalities—namely, Lord Brahmā; the great saint Nārada; Lord Śiva; the four Kumāras; Kapila, the son of Devahūti; Svāyambhuva Manu; Prahlāda Mahārāja; King Janaka; grandfather Bhīṣma; Bali Mahārāja; Śukadeva Gosvāmī; and Yamarāja. The principles of religion are known to these twelve personalities.
Here Nārada implies that without the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead one cannot extricate himself from the fruitive activities that are under the jurisdiction of the Vedas. In previous verses (SB 4.29.42–44) Nārada admits that even personalities like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Manu, the Prajāpatis (headed by Dakṣa), the four Kumāras, Marīci, Atri, Aṅgirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhṛgu, Vasiṣṭha and even Nārada himself could not properly receive the causeless mercy of the Lord.
Thus following in the footsteps of Mahārāja Pratāparudra and other devotees, we should learn to worship everything belonging to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is referred to by Lord Śiva as tadīyānām.
In his Bhakti-sandarbha (265), Jīva Gosvāmī further quotes from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.74.40):
- nindāṁ bhagavataḥ śṛṇvaṁs tat-parasya janasya vā
- tato nāpaiti yaḥ so ’pi yāty adhaḥ sukṛtāc cyutaḥ
“"If one does not immediately leave upon hearing the Lord or the Lord"s devotee blasphemed, he falls down from devotional service.’” Similarly, Lord Śiva's wife Satī states in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.4.17):
- karṇau pidhāya nirayād yad akalpa īśe
- dharmāvitary asṛṇibhir nṛbhir asyamāne
- chindyāt prasahya ruśatīm asatīṁ prabhuś cej
- jihvām asūn api tato visṛjet sa dharmaḥ
"If one hears an irresponsible person blaspheme the master and controller of religion, he should block his ears and go away if unable to punish him. But if one is able to kill, then one should by force cut out the blasphemer's tongue and kill the offender, and after that he should give up his own life."
One who is situated in the disciplic succession can be understood by the result of his activities. This is always true as far as the activities of the Lord and His devotees are concerned. Therefore Lord Śiva says:
- ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
- tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam
"Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava." (Padma Purāṇa)
Those who worship the Supreme Lord's energy worship Vārāhī, Vaiṣṇavī and Indrāṇī, as well as many similar forms of Devī, the internal energy. There are many deities of Lord Śiva, and there are many places along the river known as Daśāśvamedha-ghāṭa.
Maṇikarṇikā is famous because, according to the opinion of great personalities, a bejeweled earring fell there from the ear of Lord Viṣṇu. According to some, it fell from the ear of Lord Śiva. The word maṇi means "jewel," and karṇikā means "from the ear." According to some, Lord Viśvanātha is the great physician who cures the disease of material existence by delivering a person through the ear, which receives the vibration of the holy name of Lord Rāma. Because of this, this holy place is called Maṇikarṇikā.
In the Kāśī-khaṇḍa it is said:
- saṁsāri-cintāmaṇir atra yasmāt
- tārakaṁ saj-jana-karṇikāyām
- śivo ’bhidhatte saha-sānta-kāle
- tad gīyate ’sau maṇi-karṇiketi
- mukti-lakṣmī mahā-pīṭha-maṇis tac-caraṇābjayoḥ
- karṇikeyaṁ tataḥ prāhur yāṁ janā maṇi-karṇikām
According to this passage from the Kāśī-khaṇḍa, one who gives up his body at Maṇikarṇikā is liberated simply by remembering Lord Śiva's name.
Most of the inhabitants of Benares were and are impersonalists, worshipers of Lord Śiva and followers of the pañcopāsanā method. The impersonalists imagine some form of the impersonal Brahman, and to facilitate meditation they concentrate upon the forms of Viṣṇu, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Sūrya and goddess Durgā.
A Vaiṣṇava likes to live in a viṣṇu-tīrtha, a place where Lord Viṣṇu's temples are present. In Vārāṇasī there are many hundreds and thousands of Lord Śiva's temples, or pañcopāsaka temples. Consequently Candraśekhara expressed great unhappiness as he informed Lord Caitanya that he was obliged to live at Benares due to his past misdeeds.
The Personality of Godhead is worshiped by exalted demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. The original Māyāvādī sannyāsī, Śaṅkarācārya, also accepted the fact that the Lord's form is transcendental: nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktāt. "Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beyond the avyakta, the unmanifested material energy."
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20) states that there are twelve mahājanas: Brahmā, Nārada, Śambhu, the four Kumāras, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Janaka, Bhīṣma, Bali, Śukadeva and Yamarāja.
Kāmyavana is mentioned in the Ādi-varāha Purāṇa:
- caturthaṁ kāmyaka-vanaṁ vanānāṁ vanam uttamam
- tatra gatvā naro devi mama loke mahīyate
Lord Śiva said, "The best of all forests is the fourth of these, named Kāmyaka. O goddess Devī, any person who goes there is eligible to enjoy the glories of my abode."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then asked them, "Where have you seen Kṛṣṇa directly?"
The people replied, "You are a sannyāsī, a renunciant; therefore You are a moving Nārāyaṇa (jaṅgama-nārāyaṇa)."
This is the viewpoint of Māyāvāda philosophy. Māyāvāda philosophy supports the impersonalist view that Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has no form. One can imagine impersonal Brahman in any form—as Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva, Vivasvān, Gaṇeśa or Devī Durgā. According to the Māyāvāda philosophy, when one becomes a sannyāsī he is to be considered a moving Nārāyaṇa.
""A person who considers demigods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is to be considered an offender, or pāṣaṇḍī.""
The guṇa-avatāras are three—Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu (SB 10.88.3).
The word svāṅga-viśeṣābhāsa-rūpe, indicating the form by which the Lord begets living entities in the material world, is explained herein. He is Lord Śiva. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that Lord Śiva, who is another form of Mahā-Viṣṇu, is like yogurt. Yogurt is nothing but milk, yet it is not milk. Similarly, Lord Śiva is considered the father of this universe, and material nature is considered the mother. The father and mother are known as Lord Śiva and goddess Durgā. Together, Lord Śiva's genitals and the vagina of goddess Durgā are worshiped as the śiva-liṅga. This is the origin of the material creation. Thus Lord Śiva's position is between that of the living entity and that of the Supreme Lord. In other words, Lord Śiva is neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor a living entity. He is the form through which the Supreme Lord works to beget living entities within this material world. As yogurt is prepared when milk is mixed with a culture, the form of Lord Śiva expands when the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in touch with material nature. The impregnation of material nature by the father, Lord Śiva, is wonderful because at one time innumerable living entities are conceived.
The influence of the material energy cannot touch Lord Viṣṇu as she touches Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Therefore it is said that Lord Viṣṇu is transcendental to the material qualities. The incarnations of the material qualities—Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā—are under the jurisdiction of the external energy. Lord Viṣṇu, however, is different. In the mantras of the Ṛg Veda it is said, oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam (Ṛg Veda-saṁhitā 1.22.20). The words paramaṁ padam indicate that He is transcendental to the material qualities. Because Lord Viṣṇu is not within the jurisdiction of the material qualities, He is always superior to the living entities who are controlled by the material energy. This is one of the differences between the Supreme Lord and the living entities. Lord Brahmā is a very powerful living entity, and Lord Śiva is even more powerful. Therefore Lord Śiva is not accepted as a living entity, but at the same time he is not considered to be on the level of Lord Viṣṇu.
“The Supreme Lord in His form of Rudra (Lord Śiva) brings about the dissolution of this material creation. In other words, only by His will are there creation, maintenance and dissolution of the whole cosmic manifestation.
“Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are His three incarnations of the material qualities. Creation, maintenance and destruction respectively are under the charge of these three personalities.
The Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu puruṣa-avatāra expansion of Lord Viṣṇu accepts the material modes—sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa—and thus incarnates as Lord Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva. These are incarnations of the material qualities.
“"What is the value of a throne to Lord Kṛṣṇa? The masters of the various planetary systems accept the dust of His lotus feet on their crowned heads. That dust makes the holy places sacred, and even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lakṣmī and I Myself, who are all portions of His plenary portion, eternally carry that dust on our heads."
“Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, expands a portion of His plenary portion and, accepting the association of the material mode of ignorance, assumes the form of Rudra to dissolve the cosmic manifestation.
This is a description of the Rudra form, which is another expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Only viṣṇu-mūrtis are expansions of Kṛṣṇa's personal and plenary portions. Mahā-Viṣṇu, who lies on the Causal Ocean, is an expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa. When Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu accepts the material modes of nature for the purpose of dissolving the cosmic manifestation, His form is called Rudra. As already explained, Lord Viṣṇu is the controller of māyā. How, then, can He associate with māyā? The conclusion is that the incarnation of Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā indicates the absence of the supreme power of Viṣṇu. When the supreme power is not there, it is possible to associate with māyā, the external energy. Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are to be considered creations of māyā.
“Rudra, Lord Śiva, has various forms, which are transformations brought about by association with māyā. Although Rudra is not on a level with the jīva-tattvas, he still cannot be considered a personal expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Rudra is simultaneously one with and different from the viṣṇu-tattva. Due to his association with māyā, he is different from the viṣṇu-tattva, but at the same time he is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa's personal form. This situation is called bhedābheda-tattva or acintya-bhedābheda-tattva, simultaneously one and different.
Of the three deities supervising the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe, Lord Viṣṇu is never separate from the original Viṣṇu. However, Lord Śiva and Brahmā, due to their association with māyā, are different from Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu cannot be transformed into any form of material energy. Whenever there is association with māyā, the personality involved must be different from Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are called guṇa-avatāras, for they associate with the material qualities. The conclusion is that Rudra is not exactly Lord Viṣṇu but rather a transformation of Viṣṇu. Therefore, he does not come within the category of the viṣṇu-tattvas. Thus he is inconceivably one with Viṣṇu and different from Him. The example given in this verse is very clear. Milk is compared to Viṣṇu. As soon as milk touches a sour substance, it becomes yogurt, or Lord Śiva. Although yogurt is constitutionally milk, it cannot be used in place of milk.
“"Milk changes into yogurt when mixed with a yogurt culture, but actually it is constitutionally nothing but milk. Similarly, Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, assumes the form of Lord Śiva (Śambhu) for the special purpose of material transactions. I offer my obeisances at His lotus feet."
“Lord Śiva is an associate of the external energy; therefore he is absorbed in the material quality of darkness. Lord Viṣṇu is transcendental to māyā and the qualities of māyā. Therefore He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In his constitutional form, Śiva is a mahā-bhāgavata, a supreme devotee of the Lord, but because he accepts māyā’s association—especially the quality of ignorance—he is not free from māyā’s influence. Such an intimate association is completely absent in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. Lord Śiva accepts māyā, but in the presence of Lord Viṣṇu, māyā does not exist. Consequently Lord Śiva has to be considered a product of māyā. When Lord Śiva is free from māyā’s influence, he is in the position of a mahā-bhāgavata, a supreme devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ.
“"The truth about Lord Śiva is that he is always covered with three material coverings—vaikārika, taijasa and tāmasa. Because of these three modes of material nature, he always associates with the external energy and egotism itself."
Although an incarnation of the material energy, Lord Brahmā is nonetheless the director of the material mode of passion. Similarly, Lord Śiva, although simultaneously one with and different from Lord Kṛṣṇa, is still the incarnation of the mode of darkness. However, Lord Viṣṇu is Kṛṣṇa's personal expansion; therefore He is the director of the mode of goodness and is always transcendentally situated, beyond the jurisdiction of the modes of material nature.
“The conclusion is that Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are simply devotee incarnations who carry out orders. However, Lord Viṣṇu, the maintainer, is the personal feature of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
“(Lord Brahmā said:) "I am engaged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to create. Following His orders, Lord Śiva dissolves everything. The Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu maintains all the affairs of material nature. Thus the supreme controller of the three modes of material nature is Lord Viṣṇu."
After describing the universal form of the Lord, Lord Brahmā explained that his position and Lord Śiva's position are controlled by Lord Viṣṇu.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, in his Anubhāṣya, gives a list of Manus and their fathers' names: (1) Svāyambhuva Manu, the son of Lord Brahmā; (2) Svārociṣa, the son of Svarocis, or Agni, the predominating deity of fire; (3) Uttama, the son of King Priyavrata; (4) Tāmasa, the brother of Uttama; (5) Raivata, the twin brother of Tāmasa; (6) Cākṣuṣa, the son of the demigod Cakṣus; (7) Vaivasvata, the son of Vivasvān, the sun-god (whose name is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.1)); (8) Sāvarṇi, a son born to the sun-god and his wife Chāyā; (9) Dakṣa-sāvarṇi, the son of the demigod Varuṇa; (10) Brahma-sāvarṇi, the son of Upaśloka; (11–14) Rudra-sāvarṇi, Dharma-sāvarṇi, Deva-sāvarṇi and Indra-sāvarṇi, the sons of Rudra, Ruci, Satyasahā and Bhūti respectively.
“Each Vaikuṇṭha planet is full of spiritual bliss, complete opulence and space, and each is inhabited by incarnations. If Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot estimate the length and breadth of the spiritual sky and the Vaikuṇṭha planets, how can ordinary living entities begin to imagine them?
“The spiritual qualities of Kṛṣṇa are also unlimited. Great personalities like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the four Kumāras cannot estimate the spiritual qualities of the Lord.
“"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the master of the three worlds and the three principal demigods (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva). No one is equal to or greater than Him. By His spiritual potency, known as svārājya-lakṣmī, all His desires are fulfilled. While offering their dues and presents in worship, the predominating deities of all the planets touch the lotus feet of the Lord with their helmets. Thus they offer prayers to the Lord."
“The primary predominating deities of this material creation are Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu. Nonetheless, they simply carry out the orders of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is master of them all.
“(Lord Brahmā said:) "Following the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I create, Lord Śiva destroys, and He Himself in the form of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu maintains all the affairs of material nature. Thus the supreme controller of the three modes of material nature is Lord Viṣṇu."
The material energy is called jagal-lakṣmī because she protects the bewildered conditioned souls. Goddess Durgā is therefore known as the material mother, and Lord Śiva, her husband, is known as the material father.
When a living entity is liberated from Devī-dhāma but does not know of the opulence of Hari-dhāma, he is placed in Maheśa-dhāma, which is between the other two dhāmas. The liberated soul does not get an opportunity to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead there; therefore although this Maheśa-dhāma is Lord Śiva's dhāma and above Devī-dhāma, it is not the spiritual world. The spiritual world begins with Hari-dhāma, or Vaikuṇṭhaloka.
“Actually it is very difficult to ascertain the number of universes. Every universe has its separate Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who are known as permanent governors. Therefore there is also no counting them.
Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are called cira-loka-pāla, permanent governors. This means that they govern the affairs of the universe from the beginning of the creation to the end. In the next creation, the same living entities may not be present, but because Brahmā and Śiva are existing from the beginning to the end, they are called cira-loka-pāla, permanent governors. Loka-pāla means "predominating deities." There are eight predominating deities of the prominent heavenly planets, and they are Indra, Agni, Yama, Varuṇa, Nirṛti, Vāyu, Kuvera and Śiva.
“There also arrived many Lord Śivas with various heads numbering one hundred thousand and ten million. Many Indras also arrived, and they had hundreds of thousands of eyes all over their bodies.
Just as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva have many faces, the King of heaven, Indra, has many eyes.
“With folded hands, all the Brahmās and Śivas began to offer prayers unto Lord Kṛṣṇa, saying, "O Lord, You have shown me a great favor. I have been able to see Your lotus feet."
The four-headed Brahmā perceived the opulence of Dvārakā-dhāma, where Kṛṣṇa was staying, and although there were Brahmās present having ten to ten million heads, and although many Lord Śivas were also assembled, only the four-headed Brahmā of this universe could see all of them. By the inconceivable potency of Kṛṣṇa, the others could not see one another. Although all the Brahmās and Śivas were assembled together, due to Kṛṣṇa's energy they could not meet or talk among themselves individually.
Kṛṣṇa has many pastimes, of which His pastimes in Goloka Vṛndāvana (the gokula-līlā) are supreme. He also has pastimes in the Vaikuṇṭhas, the spiritual world, as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. In His pastimes in the spiritual sky, He lies down in the Causal Ocean as Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī, the puruṣa-avatāra. His incarnations as a fish, tortoise and so on are called His causal incarnations. He incarnates in the modes of nature as Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu. He also incarnates as empowered living entities like Pṛthu and Vyāsa. The Supersoul is His localized incarnation, and His all-pervasive aspect is the impersonal Brahman.
“‘Apart from these fifty qualities, there are five other qualities found in the Supreme Personality of Godhead that are partially present in demigods like Śiva.
“‘These qualities are (1) the Lord is always situated in His original position, (2) He is omniscient, (3) He is always fresh and youthful, (4) He is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and (5) He is the possessor of all mystic perfection. There are another five qualities, which exist in the Vaikuṇṭha planets in Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Lakṣmī. These qualities are also present in Kṛṣṇa, but they are not present in demigods like Lord Śiva or in other living entities. These are (1) the Lord possesses inconceivable supreme power, (2) He generates innumerable universes from His body, (3) He is the original source of all incarnations, (4) He bestows salvation upon enemies He kills, and (5) He has the ability to attract exalted persons who are satisfied in themselves. Although these qualities are present in Nārāyaṇa, the dominating Deity of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, they are even more wonderfully present in Kṛṣṇa.
“"Above Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa has four specific transcendental qualities—His wonderful pastimes, an abundance of wonderful associates who are very dear to Him (like the gopīs), His wonderful beauty and the wonderful vibration of His flute. Lord Kṛṣṇa is more exalted than ordinary living beings and demigods like Lord Śiva. He is even more exalted than His personal expansion Nārāyaṇa. In all, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has sixty-four transcendental qualities in full."
Because the material world is under the control of Devī, Durgā, it is called Devī-dhāma. Above Devī-dhāma is a place where Lord Śiva and his wife Umā reside. Those brightened by spiritual knowledge and liberated from material contamination reside in that Śivaloka. Beyond that planetary system is the spiritual world, where there are planets called Vaikuṇṭhalokas.
“From their very births, the nine great mystic yogīs (Yogendras) were impersonal philosophers of the Absolute Truth. But because they heard about Lord Kṛṣṇa's qualities from Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the great sage Nārada, they also became Kṛṣṇa's devotees.
Those who are attracted to the materialistic way of life and who are always agitated and full of anxiety worship demigods who appear fierce—demigods like goddess Kālī and Kāla-bhairava (Rudra).
"(Lord Śiva said:) "I may know; Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, may know; and Vyāsadeva may know or may not know Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. On the whole, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the spotless Purāṇa, can be learned only through devotional service, not by material intelligence, speculative methods or imaginary commentaries.""
When one is simply in the mode of ignorance, one becomes a devotee of Lord Śiva because Lord Śiva is the predominating deity of the mode of ignorance within this material world. However, when one is completely free from the influence of all the modes of material nature, one becomes a pure Vaiṣṇava on the devotional platform.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “To say nothing of ordinary living entities, even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot be considered on the level of Viṣṇu or Nārāyaṇa. If one considers them as such, he is immediately considered an offender and atheist.
""A person who considers demigods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is to be considered an offender, a pāṣaṇḍī.""
The philosophers known as kevalādvaita-vādīs generally occupy themselves with hearing the Śārīraka-bhāṣya, a commentary by Śaṅkarācārya advocating that one impersonally consider oneself the Supreme Lord. Such Māyāvāda philosophical commentaries upon the Vedānta-sūtra are simply imaginary, but there are other commentaries on the Vedānta-sūtra. The commentary by Śrīla Rāmānujācārya, known as Śrī-bhāṣya, establishes the viśiṣṭādvaita-vāda philosophy. Similarly, in the Brahma-sampradāya, Madhvācārya's Pūrṇaprajña-bhāṣya establishes śuddha-dvaita-vāda. In the Kumāra-sampradāya, or Nimbārka-sampradāya, Śrī Nimbārka establishes the philosophy of dvaitādvaita-vāda in the Pārijāta-saurabha-bhāṣya. And in the Viṣṇu-svāmi-sampradāya, or Rudra-sampradāya, which comes from Lord Śiva, Viṣṇu Svāmī has written a commentary called Sarvajña-bhāṣya, which establishes śuddhādvaita-vāda.
“Formerly I received the holy name of Lord Rāma from Lord Śiva, but now, due to your association, I am greatly eager to chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
During the incarnation of Lord Caitanya to inaugurate the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, even such personalities as Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the four Kumāras took birth upon this earth, being allured by ecstatic love of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
“"O lotus-eyed one, great personalities like Lord Śiva desire to bathe in the dust of Your lotus feet to drive away ignorance. If I do not get the mercy of Your Lordship, I shall observe vows to reduce the duration of my life, and thus I shall give up bodies for hundreds of births if it is possible to get Your mercy in that way."
In that month of May-June, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to the garden of Yameśvara (Lord Śiva) and accepted prasādam there at the request of the devotees.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.30), Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī says:
- naitat samācarej jātu manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ
- vinaśyaty ācaran mauḍhyād yathā rudro ‘bdhijaṁ viṣam
"Certainly one who is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead should never, even within his mind, imitate the activities of the transcendental rāsa-līlā of Kṛṣṇa. If out of ignorance one does so, he will be destroyed, just as if he were to imitate Lord Śiva, who drank poison produced from the ocean."
All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the incarnation of the ocean of mercy! His lotus feet are worshiped by demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
No one can estimate the wonderful characteristics of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot understand the intentions of the Lord.
""The gopīs became proud of their great fortune. To subdue their sense of superiority and show them special favor, Keśava, the subduer of even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, disappeared from the rāsa dance.""
If Gaṇeśa, Lord Śiva's son and the expert scribe of the demigods, tried for millions of millenniums to fully describe one day of the Lord's pastimes, he would be unable to find their limit.
“The wife of a brāhmaṇa suffering from leprosy manifested herself as the topmost of all chaste women by serving a prostitute to satisfy her husband. She thus stopped the movement of the sun, brought her dead husband back to life and satisfied the three principal demigods (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara).
The Āditya Purāṇa, Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa and Padma Purāṇa tell about a brāhmaṇa who was suffering from leprosy but had a very chaste and faithful wife. He desired to enjoy the company of a prostitute, and therefore his wife went to her and became her maidservant, just to draw her attention for his service. When the prostitute agreed to associate with him, the wife brought her the leprotic husband. When that leper, the sinful son of a brāhmaṇa, saw the chastity of his wife, he finally abandoned his sinful intentions. While coming home, however, he touched the body of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, who thus cursed him to die at sunrise. Because of her chastity, the woman was very powerful. Therefore when she heard about the curse, she vowed to stop the sunrise. Because of her strong determination to serve her husband, the three deities—namely Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara—were very happy, and they gave her the benediction that her husband would be cured and brought back to life. This example is given herein to emphasize that a devotee should engage himself exclusively for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, without personal motives. That will make his life successful.